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

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September 7, 2014

September Sigh

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 8:42 am
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September always feels like an ending to me. The end of summer. The end of my days of freedom. The end of hot weather that I love. The end of bright green freshness. The end of my garden. The end of rampantly blooming flowers.
Fading
The end of sitting on the beach in a bathing suit. And since last year, the end of having my whole family under one roof.

I know September can be a beautiful month. The weather can continue to be warm and lush, even if mornings sometimes start of with a chill. Delicious fresh apples and concord grapes come into season.
Ripe concords
My toes can still enjoy the fresh morning dew. But, in the back of my mind, I know that changes of the season are inevitable. For these reasons, September arrives for me with a bit of sadness in it.

*SIGH*
This September morning has me reflecting.
Reflection

There is so much good in my life right now. I really shouldn’t be sighing like this at all. I get up and go to work each morning with a big dopey grin on my face. I am absolutely loving my temporary position as 6th grade math teacher. I’m feeling good physically. Got my hair cut yesterday and that is always a mental boost. In fact, my hairdresser (who I’ve been with for over 20 years, wow!) called me “hot mama math teacher” as I got out of her chair. Brought another big dopey grin to my face.

Morning is breaking into what looks like could be a truly beautiful day.
Morning has broken
The oppressive humidity that has seized this region for the last few days has moved on and there is a new freshness in the air.

Maybe, just maybe, I could stop seeing September as an ending. Every ending brings another beginning, right?
Still here (mini dahlia)
Still trying – just like me!

August 21, 2014

Changes!

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 4:25 pm
Tags: , , ,

Days 62 and 63 of summer have brought some new things to my life. Yesterday, this was delivered to my home:
image

A new mattress may not seem like much of a change, but for me it is. I’ve slept on a waterbed since I was a teenager. I’ve gotten to a time in my life where that just didn’t seem to be what my body wanted any more. I slept very comfortably on this new bed last night and I’m looking forward to many more comfortable nights.

The next part of my day wasn’t a change, but I still wanted to mark the memory for how I spent this day of my summer.
image
Did some back-to-school shopping with Meghan. We shopped and had lunch together and I enjoyed her company. She moves back to school soon so it was really nice to have this time.

Today a most momentous and exciting change has occurred! Many of you who have been reading my blog for some time now know that I have been working as a paraprofessional in a local middle school for quite some time now. I’m certified as a teacher, and I thought I might get my big break as a teacher when a couple of social studies teachers at my school retired this spring. Alas, it was not to be. My principal called me up today and asked me to serve as the long term substitute teacher for a maternity leave at my school. I will be teaching 6th grade math for the first half of the school year! I am excited and nervous and thrilled all bundled into one. Where you’ll find me for the first 90 days of school:
image

I’ve got lots of preparation to do but I will have the wonderful support of a great staff of teachers to help me out! A new adventure indeed!

January 3, 2014

New Snow, New Things

Filed under: Joy — Karma @ 9:23 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It is snow day number two of the 2013-14 school year. We were supposed to head back to school from the holiday break yesterday, January 2nd, but the timing of slow-paced winter storm Hercules conspired to extend our break by two days. Normally I prefer to go to school and get out earlier in June, but for these couple days I like staying home. It just feels like an uninterrupted vacation. Since the hubbub of Christmas has passed, I’m enjoying the lazy morning routine of breakfast and coffee at the computer. I’m exercising without worrying about what time I have to get a meal on the table. When she’s actually home, I’m enjoying Meghan’s company (her break from school lasts another week). For day 3 of the new year, that’s a good amount of enjoying so far.

The winter storm that caused these extra days off really has not been that bad. I’m guessing there is somewhere in the ball park of 6 inches out there.
backyard view

It is frigidly cold so the snow is very light and fluffy.
brrrrr

The leaves of the rhododendron-azalea have been curled tight.
cold rhododendron

As much as Teddy would love for me to come outside and play, it is a bit too cold for me to want to venture out.
collie profile with snow

I’ve been puttering inside, with some new things to puzzle out.

As some of you know, we purchased a new lap top to replace our slowly dying 5-year-old one a few days ago. I love the quick responsiveness of this new machine, but I’m also having to learn the ways of Windows 8. It hasn’t been too bad so far, but some things have surprised me. Some things are not as intuitive or automatic as I would have expected them to be. After owning a Kindle Fire for the last year and as a new iPhone 5 user, I feel like everything should be so easy to navigate!
New things

Another new thing in that photo is Adobe Lightroom 5 – new photo editing software I was given for Christmas. I know absolutely nothing about Lightroom. If anyone knows some good resources you would like to point me in the direction of, please do so. I’m thinking I may purchase Scott Kelby’s book about it – he has been an excellent resource in the past.

I’m still trying to decide about a new theme for this blog as well. Would you share your opinions with me about how it looks to you? I’m not as crazy about this theme on my new 17″ screen, and I’ve had it for a while now anyway. Maybe it is time for another change! If you are so inclined, tell me in the comments what size computer screen or mobile device you usually do your blog reading on, and whether there is a lot of visible empty space on this blog.

Changes and joy – they continue!

December 31, 2013

What a year it has been!

Filed under: Joy — Karma @ 8:51 pm
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Here it is, New Year’s Eve. Only a few hours of 2013 remain. I’ve been thinking about and wanting to write an end of the year blog post. In the past I’ve shared my favorite photos of the year, but this year feels different to me. It was one of changes, big and small. I’m not sure why I’m having such a very hard time getting this post started. Maybe I can start with this:
image

This is a book my father gave me for Christmas. He said he bought it because it was a photography book and because of the subject matter, and I truly appreciated the thought behind it. The photos in this book are beautiful and amazing. But the message behind it turned out to be a lot more. Do you see the subtitle of the book? “A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday”. At the beginning of each chapter the photographer/author tells a personal story that relates to the theme of the chapter. The first chapter is called “Dreaming”; a few lines that struck notes with me:
If you dream about something long enough, the universe just might conspire to give it to you.”
“Seeing his remarkable photographs sparked an even deeper passion, this time for photography”
“And so I learned another lesson: It’s never too late to dream.”

What if I could be present enough to find the joy in the every day? Celebrate the changes rather than worry about them. Wouldn’t that be the best change of all?
I think it is a lofty goal, and maybe not completely obtainable in a particular time period, but I can certainly try to work toward that goal.

Here are some changes, big and small, that I was able to celebrate in 2013.

carolina wren
The solving of a mystery: Jimmy and Judy’s true identities were revealed

IMG_9489
My older daughter became an adult

magnolia 4
On my birthday, I celebrated pink flowers and a blue sky and a change to beautiful spring weather

baby robin gets some sun
The change from a pile of sticks to a nest to eggs to baby birds and new life

sarahaward
The pride in my younger daughter’s award

a kiss for the grad
Graduation

"tropical" Maine
The peace, the perspective, my place of zen: the change I feel in my soul when my body finds this place

Meghan's dorm
Difficult to accept, but the true happiness Meghan has found in her new life at school

Dream come true!
Ahhhhhh……no explanation needed

dining room - after 1
A shiny new floor

in the Ames Room 1
A weekend of appreciation of family

new exercise togs
Starting to feel fit and continuing the commitment

a perfect pose
My daughter maturing and changing, and maybe, just maybe, starting to understand where mom is coming from

2013 Champs ornaments
A victory for my favorite team

Ted and Sarah
That feeling that all is right, if only for a little while.

November 23, 2013

Choosing to Change

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 5:52 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Very recently, I read on one of your blogs (forgive me please I cannot remember whose, tell me in the comments if it was yours!) a saying that went something like, “By not choosing to change, you are choosing to remain the same.” It was much deeper sounding than this; I wish I could find the place where I read it. Anyway, I’ve recently made a decision to change something about me! I’ve done a lot of soul searching and wondering and regretting and second guessing this year, much of it brought on by the fact that my first child is now technically an “adult” and living away from home at college.

I’ve wondered if I did all the right things, wondered what life will be like without seeing her on a daily basis, wondered if I’ll like who I am when my primary focus in life isn’t being a mother on daily basis.

I still haven’t figured those things out, of course, but I have chosen to make a change in one thing that I know I can control in my life: me. I am making a new, more serious attempt at fitness. I thought if I announced it here on blog, maybe it’d help me keep myself more accountable.

Now I’ve never considered myself to be lazy or badly out of shape for a woman of my age. I’ve been dancing on a weekly basis for 13 years. I’ve always enjoyed walking. But I know I am not as fit as I could be. I’ve suffered issues with a sore back on and off for many years. I feel rather certain many of my back issues would become fewer and farther between if I made a real effort to strengthen my core.

About 8 months ago, I really fell in love with the current fitness craze “Zumba” I take classses once or twice a week with an instructor whose style works for me and that I truly enjoy.
This is Lizet, my instructor:

Ain’t she a hot ticket?

I noticed when I started doing her class on a regular basis, I felt better about myself: my clothes seemed a little looser, I felt a little stronger and even my attitude was better on days I did Zumba.

If a Zumba class could do this for me, what if I embarked on a more serious program of change? I started looking into different workout videos and talking to people with knowledge about fitness.

I found out with my Amazon Prime account, I could stream a variety of Jillian Michaels videos for free! Free is a nice place to start! This past Thursday, I started with her 6 Week 6 Pack workout. I took a picture of my belly (which I will not be sharing, lol!) and recorded what exercise I did. I’m hoping this will also help keep me on track, and hopefully be able to see some changes.

I also know this about myself: I get bored easily with repetition. I tried a different video yesterday. It was harder and had some different moves, but a lot was similar. In addition, I know this about myself: I respond well to music. I do chores better with it, I exercise better with it. Ms. Michael’s videos seem to just have that typical boring background music. So I decided to treat myself to this:
Help me Shaun T!
They arrived in the mail today. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m looking forward to it. Perhaps a combination of Shaun T. and Jillian M. and Lizet will be the right formula for a change for me.

Even purchased some new exercise clothes to further limit my excuses:
new exercise togs

Yes, I am starting this right before the holidays. Bad plan? I don’t think so. I’ve always enjoyed whatever I’ve wanted to enjoy for food and drink at the holidays without much worry about it. I don’t have a tendency to overindulge in much (Christmas cookies being an exception to that, lol!). Six weeks from now will be New Year’s Week. I’ll try to remember to update here on what I’ve been doing and how I feel it’s been going. Do I really think I’ll have 6 Pack abs in 6 weeks, or even beyond as I continue? No not really, but I do hope to be feeling stronger.

What are your feelings about fitness and exercise? Tell me in the comments!

October 9, 2010

What Would You Change?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 3:06 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Kathy over at Lake Superior Spirit recently received this award.  In her blog post about it, she explained although the award came with a few rules, she wasn’t obligated to follow them, so she followed them in her own Kathy-like way.  This is a pass-it-on type of award where you are supposed to choose 6 other bloggers to give the award to, plus answer a question.  Kathy was unable to choose 6 bloggers, so she invited any of her regular commenters who had commented in the last couple of weeks to have the award.  This award seems more like one of those blog “memes” that passes around from time to time, because of the question:  If you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?

I started thinking about many of the decisions I’ve made in my life, some I’ve come to regret.  Why didn’t I join any clubs or try to get more involved in high school?  Why didn’t I study dance as a child?  Why didn’t my sister and I take that student trip to Paris when we had the chance?  I wouldn’t change anything about the fundamentally important parts of my life – my husband and when we got married, my children and when I had them.  It brought up the question of fate and predestination.  I believe that we as human beings have the control to take our lives in the direction that we choose, that it is not all layed out for us at the moment of our birth.  Although I am not a religious person, I feel I do have a spirituality to me and believe that my husband is my soul mate.  I do believe that if we hadn’t met when we did, we would have met at another place and time with the same result.

rainbow2

So what would I change if I had the chance?  One big choice that I do regret from time to time is the fact that I did not go away to live at college.  I was accepted and had a partial scholarship here, but at the last minute chickened out of going.  I lived at home and commuted to a local state college.  This may not seem like a big decision, but when I think back, it kind of was.  I never lived on my own.  I went from living at home, to getting married and living with my husband.  I never really took that chance to see what I was like on my own.  Perhaps if I had taken the chance and lived away at college, I’d be happier with my work situation today.   Perhaps not.  Perhaps if I had lived away at college, I’d be more willing to take other chances today.   Perhaps not.  Perhaps if I’d taken some time to be on my own, I’d feel less today like someone who is still trying to figure it all out.   Perhaps not.

rainbow1

I invite any blogger reading this post to also accept this Cherry on Top award, and do with it as you like.  Follow the rules or don’t.  Think about and answer that question or don’t.  Take a chance on something new today – or don’t?