Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

March 30, 2014

Rain, rain… well, it’s better than snow!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:25 am
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Rainy day

The rain started yesterday afternoon and is forecast to continue all day today. I could complain, but I won’t. After all, it could be snow, right? Most of the snow, except for a few patches here and there, has finally melted. Oh and except for this snow too:
Collapsed pool
Yeah, did I mention my pool kind of collapsed this winter? Yes, that same pool that I had all those issues with last summer? The pool that I maimed my poor foot in while putting in a brand new liner? All for naught – now we need a brand new pool. Sigh. I’m hoping we can find someone to afford-ably install one for us this spring. I really have no interest in doing this job again. Hubby and I have done this several times and it is not an enjoyable project.

Here’s a more enjoyable project! We have several teachers retiring from my school this June, and retirement quilts are once again in the making. I’ve made quilt squares for three of them, two Red Sox fans and a yoga devotee:
Quilt squares

More joy I’ve found: my fitness journey continues and I’m making good progress! I can happily announce that I’m back down to and so far maintaining the weight that I was before I became pregnant with Meghan 20 years ago! That’s a loss of about 15 pounds. I haven’t weighed this little or felt this fit in as many years. I’m entering Week 5 of Focus T25, the last week of the Alpha round.
Alpha
That makes me just a little nervous but excited too. Week 6 of the program steps up to the Beta round, an even more intense series of workouts. I haven’t followed the program exactly as laid out here because of Zumba. I’ve been skipping the Wednesday workout and the second Friday workout listed – I do Zumba Wednesday night and Saturday morning instead, so I’m still doing 6 workouts a week and resting on Sundays.

The rain unfortunately cancelled a hike with friends today that I was looking forward to, and hoping to bring you pictures of, but it has been rescheduled for next Sunday. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for that. This visually un-pretty month is over tomorrow! Bring on April- I can’t wait to see things turning green and growing again.

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February 3, 2013

Just Winging It!

Hey there! It’s been a while! My last post was almost 2 weeks ago now, and the blogging muse in my mind has had enough silence. So what’s been going on you may ask? Life, the universe and everything has sent me on a bit of a roller-coaster ride.

Meghan actually did get to go on several rollercoaster rides! Last Saturday morning I dropped dear daughter at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, CT for a school computer and technology department field trip to Disney World! She was gone for three nights and came home Tuesday. They got to stay at the Disney Port Orleans Resorts

participate in two Disney Y.E.S. programs

and visit all four of the major parks.

While she was in Florida, the temperatures were in the mid-70’s. Around here we were in the middle of that nasty cold snap when the daytime temps struggled to get out of the teens. Needless to say I was just a tiny bit envious!

After I dropped Meghan at the airport that morning, I travelled north on Interstate 91 back into Massachusetts and stopped to visit with my sister for a while. The previous day she had pretty much the same surgery that A-Rod, reviled NYY player, had recently. She’s been couch bound for over a week now, and this, I believe, is a rather regular daily view for her:

That’s Ozzie, her faithful cavachon, which is a mixture of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Bichon Frise.

While Meghan had a wonderful time in Disney World, life continued here. I made some more progress on Sarah’s birthday quilt:
quilt progress
Um, yeah, Sarah’s birthday is in August, and, uh, yes, that was supposed to be a 15th birthday gift for her. So far I’m only 6 months behind schedule…got something to say about that? ūüėČ

When Meghan got home from Florida, New England weather was showing its weird side again. We went from bitter cold to strangely warm temperatures, had rain and thunder and wind, and even lost the power in the middle of the night during the windstorm. I got up and went to work the next morning, hairdryer in tow! It hadn’t come back on by the time I had to leave so I went to work with a wet head. Thank goodness the bitter cold hadn’t returned just yet.

I don’t think all the wild swings in weather did Meghan much good. She had been fighting a cold before she left, but seemed to be getting better. Upon her return she didn’t sound good to me. Off to the doctor’s office: upper respiratory infection. I felt bad for her one evening and on a whim made her a cup of hot peppermint tea. We’re not really tea-drinkers in this house, but on this occasion it seemed like the thing to do. And what do you know? She gratefully took the cup and seems to have taken a liking to it.
daughter's discovery

The cold has returned, and so have the birds to my feeders. I’ve been practicing some more with my heavy new lens, and I’ve been doing okay. I have to shoot in manual focus on this lens because autofocus doesn’t allow the focus ring to be manually adjusted – one definite downside to this lens – and that adds a bit to the challenge of quick moving birds!
dark-eyed junco
Dark-eyed junco

white-breasted nuthatch
White-breasted nuthatch

sparrows
Sparrows

A birdy conversation?
Male house finch and sparrow

Male House Finch
Male house finch
That finch looks like a friendly chap, doesn’t he? It almost seems like he could strike up a conversation. How about you? Strike up a conversation in the comments section if you’d like!

October 16, 2011

A Week in the Life, Day 7

Well, I did it!¬† Here we are at the final installment of A Week in the Life.¬† Sunday is traditionally a day of errands and catching up on what’s needed to be done, and hopefully some relaxing and making a good dinner.

My morning started out with flipping through magazines, hoping for inspiration for grocery shopping.¬† I try to plan at least 5 dinners at each weekly grocery shopping trip, leaving a night or two up in the air (usually because I just can’t think that far in advance!)

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Grocery list and husband in tow ( I bring him along so that he can plan a couple meals too), I head to my local Stop & Shop.  Does your grocery store have these things? :
booper

Stop & Shop calls them “Scan It,” I call them “boopers,” but whatever you call them, they are awesome! You use it to scan each item you are buying, then you place the item into bags already in your shopping cart.¬† The booper adds it all up and offers you special deals on the stuff you buy throughout the store.¬† When you get to the cash register, you scan a bar code & your grocery store card and your whole order pops up on the screen.¬† Pay and off you go!¬† No more unloading your stuff on to the belt and re-bagging and putting back in your cart.¬† I also love knowing exactly what I am spending as I go – no surprises at the register.¬† Okay, my testimonial for Scan It is done now! ūüėČ (Pssst… did you like that Stop & Shop?)

With a trunk full of groceries, (this is another time it is handy to have the hubs with me), I return home to put them away and clean out the fridge of unused leftovers. (Don’t you hate that?)
trunk

After lunch, it is back to sewing today.  I made over 300 inches of binding today!

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That’s the material that goes around the edge of the quilt to enclose the raw edges.¬† I machine sewed the binding on one side of the quilts, but now comes the tedious part of hand-stitching the binding to the other side.¬†¬† I’m a bit of a slob when I sew.¬† I have a tendency to flick odd pieces of fabric and bits of thread to the floor to get them out of the way.¬† Don’t worry – I pick them up; that is not what is clogging up my vacuum cleaner!

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I did end up finding some recipes to try in those magazines this morning.¬† Tonight’s dinner came from the September issue of Cooking Light.
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It is called “Savory Bread Pudding with Ham and Cheddar,”¬†but I think that title is a bit misleading.
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Of course, I used much more ham and cheese than the recipe called for.¬† The small amounts specified didn’t seem like they’d make a satisfying meal for hungry teenagers.¬† It was met with mixed reviews: it’s okay, it’s different, it’s filling.¬† Not sure it’s a keeper.

After dinner, we carried on with the tasks of getting ready for the new week.  The girls made their lunches for school tomorrow.
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I changed the sheets on my bed with Cedric’s “help”
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I wanted to get all the chores finished up in time for some good t.v. watching tonight.¬† At 9:00 is HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”

Starting tonight is season two of AMC’s “The Walking Dead”¬†– which also happens to be on at 9:00.¬† Thank goodness for the DVR!

It used to be on at 10:00 last season, which was great because I either had “Boardwalk Empire” to watch before it, or I think AMC’s Mad Men¬†might have been on before it at some point during its season.¬† I miss that show!¬† I can’t wait until the new season of that begins.

It is about time to wrap up this post so I can go get comfy on the couch.¬† I decided to end this week in my life with a selfie of sorts.¬† While I was changing the sheets, I decided to pose in my bedroom mirror with my pillow as I changed the case.¬† Side story: I always called pillow cases “pillow sheets” as a child and my mother never corrected me.¬† My husband was always amused by my saying that.¬† I’ve tried to change the habit to say pillow case, but they will always be pillow sheets to me!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into my life!¬† I hope that some of you will steal this idea and give me a little peek into yours!

October 15, 2011

A Week in the Life, Day 6

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 8:59 pm
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Ahhhh, Saturday… yawn, stretch, roll over, go back to sleep….NOT!¬† Day 6 of A Week in the Life¬†was another one on the move.¬† I’m in the middle of a Saturday morning graduate level class that is meeting for 5 Saturdays this fall, so I had to get up anyway, but today I had to be up earlier than normal because of this:
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Participants in the Fall 2011 administration of the PSAT had to be at their high school at 7:45 this morning.
dropoff1

dropoff

Don’t all these 16-year-olds look so thrilled to be back at school early on a Saturday morning?¬† I found myself with a little extra time this morning since I didn’t have to be in Westfield, MA, for my class until 8:30, so I stopped to take a few photos.¬† I took what I thought would be a nice one of the sun coming up over the small, local mountain, but it is pretty blown out.¬† I also realized later today that I had left my white balance set on “tungsten” from taking pictures of dinner last night, so most of the pictures I took this morning had an odd blue cast to them.¬† I managed to edit the two above to look okay, I think.¬† Here’s one that any of my former ‘Chaug classmates who could happen to pop over here might find interesting – here’s a little glimpse at part of the new Minnechaug, currently being built:
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After taking my photos, I made my way west down the Massachusetts Turnpike to Exit 3 and pulled into the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express where our class was taking place.  Five colleagues from my school are also taking this class, so that helps the time to pass more quickly during the rather dry material that we are presented.  Best part of these classes?  Going to lunch with three of the folks I work with.
westwood

Upon returning home, I got back to work on those baby quilts.
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I’m feeling good about the progress I made today.¬† I added the borders and quilted the three layers of the “quilt sandwich” together (quilt top, batting and backing for the uninitiated) on both quilts.

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I just have to make the bindings and sew them on to the raw edges of the quilts now.¬† While I am quilting, I always put my iPod into my Kicker speakers.¬† Today I¬† was listening to my “Pink” station on Pandora:
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I consider my taste in music to be rather eclectic, so I’ve often wondered as I sit at my sewing machine if very many quilters often have the likes of AC/DC and¬†Aerosmith and Nickelback¬†(or Maroon 5¬†and Pink depending on my mood that day)¬†to be blaring in the background of their workrooms.¬† In fact, my throat is feeling a little raw right now from all the singing along I’ve been doing today!¬† Sometimes I think I could have been a brilliant scientist if I had only been able to set my high school chemistry to music.

Tomorrow will be Day 7 of this week  in my life!  Gee, it went by kind of fast.  See you on Sunday!

(what I am singing right now as I finish up this blog post: )

October 11, 2011

A Week in the Life, Day 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:39 pm
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I must tell you how pleased and surprised I was with everyone’s interest in a little peek into my life!¬† Thanks again, everyone, who stopped by and left a comment – and those of you who popped over from Adventuroo, welcome!¬† I’m looking forward to peeking in on your lives too.

On to Tuesday!  It is always a busy,  non-stop kind of day for me, and today was no exception.  Not a holiday today, so back to work.  My work days start before the sun, with breakfast while it is still dark outside:
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Bags ready to go, the girls head to the bus stop and I to my car when the sun has been up for maybe 15 minutes.

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This is the time I pull into the parking lot at work (middle school in a neighboring town), while I listen to a last few comments¬†of the DJ’s on my morning radio show.
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Nice thing about being up and off to work so early is that it is still bright and sunny when it is time to go home.
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Of course in this profession, school bus traffic is part of the commute.

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Upon returning home, I found hubby hard at work on getting that darn pool closed.¬† Working on it, maybe tomorrow…
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And Sarah needs help with her algebra homework (good thing I have a mind for numbers!)

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Then it is time to drive dear daughter to dance.

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And a swing by the grocery store for some fresh bread to go with dinner
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Hubby had the day off (police officer, works nights, rotating day off schedule) and so he got dinner going.  Tonight it was tender, marinated brisket on the grill:
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While dinner finished cooking, I made a bit more progress on the baby quilts.
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After dinner, it was back to the dance studio Рbut for me!  Tap class at 7:00 and jazz at 8:00:

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Home from dance, get stuff ready for work tomorrow, write this blog post!¬† I’m pooped!

August 8, 2011

I ♥ Summer!

sunny sunflowers (2)

I love summer.¬† I’m pretty sure I’ve stated this previously on the blog, but it is worth repeating.¬† It isn’t just because I am a teachers’ aide and I have summers off (although that’s a great part of it!)¬† I love all that summer brings.¬†¬† Maybe I wouldn’t be saying this if I had to endure Michaela’s temperatures, but I love days in the 80’s and 90’s (and will even take the humidity if I must) so much more than days in the teens, 20’s and 30’s.

The butterflies have returned to my butterfly bush:

Eastern black swallowtail

Summer birthdays…
Cake!

…with a nice, easy, backyard BBQ and pool party.

My favorite summer treat is starting to ripen:
first tomatoes

There is nothing like the first bite of tomato straight out of your garden.

I also recently managed my first picture of the local falcon or hawk or whatever s/he is:
falcon or hawk?

My guesses for this bird are peregrine falcon or cooper’s hawk.¬† Any thoughts?

And okay, this really has nothing to do with summertime, except for the fact that time off allowed me to finish this quickly for a dear friend (our dance teacher) who recently had a baby girl:
quilt by me

And my most favorite part of summer?  My one week vacation to the beach with my family:
Welcome to Hills Beach

Just the four of us will head up this Saturday to the same cottage at the shore that we rented last year:

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No worries for a week,¬†freedom from the “should be’s”¬†– my favorite week of the whole year.¬† I just can’t wait!

What do you love best about summer?

April 28, 2010

A Quilt Story

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 8:28 pm
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I hope I don’t alienate any male readers (Scott)¬†(Friends from FB) that I may have acquired with this write-up, but I felt like sharing another interest of mine today besides photography.¬† While I haven’t had this hobby for nearly as long as I’ve loved taking photos, I find it quite satisfying; it’s quilting.¬† I really started my love affair with quilts back when I worked for Old Sturbridge Village¬† ( that could be another post entirely!¬† I have some stories I could tell!), because many of the houses displayed old-fashioned style quilts, and many of the women I worked with there were skilled quilters.¬† A dear friend of mine, Renae,¬†who occasionally comments here on the blog and is a wonderful quilter in her own right,¬†gave me the little push I needed to get going.¬† She supplied me with my first set of coordinated fabrics.¬† I don’t think she ever intended for me to use them all in one quilt, but that’s what I did!¬† I found a simple pattern for a small quilt, and this is what I created:

(Note to photographer friends: these photos are scanned from 4×6 prints, so the quality of the shots is only so-so)

Shortly after I began quilting, a baby shower was being thrown for the wife of a friend.  I took the opportunity to give my new-found hobby another try.  Again, keeping it simple, this was my next creation:

I realized as I was going through my quilt pictures that I’ve been doing this for 5 years now.¬† The baby that I made that quilt for turned 5 this month.

Quilting fever hit!¬† I wanted to make more and looked for excuses to create.¬† I made two end-of-the-school-year quilts for my daughters’ teachers:

(Both quilts looked alike, so I only pictured one daughter and teacher)

I had a difficult time giving up this next quilt to the person for whom I made it!  One of the women I worked with at OSV was adopting a 5-year-old boy.  I created this out of a combination of 4 quilt square patterns I found in a book of 501 squares.  I felt quite proud of the work I did here, and hoped it would find a place of honor in the room of the adopted child:

Quilts go with babies!  That often turned out to be my reason for creating quilts.  The next three quilts were made for friends having a baby:

That Red Sox¬†bear quilt was one of the most difficult and time consuming one I ever undertook.¬† That baby turns 4 this summer, and I think I still haven’t made a quilt I found more difficult.

Memory quilts are another style I’ve found the occasion to make.¬† I made this one for my mother-in-law’s 75th birthday:

It has pictures of her children and grandchildren on it.¬† I found special fabric at Jo-Ann’s Fabric¬†that you can feed through your printer in order to create those squares.¬† I used the same fabric to help create this quilt, which I made for my daughters’ (and my) dance studio’s 10th anniversary:

I’ve also made quilts as gifts for my family.¬† This was a table-runner for my sister, Jennifer:

And this was my best attempt at a Victorian “tea time” quilt for my mother:

After a few years, and a bit of confidence gained, I made a quilt for¬†Renae’s daughter:

My most recent foray into quilting was for my older daughter’s 15th birthday, just 2 months ago.¬† It was the biggest quilt I’ve made to date, and I tried to choose fabric to match her personality.¬† Because of the size of this quilt, I took it to a professional to have the 3 layers of the quilt sewn together after I created the top and backing.¬† I brought my daughter with me to the quilter to choose the pattern for the sewing that was done on one of those amazing, computer driven quilt machines.¬† She found a pattern of shoes and purses and this was the result:

(Its hard to do much in my house without the animals getting involved!)

I’ve got more ideas for quilts forever floating around in my head, and people for which I’d like to make them.¬† Would you like to be on my list?¬† ūüėČ