Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

November 26, 2016

Grateful Days

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:50 am
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I think this is the longest time I’ve ever gone without writing a blog post. I’m wondering if anyone still reads this space. If you do, thank you for having a look. Life has been busy and fun and active, and this Thanksgiving break has allowed me a moment to pause and think and appreciate, hence the title of my post.
New adventure in the horizon

The biggest change, as some of you may remember, is the new job I began this school year. I’m a 7th grade math and science teacher at a parochial school, and what an adventure it has been! Working for a private school is very different from what I’ve known of public school teaching, and as any job does, it certainly has its ups and downs. Overall it has been a very positive experience. There is much demand on my time, but now that I am finally teaching instead of being another teacher’s aide, I know I am doing what I was meant to do. If that is not a feeling of positive energy, I don’t know what is.

This fall has been filled with fun and adventure.

One frustrating adventure was the death of my iPhone 5 in September. One morning the screen simply refused to power on. I lost everything I had on that phone – photos were the saddest loss; I’ve come to like having those little reminders of where I’ve been and what I’ve done. The pictures that I’m sharing today are from my new phone.

Apple picking

Columbus Day weekend was sunny and warm. My sister and I went apple picking and found some side trips along the way. We headed up to an orchard a little bit north of the area we live in to pick my favorite type of apples, macouns. On our way to the orchard, we discovered the factory store to a local gourmet tea company was open.

Tea Guys

Tea Guys in South Deerfield MA makes a huge variety of different types of tea. We each had a sample freshly brewed and made some purchases.

Popovers

Then we found this little place for lunch with great soup and popovers – The Smithsonian Cafe and Chowderhouse Mmmmmmm popovers! A simple but delicious thing that I should try to make more often.

Apple bread

Apple bread was one of the results of this apple picking! So delicious and cinnamon-y!

Walk with Teddy 1

Teddy and I got out for a nice autumn walk.  I wanted to write up a post to share for Robin’s Walktober but of course that got away from me too.
I’m ashamed to say Teddy and I don’t get out nearly as often as I’d like to and as this great dog deserves. He misses his college girls nearly as much as I do, and I’m sure it would do him some good. My dear friend Sherry, who often motivated me to get out for walks, is going through a difficult time with her sweet dog Angel who had a stroke early this summer and has not yet regained full control of her limbs and is unable to stand unsupported. If you’d like to know more about Angel, she has a page on Facebook: Team Angel Mulloy

October also brought an additional visit to Cape Cod. My sister and I had been down to visit our mother in September as we usually do, to celebrate Jennifer’s birthday. My mother had been on a waiting list to get into a new apartment, and she suddenly got the call 3 weeks before it was available. It was time for action! Jennifer and I went and did our best to help with the cleaning and clearing out and packing that goes with moving to a new place. As Jennifer and I traveled back home, I had a little laugh:

Cranberry harvest

It was cranberry harvest time on the Cape and we were following this truck, getting pinged in the windshield by cranberries! Nothing harmful or too distracting, just a couple here and there, but enough to amuse me. It’s the little things sometimes!

During the last weekend of October, I had the pleasure of attending one of Meghan’s ballroom competitions. I traveled to Cranston RI for Brown University’s annual competition at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet

Mambo

Meghan and her partner Kate placed in mambo.

Happy dancer

Meghan hadn’t brought the beautiful green ballroom dress we got her for Christmas last year with her to this competition because she didn’t think she’d be able to dance this year to the style of dance that she could wear it for, due to a former partner choosing not to dance, but she brought along that pink dress just in case a need arose. As luck would have it, a former captain of the team came to the competition, and the last minute decision was made that he and Meghan would dance. I have less blurry photos from these dances, but none that show the joy that Meghan felt at getting to do this dance like this one does.

Early November brought a gathering of friends. The Halloween parties that I used to throw years ago, have evolved into an autumn dinner enjoyed with great friends. Somehow this is the only photo I managed to take of the evening:
Wine with dinner

I made a delicious ham and side dishes, and the girls came home and our whole crew of friends was present. I should have taken other shots to commemorate the occasion, but these things happen!

My most recent adventure was a day trip to Boston. Sarah had her Colleges of the Fenway Dance Project fall recital on the weekend before Thanksgiving. I drove out earlier in the day and took Sarah to eat and we visited the Prudential Center wandering and talking before she had to get ready for the show.
Boston with Sarah

I really enjoyed the show, especially the student-choreographed piece that she was in.
sarahcof
(photo credit to Jack Tan)

As many of you know, I mourn the loss of summer and the glory of hot weather and lazy days. Every now and then I let myself like fall, just a little! I find delight in small moments of beauty, like:

Mockingbird
a mockingbird landing on the deck and sticking around long enough for me to take a picture,

Sunrise
a pink sunrise on an easy weekend morning before we changed the clocks,

Bright November
sunshine filtering through a tree dressed in its autumn colors.

In addition of course, we’ve just celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. The girls are home for the long weekend and I’ve been enjoying their company. For all these wonderful times, I am grateful. I wish you joy and beauty and peace in the days to come. Maybe by Christmas break I will be able to share again!

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October 13, 2014

Camera Neglect

I was thinking that once the long weekend of Columbus Day arrived, things would slow down a bit and I’d be spending more time with my camera and the blogosphere. I’m not sure just why I was thinking that way! I have definitely started adjusting to the way of life as a teacher for now, but the amount of time I spend correcting, planning and organizing really hasn’t changed since I started this gig. I’m not spending any time on school work on this long weekend (thank goodness) but of course I find myself attending to the other parts of life that need my attention. So what do I mean by all this? It has been ages since I’ve lifted my Canon Rebel to my face! The last pictures on that screen are from that wonderful warm day in September that I posted about a month ago. And here it is autumn in New England. So much beauty around me, and what do I have to show for it photographically? Nada. Hoping to have the opportunity to change that, but it is already Monday of the long weekend. I will see how the day progresses and get back to you, okay?

In the meantime, let me say that it has definitely not been all work and no play if I’ve given you that impression! This past Thursday night was the annual “powderpuff” flag football game at my daughter’s high school. Sarah played hard – both offense and defense – but sadly, the senior girls were defeated. Camera-neglecting mama that I am, I have no photos of my football playing daughter. I found this picture, by Thomas Henry Photography, of the field that night:
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Meghan came home from school to see her sister play, which I thought was really nice. All the more disappointing that the seniors lost though. Sarah had no school the next day (teacher professional development day) so the girls had time to hang out together while I went to work.

Meghan came with us when it was time for Sarah to head to dance class so she got to visit with her former dance teacher. We visited a local farmstand and picked up some of our favorite apples (macouns) and other treats. (all photos managed for the rest of this blog post are phone photos)
Macouns

Meghan’s visit was sadly brief. She had to return to school Saturday night because she had a ballroom competition that she was leaving for early Sunday morning. I made the most of my time with her and took her shopping for various supplies, plus a little “tradition” of hers and mine – after a visit to our local Kohl’s store we head to the near by Dunkin for an iced coffee. We laugh about the fact that it doesn’t seem possible for us to skip the Dunkin part of the trip no matter what.

After our shopping trip, we stopped back home to get everything she needed to bring back to school an pick up Sarah. We had a delicious late lunch or early dinner, depending on how you look at it, together at a Greek restaurant called Zorba’s in Worcester near Meghan’s school.

Meghan returned to school, a little adventure for me continued. A gathering of my gang of friends (I’ve mentioned this group many times on the blog) was happening at the Mendon Drive In for a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was surely a cold night for a drive in, but getting the chance to hang out with thse people is always worthwhile, no matter the circumstances. We ate junk food, watched the movie and enjoyed each other’s company. Some of my junk food:
Cheese fries

Yesterday was Meghan’s competition. She sent me some photos of her hair and makeup:
Pre-comp

Pre-comp2

The best picture she sent, however, was this one from after the competition:
Post comp
Use a bit of hair gel there?

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing this holiday weekend, I hope you are enjoying it. I leave you with this quote I found the other day, one with wonderful aspirations I think:
Quote

October 14, 2013

Fall Break

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:50 pm
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For Columbus Day weekend, Clark University gives their students a short fall break – a four day weekend lasting Saturday through Tuesday. I arrived to pick Meghan up from school Friday night and many had already taken off. Meghan said it was strange how quiet it was in the residence hall. After a horribly crowded ride on the Massachusetts Turnpike in both directions, we arrived home around 9:30pm, but looked forward to some fun plans I had made in anticipation of having my whole family around for the weekend.

One of Meghan’s laments about living on campus (she has very few of these, thankfully) is her disappointment in the fresh fruit. This time of year in New England, this family’s favorite apples are available for the picking. We love macoun apples and we headed back to Quonquont Farm in Whatley, MA to get our fill.
My fav's - Macoun apples

We have a half bushel for here at the house, and Meghan picked her own peck to take back to school.
apple picking 1

Next we headed down the road to Mike’s Maze in Sunderland, MA. The folks over at Mike’s put a lot of thought into the design and theme of their maze. This was the first time I’ve ever been, but after seeing what they do, I’d like to go back. The famous artist Salvador Dali was the design this year.
dalirama
(I’ve borrowed this photo from their website because you can only see the whole design from an aerial view)

Within the maze, there were clues to find and puzzles to puzzle over, 19 in all. Upon entering the maze, this little kitty gave you a hint for how to go about solving some of the puzzles:
looking for clues

In the style of Dali, most of the puzzles had to do with illusions or looking at things in a different way. Our family was able to solve 17 out of the 19 questions correctly as we had fun finding our way through all the identical looking corn.
searching through the maze

In addition to the puzzles, throughout the maze you could stumble upon other illusion filled amusements such as the mirror room and an Ames Room
The girls had fun hamming it up inside while I sat in the viewing space and did my best to get pictures from the cut-out in the wall:
in the Ames Room 1

in the Ames Room 2

in the Ames Room 3

After we found our way out of the maze, Sarah took a shot at aiming a potato cannon. We earned a free shot by correctly discerning the right word out of one of the illusion puzzles in the maze. The puzzle itself was hard to find, nestled in the middle of Mr. Dali’s eye!
shooting the potato cannon

The target Sarah was aiming for:
the target
She came very close a couple times!

We had worked up an appetite by the time we completed the maze and its puzzles. We had a delicious late afternoon lunch or early dinner, depending how you look at it, at a place called Bub’s BBQ, also in Sunderland. I had spare ribs, Meghan and Craig had brisket and Sarah had pulled pork – it was all delicious. Bub’s is a place you might just drive by if you didn’t know about it, and what a great meal you’d miss. It isn’t fancy by any stretch of the imagination, but sometimes places that use a roll of paper towels for your napkins serve up great food!

A little family of pumpkins and their “mums” came home with us:
mums n pumpkins

Sunday brought a relaxing day. Meghan and I went shopping (successfully!) for some new jeans, then she tried out the hot tub for the first time. I think if she were living at home during the school year, I’d probably have fairly regular company while relaxing in it!

We spent some time together in the kitchen today. We cooked up an extra large batch of chocolate chip cookies, apple bread and apple sauce. Meghan will be taking about 3 dozen cookies, one loaf of the bread and a container of apple sauce back to her dorm with her.
apple bread n chocolate chip cookies

It was really nice to feel like my family was whole again, at least for this weekend. I do miss her when she’s gone, and now that she’s been here for 3 days, I’m sure I’ll feel her absence more sharply for the next few days. People keep asking Sarah if she misses her sister and she bluntly replies, “No!” However, Friday night after Meghan got home, my two girls stayed up talking in Meghan’s room until after midnight. No indeed.

October 6, 2010

Subtleties – Picture Fall, day 6

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 8:35 pm
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 Favoreds

Well, maybe this isn’t what you would call “subtle”.  Subtle like a sledgehammer.  Today’s photo prompt encouraged us to find a single color palette and use light to bring out the subtleties and texture within the subject.  By the time I got to deciding what my subject would be, all natural light was gone for the day.  I was stuck with artificial light and flash.  At least I get to show you a few of my favo”red” things!  Ba-dum-bump! I crack myself up.

September 27, 2010

A Lovely Autumn Day, part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 5:51 pm
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IMG_1484

As much as I mourn the passing of summer, my family and I enjoyed a beauty of an autumn day this past Saturday.  The temperatures felt more like summer – it was in the 80’s – but you can’t deny that New England foliage, which is, along with virtually everything else this year, ahead of schedule.  This scene was found in Whately, MA at a place called:
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Whately is nearly an hour’s drive north from where I live.  I discovered this place last year when I missed out on picking my favorite type of apples, macouns, more locally.  It was Columbus Day weekend last year, and they had already gone by at the local orchard, so I researched “pick-your-own” farms further north, reasoning that they might still have them on the trees.  I was right!  We made a nice day last year of picking apples and heading down the road a short distance to the famous “scenter of the universe,” the flagship store for Yankee Candle.  We all enjoyed Quonquont Farm last year so we decided to head back.  Imagine my surprise arriving at the orchard this year, two weeks earlier than last year, to discover the macouns had  pretty much been picked.

IMG_1478

The helpful woman working at the farm that day explained that they had a late frost in May this year which damaged a lot of the young apples on the lower parts of the trees.  The farm folks picked the macouns from the tops of the trees and placed them in the boxes from which people could choose.  Disappointed but not deterred, we filled a 1/2 bushel bag with macouns, then set out to fill another bag with a variety of other apples.
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Some of the apples were up a little higher, like these:
IMG_1481

..but that didn’t stop this family from getting the ones we wanted:
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Sarah (above) goes after the apples with gusto!  Meghan (below) hauls part of our haul:
IMG_1492

We paid the helpful woman for our apples (you can see her, back turned in the shot below) and headed back to the car.
IMG_1485

As we did so, I heard my husband muttering under his breath and looking at the bottom of his shoe.  No, it wasn’t that!  He had stepped on a rotten apple while we were in the orchard, which would end up having a direct effect on his lovely autumn day, part 2.  Be sure to tune  in tomorrow to see what happened!  (And if you already know what happened after reading it on a certain social networking site, please don’t give it away! )