Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 14, 2016

If We Were Having Coffee: Summer Catch Up Edition

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:03 am
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As I sat here Sunday morning drinking my coffee and reading Robin’s coffee share, I thought to myself, as I have many times this summer, write a blog post! But where to begin? I’ve been quite the slacker blogger as of late, with no real reason why. I’ve been active and busy and enjoying myself, but no real reason why I couldn’t write a post. So “stealing” a little bit from Robin in the title of this post, but giving her all the credit I made a decision to write this morning. My phone is a great reminder of everything I’ve been up to this summer so I’m starting there, with a selection of photos from the phone to bring me up to speed a bit. I have more shots in my “big girl camera” from some of the places I’ve been this summer, but I’d like to edit them before I present them – so maybe I will get a couple more posts done before summer comes rushing to an end and I imagine I’ll have even less time to blog.

If we were having coffee (or tea or whatever is your preference), I might say to you, pour yourself a good sized cup and strap in! I’ll probably ramble on for quite a while! If we were sitting together on my deck (assuming the awful humidity of late has passed) the first thing you might notice is the state of my “garden”. I made a decision not to plant one this year and the spot it usually occupies next to the deck is rampant with weeds at the moment. It was a sad decision, but that area would require more TLC than I was willing to give it at this time to make it flourish. The soil is spent and diseased and seems to be a breeding ground for awful things like tomato horn worms. Instead I bought myself two tomato plants and put them in containers. It seemed like a good idea back in June…
Early tomatoes
… but as summer progressed, not so much. I’ve gotten a few small tomatoes, but many have rotted right on the vine. I miss my giant beefsteak tomatoes I used to grow.

If we were having coffee, I’d say it has been a busy summer but I like it that way. One of the first things I did was an overnight Pickity Place visit with Jennifer and Renae. That doesn’t quite sound right – what I mean is, we went to Pickity Place and then stayed overnight at Renae’s house for a “girls’ night in”. I have some beautiful photos from that Pickity visit on the other camera that I haven’t gotten to editing and posting yet, but I think they deserve another post. I do have this picture on my phone of the yummy blueberry sour cream coffee cake I made for our breakfast the next morning.
Blueberry sour cream coffee cake

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I did something a little unexpected this year. I made a last minute decision to drive to Cape Cod for 4th of July weekend. Anyone from Around Here might say, “what are you nuts?” Traffic to the Cape on any summer weekend is notoriously bad, as you have to travel over one of two bridges to get there and it is an extremely popular vacation destination in these parts. But a long holiday weekend stretched out before me, my daughters had their own plans and my husband was working, and my mother (who lives there as I think you know) had vacation time. So off I went. The beach was crowded but pleasantly warm and breezey and we enjoyed some time together just the two of us.
4th of July on the Cape

Mom and me

If we were having coffee, you might be surprised to hear that I ticked off a photography bucket list item. I see all of Mike’s gorgeous waterfall photography and have been wanting to give it a shot. I finally did. The girls and I took Teddy for a ride to find a small waterfall just a little west of here.
Exploration walk
It has been pretty dry all summer so the fall wasn’t flowing hard, but we went before the drought really set in to this area. Again I have more photos waiting for editing, but here is one from my phone:
Waterfall

If we were having coffee, you’d learn that I had only one visit to Maine this year and it felt a little odd to me. For the past few years my sister has very kindly invited me to join her family for a few days of her vacation to Peaks Island. I did join Jennifer for a few wonderfully sunny days…
Peaks beach

Sparkly ocean

…and beautiful sunsets.
Peaks sunset 1

Peaks sunset 2

The reason it felt odd to me was that normally, I’d be headed back to Maine a few weeks later for my own family vacation on Hills Beach. Last year, however, the cottage we have been renting there for several years was sold to a new owner. The new owners wanted to use the place themselves rather than rent it out. Can’t say that I blame them for if it was mine, I’d surely do the same, but that meant we had to find a new place to go. Unfortunately, as is the way of many private, quiet beaches in New England, small, affordably priced cottages directly on the beach are few and far between. Could we stay somewhere else not right on the beach for a reasonable price? Sure. But this is the way I’ve vacationed most of my life since I was a child and I admit being spoiled by having this ammenity for my vacation. It is our one big yearly indulgence. So I hunted around on VRBO (vacation rental by owner if you are not familiar with this website) and found a place in Truro, MA. Truro is on the outer part of Cape Cod, very close to the tip that is Provincetown, or as I like to call it “the end of the earth”.
North Truro beach view to Ptown

If we were having coffee, you may have guessed by now that yes there are lots of pictures from this vacation, both on my phone and on the other camera. With how I’ve gone on and on, I’m sure you’ll be fine with the fact that I will share those in another post. I took myself on several adventures on that trip.

Now I’m sure that I’ve completely talked your ear off by now – hopefully I gave you some time to get a word or two in edgewise – I’ve got to tell you one more thing. Back at the beginning of our visit, I said the days are coming quickly where I’ll have less time to blog. If you’ve been visiting with me regularly for the last few years, you’re thinking, oh that’s right, school will be beginning again very soon. And you’d be right. But this year, for the first time in 11 years, I will not be returning to the middle school that has been my place of employment as a paraprofessional. I’m sure you remember the times I’ve mentioned that I am a certified teacher and the things that I’ve done to try to make myself more employable. In a couple weeks I will begin my new adventure as a 7th grade math and science teacher at a small private parochial school. There will be pro’s and cons to this position, but I’m looking at it as a new chapter in my professional life. I was at a crossroads where a decision needed to be made – stay in the job I’ve been doing for the last 11 years knowing that my chance for promotion to classroom teacher may never come or step outside my comfort zone to a new place with new challenges.

New adventure in the horizon

I made the choice to make the change. It is exciting, daunting and anxiety-raising all rolled into one, but a big part of my journey to me!

Although I take my inspiration from Robin, this post’s originating idea comes from Part Time Monster #WeekendCoffeeShare

March 12, 2016

Dancing Toward Spring

February has come and gone and we are nearly halfway through March. I had hopes for blogging more regularly in 2016 but somehow that just hasn’t happened. Life is good and keeping me busy! I’m going to scatter this blog post with photos as I let the words ramble from my brain to my fingers.

February is usually a month I don’t care for very much, but I honestly can’t complain about the one that just passed us by. We did have our only two snow days so far this school year (fingers crossed that we are out of the woods on those for the year – last day of school is scheduled for Friday June 17th at this point) but for the most part we have had a very mild winter this year. And well deserved after the winter we had last year. February was sprinkled with some good dog walks with friends, a couple fun get-togethers, and seeing my daughters during my February break.
Meghan turned 21 this February! Wow, I am the parent of a “legal” adult.

Gift
21st birthday gift from mom to daughter

Meghan had a ballroom competition in February that I attended. Got to see the new ballroom dress in motion and it looked fabulous! Meghan and her partners didn’t place at this competition. I thought she was robbed but I may be just a bit prejudiced.

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A surprise invitation to a great show also happened in February. My friend Sherry won tickets to a performance of Lord of the Dance.

Lord of the Dance

If you’re a fan of dance of any kind and you’ve never seen any incarnation of this show (it has had several versions throughout its 20 year history) you owe it to yourself to try to see a show. The power and talent of these dancers is simply amazing.

As we flowed from February into March, all of a sudden it was time for my daughters’ spring breaks from college. How nice for us that Wentworth’s and Clark’s breaks fell on the same week! On the Friday the girls finished classes, my sister and I got into my car and headed out for a bit of a road trip. First stop, Worcester MA, to collect Meghan and lots of her laundry! Second stop, MBTA train station Franklin MA to collect Sarah from her ride out of Boston. Third stop – Cape Cod to spend a weekend visiting my mother. It was chilly but a great visit celebrating Meghan’s birthday and my mother’s. We went out to lunch,

Daniel Webster birthday lunch

went shopping, and even had a bundled up visit to the beach.

Smugglers Beach

Cold beach visit

A harbinger of spring I always look forward to is the spring bulb show at Smith College. There was a fun twist on the show this year, which added elemments from Edward Gorey’s The Evil Garden. Sprinkled among the beautiful blooms
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were striped-socked legs poking from behind rocks, big hairy bugs, frogs spitting muddy water,
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and “peaches, apples, plums and pears, guarded by ferocious bears”
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It is the ending Saturday night of spring break as I write this post. My girls are each with their boyfriends this evening, and both will return to school for the final push of the school year tomorrow. Wonderful days are on their way – the official start of spring and more. Hopefully it won’t take me another month and a half to post again about that more!

April 1, 2015

Black and White Challenge Day 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 6:00 am
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Day 3 of my focal black and white challenge, brings us back to the wintery Cape Cod weekend of this blog post. The snow had melted enough by the edge of the sea to reveal clusters of shells washed up on the shore.

shells

It was a cold walk on the beach, but there was still treasure to be found.

March 14, 2015

A Wintery Cape Cod Visit

Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 4:37 pm
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Last weekend, the women of my immediate family and I had the pleasure of spending the weekend together on Cape Cod. My mother lives there and my sister, two daughters and I drove down to visit. We had two birthdays to celebrate as well – Meghan’s 20th, which occured a couple weeks ago and my mother’s (age politely not included here) which happens tomorrow. As always we enjoyed laughter and each other’s company. It was also an opportunity for me to spend some time getting to know my 85mm lens!

I tried a couple of candid portrait shots without my daughters’ knowledge. I adjusted these a little in Lightroom. I like the fine but soft detail on their faces.
mcandid

scandid

The weather was still quite chilly, but thankfully not raining or snowing. We visited snow-covered Smuggler’s Beach in South Yarmouth.

Meghan and Sarah took the opportunity to have their first-ever snowball fight at the beach. I appreciated the stop-action in these shots.
snowballfight1

snowballfight2
Can you see the snowball Meghan is tossing in the air here, ready to chuck it at her sister?

I found a couple bird photos to add to my collection (probably no surprise to regular readers here)
soaring
Gull against a winter sky

oddduck2
I have not been able to identify this duck yet, but I found it very interesting. Any thoughts about what he or she might be?

And a group shot of our bundled up crew:
group
From left to right: me, Meghan, Sarah (wearing her Totoro hooded sweatshirt, complete with ears!), my mother, my sister Jennifer.

October 4, 2014

It was a great month!

Filed under: Joy — Karma @ 8:55 pm
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Four days of October have already passed as I sit to write this post, but I just couldn’t let September go by without creating a little memoir of it here on the blog. It was a beautiful, busy and wonderful month. Let me show you some of the great things I got to experience.

I’ll start by saying that the weather was, for the most part, outstanding. August left me desiring more sunshine and warmth, and I feel like September brought all the beauty and heat it could muster. It was my first month of teaching full time and I absolutely loved it – and still am loving it. I often brought papers home to sit outside on my deck and correct and enjoy the sun at the same time.

September is Big E time here in western Massachusetts. The Big E is a huge 6-state fair, and people come from all over to attend the 17 day event – 1,498,605 of them this year. I enjoyed some favorite things on my visit there this year:
Fried food
Fried food (this is a basket of tempura veggies)

Big margarita
A really big frozen margarita in a plastic mug with a handle for enjoying while strolling the fair

Oreo cows!
Oreo cows! Squeeeeeeee!

Belted gallway
I discovered that belted galloways (their “real” name…phffft!…not nearly as interesting as “oreo cow”) also come in other colors.

My sister, Sarah and I made a trip to the Cape to visit mom in September as well. We had one day of lovely weather. Warm enough to sit outside and enjoy a warm beverage at the Hot Chocolate Sparrow in Orleans…
Hot Chocolate Sparrow Orleans MA
(my sister’s pic of her hot apple cider with caramel)

Smuggler's Beach South Yarmouth
…and watch the wind surfers at Smuggler’s beach (also Jennifer’s pic)

The weekend after we visited the Cape, Jennifer and I visited our dear friend Renae. Renae took us to lunch at a fabulous winery in New Hampshire called La Belle Winery. It was a gorgeous day and we sat outside.
Nice lunch
We enjoyed this wonderful cheese slate as an appetizer. That’s my yummy sangria in the background of the picture!

And then, at the very end of the month, something that I have been waiting for for a very long time finally happened!
New floor
My new tile kitchen floor was installed! The ugly, permanantly dirty nearly 20-year-old linoleum is finally gone!

A beautiful month – and so much to be thankful for and appreciative of. Life is good.

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!

July 26, 2014

Icon and Cape Cod

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 1:38 pm
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Friday, day 36 of summer, was a quiet day. A few errands, a bit of housework. While visiting with Renae on Wednesday, we were talking about a place that is pretty much a Hampden/Wilbraham icon (Hampden is the town next door that our school system is regionalized with). So after dinner last night, Sarah and I headed over to Mountain View Restaurant in Hampden.
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This place has been around as long as I can remember and little has changed except the name; it was known as Sullivan’s when I was kid. The draw here for my family has always been the soft serve ice cream. In addition to the basic vanilla, chocolate or twist, they have always offered less traditional flavors for soft serve ice cream. Last night’s offerings included pistachio and black raspberry, and yogurt flavors of red velvet and triple chocolate!

Sarah went for black raspberry.
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I had a twist of the red velvet and triple chocolate:
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I would swear they made a mistake and said this was yogurt when it was really ice cream. It was so smooth and creamy, I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between ice cream and yogurt here.

Today is Saturday, day 37 of summer. Tomorrow the girls and I are headed down the Cape for a few days to visit my mom. I will likely be away from the blogosphere most of that time. The forecast is iffy for the time we will be there – temperatures in the mid 70’s and 50% chance of showers or thunderstorms. I will keep my fingers crossed that the 50% will work in the other direction and we will be able to enjoy the outside. I’ve got my bag packed and ready to go!
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See you soon!

June 30, 2014

Weekend Fun for 8, 9, &10

Summer days 8, 9, and 10 were spent on our annual group camping trip. If you are curious about this tradition of ours, you can read a couple different posts I’ve done about it using this link.

We returned to Shawme Crowell State Forest on Cape Cod for this year’s trip. We arrived on Friday afternoon with relatively few traffic hassles, which is always a nice bonus.
Bourne Bridge

We set up our tent in the sunshine and enjoyed a beautiful, rain-free weekend.
Sleeping spot

At the campsite

A short exploration of one of many trails in the state park started our day on Saturday.
walk in the forest

That was followed with lunch at a local seafood place and an afternoon at the beach by the canal.
Beach by the canal

boats in the canal

Cape Cod Canal

My group of forever-friends posed for a shot by the canal (that’s me on the far right):
Our crew

It was a beautiful, relaxing weekend spent with great people.

Our dogs even came home from the doggie-spa (kennel) fresh and clean!
clean dogs

March 15, 2014

Where Have I Been?

Hi there! It seems I’ve taken an unintentional blogging break! My last post was on the last day of February, and here we are, halfway through March.
So where the heck have I been? A few places and busy with a new exercise program too.
Two weeks ago, I started this:
T25
Focus T25 is a series of workout videos from pro trainer Shaun T. You may remember I started his “Rockin Body” workouts back in November. They were great for getting back into exercising again, but I was feeling ready for a new challenge. March 1st was day 100 of this new journey of mine and it was time to step things up a little. I’m feeling really good these days: my energy is high and my weight is lower than it has been in a very long time.

The beginning of March also brought an opportunity to have a breath of spring. My sister said to me, “How about going to the Spring Bulb Show at Smith College? I could really stand to stick my nose into some hyacinths!” I agreed. Here is a slideshow of some of the lovely spring bulbs and hothouse flowers we were able to enjoy:

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In the tropical room, where my lens kept fogging up due to the humidity, Jennifer and I made a special discovery. They have a chocolate tree at Smith College! No really! The source of chocolate, the cacao:
Chocolate!

Last weekend, my sister, my daughters and I traveled to Cape Cod to celebrate some birthdays. Meghan was home from school on her spring break so we took the opportunity to visit my mother. Meghan’s birthday was February 25th and my mother’s is today (Happy Birthday Mom!). We had a lovely time shopping, eating, talking, laughing and trying to visit the beach.
Lunch spot view
The view from one of our lunch spots
I say “trying” to visit the beach because the wind was very very cold, but I managed to take a few pictures of the sparkling sea on a deceiving sunny day:
Cold but sunny beach

Smuggler's Beach, South Yarmouth

I hadn’t had a photo of my daughters taken together since Christmas time and I really wanted one for my new iPhone, so Meghan and Sarah obligingly posed in the cold wind for a few minutes for this shot:
Cold beach

So, is it starting to feel like spring at all where you are? It continues to be a roller coaster ride weather-wise around here. Temperatures start to feel mild then dip back down into ripping cold with nasty wind chills. Today we are enjoying temperatures in the mid-50’s, but tomorrow’s high is predicted to be 30 degrees. Snow still blankets most of the ground, with a few sections of muddy, brown grass just starting to emerge. Hurry up Spring! We miss you!

October 6, 2013

Busy Days

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 5:09 pm
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Good things have been happening around here! The project that I began back on Labor Day weekend has finally come to its fruition. My dining room floor has been sanded and polyurethaned, and we purchased area rugs, as well as some new outlet covers and heat registers. My drapes have been dry-cleaned of their dingy-dustiness.

Dining room before:
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Dining room after I ripped out the nasty old carpet:
dining room floor - before
I spent an entire afternoon sitting on sore buttocks ripping those carpeting tacks out, by the way!

Dining room after the floor guy came (if anyone local would like a recommendation, be sure to let me know! Fabulous job, reasonable price):
dining room floor - after
Some of the stains were just too deeply embedded in the floor to remove without replacing floor boards, but it is a huge improvement!

And not overly noticeable, I think, now that the room has been put back in shape:
dining room - after 1

dining room - after 2

Next project, kitchen floor. Hoping to have someone here for an estimate in the next week or so.

In the meantime, my sister, Sarah and I travelled to the Cape for a visit with my mom. (our first visit there without Meghan – she was unable to join us 😦 )

The last weekend of September was warm and pleasant. It allowed us sunny time visiting the beach…
Corporation beach

Smuggler's beach

…and one last chance for toes in the sand for 2013.
toes in the sand

Sad to know that my beach days are done for this year, but at least I have October baseball to enjoy this year! My Red Sox are one win away from eliminating the Tampa Bay Rays from the ALDS.
sox

Now if I could just figure out a way to watch them win it all from here:
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😉

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