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

June 28, 2016

Fitness Journey Continued

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 3:14 pm
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A couple months ago, close to my 47th birthday, I decided to mark a milestone in this fitness journey which I began in earnest in November of 2013. I’ve journaled here and there along the way about my progress. In March of last year, my fitness guru friend who has helped me all along the way, changed my primary mode of training to weight lifting. My personal weight and size has maintained at about the same level but I’ve really started to notice the changes to my physique now that I’ve been working this way. So in honor of training this way for a year and for feeling the fittest I ever have in my life as that birthday approached, I went to a photographer friend to have a few portraits taken.

I’ve been uncertain about sharing these pictures for a while now. I’ve always been self conscious being in front of a camera rather than being behind it. As a step in the direction of gaining self-confidence in the person I feel I am meant to become, I decided to share a few of the shots here today. I recently endured a big setback at work after the school year came to a close, a moment that temporarily rocked my belief in myself, but I’ve recovered, and I’m ready to move on and put that setback behind me. I present these pictures today as another step forward in my journey to me.

Karen 4b

me wall

me look

Karen flex

me sit

It sounds so cliche to say life is journey not a destination, but cliches come from somewhere – and that somewhere in this case is truth.  This is a journey of meaning that I will continue as long as I am able.  Improving my body deepens my mind and spirit connection, my desire to live in and enjoy the moment, to feel present in my own life.

 

 

 

 

January 30, 2016

As I See It

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:50 pm
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A month into the new year already and this is my first blog post of 2016. I’ve been full of inspiration for blog posts and they just haven’t come to fruition. My favorite bloggers have been inspiring me and I’ve seen some really great things that have been making me go, “Oh I should do something like that!” Amy over at PlainMama has started blogging regularly about gratitude – I loved what she had to say in this post. Two bloggers came back from semi-retirement recently as well: Scott at Views Infinitum was first to re-enter explaining about a challenging 2015 and then Gerry, of Torch Lake Views, much to my delight popped back on the scene. Sybil, up there in the north, moved from Eastern Passage to Sacksville and has started sharing the romps of her and her fourlegged friends once again. Katie the princess sheltie and her mama Dawn at Change is Hard, have had all kinds of adventures to report on in recent weeks. Despite being harrassed by Winter Storm Jonas, Robin has kept a steady stream of beautiful photography and well wishes and thoughts over at Breezes at Dawn. And who can forget Carol of Wanderings of an Elusive Mind – blogger from the other side of this country, but with whom I so often agree with her sentiments, sometimes I feel like we must have been related somehow in another life! Then there’s Mike at Picture Day – carrying on with the things I always say I want to do – get out there with the camera and get better at photography.

Look at all that inspiration! So many ideas, so much lack of blog post writing.
In the context of a walk I took today with Teddy, on a fairly mild January day, here are some of the thoughts that have been meandering through my mind. I took the Rebel with my 50mm lens attached on this walk for two reasons – its a nice lightweight lens so I didn’t feel burdened on the walk and they say 50mm is approximately the view of how we see with the naked eye, so you’ll see my walk as I saw it, for the most part.

our stop
Teddy at the first place we always stop on our walks. Missing Daphne here as no matter the weather she always wanted to lay down in the water

Gratitude. Joy. Confidence. These are concepts I’m doing my best to focus on for 2016. Time to really put the work into discovering and taking care of me. Does that sound selfish? I hope not. It isn’t meant to be. The joy of having my girls home for their winter break from college, and their subsequent returns to school, have redoubled my determination to find my true happy place, who I am outside of being a mother – motherhood defines me, but not every part of me.

"Daphne's" creek
“Daphne’s” creek (how I will think of it from now on) not frozen over

Heartache happens but it doesn’t stop the world from going on around us. Like this creek, we continue flowing with time. My wishes are to keep progressing and getting better in a holistic way as I flow through time.

the tunnel path
Along the “tunnel” path

This is a familiar sight, that feeling of a natural tunnel – the feeling is intensified when the weather is warmer and the green fills the scene, but this is a piece that feels unchanging and constant to me, that part of life that gives you the foundation you need to deal with….

cleared out
Formerly filled with brush, this section of path has been mowed down

…change. Change – some of us try to fight it, some of us welcome it, but it is inevitable. I’m learning to welcome it. There was a time I dreaded it, but I think I’m seeing things more clearly now. Don’t simply accept change – create it. Take the new circumstances and make them your own.

Doggy blink
Blinking against the wind

No closing your eyes and pretending whatever the problem is will go away. We all have those days when we’d rather just pull the covers over our heads and tell the world to leave us alone. A good friend recently said to me, the obstacles we encounter are just bumps in the road. We will get over them and move on to bigger and better things.

shadows
Shadow of Teddy and me – connected by leash and by heart

As I continue on my journey, I have a sense of authenticity in my mind-body-spirit connection; it is becoming real and tangible for me. I’ve been calling it a fitness journey but it is really so much more than that – it is a journey to who I’m meant to be!

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!

November 22, 2014

My Changing Ways

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 2:24 pm
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It has been a year since I made a new committment to changing my body, my health, myself. I announced it in this blog post. I did a few updates about how things are going throughout the year. You can see those posts, if you are interested, here, here and here.

By the numbers, I am about 25 pounds lighter than the heaviest weight I’ve ever been in my life that was not due to pregnancy, and I am wearing clothing sizes that are 2-3 sizes smaller than the size I figured I’d be wearing for the rest of my life. But this is about so much more than numbers. I feel so much better about myself in many ways. I have more energy when I get up in the morning. I truly don’t remember the last time I felt sick. My frequent headaches of the past are for the most part distant memories. I feel confident when I walk into a room. I enjoy going shopping for clothes and trying them on.

I’ve moved through new levels of exercise over the course of the year. I started out last year with trying to make exercise a habit rather than a second thought. I worked through Rockin’ Body by Shaun T and several Jillian Michaels videos. I discovered I liked the way Shaun T’s Focus 25 fit into my life and gave me results I could see. I recently started the 3rd level of T25 known as “Gamma”, which includes lots of weight lifting.
Gamma

My tastes have changed too over the course of this year. I’ve lost many cravings for the not-so-good-for-me foods and learned to enjoy foods that I would not have bothered with in the past. I never want “fast food” anymore and I can’t tolerate the sicky-sweet way I used to drink coffee. Eggs are a regular part of my diet, as are homemade protein shakes, for examples. And I don’t feel deprived either. One day a week I have a “treat day” and eat whatever I feel like; it is good both psychologically and physically. I am eating well and I don’t count calories.

Here’s a look photographically at my progress.

The only pictures of me from approximately 1 year ago are all bundled up, understandable since it is November, so I went back to Meghan’s graduation in June of 2013 to find a full-length shot of how I was looking when all this began.
mom n grad

A little closer to a year ago, Halloween Murder Mystery party 2013:
1380843_10202502162979048_1746274262_n

April of this year:
964329_10152093275771699_6020905455331090437_o

June:
Our crew

July:
10473188_827759213901493_3187402494947345880_n

Last month:
10584079_871045719572842_4935303657983883927_n

My journey continues.

ETA: When I first posted this yesterday, I included two small photos of myself, post-workout. I am dressed in a sports top and shorts, posing to try to accentuate the muscles I’m starting to build. I hemmed and hawed a bit about it. Then I came back again last night and deleted them, feeling like maybe posting something like that could be construed as somehow inappropriate. If you choose to comment, could you tell me your opinion of posting such pictures?

ETA (2) Okay, the pictures are back. We will see for how long 😉
photo (5)photo (6)

August 24, 2013

Sunrise

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:49 am
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Sunrise on Hills Beach
I took this photo bleary-eyed through the window of the porch of our cottage one early morning in Maine last week. The sun woke me that morning and teased me to go outside with the camera, but my body wasn’t listening. I grabbed the camera, took this less-than-perfect picture, and put my head back on the pillow for another hour.

I’ve been doing a lot of introspective thinking lately and this shot seems to tell a bit about where I am at these days. I realize the sun is rising on a new chapter in my life.

On Thursday, we moved Meghan in to her new school-year home, Clark University in Worcester, Ma.
Meghan's dorm
I don’t know how I will handle not seeing her smiling face and hearing her stories about what is going on in her life every day. I told you I left a piece of my heart in Maine in an earlier post this week, now another piece of it is in Worcester.

Sarah is of course still at home with us for another two years, so I am not an empty-nester, but I’ve been giving a lot of thought as of late to who I am aside from my role as mom. Who am I when I’m not playing mom on a daily basis?

I feel like I need a path to discovery, and I don’t even know where to begin searching for that path. I know many of you reading this have been down this road yourself, and if you have any thoughts or suggestions about a place to begin this journey, I would be happy to hear them.