Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

November 21, 2015

What I’ve been up to

For all the free time I’ve found on my hands since this school year began, I haven’t found myself in the blogosphere as much as I thought I would. I’ve been keeping myself busy in the days since I last updated (and I’ve been enjoying your blogs as well). Here’s a bit of how I’ve been passing the days.

In the middle of October, Sarah and I spent a great day together in Boston. Technically, it was “Family Weekend” at Wentworth but Sarah and I weren’t particularly interested in the events on campus, especially with a great city like Boston at your feet. My baby girl is becoming an expert at using Boston’s public transportation system, known locally as the “T” and she navigated us where we wanted to go. We visited Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market and the Prudential Center. Back on campus we did stop and “Build a Leopard” – kind of like “Build a Bear” only she made WIT’s mascot.
build a leopard

We enjoyed dinner together at the Cheesecake Factory – a first visit for both of us.
Cheesecake Factory

Halloween felt very different this year without either of my girls at home. My enthusiam for it has waned over the years, and now with no dance studio Halloween parties to attend or the kids trying to decide what they’ll be, it passed differently for me this year. I didn’t buy a pumpkin for jack-o-lanterns or candy to pass out for trick or treat (we’ve gotten fewer and fewer trick or treaters in this neighborhood in recent years anyway). I did dress up for school – the reactions of middle schoolers seeing their teachers dressed up is worth it. I picked through dance costumes and such and decided to go as a “Goth ballerina”:
Goth ballerina

That weekend of the 31st and Nov. 1st, my sister and I had a great weekend in Providence Rhode Island. We spent Saturday at a foodie museum on the Johnson and Wales campus, and then went shopping at Providence Place. Federal Hill in Providence is famous for being like Boston’s North End when it comes to restaurants, especially authentic Italian, so we treated ourselves to a great meal at a place called Pane E Vino
Bruschetta

Delish dinner

cannoli heaven

The next day we attended Meghan’s ballroom competition in Cranston and had a lot of fun!
ballroom1

ballroom4

As I think I’ve explained before, there aren’t enough guys to go around on the ballroom team, so Meghan sometimes dances lead as you see in the above photos. She also gets her chance to follow in some styles of dance:
ballroom2

ballroom3

We even got to take our dancer to lunch.
Lunch with Meg

It was a cool little place called the Elephant Room – a combination tea room and creperie.

November hasn’t been quite as exciting so far. I’ve spent a lot of time with my dreaded sycamore leaves, which I believe I have bitched about every year since I began this blog. Hmmm let me check. Ok looks like I started bitching in 2011, the second year of my blog, lol, and I was really crabby about them 2 years ago. This year I tried to be smart about them and take advantage of raking them up before any kind of precipitation bogged them down. Here’s a fraction of what I cleaned up.
getting after the leaves

A milestone passed recently as well. Do you remember this blog post from two years ago? In it I announced the beginning of what I am now calling my fitness journey. It’s a journey without final destination as far as I’m concerned. I’m continuing to see where it will take me. I’ve moved on from the things that I showed you in that post to weight lifting and yoga as my main forms of working out, and while I’m not following any sort of strict diet routine, I mostly “eat clean”. I’m happily and easily maintaining the weight I lost, I’m building new lean muscle and I’ve dropped from a size 8 to a size 2. I love shopping for new clothes! Here’s a pic of how I look today:
fitness journey
I’m not very good at posing for pictures, but this is good enough!

I am so much looking forward to next week! A nice short work week, my girls coming home Wednesday afternoon and Thanksgiving dinner with my family on Thursday. It’s all good!

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February 2, 2015

Another Snowstorm, More Musing

I’m starting to think I should make “Snow Day Musings” a regular feature around here. Snow days from school seem to be the days lately that I find the time to blog and share what’s been happening in my little part of the world.

The last time I posted, a snow day started off what was my last week as the long term sub for 6th grade math. I’m back to working as paraprofessional again, and let me tell you it takes some getting used to. I’m so very appreciative for the experience that I had as a teacher and now I think it is going to push me in the direction I think I need to take. I’ve been practicing and studying to get ready to take the teacher’s test for middle school math. If I can pass this test,(that’s a big “IF” at this point: the test has trigonometry and calculus on it!! Ay yi yi!) I can add being able to teach 5th through 9th grade math to my teaching license. I’m currently certified to teach 5th through 12th grade social studies. Those of you familiar with the Common Core are surely aware of the dismal view of the future of social studies classes. Opportunities for social studies teachers will become fewer in the future, I’m sure, as social studies blends into English Language Arts classes. That is the way social studies is treated by the Common Core.
Thinking of the future

In that last post, I also mentioned thinking about a new lens and trying to get back into photography this year. All the white I’m surrounded by lately has me less than inspired, but I have been researching the lens. The more I read, the more I want it. I’ve decided that if I make the investment, I will definitely go with the Canon lens. The Canon is the only one in this price category (85mm portrait lens) that has autofocus. Tack sharp focus is something I’d really like to work on in my photography and I don’t think buying a manual-focus-only lens to save some money will help me reach that goal. So I’m researching and scheming and watching a few places to try to get the Canon lens for the best possible price.

My area did not receive the worst of the snow from that last storm, but just 45 minutes away in Worcester where Meghan goes to school, they did. Worcester received 34.5 inches of snow from that storm. We have been lucky that the snow has been light and fluffy rather than wet and heavy. Meghan sent me a few pictures from around campus after the storm.
Snow drift
A snow drift taller than she is

On campus at Clark
Those piles will be getting taller today!

While I am talking about college, happy news came for Sarah this weekend:
Acceptance for Sarah
Wentworth Institute of Technology is the school we went to visit last summer that I told you about in this post. It turned out to be Sarah’s first choice of all of the schools she applied to. We have not heard back from the other schools yet, but I have a feeling that unless we are unable to work with this school financially, this is where she will be enrolling for the fall. It has been a great few days for Sarah. In addition to this wonderful news, she just came home yesterday from a wonderful trip to Florida. Sarah participated in her high school’s technology department trip to Disney World. They spent 3 days taking “behind the scenes” classes with the Disney Y.E.S. program as well as having free time to explore the parks. She brought me home this adorable Mickey pendant because, in her words, she thought I deserved something nice. 🙂
Mickey pendant

Before all this snow arrived, we did have a peek at the sun yesterday. (Thank goodness Sarah’s return flight was yesterday and not today!) Daphne seemed to be enjoying it.
Enjoying a spot of sunshine
She is my solar-powered golden non-retriever after all! (Yes, I say non-retriever. Daphne has never been much of a retriever. She fetched a few balls in her puppyhood days but quickly decided that game wasn’t really her style.)

And oh yeah, there was a big game of some sort yesterday too, right? Yes, of course, the Super Bowl was yesterday and our local boys, the New England Patriots, are the champs. I am not a big football person at all but I’m very happy for the hometown team. After the dismal performance of my Red Sox last year, it is very nice to have the local team to be proud of. I don’t get invited to Super Bowl parties or have a big celebration, but I do use it as an excuse to have not-so-good-for-you food. For sitting in front of the t.v. yesterday I made Queso Fundido, chicken tenders (buffalo style for me, honey mustard for Sarah) and the Pioneer Woman’s Pizza Potato Skins
Super Bowl treat
They were delicious! I may have spoiled myself against eating frozen potato skins any more these were so good. Did you know they made little tiny pepperoni slices like that? I just discovered them yesterday when I went grocery shopping and they were perfect.

And now here we are, back to today and more snow. Here’s what I found this morning at my “squirrel proof” bird feeder:
"Squirrel proof" bird feeder

A fish eye view of the backyard:
Fisheye view of snowstorm

Well, that was a lot of musing! But who knows when you’ll hear from me next – maybe the next snow day! 😉

August 4, 2014

College Visit

Although I am continually trying to deny the fact that Sarah keeps insisting on growing up, our search for the right college for her continues. Today (day 46 of summer) we traveled into Boston on a beautifully sunny day. Despite missing a turn that Google maps told me to take, we arrived at Wentworth Institute of Technology without too much trouble.
Wentworth

The summer preview program was from 1-4pm, so we arrived in the city with plenty of time to walk around and find a good spot for lunch. And a good spot we did find! A little unassuming corner spot called Sweet Cheeks Q. It is a southern BBQ style place and the food was wonderful. Meghan and I both had the brisket sandwich.
Sweet Cheek BBQ

Sarah chose pulled pork, and both girls had that fabulous looking mug of mac n cheese as their side.
More good lunch

My delicious sweet tea was served in a mason jar.
Jar of tea

We returned to campus for an information session and tour. Sarah believes this school will definitely be one that she will apply to. I liked the fact that even though it is in the heart of the city, it still has a comfortable not-so-urban feel to it.
WIT
But Sarah isn’t really old enough to be applying to college yet, right? 😉

June 22, 2014

Days 2 and 3 of 66 Days of Summer

Day 2 of my summer break was the actual Summer Solstice. 16 hours and 23 minutes of daylight I calculated for my area, including the civil twilight times before sunrise and after sunset. I celebrated the solstice with homemade strawberry shortcake! Strawberries are at their peak around here right now, so I also made homemade biscuits and whipped cream to complement them.
let's make shortcake
Berries to be sliced and biscuits ready for the oven

fresh strawberries
Juicy and delicious

homemade whipped cream
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

homemade biscuits
Flaky and fabulous!

strawberry shortcake
Finished product!

Day 3 turned out to be a somewhat lazy Sunday. I did the stuff that needed doing, but I also spent some time here:
summer stuff
My anti-gravity lounge chair, iPod, bluetooth speaker, Kindle, bottle of water and the radio to listen to the Red Sox game!

Lounging
Time to kick back!

Themes for these days? How about “Solstice and Shortcake” for yesterday and “Lazy Lounging” for today? 😉

April 24, 2014

20×2+9-4=?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:27 am
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Did you solve my little math problem? 😉 Today is the day I find myself smack in the middle of my 40’s! Perhaps a day of a little reflection? I think it is a good place to be. My birthday finds me in good health and feeling fit. People around me are noticing the changes in me and my energy is good. A new horizon approaches in my future, and a goal that I’m going to do my very best to achieve. I will share the news of how that goes when the time is appropriate.

Spring, as most of us in northern climates know, has been slow to arrive this year. Last year on my birthday, it was a warm and sunny day, and magnolia trees were in bloom all over town. I took this shot last year:
magnolia 3

Things are a bit behind this year – those buds are out, but I haven’t seen a tree in full bloom yet. This morning there are buds on my famous weather-telling rhodo-azaelea bush:
Buds
(sorry for the slight blur, it is quite windy here this morning)

I’m on school vacation this week, but it hasn’t felt overly vacation-y. I’ve been doing lots of driving and I’m a bit weary from the road. The driving is worthwhile, however. As I mentioned in my last post, I drove to Worcester for the Sleeping Beauty ballet with my daughters last Friday. It was lovely. It reminded me of a springtime version of “The Nutcracker” – probably no surprise since the music for both was composed by Tchaikovsky. Then I drove Meghan back to school Easter night, after a great day of food and visiting with family. I made brunch for my family that morning:
brunch 1

Family brunch

Then the girls and I were off to dinner at my sister’s. I contributed this cheesecake dessert of which I’m quite proud:
Cheesecake
I wish I had a better picture for you. I took this quickly with my phone. It has a brownie bottom and was delicious!

Monday was a warm, sunny day which I spent doing some much needed spring clean-up:
Spring clean up
The work is not all done around my yard – lots more to go – but at least my front yard is more respectable looking now!

Sarah and I have begun college visits this week as well. We drove to a school in New Hampshire on Tuesday – we were underwhelmed – and have a visit planned to Hampshire College in Amherst tomorrow. The drive tomorrow is at least a bit shorter.

The weekend brings a visit to the Cape. The forecast is in the mid-50’s and windy, so we will have to bundle up. Hopefully the sun will shine and there will be time for a walk on the beach without it being too blustery to enjoy.

Dawn and I think it could be time for a new photo hunt soon. What do you think? Spring is here and our cameras are just waiting for a little challenge, right? I’ll be giving it some thought and I’ll be sure to let you know if I come up with something.

Even though it’s my birthday, I don’t get to take the day off from some of the things I must get done, so I will be wrapping up this meandering post now!

January 20, 2014

Day 60

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

Blogging assistant
Blogging assistant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 16, 2013

It’s a Snow Day!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:37 am
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A snow day – otherwise you normally wouldn’t be hearing from me in the middle of a Wednesday morning.

I’m kind of surprised we have the day off today. It is only a few inches of snow, but then, the forecast is saying a “wintery mix” that could cause icy conditions later in the day. Either way, I am home for the day. Maybe a good day for taking pictures for Scott’s challenge!
I have some ideas for a picture or two I’d like to get so we’ll see.

In case you didn’t already see them, a few folks did decide to try the dinner photography blog along. A common theme for all of us was forgetting to take pictures before we sat down to eat!
If you aren’t super hungry at the moment, have a look at these posts by Deb, Robin, Dawn and Michaela. My post was the one I put up this past weekend, which I think most of you already saw.
Makes you wonder, how do those food bloggers do it? I guess it is just what you do if you food blog. My sister was quite the food blogger for a while there, but she seems uninspired lately.

Speaking of food, Meghan is currently making a mess and smoking up my kitchen with a late snow-day breakfast of bacon and French toast!

 

Hubby is out doing what you gotta do on a snow day:

(nice pop of police orange in the middle of all that white, huh? 😉 )
And I am sitting here at the computer, writing a post and peeking in on all of you, wearing my sweats and slippers! Doesn’t that sound like the right thing to do for a snow day?

January 12, 2013

A Week of Dinner?

Filed under: Recipes — Karma @ 11:53 am
Tags: , , ,

It was my idea and I really had trouble making it work! About two weeks ago, I suggested that a bunch of us take pictures of our dinner and post them to give us all some new ideas for dinner. We all get into those ruts, don’t we? Well, turns out, it is really hard to remember to take pictures of dinner! I think most of us can relate to just wanting to sit down and eat when we are finished cooking – remembering to grab the camera isn’t easy! Deb over at My Life in CNY laments that she had the same problem.

Regardless of my mostly failed efforts to photograph my dinner, I’m going to share with you what I did manage to photograph in order to (1) maybe give you a few ideas and (2) hope that you’ll decide to post some dinner pictures, even if you don’t have a full week either!

The first shot I remembered to take was this one:
biscuit topping on chicken stew
I found a recipe for this chicken stew with a biscuit topping all in one pot. Those biscuits were supposed to spend a little time under a broiler, but I don’t currently have one of those ( a story for another blog post perhaps).
chicken stew
The concept was good, but the result was a bit dry. Probably because I left it in the oven a little longer than was called for trying to brown those biscuits. Sarah said there was too much parsley in the biscuits!

Next remembered dinner was this:
roast beef in the crock pot
Roast beef in the crock pot. Have I mentioned before how much I love crock pot dinners? Especially on busy school nights? I’ve done this one a few times now and it always comes out delicious and tender.
slow cooker roast beef
I even have a link to this recipe if you are interested: Melt-in-your-mouth Slow Cooker Beef

The last shot I remembered was this one:
BBQ Chicken pizza w/jalepenos
Homemade BBQ chicken pizza with jalepenos. This was easy. Store bought bag of dough, George Foreman grill-cooked chicken with some BBQ spice, bacon, BBQ sauce, cheese, jalepeno slices, VOILA!

I do have some links to recipes I’ve used in the last two weeks for dinner. There are pictures on the sites as well! If you are curious, here you go:
Some nearly homemade tomato soup – I served grilled cheese sandwiches with this of course!

This one was just “aw-ight”. I was looking for something different, quick and easy. The girls were not crazy about it: Asian Noodle Bowls with beef.

This was tasty, but in my opinion, required far too many pots and pans: Creamy chicken pasta

Last night, it was just Meghan and me for dinner on a Friday night after a long week, so we split a foot-long sub from Subway.

subway_sandwich_2

(Borrowed this shot from a Subway website)

So there’s an almost week of dinner for you! I’d love it if you’d still like to share some dinner ideas with me. Doesn’t matter how many pictures you have – just post them and leave me a link.

In the meantime, Scott has a new photo assigment for us to work on. It is due on January 23rd, so pop over there and have a look! Maybe I can actually remember to take some photos for this one!

December 30, 2012

Well that was unexpected!

At least it was unexpected by me.  For reasons unfathomed by hubby or myself, we set out to visit friends living about an hour away in a very “country” section of Connecticut yesterday afternoon – without checking the weather forecast!  On Friday I had noted that Saturday’s forecast was calling for an inch or two of snow.  Eh! I thought, what’s an inch of snow?

Our arrival in Woodstock CT was greeted with a very slippery driveway – a covering of snow over some previously frozen ice.  All the husbands from my group of friends, plus daughter’s boyfriend, worked at getting my little red Ford unstuck from the bottom of the driveway.  With several of these helpful souls pushing and my driving and trying to steer up the upward curving driveway, we arrived at the top with several fewer layers of rubber on my tires.

After that eventful start to our get-together, we settled inside for drinks, food, conversation and laughter with dear friends.  Outside, the snow continued to pile up.  We noticed snow plows passing by several times on the country dirt road.  My husband’s concern for our travel home deepened as the night went on.

By the end of the evening, when everyone was wishing to head out for home, the driveway had pretty much been blocked off with a snowbank from the passing plows.  Husbands again went to work clearing the way.  My hubby lamented several times about our lack of checking the weather foreccast.  If we had realized what we were in for, we most certainly would have chosen his 4-wheel drive Chevy Suburban to travel in.  Usually my car is our travel-vehicle of choice due to its better gas mileage and smaller number on the odometer.

What followed was a white-knuckled, foot-shaking, stiff-necked, 20 mph ride home.  Living in New England, of course I’ve driven in snow before, but I found something about last night’s ride scary.  The roads in Connecticut were snowy and slippery and not well lit.  I was the responsible driver for my family and daughter’s boyfriend. I was the protector, at the time, of three young lives in my backseat.  Several times I wanted to pull over and ask hubby to drive, but we were afraid of losing momentum and ending up stuck in the snow with those tires now missing a bit more tread than they had arrived on if we dared to stop the car.  So onward, slow and steady, we made the trek home.

In the morning, I had a look around.

what I woke up to this morning

This was definitely more than an inch or two!

Although it wasn’t fun for driving, the dogs certainly found it fun for playing!

Chase time
Teddy and his stick
Dog tug-of-war 2
Dogs consider stick
Golden retriever snow portrait
Collie snow portrait

All is well that ends well, right?

Announcement:  Today is the beginning of a new week and at midnight tomorrow into Tuesday we ring in a new year.  How about we go for that dinner photography blog-along I mentioned a little while ago?  Take pictures of your dinner for about a week any time between now and January 13th – that’s two weeks from today, then post the pictures, along with a description, in a blog post.  Leave me a link in the comments in this post, and I will write a wrap up to send everyone around to maybe get some new ideas for dinner.  As I stated before, it matters not to me if your dinners are fancy or plain, homemade or pre-made, take-out or eat-in, vegetarian or carnivorous.  Like to use recipes?  Post a link if you like!  Prefer to do “a little of this, and a little of that”?  That’s okay too!  Just show me your food!  Due dates are loosey-goosey! 😉

December 27, 2012

Dogs, a little snow and a Fire!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:42 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Some of you may remember that I am not a huge fan of winter, but that even I was wishing for a touch of snow to make things look pretty outside.  The winter storm that just finished piling on the mid-west and made its way here to the northeast last night dropped a few inches here.  Then it rained heavily this morning and washed a lot of it away and left piles of slush.  I’m looking out the window right now at what appears to be what the weatherfolk refer to as a “wintery mix”.  Just messy, not pretty unfortunately.

Christmas morning snow

Christmas morning also brought a touch of the white.  It wasn’t enough to cover the lawn, but the dogs enjoyed it.
Daphne love snow

dogs play in the snow

We had a peaceful Christmas morning.

Christmas morning tree

stuffed stockings

the girls with gifts

Christmas collie

Oh, and you must be wondering about that fire in the title! No, it wasn’t that kind of fire, it was this kind:
New Kindle Fire!
Dear hubby surprised me with a Kindle Fire for Christmas. We had decided we were buying them for the girls for Christmas – imagine my surprise with being presented with one myself!

Later in the day we welcomed family for dinner, gift-giving
The stuff of Christmas

and desserts galore.
Desserts Galore

The new dishwasher hummed quietly throughout the day!  Tell me about your day in the comments if you like!

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