Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

October 13, 2014

Camera Neglect

I was thinking that once the long weekend of Columbus Day arrived, things would slow down a bit and I’d be spending more time with my camera and the blogosphere. I’m not sure just why I was thinking that way! I have definitely started adjusting to the way of life as a teacher for now, but the amount of time I spend correcting, planning and organizing really hasn’t changed since I started this gig. I’m not spending any time on school work on this long weekend (thank goodness) but of course I find myself attending to the other parts of life that need my attention. So what do I mean by all this? It has been ages since I’ve lifted my Canon Rebel to my face! The last pictures on that screen are from that wonderful warm day in September that I posted about a month ago. And here it is autumn in New England. So much beauty around me, and what do I have to show for it photographically? Nada. Hoping to have the opportunity to change that, but it is already Monday of the long weekend. I will see how the day progresses and get back to you, okay?

In the meantime, let me say that it has definitely not been all work and no play if I’ve given you that impression! This past Thursday night was the annual “powderpuff” flag football game at my daughter’s high school. Sarah played hard – both offense and defense – but sadly, the senior girls were defeated. Camera-neglecting mama that I am, I have no photos of my football playing daughter. I found this picture, by Thomas Henry Photography, of the field that night:
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Meghan came home from school to see her sister play, which I thought was really nice. All the more disappointing that the seniors lost though. Sarah had no school the next day (teacher professional development day) so the girls had time to hang out together while I went to work.

Meghan came with us when it was time for Sarah to head to dance class so she got to visit with her former dance teacher. We visited a local farmstand and picked up some of our favorite apples (macouns) and other treats. (all photos managed for the rest of this blog post are phone photos)
Macouns

Meghan’s visit was sadly brief. She had to return to school Saturday night because she had a ballroom competition that she was leaving for early Sunday morning. I made the most of my time with her and took her shopping for various supplies, plus a little “tradition” of hers and mine – after a visit to our local Kohl’s store we head to the near by Dunkin for an iced coffee. We laugh about the fact that it doesn’t seem possible for us to skip the Dunkin part of the trip no matter what.

After our shopping trip, we stopped back home to get everything she needed to bring back to school an pick up Sarah. We had a delicious late lunch or early dinner, depending on how you look at it, together at a Greek restaurant called Zorba’s in Worcester near Meghan’s school.

Meghan returned to school, a little adventure for me continued. A gathering of my gang of friends (I’ve mentioned this group many times on the blog) was happening at the Mendon Drive In for a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was surely a cold night for a drive in, but getting the chance to hang out with thse people is always worthwhile, no matter the circumstances. We ate junk food, watched the movie and enjoyed each other’s company. Some of my junk food:
Cheese fries

Yesterday was Meghan’s competition. She sent me some photos of her hair and makeup:
Pre-comp

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The best picture she sent, however, was this one from after the competition:
Post comp
Use a bit of hair gel there?

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing this holiday weekend, I hope you are enjoying it. I leave you with this quote I found the other day, one with wonderful aspirations I think:
Quote

October 14, 2013

Fall Break

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:50 pm
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For Columbus Day weekend, Clark University gives their students a short fall break – a four day weekend lasting Saturday through Tuesday. I arrived to pick Meghan up from school Friday night and many had already taken off. Meghan said it was strange how quiet it was in the residence hall. After a horribly crowded ride on the Massachusetts Turnpike in both directions, we arrived home around 9:30pm, but looked forward to some fun plans I had made in anticipation of having my whole family around for the weekend.

One of Meghan’s laments about living on campus (she has very few of these, thankfully) is her disappointment in the fresh fruit. This time of year in New England, this family’s favorite apples are available for the picking. We love macoun apples and we headed back to Quonquont Farm in Whatley, MA to get our fill.
My fav's - Macoun apples

We have a half bushel for here at the house, and Meghan picked her own peck to take back to school.
apple picking 1

Next we headed down the road to Mike’s Maze in Sunderland, MA. The folks over at Mike’s put a lot of thought into the design and theme of their maze. This was the first time I’ve ever been, but after seeing what they do, I’d like to go back. The famous artist Salvador Dali was the design this year.
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(I’ve borrowed this photo from their website because you can only see the whole design from an aerial view)

Within the maze, there were clues to find and puzzles to puzzle over, 19 in all. Upon entering the maze, this little kitty gave you a hint for how to go about solving some of the puzzles:
looking for clues

In the style of Dali, most of the puzzles had to do with illusions or looking at things in a different way. Our family was able to solve 17 out of the 19 questions correctly as we had fun finding our way through all the identical looking corn.
searching through the maze

In addition to the puzzles, throughout the maze you could stumble upon other illusion filled amusements such as the mirror room and an Ames Room
The girls had fun hamming it up inside while I sat in the viewing space and did my best to get pictures from the cut-out in the wall:
in the Ames Room 1

in the Ames Room 2

in the Ames Room 3

After we found our way out of the maze, Sarah took a shot at aiming a potato cannon. We earned a free shot by correctly discerning the right word out of one of the illusion puzzles in the maze. The puzzle itself was hard to find, nestled in the middle of Mr. Dali’s eye!
shooting the potato cannon

The target Sarah was aiming for:
the target
She came very close a couple times!

We had worked up an appetite by the time we completed the maze and its puzzles. We had a delicious late afternoon lunch or early dinner, depending how you look at it, at a place called Bub’s BBQ, also in Sunderland. I had spare ribs, Meghan and Craig had brisket and Sarah had pulled pork – it was all delicious. Bub’s is a place you might just drive by if you didn’t know about it, and what a great meal you’d miss. It isn’t fancy by any stretch of the imagination, but sometimes places that use a roll of paper towels for your napkins serve up great food!

A little family of pumpkins and their “mums” came home with us:
mums n pumpkins

Sunday brought a relaxing day. Meghan and I went shopping (successfully!) for some new jeans, then she tried out the hot tub for the first time. I think if she were living at home during the school year, I’d probably have fairly regular company while relaxing in it!

We spent some time together in the kitchen today. We cooked up an extra large batch of chocolate chip cookies, apple bread and apple sauce. Meghan will be taking about 3 dozen cookies, one loaf of the bread and a container of apple sauce back to her dorm with her.
apple bread n chocolate chip cookies

It was really nice to feel like my family was whole again, at least for this weekend. I do miss her when she’s gone, and now that she’s been here for 3 days, I’m sure I’ll feel her absence more sharply for the next few days. People keep asking Sarah if she misses her sister and she bluntly replies, “No!” However, Friday night after Meghan got home, my two girls stayed up talking in Meghan’s room until after midnight. No indeed.

February 8, 2013

Waiting for Nemo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:23 am
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No, no not that Nemo of course! It is Friday morning in western Massachusetts. School has been cancelled across the state, and probably across most of New England as we await what is being called “possibly the most dangerous winter storm of all time.” Right now the snow is yet to begin. My area has 18 to 24 inches predicted.

We’ve been through heavy snow plenty of times around here.
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It really isn’t anything new, and we are used to the quirks of forecasting for this area. The media builds it up: It’s the BIG ONE this time!!! And it may really and truly be. But all we can really do is wait. By all reports, this storm is to be a doozy and to be taken seriously, but it is difficult to take in all the information and know what to expect. It really doesn’t matter to me how much snow we get AS LONG AS THE POWER STAYS ON!

I’ll be charging up my Kindle
Words with friends
Anyone want to play Words with Friends? Email me and maybe we can start up a game!

I bought plenty of snacks for my likely-to-be-housebound-family
Snow Day Snacks

I’ve washed and dried additional blankets and checked the batteries in the flashlights. I know where the candles and the matches are. And now I’m writing a blog about the impending storm. What else can I do, but wait?

February 12, 2011

New Gear and No Excuses

Filed under: Walking the Dogs — Karma @ 6:36 pm
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Here we are at nearly the midpoint of February, and cabin fever has set in.  I got up this morning and knew I just couldn’t face another day puttering within these walls.  Sure, I got up and went to work and did the errands and drove the girls to dance this week like I always do.  I don’t know about you, but for me, doing those things does not bring relief to the winter doldrums.

Daphne and Teddy agree.  It is time to do something different, get out of the house.  Teddy regularly goes to the basket that holds the leashes and nudges it with his nose.

“But Teddy,” I try explain, “the boots that I have are no good for going for walks.  They give me blisters on a long walk.”

Teddy looks at me with his pointy-nosed-yet-wise face, “Then you must correct this situation, don’t you think?”

I agree with Teddy. Hubby stumbles out of bed this morning.  I announce before he can even get in the shower, “I have cabin fever.”

“What do you want to do about it?”

“I don’t know.  I know I need to get out of the house.  I know you’ll tell me to take the dogs for a walk, but I just can’t in those boots.”

“How about this?  We’ll go to the mall and get you some boots.”

BINGO!  That worked well, didn’t it?  I came home with these:

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A pair of Columbia Coremic Ridge 2.  I don’t know much about hiking boots, but hubby assured me that Columbia is a good brand and these would be good to my feet and provide what I wanted: comfortable, warm and dry feet.  I know I can’t take these through the 2+ feet of snow on the ground or stomping through puddles, but these should hopefully take me through the remainder of winter and what will surely prove to be a long, wet spring in walking comfort.  Besides, I needed to stop making excuses for not getting out and walking with the dogs.  Maybe it is a trend some of us bloggers have decided would be a good thing since we obviously spend plenty of time at the computer.  Robin, in addition to her commitment to going outside every day for at least 30 minutes for a whole year, has added a short term, early morning yoga commitment.  Tracy has recently gone back to her elliptical machine after some time away.

I could hardly not take the new boots out for a test while our temperatures reached for 40° degrees again today and the sun was breaking through the clouds.  I suited up and took my favorite trio – Daphne, Teddy, and Andre – out for a walk.

We took the sidewalk/neighborhood walk today since I didn’t think my path through the woods would be clear.  I noticed something for maybe the first time today.  Or maybe I noticed in the past but it didn’t stick.  I saw that our local “mountain” was visible through the leafless trees:

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Funny, I’m not sure of its name.  It could be part of Minnechaug Mountain, I suppose.  I’ve lived in town virtually my entire life and never called it anything but “the mountain.”

Next, I turned down a side street and saw the sun starting to break through the afternoon clouds:
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Dog sees shadow, but does not run and hide like the groundhog, so that still means a chance for an early spring, right?

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Back down our still ice-covered-snow-rutted street:

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Upon returning home, I sat down at the computer to write up this blog post.  I casually turned to glance out the window, and… remember that expression, “if you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a minute” ?  BAM:

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Snow squall!

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I swear these pictures were all taken today – you can even check my EXIF data on Flickr if you’d like!

Then, just as suddenly, the sun was breaking through again:

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That isn’t “noise” in this shot – those are giant snowflakes floating down in the middle of a pink and blue sky.

And then it was over, as quickly as it began.

I hope that won’t be the case with my commitment to get out there more often with the trio! 😉

E.T.A.: I was neglectful in not mentioning another blogger’s daily commitment to going out and walking her dog. It isn’t a new commitment, but lucky Ozzie gets a nice walk virtually every day!

September 27, 2010

A Lovely Autumn Day, part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 5:51 pm
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As much as I mourn the passing of summer, my family and I enjoyed a beauty of an autumn day this past Saturday.  The temperatures felt more like summer – it was in the 80’s – but you can’t deny that New England foliage, which is, along with virtually everything else this year, ahead of schedule.  This scene was found in Whately, MA at a place called:
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Whately is nearly an hour’s drive north from where I live.  I discovered this place last year when I missed out on picking my favorite type of apples, macouns, more locally.  It was Columbus Day weekend last year, and they had already gone by at the local orchard, so I researched “pick-your-own” farms further north, reasoning that they might still have them on the trees.  I was right!  We made a nice day last year of picking apples and heading down the road a short distance to the famous “scenter of the universe,” the flagship store for Yankee Candle.  We all enjoyed Quonquont Farm last year so we decided to head back.  Imagine my surprise arriving at the orchard this year, two weeks earlier than last year, to discover the macouns had  pretty much been picked.

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The helpful woman working at the farm that day explained that they had a late frost in May this year which damaged a lot of the young apples on the lower parts of the trees.  The farm folks picked the macouns from the tops of the trees and placed them in the boxes from which people could choose.  Disappointed but not deterred, we filled a 1/2 bushel bag with macouns, then set out to fill another bag with a variety of other apples.
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Some of the apples were up a little higher, like these:
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..but that didn’t stop this family from getting the ones we wanted:
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Sarah (above) goes after the apples with gusto!  Meghan (below) hauls part of our haul:
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We paid the helpful woman for our apples (you can see her, back turned in the shot below) and headed back to the car.
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As we did so, I heard my husband muttering under his breath and looking at the bottom of his shoe.  No, it wasn’t that!  He had stepped on a rotten apple while we were in the orchard, which would end up having a direct effect on his lovely autumn day, part 2.  Be sure to tune  in tomorrow to see what happened!  (And if you already know what happened after reading it on a certain social networking site, please don’t give it away! )