Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

December 30, 2010

My Favorites of 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 11:55 am
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I’m totally stealing this idea (with permission) from Scott Thomas.  I’ve chosen some of my favorite photos that I’ve taken this year.  I think I’ve shared most, if not all, on the blog.  Not surprisingly, the majority were taken after my purchase of Mr. Andre Rebel.  I have other favorites, such as family shots, but I realize they are favorites for personal reasons, so I weeded those out as I was narrowing down my choices.  I narrowed it down to 12, with some difficulty, and I’d love to read about which you like best in the comments.

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I think this was a fabulous idea that Scott had – maybe some others of you out there will steal this idea too?  I will definitely come vote at your place too, should you decide to showcase your 2010 favorites.

I don’t know if this will be my last blog post of 2010 or not – I’m not yet sure what New Year’s Eve holds for me.  The most likely scenario is that I will be home watching a movie while hubby works, perhaps staying awake long enough to watch the ball drop in Times Square.  I hope 2011 is a great year for you.  I’d especially like to extend this wish to two of my favorite bloggers who have decided to take hiatuses from blogging for undetermined amounts of time.  Brian of FS Photography and Kathy of Lake Superior Spirit want to step back from blogging to refresh their spirits.  I hope this break does the trick for them and that we will see them back to posting as soon as possible.

December 28, 2010

Andre’s First Snow

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 3:43 pm
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Ahhhhhh…. a rare moment: I am home alone.  Girls are each at friends’ houses, hubby is out working an extra detail.  And what am I doing?  The dishes stacked in the sink? Nah.  Folding the laundry? Nope!  I’m eating chocolate and writing a blog post!  That’s a good use of my time, right?  I thought so too.

“Watch out for the Blizzard of 2010!  Winter Storm Adrianne is on its way!  Ten to fifteen inches of snow!” the media screamed.  I’ll believe it when I see it, I thought to myself.  It did snow.  And many areas, it appears, did get quite a bit of heavy, wet snow.  Here in my little corner of the world?  Maybe four inches.  It is very hard to say because it was extremely windy.  There are parts of the yard where the snow was blown much higher than 4 inches, but under some of the trees, the grass is still visible.


I took this picture yesterday from  inside the comfort of my house while the wind howled outside.  But look across the street there.  See?  Grass under the trees.

I  live in what seems to be a somewhat protected little pocket of Massachusetts called the Pioneer Valley – at least here in the southern part of it.  When storms rage across New England, other parts of Massachusetts often get piled on with snow.  I could probably count on one hand the number of times this area has received more than 18″ of snow from one storm in the years since I’ve been married.  The weather media is always threatening us with 10-12″ with an incoming snow storm.  I scoff.  I rarely believe them.

Although we did not get the predicted amount of snow, it was our first appreciable amount of snowfall this winter.  The dogs have been happily romping through it and the girls and I went sledding today for the first time in a long time.  It was also Andre’s first snow.  I admit, however, to feeling lazy about wanting to go outside for pictures.  I took a few (from inside the house) to mark the occasion for Andre.


Light, dry snow blowing up the road in yesterday’s wind.


The view from my favorite summertime spot, my deck.  Yes, those are my dead mums still swinging in the breeze, and no, I didn’t get the garden hose put away before the snow came down!


Unlike me, Teddy doesn’t mind the chilly temps and cold winds we’ve been experiencing.  He goes outside and lays down in the snow.  With the winter coat he’s grown, I suspect he barely feels cold.  I thought he looked rather handsome highlighted by the bright, white snow.


This photo leaves me with a question for those of you who’d be in the know.  After my recent discovery of starbursts at a small aperture, I was curious about what a small aperture out in bright sunshine might bring me.  The sun was still too high and too bright to try to make a star out of it, and I know some of the the shape and color here is known as sun flare.  My question is, where did that perfect pentagon of sun flare come from?  Does the shutter of the camera shut in that shape?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Please enlighten me if you are able.

ETA: I just tried out the video feature of my new iPod.  Here’s a little clip of the dogs having fun in the backyard:

December 26, 2010

A Quick Christmas Follow-up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 6:55 pm
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I’d love to style this post a la Gerry with a poem in the style of “A Visit from St. Nick,” but I’m too pooped to be creative.  I did want to share a few pictures from our weekend.  I’ve been on the go since Christmas Eve, prepping  for two Christmas celebrations here at my house – one with mom yesterday and one with dad today (mom and dad are divorced).  On Christmas Eve, I cooked all these ahead of time for Christmas Day:

(mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry bread, zucchini bread, homemade cinnamon buns, thumbprint cookies)

I used this recipe from Sweet Savory Life for the cinnamon buns.  Yummy!  In addition to what is pictured above, I also made a chocolate pudding pie and, for the first time ever, made brine for my turkey.  I followed Pioneer Woman’s recipe.  The turkey was very moist, but I’m not sure I’d bother doing it again.  I didn’t notice any flavor added from the brining.

On to Christmas Day.

I’m quite thankful for having kids who no longer need to be up crazy early to open gifts.  I do miss a little of the “magic” of Christmas with young children and the excitement of Santa, but things are nice this way too.





Teddy puts up with a little Christmas decorating by the kids…


…and with being a pillow after a big day of visiting with people, who of course only came to our house to visit the dogs.  Are my dogs the only ones who think this way?


Happy, funny girls

Can you take another food picture?  After a big dinner, served early afternoon so poor hubby could eat before he had to leave for work, we had quite the selection at our little dessert buffet:


It came a day late, but the snow has finally arrived here.  It started snowing this afternoon.  We have a couple inches right now, with possible blizzard-like conditions tonight.  Predictions are for 10 to 15 inches by the time it is all done.  I guess Andre will finally get his introduction to snow.

December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:27 am
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I’ve got a busy day ahead, as I am sure many of you do.  I wonder how many of us will find the time to visit the blogs today.  I’ll be spending it cooking, cleaning and getting ready for tomorrow, as I will be hosting 10 people for Christmas dinner.  Maybe you have traveling, wrapping or even last minute shopping still to do.  I wish you the best of luck and good will in everything you do, and hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow.  I’m hoping to be back later with pictures of stuffed stockings, gifts beneath the tree and piles of food prepped for tomorrow and a big wish for you for a very merry Christmas!  If I run out of time and steam, Merry Christmas now!  Cherish the ones you love and your time with them.


I’d like to leave you with this tune that’s been in my head recently.  John Denver and the Muppets was one of  my favorite Christmas specials and albums when I was a kid.  I have the CD now, but it lacks one of my favorite tunes: Dr Teeth and the Electric Mayhem’s version of Little Saint Nick – I just love Animal rocking out singing “run, run reindeer!”  This song, however is the one that’s been playing in my head while I write this post, because of the very ending line – Merry Christmas everyone….

December 20, 2010

Ooh, look what I discovered!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 6:00 am
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While I had the tripod set up this weekend to get a picture of the Christmas village, I turned around and started randomly  shooting at my Christmas tree with different settings.  All of a sudden, with a tiny aperture and loooonnngggg shutter speed, I found these:

Star-shaped glow from the Christmas lights!  I may be a bit naive in my discovery – I imagine you seasoned DSLR users have probably known this trick for a long time.  But it was new to me, so I continued to play:

So much fun!  I giggled and gasped like a kid!  I even turned my new star-shape making on to the lighthouse that goes with the Chirstmas village:

I love learning new things with Andre! :mrgreen:

December 19, 2010

Welcome to Snow Village

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 3:58 pm
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Even though there’s no real snow on the ground around here (except for what is left of the dusting from earlier in the week), there is always snow in my living room each Christmas.


I have been collecting the Original Snow Village by Dept. 56 for about 18 years now.  There are many styles of collectible villages out there, but I love the painstaking detail that goes into the Dept. 56 pieces.  I chose this Village from all Dept. 56 offers because of its glossy finish to the buildings, the about 25% larger building size and the huge variety of pieces available.  I started collecting when a local department store went out of business.  I’d estimate my total village size at about 30 lit pieces.  I don’t think I’ve ever displayed my entire collection at once; some pieces have fallen into disfavor or disrepair over the years, and as Dept. 56 improved the pieces over the years, some of the older ones don’t appeal to me as much any more.  In 2008, I displayed the most I’ve ever displayed at once.  There were three “areas” of the village that year: “downtown and the ‘burbs“, “the countryside” and “the boardwalk.”  This year, time got away from me and I downsized to about a dozen favorite pieces with accessories.  I thought I’d take you on a little tour through town.

Like my Christmas tree, my Christmas village contains many pieces that hubby and I chose because they represent some part of our lives.


Here’s the police station and cruiser for hubby.  After a late night, the cruiser has been known to be found running down various citizens of Snow Village or crashing into buildings.  Hubby’s sense of humor goes there.


No explanation necessary! 🙂


This piece was quite the puzzle to get the shot I wanted.  With its multilayer design, I had a hard time getting everything in focus I wanted to show you.  I tried different apertures, flash vs no flash.  I finally got this shot with most of the building fairly focused.  Chinese is a favorite take-out food around here, and I just loved the attention to detail here.  From the gold dragon on top to the table set on the side with decorative lanterns hanging above it, this is probably one of the most detailed pieces I own.


Of course there is a dance studio, with little ballerinas on their way to class.


A greenhouse for my love of gardening


For my love of quilting… and who doesn’t love pie?


 Cows have crept into my village too.  They are not oreo cows, but I love them just the same.

All these pieces surround a little downtown park area I created with the help of some accessories:


Accessories really help bring the village to life:



…Or to un-life as the case may be!  More of hubby’s sense of humor on display here.  A few years ago I woke up Christmas morning to find my village overrun with zombies:

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 Now, I check the village each morning to see  what has come upon the innocent citizens of Snow Village.

I hope you enjoyed your visit!

December 18, 2010

Playdate for Pooches

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:49 pm
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Sorry about this blog going to the dogs a couple times in a row, but Teddy and Daphne were lucky enough to have their friend Angel stop by for a visit today.  Angel is a high-energy yellow lab mix, and she always gives Teddy a run for his money – and he definitely needed it today.  He has been rather mopey this week.  As some bitter cold temps dipped in for a visit this week, that made me, or anyone else in the family, pretty much unwilling to go outside and play or go for a walk.  The sun came out and it was a bit milder today,  so I ventured out for some pictures with our guest.


Teddy chases Angel for the beloved football.


Angel speaks softly and carries a big stick.


Daphne decided to stick with a small stick.


Break time!

Back inside the house, Angel’s mama wanted her to try on the antlers that Teddy wore a couple weeks ago.

This evening, Teddy and Daphne were pooped from their exciting visit!

In other news, I’m trying to be organized!  I am the hostess of Christmas dinner for the family next Saturday.  Just a week away, can you believe it?  So I started today trying to figure out what I need food-wise over the next 9 days (including tonight, which was Rustic Pizza from Papa Gino’s! Mmmmm)  See here’s my chicken-scratch plan I mapped out today:


I also negotiated with Meghan to get some house cleaning done while I am work next week.  We made a deal that works for both of us. Have I mentioned how jealous I am that our town’s school district is already out on Christmas break, while the district that I work for has to go all the way til Thursday?

I think I’m done Christmas shopping, but I still have to wrap.  Christmas Eve will be spent prepping, cooking and cleaning.  Today, I got around to putting up a downsized version of my Christmas Village:

More pictures and stories about the Village coming tomorrow!

December 16, 2010

A Dusting

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 3:15 pm
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 Many of the blogs that I read on a regular basis, including Lake Superior Spirit, Life in the Bogs, Torch Lake Views and Views Infinitum have been reporting being inundated with snow.  Here in New England, we are certainly no strangers to snow, but we are yet to have what I’d call a real snowfall.  Earlier this week, we received a bit of a dusting along with some bitter cold temps.  Teddy and Daphne are great fans of snow, and their thick winter coats prevent them from minding too much about the temperatures.  The sun was pretty much set for the day when I took these pictures, so they have that bluish tinge to the snow, but this is what we’ve got around here for now:


“Daphne!  Come play!  We have snow!!!!!!!”


“Hmmmmm, indeed we do.”

“See! See! I told you!  Are you ready to play now? Huh? Huh? Are you? C’mon, c’mon!  CHASE ME!!!!”


“Okay!  Ready, set….”

“I’m already going! Wahoo!”

I don’t really share their enthusiasm.  I’d be content if it snowed on Christmas Eve and melted on the 26th. Okay that’s not entirely true.  I like to have enough snow to cause a two hour delay to the start of school!  I get to sleep in on those days, have a shortened day of work and we don’t have to make up those days in June.  I have promised, however, to look at snow with fresh eyes this winter – hopefully as a source of some pretty pictures and opportunity for learning more about Andre.

December 12, 2010

Touring Around the Christmas Tree

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:10 pm
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This post needs music to get you in the mood!  Please let this play while you read! 🙂

I’m going to take you on a little tour around my Christmas Tree.

Here’s my tree with the lights still on in the room to give you a better look at the ornaments.  The 50mm got to come out and play with its lovely 1.8 aperture and get some closer up shots of some of my favorite ornaments, no flash required.  Our tree is filled with ornaments that reflect my family’s life.  We have ornaments to represent each of our pets:






There are ornaments that show our interests:



(who’s been paying attention and knows what this one represents?)


It’s not an oreo cow, but yes, a cow ball has a place on my tree!  Not to be confused with calf nuts over at the Pioneer Woman’s place.  Cows don’t have balls, afterall, they’re girls.  Ahem, moving on…

We also love Halloween around here, so it would follow that “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is one of our favorite movies, and is represented on our tree.

As I am sure most of the parents out there do, we have plenty of handmade treasures our children have brought home from school over the years:


One year as we were hanging ornaments, I noticed that everyone in the family had an ornament with their name on it except for me.  Meghan asked me why I didn’t have one.  I didn’t know.  Unbeknownst to me, Meghan remedied that situation with her own hands.  I thought it was one of the sweetest things she’d ever done.  This year, I hung it cozily next to hubby’s ornament:

Can you see me reflected in hubby’s ornament?

The last ornament I’m sharing is one that has seen better days.  Despite the fact that this poor little kitty’s ears have broken off, I will keep this ornament as long as it doesn’t shatter into thousands of pieces:

I bought this ornament many years ago to represent my crazy little kitty that I named “Phooey.”  She was a spunky little thing who I first saw as a college student working part time in a veterinarian’s office.  I saw her only a week or two old and knew I wanted her.  I went to work getting my father to let me bring her home when she was old enough.  Phooey was charming and genetically unusual.  She was a gold tabby – normally those are only male cats.  She was also double-toed with front feet that looked like she wore mittens with huge thumbs.  Unfortunately, she also had a heart murmur.  She died prematurely at the young age of 7 from a blood clot that paralyzed her.  I’ll always remember my sweet Phooey.

Ah, I didn’t mean to leave this post on a sad note.  Christmas is a time for happy memories.


How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

December 10, 2010

Odds and Ends

Filed under: Photo assignments,Recipes — Karma @ 9:36 pm
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It has been a busy week.  I feel remiss that I haven’t written a post since Sunday.  I have cool post ideas rambling around in my head but they haven’t quite come to fruition yet.  Ever have that feeling?  I still wanted to share a little bit tonight, because tomorrow will be a busy day too.

Did you ever notice that rhododendrons work as thermometers?  Really, it’s true!  I’m pretty sure we can all remember what our rhododendrons look like in the spring when they are gorgeous and bursting with flowers (I was going to show you a picture, of course, but I couldn’t find a decent one in my archives!  Really, Karen? Weird! I know!)

At this time of year, I know it is a morning that we need to bundle up when I look out the front window and see this:

Can you see how tightly those leaves are curled up?  I’ve noticed they seem to do this when the temperature is below freezing.  This morning was one of the coldest we’ve had so far this season at about 10 degrees F and those leaves were sucked in so tight they looked like pine needles.  It was still too dark out for me to get a good picture though.

Speaking of cold, our friend Scott Thomas is buried in about 4 feet of Lake Effect snow these days.  Scott also recently posted a long term photo assignment that I think will be a lot of fun.  If you haven’t gotten over there to check it out, go see!  Scott has promised to send email reminders to those of us who’d like to participate and leave him a comment.

 Mr. Rebel or Andre or EWOT or whatever his name is, is anxious to be introduced to this white phenomena so many bloggers seem to be talking about and taking pictures of.  He sits in his case near-by the computer, complaining to be used as usual, but he will have to wait for snow.  I’ve been mollifying him with Christmas tree pictures.

I have others, with a story to share, coming soon. 

Ms. Sell, over at the Writing Studio and Bait Shop, who always has a great story to share, did a post sharing her ideas for planning those family meals and getting out of the dreaded rut.  She’s got some easy ideas and shares a recipe too!  Thanks, Gerry, for contributing.  I think some of your ideas may make my New Year’s resolution  binder.  You might want to check out today’s post as well where we learn that Miss Sadie and the Cowboy have been immortalized in print!

I hope this busy holiday season finds you well and not too crazy.  Better make sure  you aren’t suffering from FGEEKD!  Time to go relax with a glass of wine (or whatever floats your particular boat).  I promise my next post will be less disjointed.

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