Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

February 18, 2014

A Breath of Spring in the Snow

It is snowing once again here in Massachusetts. We are getting snow-weary and cabin-fevery. This morning as I wandered the house looking for possible objects as the subjects of my photo hunt, fluttering movement caught my eye out in the back yard.

With the snow gently drifting all around them, (the morning after the Great Backyard Bird Count was completed!) I spotted flashes of red in the trees near the back of my yard.

Robins

About a dozen robins were happily singing and cavorting in the snow. The sound of their cheery song in the middle of February brought thoughts that maybe spring isn’t so very far away.

This mourning dove, however, seemed to have other thoughts, all puffed up against the cold.
Mourning dove

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 23, 2013

What has become a Christmas Tradition…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 2:22 pm
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poinsettia

Twas two days before Christmas
And my house is a mess.
How will it ever be ready
for dinner and guests?

Christmas cheer

I’ve not begun baking
nor cleaning just yet
but soon as I’m done blogging,
to the kitchen I’ll get.

Cedric checks the presents

The gifts have been wrapped
on that step I’m ahead
but there’s still plenty to do
before this body hits bed.

wrapping nearly done

But poor Michaela had asked,
“What about snow?
Surely you can show me
some pictures ‘fore you go!”

Teddy enjoys the snow

Especially for you,
I tromped out into the white!
A true New Englander,
It gives me no fright!

IMG_0641

little tree in the snow

I wish you no worries
from this silly blog of mine.
I wish you Merry Christmas
and a peaceful holiday time!

Little tree at night

ETA: I may have unintentionally given the impression, I’ve realized after reading some comments, that it is still snowy here. This past weekend brought temperatures near 60 degrees F – all snow is completely gone! It is green and muddy and mushy here now.

December 14, 2013

Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Filed under: Walking the Dogs — Karma @ 3:41 pm
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After being treated to a relatively warm and mild autumn here in New England, things have changed significantly here, and in much of the country it seems. Cold air, snow, ice – we seem to be getting it all, all of a sudden. It isn’t “officially” winter yet of course, but it might as well be. There have only been dustings of snow so far – though that’s due to change tonight. Electra is expected to drop 6-8 inches on this region. But it is one of those things that I can’t change, so why should I worry about it, right Robin?

Instead of worry, I bring you some of the things I’ve been up to in this cold weather of the last three weeks or so.

Before Meghan went back to college after Thanksgiving, we joined good friends of ours Greg and Sherry (brother and sister) and Sherry’s pooch Angel for a cold-weather, heart-pumping hike at Bigelow Hollow in Union CT.
walk with friends, furry and otherwise

Though the air was chilled, the company was great and the scenery was rather pretty.
cold picnic view

We hiked about 3 miles through the park on marked trails, and even had a picnic.
Daphne wanted a picnic too
Daphne for some reason believed she belonged on the picnic table. We had to convince her otherwise.

no swimming? no kidding!
With the exception of the four-legged ones, no one was really tempted!

Back at home, the dogs are quite happy that the snow season has begun.
pawprints

And the weather is definitely not too frightful for regular soaks in the hot tub.
dusting
I wish I could share the beautiful, clear, starry nights that I gaze at from the tub that these cold days have been leaving behind.

As much as I hate to admit it, November and December have been shedding some very pretty light.
winter light

There are these lights to enjoy as well:
tree '13

Here’s some more pretty sparkle:
2013 Champs ornaments
(You knew I’d have to have that ornament on my tree, right?)

I told you in this post that I was committed to making some changes in the one thing that I could change – me. How’s this post for a change? Appreciation of the cold from a self-proclaimed summer girl!

March 26, 2013

The Snow Menagerie

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:00 am
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Did you see my post the other day about looking for signs of spring? If you didn’t, you should go back and look at that one before you read this one. It’s okay, I can wait. All set now? Good!
In that post, I asked you to leave your guesses about the shapes I saw in the snow. To show you how I saw them, I went into Paint and just used simple pencil drawings to bring out the critters that were hanging out on my lawn.
Cat
Cat
Fish
Fish
Heart
I tried desperately to find an animal on this one, but it really just looked like a heart to me.

squirrel
Squirrel

Turtle and Easter Bunny
A turtle and a chocolate Easter Bunny

Thanks for playing along!

March 24, 2013

Desperately Seeking Springtime

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:44 pm
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Like so many of us in the northern parts of this country, I am more than ready for springtime warmth to take over. The sun actually came out today, but the beautiful blue skies might fool one into believing that it was warmer outside than the thermometer displayed.
reaching for spring
Those blue skies and visible sunshine lured me outside with my camera in a hunt for any possible signs of spring around my yard. I was surprised to find a few.
The snow is thankfully melting and I’m hoping we are done with accumulating snow for the season.
melting snow
At the edge of my yard, where the snow banks were, I noticed an array of shapes were left behind.
snow remains
The more I looked, the more I noticed a little menagerie lined up at the edge of my lawn. Can you guess what I saw? Leave your guesses in the comment section and I’ll tell you what I saw in my next post.
snow shape 1

snow shape 2

snow shape 3

snow shape 4

snow shape 5

In addition to the melting snow, I found
daffodil shoots
daffodil shoots in snow
lilac buds
lilac bud
iris sprouts
iris growth
rhododendron buds
rhododendron buds
new chives
spring chives
and tree buds
red buds on blue sky
I’m trying very hard to convince myself that weather that feels like spring isn’t too far away. The birds that were singing while I was outside today seem to believe it is true. It is time, Old Man Winter, to release us from your clutches!

March 18, 2013

Stripping Away the Color

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 6:00 am
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When Scott announced his photography assignment for this month, I wasn’t sure I would participate. Black and white photography!I thought to myself, oh dear, not a favorite for me.
For me photography is all about color – yes, composition and subject are huge parts too, but I just didn’t know if I could find any of my photos that would be interesting enough to present in black and white. I don’t react well to black and white photography as a general rule. I’ve had this pre-conceived notion in my head that black and white is always moody.
However, to show my support of Scott’s tenacity for bringing us new assignments every other month ( I know how much work it is to write those wrap-ups from when I did the photo hunts), I decided to peruse my archives to see if I could find some shots of interest. I believe I still like these photos better in color, but I can see some appreciation of the subtleties of black and white as well.
In this first picture, Meghan had asked me to take a picture of her in an arebesque on pointe so that she could use it for an art project.
b&wmeg
In removing the color from this photo, I noticed shadows both on the walls and in the mirrors that I hadn’t seen in the color version. I think that adds some interesting movement to the shot that wasn’t in the color one. The Christmas decorations still hanging on the walls are little less emphasized in the black and white version as well.

For this photo, it occurred to me that Teddy could make a good subject for black and white photography since he is really a study in contrasts to begin with.
b&wteddy
Teddy has a truly expressive face, and at times it is quite comical, but black and white seems to bring an unusually sorrowful look to his usually clown-like face.

I chose to include this last shot in the black and white assignment because when I originally posted it in color in the “What Winter Means to Me” assignment, my mother happened to comment on how much she liked the “black and white” photo of my backyard! There was very little color in the original, so I decided to see what it would look like completely stripped away.
b&wyard
The photos don’t look extremely different, but I think the black and white looks more like bad weather is imminent.

For a transitional month, so lacking in natural color, this black and white assignment turned out to be one that I could work with afterall! I am, however, very much looking forward to the colors of spring!

Scott’s assignment isn’t due until this Wednesday the 20th if you think you’d like to join in!

February 16, 2013

Here We Snow Again!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:57 am
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"Bark"a-lounger?

Would this be called a bark-a-lounger? ;-)

I didn’t even know it was in the forecast, but this is what I woke up to this morning:
IMG_9449

IMG_9447

IMG_9446

Yesterday, it was 49°F.  The snow from Nemo was melting.  I ran errands in the afternoon without wearing a coat.  The snow out here today is nothing to cause any concern – its only an inch or two of the gently falling stuff.  But its February now.  My patience is wearing thin.  At Christmas time, I was wishing for a little bit of it, but now I’m ready for it to be done.  Robin was showing pictures of crocuses this weekKate has a beautiful bud of some sort featured in a gorgeous week of photos.

Have you all met Kate?  I’ve recently discovered her blog and her gorgeous photography.  She has inspired me to want to get out there and try to do more with my own photography.  I’m on school vacation this week, so I’m hoping to spend some time driving around looking for interesting photo subjects, rather than wallowing in the fact that I’m not off to some wonderfully warm locale for the week.

This could be happening to me!

rr130211

(above comic from Rose is Rose by Don Wimmer and Pat Brady)

February 9, 2013

Morning Views from Nemo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:23 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Western Massachusetts turned out to be the lucky ones this time around. It is a little after 10am on Saturday morning as I type this blog, and the power, internet and cable are still on. The snow seems to have finished and the winds are diminishing. The snow plow still has not been down my street, so I won’t be going any where any time soon (although hubby has a 4-wheel drive vehicle should we really need to get out). It is hard to tell exactly how much snow we have because of all of the drifting from the wind, but of course I have some photos to share with you to give you an idea.

Walking into the kitchen first thing this morning, this is what the dogs and I saw:
After Nemo: first look

When I first opened the slider to let them out, the dogs really weren’t sure what to do when faced with snow nearly as tall as them. Then they jumped into it and plowed their way through:
After Nemo: dogs trying to get thru the snow

After Nemo: deck

Here are some views of my deck and back yard:
After Nemo: deck/grill

After Nemo: deck/table

After Nemo: backyard

You can see in that last shot that the trees are not coated in snow. I’m thinking that must mean the snow is more of the light and fluffy type rather than the heavy and wet stuff.

In my front yard, you can’t tell where the yard ends and the street begins since the plows are yet to make their way by.
After Nemo: driveway

After Nemo: front yard

Happy to report we are all safe and cozy and warm here. I have family and friends who are still not out of Nemo’s grips just yet. Eastern Massachusetts and other parts of northeastern New England are still under assault from the storm for a good part of today, and power is out for some. I’m hoping for the best for them, and that power is restored as soon as possible.

January 21, 2013

What does winter mean to me? (and a little mystery too!)

Filed under: For the Birds,Photo assignments — Karma @ 10:14 am
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If you ask me how I feel about winter in general, “Grumpy Cat” does a good job of expressing my feelings! (You’ve all seen Grumpy Cat around the internetz by now, right?)

I generally don’t like being cold, dealing with poor driving conditions, having the wind whip across my face or feeling like my nose has frozen shut when I step outside. I am a summer girl at heart, as I have expressed many times here on the blog. So when Scott proposed this month’s assignment on winter, I felt a bit like Grumpy Cat up there.

However, having lived in Massachusetts my entire life, even I can appreciate some of the simple beauties and offerings of wintertime.

My backyard does have a tendency to look a bit like a Currier and Ives painting after a fresh snow fall:
snowy backyard

Although I’ve pictured them many times here on the blog, a blog about winter has to include my two goofball dogs loving the snow:
golden retriever loves snow!

collie face full of snow

Winter time sometimes also means an afternoon hot coffee break. Curling up on a cold afternoon with a cup fresh from the Keurig and a biscotti for dipping can be a nice way to warm up:
coffee break
(like my cute teacher-cat mug?)

I enjoy bird watching all year round, but I have a tendency to fill the feeders and watch and enjoy the birds more in the winter (especially since there are no flowers to take pictures of!):
chickadee at birdfeeder

Birdwatching on this particular day brought me the answer to a mystery I’ve been trying to solve for years now. I took this picture of this adorable little brown bird sitting in the rhododendron right outside my window:
carolina wren
and set out to identify it afterwards. It was about the size of a sparrow but didn’t look exactly like most of the sparrows around here. I went to my go-to birding site, Cornell’s All About Birds and started searching. I found what I believe to be a match, a Carolina Wren. Now here’s the mystery part. For years, my husband and I have been joking about a bird call. One day he said to me, “I wish that bird’s girlfriend would answer him! Can you hear him calling ‘JudyJudyJudy’?” Then the call seemed to change slightly and I said, “Hey, I think she’s finally answering – it sounds like she’s saying ‘JimmyJimmyJimmy’!” And hence began the saga of Jimmy and Judy. One of us would often say “I think Jimmy and Judy are having a fight!” or “I wonder where Jimmy and Judy are today?”

Throughout all this bird-calling, I was never able to identify Jimmy or Judy. I’d see a little flit of a brown bird pass through the yard, but could never quite make out exactly what the bird looked like. Now the Cornell website includes typical bird calls for help in bird identification. While identifying the Carolina Wren the other day, I clicked on the bird call and guess what? “JudyJudyJudy,JimmyJimmyJimmy” played out from my computer speakers! Mystery solved!

Thanks again for the photo assignment Scott!

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