Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

November 26, 2016

Grateful Days

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:50 am
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I think this is the longest time I’ve ever gone without writing a blog post. I’m wondering if anyone still reads this space. If you do, thank you for having a look. Life has been busy and fun and active, and this Thanksgiving break has allowed me a moment to pause and think and appreciate, hence the title of my post.
New adventure in the horizon

The biggest change, as some of you may remember, is the new job I began this school year. I’m a 7th grade math and science teacher at a parochial school, and what an adventure it has been! Working for a private school is very different from what I’ve known of public school teaching, and as any job does, it certainly has its ups and downs. Overall it has been a very positive experience. There is much demand on my time, but now that I am finally teaching instead of being another teacher’s aide, I know I am doing what I was meant to do. If that is not a feeling of positive energy, I don’t know what is.

This fall has been filled with fun and adventure.

One frustrating adventure was the death of my iPhone 5 in September. One morning the screen simply refused to power on. I lost everything I had on that phone – photos were the saddest loss; I’ve come to like having those little reminders of where I’ve been and what I’ve done. The pictures that I’m sharing today are from my new phone.

Apple picking

Columbus Day weekend was sunny and warm. My sister and I went apple picking and found some side trips along the way. We headed up to an orchard a little bit north of the area we live in to pick my favorite type of apples, macouns. On our way to the orchard, we discovered the factory store to a local gourmet tea company was open.

Tea Guys

Tea Guys in South Deerfield MA makes a huge variety of different types of tea. We each had a sample freshly brewed and made some purchases.

Popovers

Then we found this little place for lunch with great soup and popovers – The Smithsonian Cafe and Chowderhouse Mmmmmmm popovers! A simple but delicious thing that I should try to make more often.

Apple bread

Apple bread was one of the results of this apple picking! So delicious and cinnamon-y!

Walk with Teddy 1

Teddy and I got out for a nice autumn walk.  I wanted to write up a post to share for Robin’s Walktober but of course that got away from me too.
I’m ashamed to say Teddy and I don’t get out nearly as often as I’d like to and as this great dog deserves. He misses his college girls nearly as much as I do, and I’m sure it would do him some good. My dear friend Sherry, who often motivated me to get out for walks, is going through a difficult time with her sweet dog Angel who had a stroke early this summer and has not yet regained full control of her limbs and is unable to stand unsupported. If you’d like to know more about Angel, she has a page on Facebook: Team Angel Mulloy

October also brought an additional visit to Cape Cod. My sister and I had been down to visit our mother in September as we usually do, to celebrate Jennifer’s birthday. My mother had been on a waiting list to get into a new apartment, and she suddenly got the call 3 weeks before it was available. It was time for action! Jennifer and I went and did our best to help with the cleaning and clearing out and packing that goes with moving to a new place. As Jennifer and I traveled back home, I had a little laugh:

Cranberry harvest

It was cranberry harvest time on the Cape and we were following this truck, getting pinged in the windshield by cranberries! Nothing harmful or too distracting, just a couple here and there, but enough to amuse me. It’s the little things sometimes!

During the last weekend of October, I had the pleasure of attending one of Meghan’s ballroom competitions. I traveled to Cranston RI for Brown University’s annual competition at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet

Mambo

Meghan and her partner Kate placed in mambo.

Happy dancer

Meghan hadn’t brought the beautiful green ballroom dress we got her for Christmas last year with her to this competition because she didn’t think she’d be able to dance this year to the style of dance that she could wear it for, due to a former partner choosing not to dance, but she brought along that pink dress just in case a need arose. As luck would have it, a former captain of the team came to the competition, and the last minute decision was made that he and Meghan would dance. I have less blurry photos from these dances, but none that show the joy that Meghan felt at getting to do this dance like this one does.

Early November brought a gathering of friends. The Halloween parties that I used to throw years ago, have evolved into an autumn dinner enjoyed with great friends. Somehow this is the only photo I managed to take of the evening:
Wine with dinner

I made a delicious ham and side dishes, and the girls came home and our whole crew of friends was present. I should have taken other shots to commemorate the occasion, but these things happen!

My most recent adventure was a day trip to Boston. Sarah had her Colleges of the Fenway Dance Project fall recital on the weekend before Thanksgiving. I drove out earlier in the day and took Sarah to eat and we visited the Prudential Center wandering and talking before she had to get ready for the show.
Boston with Sarah

I really enjoyed the show, especially the student-choreographed piece that she was in.
sarahcof
(photo credit to Jack Tan)

As many of you know, I mourn the loss of summer and the glory of hot weather and lazy days. Every now and then I let myself like fall, just a little! I find delight in small moments of beauty, like:

Mockingbird
a mockingbird landing on the deck and sticking around long enough for me to take a picture,

Sunrise
a pink sunrise on an easy weekend morning before we changed the clocks,

Bright November
sunshine filtering through a tree dressed in its autumn colors.

In addition of course, we’ve just celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. The girls are home for the long weekend and I’ve been enjoying their company. For all these wonderful times, I am grateful. I wish you joy and beauty and peace in the days to come. Maybe by Christmas break I will be able to share again!

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November 28, 2014

When did all this happen?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 8:55 am
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Is there a conspiracy out there? Mama Nature and Father Time must be in cahoots. How is it possible that I am already looking at this?
My world right now

I’m sure it was but a couple weeks ago that I was settling in to my temporary teaching job, sitting in the sunshine on the deck correcting papers, thinking that it would be time to close the pool soon and getting used to Meghan being back at college for another school year. What? It is time for Meghan to be home for Thanksgiving break already? What? There’s a snow storm coming the day before Thanksgiving?

Teddy really did not seem to care about all this.
First collie in the snow pic of the season
Maybe I should take a cue from him!

Meghan arrived safely home Tuesday afternoon before the snow began on Wednesday. I’ve been enjoying spending time with her and having conversations about what has been going on in our worlds during these months that she was back at school and I’ve been playing teacher. We talked as snow covered Teddy and I cooked and baked several items to bring to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving. There were mishaps that afternoon, due to my multitasking of cooking, cleaning, listening to music and enjoying my daughter’s company however. I overcooked some delightful little brownie cheesecake bites for one thing. I thought they needed a couple more minutes in the oven after the timer went off, and neglected to re-set the timer for those couple of minutes. About 7 or so minutes later, I remembered them – thoroughly browned and a bit too crisp for my taste. Then there was this:
Shattering surprise

At one point during the day, I had 3 of the 5 burners on my gas cooktop cooking away. That glass lid had been left out in the chaos on a burner that wasn’t on, but was surrounded by burners that were on. I was draining some pasta at the sink and then walking back toward the stove when a sound like a shot going off scared the you-know-what out of me! The glass imploded within the metal frame of the lid into a zillion small pieces. One more cleanup chore added to a long afternoon of them.

A soothing soak in the hot tub with Meghan while the snow fell around us made the aches and pains of the afternoon fade away. Thanksgiving was a wonderful day spent with family and friends. I am so very thankful for all the good I have around me. I hope your Thanksgiving was the best that it could be.

Now on to getting ready for the next holiday that will soon be upon us! No Black Friday shopping for me, at least I’m not thinking so as I type this post. We will see how the day progresses. I am open to the possibilities.

June 28, 2013

Party Prepping

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:01 am
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Tomorrow is Meghan’s graduation party. Party supplies are invading my dining room.
party supplies (1)
There’s a borrowed crockpot in the foreground with a bunch of serving utensils I just happened to find in my basement yesterday. (How weird is that?) And yup, there’s a box of Legos there too. Not for the graduate (although Meghan did say she wouldn’t put it past her friends to want to play with them, lol) but for younger guests we are expecting. We decided to rent a church hall for the party since I really don’t have room for 50 party guests in my house if the weather is bad. New England weather is just so unpredictable in summertime. So I thought it would be good to bring along toys and games to keep children amused. My dining room has become the collection area for everything we have to remember to take with us tomorrow.

party supplies (2)

There’s a big ol’ bag of chocolate for the chocolate fountain, which I never did experiment with before the party darn it. The bag with the frilly stuff sticking out has balloon weights which I actually thought would make cool centerpieces.

party supplies (3)

Decorations, disposable pans and trays. I can’t tell you how many visits I’ve made to the local dollar stores! Turns out they are a great place for party supplies. Today I’m going to go do the grocery shopping for all the food we are serving. Wish me luck that I actually remember it all in one trip!

In other news, the girls both made the newspaper about a week ago in our local section for the prom:
kids in the paper
I thought that was kind of cool.

And our pool has been returned to up-and-running status:
pool restored
It was a hot and nasty job, but we got it completed with the help of the kids. Unfortunately, we did not get it completed without an injury, dang it!
foot injury
Lovely, isn’t it? Actually, I am extremely grateful that’s all that it is – a bruise, a little swelling, small cuts. It happened when our pool ladder collapsed with me on it! I was climbing out of the empty pool after laying out the new liner in the center. When I turned to go down the outside of the ladder it gave and tumbled forward into the pool, taking the side of the pool and me down with it. Parts of the ladder crashed on to my foot. Hurt like a son-of-a-“B” at the time! I feel pretty lucky, actually, that is all that it was – very happy not to be spending the summer in a cast.
Well, I need to get moving on my errands for today. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and be sure to leave me links to your June-Photo-Hunt-Thingy in the comments of this post!

June 3, 2011

In the Wake of a Tornado

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 3:10 pm
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A tornado? It could never happen here! Afterall, we are in the valley of hills and mountains, not broad, flat Kansas.  That’s what most residents of western Massachusetts would have said to you before June 1, 2011, the day a destructive tornado ripped through this area.  It touched down in Westfield, MA sometime after 4pm and ripped a scary path east through West Springfield, Springfield, Wilbraham, Monson and Brimfield.  Those are the communities close to me that I know suffered serious damage.  My home, family, neighbors and friends were unharmed, and as far as I know, did not suffer any damage to their property.  We are the lucky ones and I am grateful to whoever or whatever it was who watched out for us.  I chose not to take pictures, or share others’ pictures of the destruction in this area.  If you are interested, just Google “Springfield MA tornado” and there will be plenty of sites for you to see.  I haven’t visited sites of destruction in person myself, so at this time it still feels a bit unreal.

My day on Wednesday started out like any other.  I went to work with the plan of leaving one hour early to pick Meghan up from school. It was the day of her boyfriend’s senior prom. A girlfriend of mine was going to do her hair.  We had heard about the possibility for strong thunderstorms that afternoon and hoped they would pass by in time for us to take pictures outside.  Around 3:45, the skies darkened and the temperature and the pressure in the air seemed to change.  At 4:00, Meghan was applying make-up and getting dressed for her big night. 

 IMG_4692

At 4:15, a wicked thunderstorm with marble-sized hail started pelting this area.  Not to worry, I soothed, thunderstorms usually pass quickly! With a big umbrella over her head, held by my husband, we ran to the car to drive to her boyfriend’s house where the limo would deliver my daughter, her boyfriend and four other couples to their prom – in downtown Springfield.

We arrived at her boyfriend’s house and his dad had a huge golf umbrella for escorting the girls out of their cars.  The kids murmured with excitement about the night, exchanged corsages and boutonnieres, and hoped the rain would stop soon.  The skies cleared around 5pm so we headed outside to take pictures and wait for the limo to arrive.  Firetrucks, police cars and ambulances from our town and surrounding towns were racing down Main St.  We thought there must have been a terrible accident due to the viscious thunderstorm that had just passed.  The power was out in town so we hadn’t seen or heard what was happening around us.

 IMG_4712

The limo driver arrived, about 25 minutes late, and explained that he had seen a tornado touch down in Westfield (about 35 minutes west of Wilbraham).  He didn’t have any other information, and neither did we, as the kids happily piled into their limo.

IMG_4727

And off we sent our children, in a limosine, to have their prom, in an area of the city that we had no idea had recently been struck by a tornado.   The building where the prom was held was the Mass Mutual Center, a sturdy, recently rebuilt public arena, which also ended up being one of the shelters in the area for people whose homes suffered damage from the storm.  But the prom went on.  Prom 2011 will surely be one these kids will remember for their whole lives.

When I arrived home, I still had no idea about the power of this storm or what actually had happened.  Our home phone service and power to our house was out and cell service was spotty.  We pieced together bits of information from the radio and text messages we received over the course of the night.  It was quite a long night, sitting in the dark, wondering how the kids were and worrying about them getting home.  Around 7pm, I watched as the sky turned a scary shade of yellowish-green and the winds and rains kicked up again.  I didn’t think to grab my camera at the time.  I’ve heard that episode was a microburst from the original tornado.

Luckily, the kids were returned safely after the prom, and we sat throughout the next day hearing more and more about the destruction that took place, but still without power.  I received text messages and the occasional phone call from family and friends checking on us and passing on information.  Last night our power came back on, and shortly after, cable and internet services were restored.  I know that many in the area are still without, and I am again thankful and feeling very lucky.  Booting up the computer this morning, I found emails from still more friends checking in on us.

If you were to come look around my yard, you would never know that a tornado screamed through this area maybe a mile away.  There are sticks around the yard,

IMG_4742

and flowers that look a little worse for wear,

IMG_4747

but that happens after virtually every rain storm.  My husband had been working on cleaning our pool, shortly before all this began, and the aluminum pole he was using remains exactly where he left it:

 IMG_4743

For strange reasons, perhaps known only to me, it is the little things like this that make this reality so strangely unreal feeling for me.  But I know that it is, of course, very real for the thousands of people who suffered in one way or another.  We are tough New Englanders, and this area will get back on its feet.  Businesses of many kinds are offering their help, as well as the American Red Cross, and people are helping their neighbors.  To anyone from this area who was affected who may be reading this, please know that my thoughts are with you and I hope that your struggles are minimal, and that you have the love and support of family and good friends.

October 31, 2010

Thankful – Picture Fall, day 31

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 5:13 pm
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Picture Fall Mosiac

Today is the last day of the Picture Fall online photography class.  We were instructed to focus on something that expresses our gratitude today.  I am most grateful for my wonderful family, but I already shared them with you on Day 24, and here and there at other times throughout the month.  I’m also grateful for this blogging community that has grown up around several blogs.  I love the support and comments I’ve gotten as I’ve navigated the waters of photography, so a collage of the shots I’ve taken this month seemed apropos.

I hope you are having a great Halloween with lots of treats and no nasty tricks! 🙂