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 26, 2014

Strolltober?

Filed under: Joy — Karma @ 9:53 am
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I’m sliding in at the last moment to participate in Robin’s Walktober. Life’s busy pace really hasn’t slowed down but I am not complaining! But that is my reason for only having a “mini-stroll” to share with you rather than a nice meandering walk like I would prefer. In the middle of a busy but wonderful day yesterday, I took a few moments to enjoy some warm autumn sunshine and have a little stroll. These are iPhone photos that I’m using once again. (I can hear the Canon Rebel grumbling in the corner).

In the middle of many errands and preparations for a wonderful dinner with great friends at my house last night, I decided to stroll by our local pond and enjoy a breather of fresh air and sunshine.
Color and reflection

It was about 65 degrees yesterday and I took a few moments to appreciate that as I ambled the tiny beach.
Autumn pond

There is a pretty path that goes a little further into the trees surrounding the pond, but I knew I didn’t have the time to spare to walk it on this particular day. This is the entrance to it.
The path not taken

Instead I enjoyed the leaves and the light floating on the water…
Sunshine on the water

…and breathing deeply and remembering that life is good.
Sparkling water

Thank you Robin for once again hosting Walktober.

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:
10472829_780003408725105_1092457685122217191_o

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

November 17, 2013

Big job complete…for now

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:34 am
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I finished the big job of cleaning up after the awful sycamore tree yesterday.
clean yard

I really should have taken a “before” picture to show you, but I gave you a small idea of what the job is like last week in this post. That tree is nearly done dropping all its leaves, but some still cling to the branches:
sycamore, almost done

I believe I’ve done enough work on the front yard for this fall. More leaves will certainly fall before we are covered in snow, but I’ve cleared away enough (10 tarp loads including last week!) so that I won’t have a horrible clean-up of giant, soggy, 8-inch wide, slimy leaves in the spring.

After spending my day cleaning up the yard (by myself, by the way!) I rested my tired self in the hot tub and admired the sky, brightly illuminated by the full moon. As my eyes adjusted, it almost seemed close to day light it was so bright, and I got the idea in my head that maybe I could show you some pictures of my lovely view.

Still wearing my bathing suit and terry robe, I grabbed my camera and put on the nifty-fifty lens, then kneeled down next to the hot tub. I was too lazy to get the tri-pod out. Thinking back now, that would have been the intelligent thing to do! The shots I have to share are quite blurry, of course, since it wasn’t really daylight. But maybe I can still give you a glimpse into my view last night:
night sky 1

night sky 2

I played with different shutter speeds and apertures, and holding my breath and firmly gripping the camera as my elbows rested on the side of the tub, and in the little LCD of the camera screen the shots didn’t look too bad. Really did need the tripod though!

night sky 3

night sky 4

I would try again tonight, but a steady rain is in our forecast. We’re still enjoying warm-for-November temperatures around here, so at least it is rain and not snow! How is your autumn progressing? Cleaning up? Looking forward to Thanksgiving? Tell me in the comments.

November 11, 2013

November is trying, but not really winning any points with me today

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 1:22 pm
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A moment of pretty….
last color

Ahhhh!

…discovered while dealing with the ugly….
UGH!

Raking leaves today. That photo above shows but a fraction of the 4 giant tarploads of leaves I’ve hauled out of my front yard today from the dreadful sycamore tree. I really dislike that tree this time of year! I mean really, look at the size of these leaves:

Obnoxious leaf

And there is exactly 9,786,584,001 of them! I counted! ūüėČ

October 26, 2013

Hanging in There…or Feeling like the Flowers

Filed under: What's Blooming — Karma @ 9:14 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I feel a bit like some flowers in my yard these days. They are still hanging in there, trying to enjoy the last warm days of the year and battling the progressively chilly nights. I took these pictures Columbus Day weekend though, so I’m not sure they are all still out there! We’ve had a couple of lightly frosted mornings these weeks. (Gee that sort of sounds like a type of breakfast cereal, doesn’t it?)
mini rose
This is the last bloom on the mini rose the girls gave me for Mother’s Day. It is still hanging in this morning – I can see it out on the deck as I write this post. It is a good reminder to hang in there, and the fact that my girls chose it for me is good on those days when I find myself missing Meghan.

This post from Robin reminded me that I had spied a few morning glories hanging in there the other day. It has been many years since I’ve planted morning glories in that spot, so I was quite surprised to see them one morning when I jumped in the car. I went outside with my camera after reading Robin’s post to see what I could find. I didn’t have many blooms, but this is what I saw:morning glory closed
Still closed up, not ready to start the day -how I feel when I have to get up for work and it is still dark outside.

morning glory opening
Getting ready to open – at work enjoying my first cup of coffee!

morning glory open
Open – ready to face the day and whatever it throws at me!

I planted a few zinnias near the base of my deck this spring, and they are soldiering on, like I feel I must on some days when I would rather just curl up in a ball and let life do its thing without me for a while.
double zinnia

zinnia 1

Mums signal acceptance of the cool weather – the last bastions of the floral season. As we enter the second month of autumn, I must accept the fact that the warm days are waning and cold nights are here. The mums will make it until we have the coldest of nights…
mums 1

mums 2
…and I will hang in there with them, even as my summer soul must head into hibernation for a while!

October 14, 2012

Walking Along

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 5:15 pm
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Back in the summertime, Robin of Life in the Bogs announced plans for taking a really long walk.¬† I think at the time she was blogging about pilgrimages and her admiration for folks who do them.¬† Robin’s plans for her walk,¬† while maybe not completely a pilgrimage-length walk, but a good long walk, blossomed into the idea for a blog-along style walk in which bloggers were invited to make a jaunt of their own, photograph it, blog it and link it to Robin’s post.

I actually took two walks for this blog.¬† I took one on¬†Columbus Day, but those photos proved to be disappointing.¬† The weather was extremely overcast, and while¬†I know cloudy days¬†can make for some beautiful photos, this day it just wasn’t working for me.¬† I wanted¬†photos of a golden autumn afternoon, and even after adjusting settings on the camera to warm up the shots, they were mostly blah looking to me.¬†¬†I also walked in an unfamiliar place, and although the paths were well-marked, I started feeling just a bit nervous about whether I’d chosen the correct direction at times.¬† Not all of my pictures from this day are bad and unusable – they just aren’t what I wanted for this post.¬† Perhaps they will find a place in a different post.

For this walk, I headed to The Rice Nature Preserve here in the town where I live.¬† I’d walked this trail one time before with the family and dogs in tow.¬† This time I went on my own so that I could take plenty of pictures without my hands be jostled by anxious pulling on leashes.

The day was full of sunshine, although high temperatures were only in the upper 50’s.¬† The vigorousness of parts of this walk soon had me plenty warmed up!¬† I’d forgotten some parts of the trek were rather steep – it is up the side of our little mountain afterall.

I was lucky to find one trail map left at the entrance to the path and excitedly began my trek.

Beginning of the path

Parts of the path were rocky
a little rocky along the way

and others were leafy
leafy path

but in all of it I found beauty.
wildflowers with blurry bee

bittersweet

mystery berries

Near the top of the trail (but not the very top) I emerged into a peach orchard with beautiful views of the town below.
mountain1

Wilbraham has always been known for its peaches. Since I was in high school, each summer brought us “The Peach Festival” presided over by the Peach Queen and her court. Unfortunately, not all of the acres once owned by the Rice family are still farmed. I don’t know if these particular orchards are still cared for and harvested. I found it so strange to see these peach pits hanging from some of the trees:
peach pits

The trails continued past the peach orchard to a bench placed in memorial of the couple who started Rice’s Fruit Farm in town.
memorial
It reads: “Life has taught us that love does not consist of gazing at each other, but looking outwards together in the same direction.”
Nice sentiment. The view from the bench:

mountain3

That ended up being the highest elevation from which I took a photo. I did continue further along a connecting trail which promised to lead me to Sunrise Peak.
on the way to the summit

But when I got to a junction on this path, it wasn’t clear which way I should follow. I tried using my sense of direction with the placement of the sun and the trail map, but I chose wrong. I came to a dead end made unpassable from fallen trees and limbs, most likely from the devastating tornado that passed through this area in June of 2011. I turned back. At one point along the path, I ran into a couple of hikers and their pup who I’d chatted with briefly a couple times and they had learned the peak was in the opposite direction than the one I’d chosen. By that time, I was getting a little too tired to try again, so I decided to save it for another day. I’d been out for nearly two hours and had plenty of photos to share, so I didn’t feel unsatisfied with my choice.

Warm sunshine lead me back down the path.
sunshine through trees

Thanks, Robin, for hosting this blog-along. I’ll look forward to checking out everyone’s walks!

September 29, 2012

I just couldn’t let September end this way!

Filed under: Walking the Dogs,What's Blooming — Karma @ 10:08 am
Tags: , , , ,

Gee, what a slow and blue blogging month it has been for me.¬† The End of the Earth and the End of Summer – that’s all I blogged about. ¬†I couldn’t let it end this way.¬† I did get out and take some cheerful pictures last weekend, the first weekend of autumn.

In the comments of the “Transition” post that I linked to up there, Michaela¬†and¬† I were having a little discussion about taking pictures of pretty flowers in someone else’s yard and whether we should do it.¬† For several years now, I’ve admired the dahlias in the front yard of a house up the street a little ways from here.¬† They are right along the sidewalk, and I’ve always meant to tote my camera along and take some pictures.¬† This time I finally did it.¬† I’m afraid this is really not a¬† great representation of all the beauty in this yard.¬† I still felt a little funny shooting someone else’s flowers, so I just did it quickly, didn’t change lenses when I probably should have and got back in my car really quickly!

Dahlias 1

Dahlias 2

Dahlias 3

This last shot gives you the proof of where I was standing, plus it is a really cool looking dahlia:
Dahlias 4

The dogs and I also went on our first walk of the autumn season.  There were still plenty of wildflowers in bloom and the air was warm, so it did help ease my transition and my mood.

I thought this looked like a little bouquet that Mama Nature had left behind:

natural bouquet

All along the path, I found little reminders that there is beauty to be had in all seasons.

autumn grasses

wild flowers 1

wild flowers 2

Queen Anne's lace

In addition, as October approaches (would you believe I just typed “August” there instead of “October”?¬† Apparently my wishful thinking continues), I hope to rejuvenate my blogging habits.¬† Robin, over at Life in the Bogs¬†has provided links to NaBloPoMo’s blogging prompts for October.¬† While I am sure I will not make the commitment to blogging every day in October, the prompts provide some interesting food-for-blog-thought.¬† I’m hoping to tackle a few – maybe you’d like to also?

wild flowers 3

Robin provides more inspiration in her idea for a group blog walk.¬† She had mentioned over the summer about how she’d like to take a really long walk someplace she doesn’t always walk, take photographs and blog about it.¬† She suggested some of us might enjoy doing the same.¬† I may have¬†helped a little bit in this inspiration by suggesting¬†that she turn it into a blog-along type of event by¬†choosing a time period to complete the walk and allowing us to share our blog posts with her.¬† She chose the week of October 8th, and I’m hoping to participate if Columbus Day provides this area with some nice weather.¬† I hope you’ll think about walking along with us.

fading susans

I will have to decide soon if there will be an October photo hunt too. If inspiration strikes me, I will try to post something during the first week of the month.

Now, that’s a bit better, right? No more gloomy funk. Here’s a better kind of funk to end the month ūüėČ

September 15, 2012

Transition

Hello there bloggers, readers, family and friends.¬† I’ve missed you!¬† This blog has been quiet for almost two weeks.¬† It wasn’t really on purpose or a blogging break; I think the blogging muse in my head has simply been silent.¬† I’m honestly not sure if other parts of my brain tied her up and took her hostage or if she just stepped out for a while.¬† Either way, she’s back this morning.¬† I have such a mix of feelings and thoughts and photos to share, I’m not sure how this blog post will eventually come out, but if you’re ready for what will likely be a bumpy ride, join me for a spell.

This time of year is generally a rollercoaster ride of emotions for me.¬† I feel a deep sadness at the passing of summer.¬† (By the way, Scott has a new photo assignment posted about just this subject – be sure to have a look!)¬† I’m not ready to let the heat and bright sunshine and lazy days go just yet.
phlox

Memories of summer vacation are still fresh in my mind, but that place seems so very far away right now.

the cottage

However, I can’t live in the past, so I do try to appreciate the beauty of the season to come.¬† I do admit that fading summer/early autumn does present some beautiful light, and I was drawn outside with my 50mm lens the other afternoon.¬† I’m not sure why, but I’ve found the 50mm often does a lovely job of capturing true colors and a soft-but-sharp-at-the-same-time focus (if any photog-types have a reason for this that you can explain, feel free to do so in the comments).¬† These dahlias I planted in my whiskey barrel planter have been gorgeous all summer, but I never felt quite able to capture them until I took the nifty-fifty to them:

Dahlias #1

Dahlias #2

Dahlias #3

It is hard to deny that autumn is on the way when the goldenrod appears.

Goldenrod

This monarch butterfly kind of looks like how I feel: it seems to be trying to take in the last that summer has to offer, while surrounded by encroaching fall.

monarch in butterfly bushes

(Perhaps I should have saved this one for Scott’s assignment?)

I know that fans of autumn will remind me of all the goodness fall has to offer.  Warm, golden afternoons, crisp nights, crunchy apples, hot cider, rainbows of foliage.  I do enjoy them all.  But for now, allow me to mourn and maybe wallow just a bit in my sadness about, the passing of my favorite season.

 

October 9, 2011

Searching for Autumn Color

Filed under: Walking the Dogs — Karma @ 6:51 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

It might be a bit early still.¬† I had it in my head that by Columbus Day weekend, western Massachusetts was usually ablaze in the colors of fall.¬† I wasn’t able to find much photographic evidence in the archives on my computer.¬† I searched dates around this time in 2010 and 2009, without luck.¬† My 365 project on Flickr showed a bit of color on October 10th of 2008.

When the forecast for this weekend said sunny skies and temperatures around 80¬į, I knew a walk in the woods would be on my “to do” list.¬† The forecast proved accurate, and the doggy duo and I set out for an afternoon walk yesterday.¬† I reveled in the warmth and sunshine, telling myself to enjoy it, knowing this was likely the last New England weekend to enjoy such weather.¬† Hoping to spot hints of pretty color, Mr. Andre Rebel came along for the walk too.

While I didn’t see vibrant shades filling the trees, I was able to find some hints of the¬†autumn palette:
IMG_6614

IMG_6631

IMG_6626

These little cuties reminded me of Michaela’s post from the other day:
IMG_6613

I also found something new along our familiar path.  While rounding a bend, this popped up:
IMG_6627

Bridge? I thought to myself.  What bridge?  Lo and behold:
IMG_6606

A new footbridge had appeared along our walk, at Daphne’s favorite spot to take a little rest.¬† Normally, this is the place where I have to figure out the best spot for a little leap across the running water while the dogs happily slog across.¬† The dogs still slogged through, but I happily made use of the new addition.

IMG_6630

In some spots along our walk, and in general about town, I’ve noticed some of the trees seem to be skipping their autumn display and going straight from green to brown:

IMG_6611

IMG_6618

In the pleasantness of the afternoon, we ambled further along the path than we’d been in quite a long time.¬† As the sunlight peeked through trees in the shadowy section of our walk, it suddenly came to my consciousness that I had possibly obtained my own form of quiet contemplation and meditation.¬† If meditation is the absence of active thought, then I think it happened, if only for a short time.¬† For a short time, I wasn’t thinking about chores that awaited me at home, the trials of the previous week at work, or the tasks ahead for the week to come.¬† It was just me, the dogs, the woods and breathing.¬† And it felt really good.
IMG_6623

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