Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

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.

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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!

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October 3, 2015

Wow, Another Month Gone By

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 12:46 pm
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September! Poof! Where did it go?

For me it was a month of adjusting to a new pattern of life, the beginning of this new chapter. This house still feels quite lonely, but I guess I am starting to adjust to the new routine. Once I leave work, the hours are mine to do what I want or need to do on my own schedule. I never thought I’d say this, but I do find myself missing the running around from dance classes to track practice to getting the things my girls needed in between. The dogs are certainly lonely for their girls as well:

Teddy

Daphne

It is a more leisurely pace. I’m continuing my workout routines and eating well, without worry if anyone besides me will like what I’m cooking. I made this for myself the other night:

Delish dinner
(filet mignon, sauteed asparagus, stuffed portobello mushroom cap)

I’ve been reaching out to friends too, who when life’s pace was busier, I had less time to see. I was lucky enough on Labor Day weekend to have plans with two friends. One lovely morning, Sherry and I took our dogs for a walk up a small local mountain. Teddy made the walk with me while I left senior citizen Daphne at home. She wouldn’t have been comfortable for the entire hike and I certainly wasn’t going to carry a 65 pound dog when she decided she was done. Dog walk Peaked Mountain
Here we are at the peak, and it was rather beautiful. A large hawk circled in front of us and dozens of very large dragonflies hovered near by.

On Labor Day, Julie and I went out to lunch at a restaurant at a small local lake, and spent the afternoon in the sunshine talking and catching up.
Visit with a friend
It was a beautiful day spent with a friend I don’t see often enough.

The best parts of September came from getting to see Sarah. Jennifer and I had been planning a visit to the Cape to see our mother and celebrate Jennifer’s birthday. The day before we were going, last minute plans came together for Sarah to join us on the trip.
On the way to the Cape
(the sunshine backlighting the clouds on our journey)

She took the train from Boston to a station along our route to the Cape, where we picked her up and then surprised our mother with Sarah’s appearance. It was a great moment.

The weather was beautiful and we even had the chance for a visit to the beach in the warmth and sunshine.
Beach visit Orleans MA

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beach group shot
(left to right: Jennifer, Mom, Sarah, me)

Two weeks after our trip to the Cape, Sarah decided she’d like to come home and go to the huge six-state fair, The Big E. We did what we do best at the Big E and ate all kinds of delicious bad-for-you food, shopped and saw the sites. You know I can’t resist an Oreo cow…
Oreo cows!!!!

And this year I couldn’t resist a Big E selfie with my girl:
Big E selfie

September was a beautiful month, full of sunshiney weather and emotional highs and lows. October is creeping in with cooler weather and the leftover flickers of rain to this area from Hurricane Joaquin. I’ll have bright spot today though – I’m headed out to see Meghan for some “girl time” with shopping and dinner. And I have a gathering of friends at my home to look forward to for Columbus Day weekend. It is the moments like I’ve just told you about, and having more to anticipate that are getting me through as I continue my adjustment.

I hope all is well in your world, and you have the positive energy of the people who bring you the most joy in your life surrrounding you.

January 1, 2015

My View of 2014

January 1st. A day for looking both forward and back. I spent some time yesterday looking over the photos I took in 2014, trying to mentally select some for one of those year-end reviews I usually do, but the format for how to do it just wasn’t coming to me. I think my photography lost some focus, figuratively and literally, last year as my focus was in other places. 2014 was a year of changes and struggles, but of triumphs as well. My photography became more about story-telling and memory-keeping than of creating technically good photographs. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. I do, however, miss having a lot of those moments when I sat back and reviewed my shots on any given day and thought to myself, wow, I really like that one.

These days I really am about moving forward and continually trying to discover and create a better me. However, 2014 had some moments I will chronicle here that were big and small parts of becoming who I am today, and who I will be as I continue to find my place in my changing world.

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This book was the inspiration for my approach to 2014. I honestly did try to find as much joy as possible in the events of my life. There were definitely several days throughout the year where this proved impossible: the closing of our home away from home, our dance studio, finding out that I would not be a candidate for the teaching job at my school for which I had been hoping dearly for 9 years and, worst of all, learning that my best friend in the world since I was 6 years old had breast cancer.

I do believe that things happen for a reason, although I’m sure there will never be one for my friend going through this horrible experience. She is an amazing woman, currently undergoing chemotherapy. She is unbelievably strong, even keeping her wicked sense of humor that I love so much about her intact. We are counting down the days with her until chemo is done – January 27th is her last treatment. Celebrations will surely be planned.

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2014 was a full year of taking better care of me physically. I began what I consider to be a new way of life, a new way of thinking about and experiencing health and fitness. I eat as “clean” as possible, meaning as many whole, one-ingredient foods or minimally processed foods as I can. I workout 4 to 5 days a week. As I result I’ve lost about 20 pounds and I’m feeling more physically fit than I remember for most of my life. Hopefully this work will result in a me who is ready to live fully and experience many new things as the future comes our way.

Our crew
It was a year of keeping connections with an amazing group of friends. I’ve mentioned before how much these people mean to me, and I do believe that what we have is unique for adults in our age group. The fact that this connection that began in the 1980’s when we were teenagers (earlier for some of the guys here) and continues to the new generation of our children, who are now becoming adults, is surely not something that happens every day.

My amazing girls
It was a year about discovering, defining and accepting my place and who I am to these two wonderful young women. My changing role as a mother has not been an easy one for me to come to terms with. The loving, caring about, trying my best for, doing whatever I can for them will never ever change, but I know now that I am no longer the director of their life experiences. It is now my job to support their decisions, offer guidance when asked for and be here for them whenever they need me.

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It was the year I got to experience teaching in my own classroom, albeit temporarily, for the first time. My time as 6th grade math teacher is now winding down. I will have only two weeks left of this excellent opportunity when we return to school from this holiday break. I have no idea if this experience will lead me somewhere in the future, but I have loved every moment of it – the teaching, the planning, the kids, even the correcting.

The more that I scroll through my Flickr feed as I’ve composed this post, more I realize that I did have at least a few of those “aha” moments with my photography. As I said earlier, not necessarily in the creation of a technically good photo, but photos that bring me joy from the memory or the simple beauty of the moment. Here are a few of them.
Robins

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pool ducky

Applause

pipevine swallowtail 1

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...and now

dragonfly face

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Oreo cows!

Color and reflection

Reindeer dog

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015 full of promise and hope.

July 1, 2014

Wrapping Whimsy

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 9:43 am
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Comic "relief"

The whimsical photo hunt did what I was hoping for – it brought a lot of fun and happy and silly photos to this little blogging community. In a month that was at times trying, visiting all your posts made me smile. We had 10 whimsical participants, my own being the 11th.

In case you missed any of the fun, here is a little summary of what we got to see.
Robin of Breezes at Dawn was the first. Robin found quite the array of whimsical sculptures for us to enjoy. I loved the dancing bunnies.

Dawn of Change is Hard came next. Dawn had some funny little visitors to the garden for a glass of wine one summer evening. Thanks for the adorable little scene, Dawn.

Amy-Lynn from Flandrum Hill was the third post and found a little whimsy out in nature. I loved the idea of imagining just what could be found on the other side of that door.

Mike of Picture Day showed us his love of toys in his post. “Pool Vader” especially tickled my funny bone.

Carol of Wanderings of an Elusive Mind posted a fun variety of whimsical shots. I just loved “Cat in the Hat” and thanks again, Carol, for helping to inspire this photo hunt!

Sybil from Eastern Passage Passage played along with a post that slightly pushed the definition of whimsical. That’s totally fine by me, since you all know how I feel about so-called “rules”, but does anyone else get the feeling that Sybil has an unusual affinity for poop? LOL!

Isa from Isathreadsoflife found a unique group of whimsical photos. Those shoes trying to keep the balance are how I often feel in day to day life!

Kathy of Lake Superior Spirit found the time to play along with a whole park full of whimsical sculptures. They are all so much fun and so creative I’d be hard pressed to name a favorite, but the final photo of the moon and stars taking off for adventure seems to be the very definition of whimsy.

A new-to-me blogger from a blog called Purpleborough posted a cute shot of crazy little flamingo. Thanks for participating purple!

Bearyweather from Bear in Mind lamented that she thought dipping into her archives would be cheating, but please remember how I feel about “rules” Ms. B – they are just guidelines as far as I am concerned. I just loved all your whimsical animal shots and you are so right, is there a more whimsical animal than a bear cub?

If you didn’t see my silly little bit of whimsy, you can find it here. Whimsy was not presenting itself to me in the month of June, so I had to create my own with a visit from Scooby Doo and some friends to my garden.

Thank you very much everyone for all your enthusiastic participation in this photo hunt. I had great fun visiting your posts – they all put a smile on my face and in some cases really did make me laugh out loud.

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!

April 18, 2014

Finding Joy in the Simple Things

Filed under: Joy — Karma @ 1:54 pm
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I haven’t forgotten my goal of trying to find joy as often as possible. I have a couple things to share with you from last weekend, as well as some joy that I am looking forward to this weekend.

My friends and I did Hike #2 of our MidState Trail hike last Sunday. That morning, as I bustled about getting ready for the hike, I paused a moment at the sight out the window in my front yard:
Misty morning

The robin is out of focus, but I just loved the look of the early morning sun on the dew-kissed lilac branches (which will hopefully be laden with flowers and deliciously fragrant only a few short weeks from now).

At the end of our hike, my friends and I and the dogs did another group portrait.
Hike #2

Daphne is absent from this one due to doing a long walk with Sarah the day before. Sarah is in the Canine Club at our high school and Sarah and Daphne participated in a 5 mile walk around town in support of “Bark for Life” which researches canine cancers. Daphne decided she was done with the walk with a little less than a mile to go back to the starting point and sat down, refusing to go any further. Hubby had to go rescue Sarah and our obstinate fur-baby and take them home! I decided a second 5 mile hike the next day was probably not the best move for my aging golden.

Tonight is a night I’ve looked forward to since Christmas time. As a Christmas gift, my father gave Meghan, Sarah and me tickets to see the Moscow Ballet perform “Sleeping Beauty” at the Hanover Theater in Worcester. In just a short while, Sarah and I will head out to Worcester to pick up Meghan and go out to dinner, followed by the ballet – sure to be a lovely evening.

I hope you have a lovely weekend in store! Tell me about your plans in the comments if you’d like to share!

January 21, 2014

Some Answers for Cee

Filed under: Joy — Karma @ 7:00 am
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I had a look at Cee’s Share Your World questions for this week and when I saw the first question, I just knew I had to participate! Feels a bit like, oh I don’t know, Karma maybe? 😉

In what do you find the simplest of joys?
Great question Cee – and what I am striving to find as often as possible. I shared a couple simple joys in this post. Here are a few more:

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Butterflies on my butterfly bush in the summer

toes in the sand
My toes in the sand, any season of the year but winter

Supersteak 2-pounder
A tomato grown in my garden

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Snow on a funny collie face

Jello or Pudding? And what is your favorite flavor?
I’d have to go with pudding, and the darkest chocolate flavor.

Is there a language you would like to learn?
I’ve had a long-standing love affair with the French language, as I chronicled once in this blog post. I took it all through school and for a year in college. I can still read some of it, but my skills are definitely slipping. I’d love to be able to understand it as I once did.

Do you prefer juice or fruit?
Fruit for sure and just about any kind! This is a difficult time of the year for finding decent fruit here in New England. A couple weeks ago I got some strawberries from Florida that were pretty good and that was a little thrill!
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berries

While searching for fruit photos to add to this post, I realized I’ve done a lot of posts about fruit. Add that to my simple joys, Cee, and thanks again for the questions!

January 12, 2014

Missing Her Already

Filed under: Joy — Karma @ 4:50 pm
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Meghan went back to college today. It was great having her home for Christmas break. The three and a half weeks she was here flew by. Much of the time she was home was spent out and about with the boyfriend and such, but I was happy for the time she was here and our home felt complete again.

A la Robin of Breezes at Dawn and my New Year’s post, I may share some of the joys I find in the every day from time to time. Here are two from my visit to the grocery store today.

At the entrance to the store:
A breath of spring

I was tempted to take one home, but I didn’t want to push the little water-filled glass all over the store with me, then I forgot about them when it was time to pay and leave.

In the parking lot:
Parking lot dog

Usually I feel a little sad when I see a dog in a car, but today the temperatures were mild and this fuzzy guy just looked so cuddly. He or she wasn’t barking at the passers-by, just taking in the scenery while waiting for its owner to finish shopping. I know better than to do so to a strange dog but it was difficult to resist giving this big teddy bear a hug.

January 3, 2014

New Snow, New Things

Filed under: Joy — Karma @ 9:23 am
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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:
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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.

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

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My older daughter became an adult

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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

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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

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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.

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