Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

April 21, 2016

Long Overdue

Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 9:26 am
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The title of this post has dual meaning. I am long overdue to write a blog post. It has been a wonderful spring with so many enjoyable moments! As I’ve looked around and enjoyed posts from Robin, Dawn, Kathy (welcome back!), Mike, Amy, Gerry and Carol, I get so very inspired to write and then something else takes my attention and I don’t do it. I decided to change that this morning and actually do it, so I started scrolling through the photos on my phone, looking back at the moments I wanted to remember for one reason or another. (Sorry Rebel camera, I have been very bad about picking you up and making use of you lately. I promise to change that soon!) My plan was to write another post similar to the last one I did – a journalish kind of post updating what’s been going on so that I had words to go with my photos. As I scrolled, I realized I had more than enough photos to focus on one very special event, one that was indeed long overdue.

Long time readers will know that my sister Jennifer, our best friend Renae and I have been like the three muskateers for most of our lives – literally we have been friends for 40 years! Since we were 4, 5 and 6 years old respectively. Even though Renae does not live as close to us as we would like any more (she was just down the street as we grew up), we make the time to see each other throughout the year. We have taken girls getaway weekends together. In 2014, we were planning another little trip together to a seaside town in New Hampshire. Then horrific news struck. I think Renae will be okay with me sharing this at this point, as she has gone public with what she has been through on her Facebook page, Renae was diagnosed with breast cancer and discovered she carries the breast cancer gene. A double mastectomy followed, then chemo and radiation. A year from hell. Strong, amazing woman that she is, Renae is doing well and feeling healthy these days and is a strong advocate for research into Stage 4 cancer – the constant fear in the back of any cancer survivor’s mind.

Back when Renae was diagnosed and we had to cancel our girls’ weekend, we promised ourselves that when she was well and ready, we would do a BIG celebratory trip – not somewhere within driving distance, somewhere we would have to get on an airplane together to reach – something we’d never done before. And we finally did it. Just about 3 weeks ago, the three of us boarded a plane to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

After a very late arrival Friday night due to a long delay and rerouting of our flight due to strong thunderstorms happening in parts of the south, we woke up Saturday morning to a beautiful day.
First Ft Lauderdale morning
view from hotel room balcony

I could feel my entire body just relax into being present in where I was – a warm, tropical climate with my best friends in the world with no agenda other than to plop ourselves on the beach and enjoy each others’ company.
On Ft Lauderdale beach
Ahhhhh!

Since we did not rent a car – just about everything you might want or need is in walking distance in Ft. Lauderdale – cocktails from the poolside tiki bar at the hotel were indulged in just about anytime we felt like it!
Beach cocktails!
Something melon-y. I don’t remember the name, but it was good!

Our hotel
This is the hotel from the beach. That thatched roof you see to the right side of the photo is the tiki bar. Very convenient!

Just because
This is a great picture representing how we spent our days. Lounge on the beach, go for a walk, go for a swim – whatever we wanted. I went for an invigorating swim in the ocean in amazingly warm water with some wild crashing waves. It made me feel so very alive and thankful and conscious of appreciating the present moment.

Each night we walked to dinner at a local restaurant and we were not disappointed with any of our choices. How wonderful to walk the sidewalks and see tropical flowers in bloom as we went!
Hibiscus

Tropical flowers

I think the three of us would agree our favorite meal was at Greek Islands Taverna. We had a wonderful Greek waiter who recommended this delicious Greek wine.
Wonderful Greek wine
We would love to be able to find this wine for sale back home somewhere!

We shared a Greek salad as an appetizer – Renae took this shot of me with it.
Me, with Greek salad

And I had a delicious moussaka for my entree.
Fabulous dinner

We were super full from a great meal that night, but we couldn’t resist taking some dessert to share to go – baklava AND baklava cheesecake!

The next night’s dinner was at Aruba Beach Cafe. Another wonderful choice. Our bartender took this picture of the three of us while we waited for our table:
"Ussie"
That was one delicious margarita! Well, I think it was actually two delicious margaritas…

Appetizer and dinner that night:
Conch fritters
Conch fritters

Seafood quesadilla
Seafood quesadilla

Our final dinner together was at 101 Ocean.
Appetizer:
Crab, artichoke and spinach dip
Crab, artichoke and spinach dip

Dinner:
Lobster paella
Lobster Paella

Both the Aruba Cafe and 101 Ocean are located in the quaint neighborhood of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, a cute little touristy area with shops and restaurants and ice cream. We decided that last night to enjoy one last walk on the beach – walked from the restaurant to the hotel. On the approach to our hotel, I noticed the palm trees there were decorated with lights and had to take a quick picture:
Lit palm trees

We had an early flight home on Tuesday morning, so on Monday morning I took an opportunity to enjoy an early morning solo walk on the beach.
Morning walk

I was so very appreciative that we made the time to take this trip. It is one I will remember forever, and something that I hope we make a tradition – perhaps an annual one. Thank you Jennifer and Renae for this wonderful experience!
Last day on the beach

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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!

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!

June 1, 2014

In Want of Whimsy

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 6:00 am
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It was bubbling around there in my mind for a while. I needed it to gel together so that I could see it clearly. My blogger friends have once again come through. On a day that I really needed to see it, Carol posted this. Within this lovely blog post Carol included these lines (along with some cute photos): ” there are things in my life I wish I had done differently. But would I go back and change them? No! Not at all!…..I would not be enjoying the whimsical parts of life and thrilling at the talents of those that can demonstrate that whimsy, that joy, for the rest of us.”

Then, in the comments of my last post Kathy said this: “I really really like the whimsical nature of that last shot.”
dahlia hello!

The Merriam-Webster definition of “whimsical” is ” unusual in a playful or amusing way : not serious”. After the way things have been around here lately, this is what I need! For a June Photo Hunt, please show me whimsy!
A little whimsy

You may choose as many photos as you would like for this photo hunt – just have them be fun and playful photos. Or how about a whimsical collage?
butterfly

Post your links to your whimsy in the comments of this post. Let’s say Sunday June 22nd for a due date – but as usual, that date is flexible. Let me know if you need more time. Please help me spread the word of this photo hunt so we can spread the joy and whimsy as far as possible!

February 4, 2014

A Blogger Contrived Photo Hunt!

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 4:52 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

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You know what? You blogger-readers are pretty darn awesome. I mean that.
In my last post, I lamented my lack of inspiration photographically as of late. Helpful people that you are, many of you jumped in with suggestions. Robin and Sybil commented that maybe it was time to do a photo hunt again. Robin’s idea was an “around the house” photo hunt. Sybil’s thought had to do with using the letters of the alphabet. Two interesting suggestions. Here’s what I propose:

Choose a word. Or two. Or three. It really doesn’t matter. It could be your name – real name or nom de blog. It could be a favorite noun, verb, adjective or interjection. Anything is fine. Now go find pictures of stuff around your house, objects not letters, to represent each letter of your chosen word or words! Get it?

For example, if I chose “CAT” as my word, I’d need to shoot 3 photos: one photo of an object that starts with “C” – like a cookie maybe, one photo of an object that starts with “A” and one photo of an object that starts with “T”.

We could even throw a little twist into to this one! Don’t tell us what your word is when you post your photos; let us try to spell out your chosen word in the comments. I will leave this part up to you to decide – if you would rather tell us what your word or words are before presenting your pictures, that’s okay too. But it could be a lot of fun for all of us to go around to each other’s blogs and try to figure out the word puzzles. So what do you say? Does that sound like fun? Maybe a good way for us to break out of these winter doldrums?

It would be great if we could have lots of participation in this photo hunt, so if all you wonderful readers wouldn’t mind sharing this photo hunt with your blog readers, I’d be oh so appreciative! Let’s say this photo hunt is due in three weeks – by Tuesday, February 25th. You remember how this works, right? Leave me a link in the comments of this post when you post your photo hunt. And if you need more time, just let me know. Deadlines are really loosey-goosey around here! Questions or comments? Feel free to leave those too.

August 31, 2013

Answering Some Questions from Cee

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:07 am
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I know that Cee’s “Share Your World” questions come out on Mondays, so I am rather late in providing some answers, but I decided to share anyway!

1. While in school who was your favorite teacher – what grade and why?

This was an easy one for me. My favorite teacher was my social studies teacher in 11th and 12th grade, Miss Mary Lou Brewer.

(I took this photo from my high school yearbook)

I had her for Honors U.S. History and Senior Seminar in U.S. History. She was the person who inspired me to want to become a teacher. History was never a subject I was terribly interested in until I had her classes. She took history and made it come alive, made it so much more than boring names and dates. We learned about the people and their times by becoming characters from history and putting them on trial and recreating events like the Continental Congress. She also saw something in me, a shy, unsure 16-year-old and mentored me and helped me blossom into a much more confident, self-assured young adult. If I could find her today (she has retired from my high school) I would thank her again and again.

2. Would you accept $5,000 to shave your head or die it bright lime green and continue your normal activities while not explaining the reason for your haircut or color?

I’d have a really hard time doing this without being able to explain myself! I do work in a middle school, afterall, and enduring the stares of 11-14 year-olds, not to mention my colleagues, without an explanation would not go over very well. I’d probably get pulled into the principal’s office to be questioned about what the heck was going on, and was I feeling alright?

Meghan and her dance class, however, pulled off the look quite nicely some years ago, lol!

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3. You are trapped in an elevator, who would you want to be trapped with?
GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is my secret phobia! I avoid elevators as much as possible. I’d feel sorry for anyone trapped in an elevator with me!

(Dear family friend Brianna “trapped” in a tiny space from a camping trip several years ago)

4. When you are with your friends, do your interactions include much touching—for example, hugging, kissing, rough housing, rubbing backs? Would you like to have more of this? (Note: the answers may vary depending on where you live on this wonderful planet.)

In general, not too much. A hug hello and goodbye when there has been a gathering of our wonderful group of friends. Silly grab-ass-ery, especially among the guys, will happen at a party like this one:

(From our murder-mystery party last October)

Thank you Cee, for another very interesting batch of questions!

January 8, 2012

Beauties and the Beast

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:37 pm
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According to the Online Slang Dictionary, the definition of beast is : “very good, excellent, cool, awesome.”  You can probably guess who my beauties are:
semi

The annual semi-formal dance was last night at the high school.  The girls had a great time at the dance and I didn’t have to go pick them up! Definite benefit of having a licensed-to-drive daughter!

So what was the beast?
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The food of Pig Out! (read here for the uniniated)  As usual, we had an unbelievable spread for an afternoon of eating and laughing.

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Included here: “cheesy poufs” – a recipe created a few years ago of shredded cheese and mayo (I think?) baked on slices of French bread, apricot salsa-cream cheese spread with pretzel crackers, crescent roll pinwheels with cream cheese and bacon, fresh veggie tray with ranch dip, fondue (my own thrown together creation made with cheddar, brie and gouda) with breadsticks, chips and dip and our perennial favorite:
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chocolate-dipped strawberries!  Mom added dried apricots to the mix this year.  And this wasn’t everything!  There were also bites of puff pastry and filo-dough creations and dough-wrapped cocktail weenies.  I forgot to get a picture of the three kinds of homemade cookies we had.  It was quite the afternoon of indulgence.

Recipe for creating your own “pig out”:

Combine people who have known and loved each other for over 30 years.

Add in pot luck style food of both savory and sweet.

Mix in laughter, tears, stories and hugs.

Stir well and enjoy!