Sokka The Puppy

Since my mother died on Christmas Eve, I have a lot in my head to say, but the words just don’t come together.

I am trying to keep my blog active, not so much for readers, but for me, this is a huge time of change, not only for my family, but our country as well. I can’t even go there right now!

So that being said, let me officially introduce Sokka the Puppy to my blog!

He joined our family on November 12, rather a spur of the moment adoption, but one we have not regretted (well maybe when he chewed through my daughter’s laptop cord) for a moment.

We are told he is a rat terrier mix…. mixed with what is anyone’s question. Chihuahua, dachsund (he has really short legs), mini pin; we just don’t know! He was born in Mississipi, on August 10, 2016. He was surrendered to a shelter with his litter and came to Pennsylvania through a rescue.

He was just around 6 lbs when we adopted him, and as of Thursday at the vet, he is 10 lbs. He really doesn’t seem to have grown that much in size, but he has a REALLY big personality. He loves everyone, and is a very social puppy, which is what we wanted.

He has brought lots of smiles and love to us since he joined our family, and has been a great distraction in dealing with current situation!

Saturday Critters

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Rest in peace Sweet Mother

My mother, Betty Miller, passed away peacefully at home with my daughter and I close by.
She had been declining in ability over the past months, and she was ready to go Home and be with our other loved ones who preceded her!

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I will miss her terribly, she was a part of my every day. Up until aearly fall, we still had good conversations and even some laughs. She slowly was withdrawling more and more, and it got harder and harder to get her to open up and even smile. I cherished the good days here and there!

Watching a woman who prided herself in her independence and her sharp mind into her 90s decline in ablity was so very hard for me.

She is at peace now.

Love you Mom! Miss you terribly.

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Camera Critters – Kovu the Ginger Cat

I always enjoyed participating in Camera Critters, but it has been a long time!

Kovu our ginger kitty. I was trying to post a picture of both cats, but Word Press was not cooperating with sizing.

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Camera Critters

Check out Camera Critters for more great critter shots!

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Skywatch Friday – Point Pleasant

When I had time to blog, and take pictures with my DSLR, I had multiple blogs. One was mainly for sharing my photography and participating in daily photo “challenges”. I really enjoyed looking for subjects of the different themes each week. I have recently “downsized” my digital presence to just one blog. This blog space will now be my random musings about life as well as a place to showcase my photos! I hope you will visit often!

I always loved particiapting in SKYWATCH FRIDAY. So many fantastic photographers share their views of the sky from around the world. This is where I will start! I hope you enjoy my photo and if you have a chance take time to head over to Skywatch and enjoy the photos of others!

This photo was from two years ago in Point Pleasant, NJ. I am so missing the ocean. I have not even had the opportunity to take one day trip to the beach (it in less than 2 hours for those who are not local friends.) This weekend ends the summer beach season, I am hoping for some nice weather mid month, when I plan on taking a couple extra days off from work. I would love nothing more than a day trip to the coast to enjoy some quiet and peaceful time wiht the ocean. I was born under the sign of Pisces and really feel a sense of well being and contentment when I am near the ocean. I have been lacking this feeling for quite some time now and need to recenter!

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Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, USA

We have a gorgeous blue sky here this morning, it really feels like fall is on the way. A beautiful day to spend outside, too bad I have to be at work in 4 1/2 hours. I will be spending most of my weekend at work, as will Tara. Labor Day weekend will find us both laboring!

Have a great day!

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The Unofficial End

August 31, where did summer go? We still have three weeks of meteorological summer, but in coffee season, Fall has arrived. Tara and I had our first pumpkin spice coffees that other day at Dunkin Donuts!

Many schools around here have actually started school before Labor Day, which in past years was not as common. School buses on the road again, need to plan that into my commute! I do pass through a school zone and bus stops on my 2.7 mile commute. We have had lots of back to school shoppers at work this week, back to school supplies right across the aisle from HALLOWEEN candy! People comment that it is too early! Why yes it might be, but that is the retail business!

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Photo credit: Martha Kasper

In some ways summer has just flown right on by! It seems like it was just Memorial Day, and I was enjoying a few days off from work, where did June, July and August go.

I did absolutely nothing summer like this year. Juggling schedules to spend time together with Tara with our work schedules was difficult, we never really had a chance to make a day (or evening) trip to the beach. Tara did take a drive to Atlantic City the other night with a friend, I am glad she is a confident enough driver, and I have confidence enough in her, that she is able to make impromptu road trips like that! I miss the ocean. I am hoping to take a couple extra days off mid-week soon, hopefully a day trip to the ocean will take place!

Today and tomorrow are again my “weekend”. My two days off from work. I continue to work 4 out of my 5 shifts as closing shifts. It is beginning to wear me down. We have finally hired someone new, and she seems very promising. A young mom who is working hard with two jobs to make ends meet and get out of debt. She is my ticket out of closing shift hell!

I am on a wild tangent ride here today aren’t I? I am just feeling trapped and stagnant right now. Work, home, grocery shopping, repeat. That is all I feel like I do.

I stress over grocery shopping in the worst way. While yes, I am a huge proponent of on-line grocery orders, once I hit Aldi’s, and realized the huge savings on many things we use, i can’t justify the time savings over the money savings. I just stress over providing a good variety of food for my mom who can’t physically shop for herself any longer and rarely will tell me what she wants. Aside from the regular items she uses each day. We are always out of something that is vital to someones day it seems. I can’t keep up some weeks with the bread, milk cereal and peanut butter. Yes, we sell all those things at Walgreens, but some shifts I barely have time to grab them. I barely have time to pee (lol!).

So for today,I will try to accomplish some things on my “at home” to do list and maybe relax a bit; read or just stare at the wall! I do need to do some tidying up. I was happy to see I had some help with dishes that accumulated while I was at work yesterday! Maybe the young folks in the house are starting to realize I am at a breaking point. Mom does what she can, but it is not much, and it should not be, but i can’t be the only one in a house of three + one!

I need some decompression time. I lost it on my poor manager yesterday. She was giving some “managing/coaching” advice to me, purely innocent, but I took it as criticism and BURST INTO TEARS, on the sales floor. I had about 5 different things going on at once, and just fell to pieces! UGH. I knew it was coming, I was moments away from it on my way into work, so as embarrassed as I was, I was not surprised!

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If you want to watch a funny show (again that off on a tangent thing!), check out Odd Mom Out on Bravo! It has two seasons 10 or 12 episodes each, only 20 some minutes. Very funny!

Well, I guess I will close for now. Although I really don’t have much to say, I am trying to at least update her once a week!

Have a great day!

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Sounds of Summer

I am sitting at my bedroom window where I recently moved my computer table, with the window open a bit. It is nice to not be in the oppressive heat and humidity of last week. I hear the cicadeas outside, and although over the weeks you get used to the constant “hum”, if I really stop and think about it they are VERY loud. I think the noise intimidates Jack a bit, his trips outside have been far less and he will stay around the patio. (I am ok with this!)

I continue to work far too many closing shifts as we are short staffed with key holders at work. As far as work goes, I really do not mind the closing shift. I, for the most part, prefer the variety of the people on the shifts in the evening. Our day time folk are pretty much the same three people. As far as home life, it makes things a little more complicated. I sleep later, I get less done around the house and I can’t sit and have dinner and some conversation with Mom. This is pretty much the only time we sit and converse. She sleeps a lot these days, and as has been her routine watches her soaps around lunch time. I find little time (or desire to cook) and am eating on the fly again.

Hard to believe that summer will soon be over. It has gone fast. Too much work for both Tara and I, and too little time for play and adventures. Tara is picking up a second job, and will be going for her orientation tomorrow. She enjoys food service, and will be a barista at the Cafe in Barnes and Noble. I often thought it would be interesting to work in a book store. She has a friend that works there as well, so that will be nice for them to have something else in common.

As I do many mornings when I get up, I went to the patio door this morning. As i looked out I saw a butterfly flit by and land on a bush. I have seen many butterflies this summer, but few that stayed but long enough to be photographed. This one even obliged my frantic search for a working memory card. Said to say that my DSLR photography has taken such a back seat to IPhonography, that the only memory card that I actually knew where it was located is in my Nikon camera that is currently in the office at work! This little butterfly was such an obliging subject, that he waited not for one, but for THREE trips back in the house until I found one that actually would work!

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In other news, I am a great aunt again. Ella Jean Nash was born on 8/17. This makes 7 (5 great nephews and two great nieces), Tara was hoping for a girl, since there are not very many of them. Besides Tara, I have just one niece (Kristen who attends the University of Texas) and the two great nieces (Avery who is 2 1/2 and Baby Ella.)  Linda (Mom-Mom) Tara and I went for a visit on Thursday, she was less than 24 hours old when we saw her. Linda and Larry took my mom to visit with them on Sunday at home. She now has 5 great children and 7 great grand children. Mom is 92 and now the youngest in 8 days old!Me_Ella nana_EllaThat’s about all on the homefront today. I am thankful that I have a day off today! Tara is off as well. Not sure what adventures, if any, we will find, but it is a gorgeous day out, so hopefully we will find our way outside! More than likely hunting Pokemon!

Pokemon Go has become quite a sensation this summer! We have visited some new parks around the area that we probably would never have taken the time to find. Some I never knew existed, like FDR Park in Philly. It really is a neat place. I haven’t had the opportunity to take photos, as we are always too busy catching Pokemon, and the one time it was after dark!

But first another cup of coffee!

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Black Cat Appreciation Day

Dont’ really have much going on to blog about, so I thought I would share some photos of the crazy kitty we call Jack! Anyone that things black cats are bad luck are missing out! I have owned two, and they were most amazing!

Jack came to us by way of the Montgomercy County SPCA on my birthday weekend three years ago on my birthday weekend. Just three weeks after my sweet faithful Princess crossed the rainbow bridge. We were not in the position for another dog, but the house just seemed so quiet with just one cat. It was the wrong time of year for finding litters of kittens, so we hit up the rescues and the SPCA. I found Jack (he was called Riley at the time) on the website, and through some insider information found out that he had been surrendered due to allergies.

Tara and I visited twice, and decided he was for us1 He was a little scruffy when we picked him up, and his tail seemed to go on forever!

It did not take too long for Jack and Kovu to learn to co-exisit. Kovu had shared his homes with many cats and two dogs, at one point, but it had been awhile since he shared space with another cat!

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Sometimes I feel that Jack is channeling Princess. Quite often he acts more like a dog than a cat. As soon as he was comfortable at home, he would often sleep in spots that Princess slept, in the open, on the floor. I guess it made me feel good that maybe her spirit was visiting me. I missed her (still do 3 1/2 yrs later) so much.

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He has grown into his tail, and has LOTS of hair! He likes to be center of attention, but is much less “clingy” than Kovu. he does however need to be where the action is most times. Lately I call him shadow. He follows (more like leads the way) no matter where we go. It is very difficut to walk with a cat under your feet!

He likes to be outside, which we allow for short times periods when we are outside. He does escape on his own now and then, but usually will return running with a shake of the treat bag, or a scary noise!

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Jack likes to hunt. This summer he was on a mouse hunting spree. I think it was 4 or 5 mice in a weeks time. He would bring them to the door, so proud of himself. He also caught a small snake which made it’s way into the house, and resided in our kitchen for a few days before we found it! We were not amused!

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So, if you are thinking of adopting a cat, don’t rule out the black ones! Superstitions are just silly, we’ve had no more bad luck than usual since Jack joined our family!

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A Week in Review

Sometimes the hardest part about blogging (besides turning on the laptop) is coming up with a title. With that said, I am simply calling it what it is, which is a review of my last week.

It was a good week. The weather has gotten had, really, really hot and humid and cicadas have arrived, so it is noisy, very very noisy outside!

Work was busy, I spent my shifts resetting the cosmetic wall, to add in the new products from the make up companies. I have a love/hate relationship with this bi-annual project. This is easier than the winter reset, which I worked on with a team of two others and we started at 4am!

Tara and I have continued to have fun with Pokemon Go. We took two evening drives into Philly, and found lots of new Pokemon driving the streets!

This photo below was taken last Monday when we took a drive to Valley Forge. Our flag has been flying half-staff far to often with all the violence and senseless acts of terror around the world.

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Philadelphia is the host for the Democratic Convention. The city is all “dressed up” and ready to be in the spotlight. I want to try and get down one evening after dary to get some photos of some of the landmarks that are being light up for the occasion. Tara was in the city on Sunday night and she said the police presence was very noticable.

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There is a new art installation from City Hall to South Street. It looks really amazing, and is called “14 Movements” A Sympony in Color and Words” by Mat Tomezsko. My picture doesn’t really show the true colors as it was evening and lots of other lights. Click here for a great arial view.

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We took advantage of Tara and I having some time off together and also took a quick drive to Green Lane in hopes of finding some good Pokemon. Pokemon were not cooperating but I did see many many dragonflies. I love dragonflies. I was not  able to to get too many photos, I was not able to get too close to the waters edge. I like how this one turned out though!

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Saturday, Tara and I continued our tradition since 2009 and saw Star Trek Beyond at the Movie Tavern. We have not been to many movies lately, so this was a real treat for me. I enjoy the Movie Tavern experience. The movie and the food did not disappoint!

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Sunday, I finally did a grocery shopping. I still HATE grocery shopping, but with the savings I can realize at Aldis on so many things I have not been using on line ordering! I loaded up on fruit and veggies and healthy foods.

Although it was really hot, I did cook a nice dinner with a couple recipes I found.

Mexican Chicken and Cauli-Rice. They were inspired by this recipe, but I made a few alterations. It was really good. I also made Blueberry Crisp with oatmeal and pecans in the “crisp”. I made sure to keep it healthy and did not add much additional sweetner. It was yummy!

Monday is here, and it is the last day of my four day break from work. I was up very early. We had a thunderstorm that woke me up, and I never really went back to sleep. Trying to make the most of the day! Maybe Tara and I will head out on an adventure once she gets up! If not I have plenty of projects here I could get into!

 

Thanks for stopping by.

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Half Past Summer

It seems the longer I put off updating my blog, the harder it is to know where to start.

I finally made some hosting changes, and now my site will just be www.marthakasper.com. Once upon a time, I had time for THREE blogs, before Instagram, Twitter and Facebook took over the social media world. I shared my photos on one, our adventures and recipes and such on another, and the third I had created as a local blog when we moved back to PA. Who has time for that anymore? Certainly not me. Photos are shared instantly on Instagram, thoughts are shared on Facebook, etc. I really keep this blog as a journal of sorts for myself. Hopefully since I finally made this consolidation I will not feel so overwhelmed.

It feels good to have everything under one roof. Like downsizing my stuff, I am down sizing my digital presence too! Let’s not talk about all the digital photo files I am trying to purge.

Who can believe that we are already 1/2 way through July? It is flying by so quickly. Work keeps me busy and tired. In a good way these days. Not stressful for the most part (except for some people issues.) I think we are in a good place right now, except for being down a key holder once again. They are hard positions to fill. Full time retail, with the need for a very flexible schedule, days, nights, weekends, holidays and truthfully not the best in pay. As much as having a Mon-Fri, set schedule job might be, I have gotten used to being able to have a morning off, or a Monday off. Weekends are not always what it is all about! All that aside, I do enjoy my job, and being tired at the end of the work day isn’t the worst thing in the world!

Tara is working 4-5 days a week, and many times we are on opposite shifts, so we do not get to spend too much time together. We have had a very few adventures since she got her license. That’s okay. She is able to come and go as she pleases, not having to rely on me. A freedom she waited a long time for but in the end, the wait paid off. She was able to get a nice relatively new car, that I feel comfortable with her driving.

This is her adorable 2013 Chevy Spark. I get to drive it sometimes. We traded in our white Dodge Caravan to help with the down payment on this one, and I drive Mom’s mini van that she is not using anymore to go to and from work.IMG_4236 (2)

Tara finally received her high school diploma in June. Better late than never. She had been done classes since January, but had to wait for the diploma. No post high school education plans right now. That is fine with me. I don’t want her to start off with college debt for a degree in something that she may not use. She really is not sure what she wants to do. Right now food service/hospitality, are what she is looking at. Tara is not a morning person, so an 8am-5pm job is probably not for her right now!

Mom turned 92 on July 4th. We had a small gathering at my sister Linda’s new house. She moved into a 55+ older community just the week before. It was nice to gather with a family and friends. I did not get too many photos, it was a little hectic and I had worked early in the day after falling in the freezer at work the day before, and was not feeling my best!

Mom with Ben and Jessica Kepler (grandson and daughter-in-law of our friend Bobbie.) Bobbie has baked mom a birthday cake just about every year I can remember recently.

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I spent a day out by myself taking some photos with my “real” camera. Something I really don’t make much time for these days. It is just so much easier to grab the IPhone. Sometimes you just need to pull out the DSLR and shoot away.

I spend a couple hours at Pearl S Buck house. The grounds are beautiful, it was quiet and peaceful and just what I needed that particular day.

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I can’t think of too much more right now. I still need to get more of Robin’s letters transcribed. I have five out of the next days off, so hopefully I can get to some more of my “to do list”!

Oh, the one thing Tara and I have been finding time for together is taking a ride, even if it is 9 or 10pm looking for Pokemon in the Pokemon Go game. It is fun for us. (I know some “grown ups” thing it is dumb!), but Tara grew up (or evolved) with Pokemon, they were a huge part of her childhood, so an activity that we can spend a little bit of time together after our busy days is a good thing in my book!

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