Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

November 27, 2011

Meandering

Filed under: Walking the Dogs — Karma @ 4:01 pm
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creek

Like this little creek from my walk today with the poochachos, I think this blog post may meander a bit.  That’s a bit how this Thanksgiving break from work has gone.  I told you about Friday in my last post.  Yesterday found me breaking out of lack of physical activity to tackle the leaves from my horrible sycamore tree.  I forgot to take a “before” picture, but this shot from my 365 project 3 years ago will give you the idea with the amount of leaves from one tree I have to deal with:

The task at hand

After I finished cleaning the front yard, I treated my daughter and myself to a guilty pleasure:

Okay, I’ll cop to it: I read all of the Twilight books.  I’m not one of those “obsessed” people, but I did enjoy the story.

Today found me disbelieving it is already Sunday and that means the return to work tomorrow.  Where did the Thanksgiving break go?  The weather was still reasonably warm today and the dogs really needed a good walk, so off we went.  We headed out to our walk along the powerlines.  Many of the hurdles of broken trees and limbs had been thankfully removed.  As we entered the field that leads to the powerline path,

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in the distance, at the top of the ridge, I saw what I at first thought were just people.  They seemed to be too tall and rather fast moving to be folks on a walk like me.  They disappeared into that stand of trees on the left of the shot before I could get nearer for a closer inspection.  Then I realized what I had been seeing:

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people on horseback!  There were LOTS of tracks like this along our route today, and I think Teddy smelled every one of them.  Other interesting sights along our walk included:

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the final resting place for a bouquet of helium balloons, and these:

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They look like some sort of pine cone, don’t they? Except they were on a tree completely barren of needles.  I didn’t think pine trees ever lost ALL of their needles in one season, do they?

We came around toward one of the last really wooded parts of our walk (I feel like I show you this view rather often, but I love the tunnel-like look and how it changes with the seasons)

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The walk was kind of muddy, and the dogs never missed the opportunity to tromp through the puddles rather than go around them.  They came back dirty and tired, but it was all good.

Now I’ve meandered back to where I began the day – sitting at the computer, keeping up with all of you in the blogosphere.  Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us!  I’m going to try my best not to get to rattled by it all and to stay up with my blog and yours as we enter this busiest of seasons.  Speaking of seasons, Scott’s Fours Seasons assignment is due in about a month!  Did you remember to take pictures for it?  I did, and will be bringing you that post very soon.

November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 5:23 pm
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Twice today I had my cup of coffee interrupted by the desire to take a photo.  Desire turned to inspiration, and the blog post began composing itself in my head.

As I stood in the kitchen this morning while the Keurig brewed my first cup, I was taken in by the sparkle outside.  There was a fairly thick frost last night, and the morning sun was lighting it up as it melted.  In my flannel pants and slippers, I ventured into the backyard.

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Autofocus and I disagreed yet again, so the only really focused spot in that shot is that one drop of water, but I kind of liked this in an abstract way.

While Teddy tried to engage me in game of tug-of-war with one of many fallen sticks, I was attracted to the frosted edges of this leaf:

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Returning to my coffee, I discovered I must have had a defective K-cup as my cup was full of grounds! Yuck.  But it gave me the excuse to brew a fresh cup after my little outdoor excursion.

After finishing that cup, I turned to leftovers.  Jennifer kindly sent me home with a generous bag of turkey bones and meat for making soup.  Stock spent the afternoon simmering on my stove.
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Even with reserving plenty of meat to fill out the soup, I had a substantial amount of turkey available for sandwiches.  MSN.com had a featured article this morning on ways to jazz up those leftover turkey sandwiches.  Hubby and I took some inspiration from it.  He popped out to the store this morning and picked up a few supplies,
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and we had rather gourmet pannini style sandwiches courtesy of our George Foreman grill.

After some chores, later afternoon rolled around and I started eyeing some of those shortbread cookies I told you about on Wednesday. (I managed to snag a few to bring back home!) Another cup of coffee with a couple of cookies seemed like a perfect idea, but just I was getting ready for this afternoon snack, a sky with pink clouds beckoned me back outside (er, yep, still in those flannel pants and slippers!)
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It’s too bad the power lines cross this one, but they kind of made for a neat effect with the vapor trails:
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I finally got to my coffee and cookies, and sat down to write this post.
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It was a relaxing, coffee, flannel pants and slippers, kind of day.  No crazy Black Friday shopping for me.  How did you spend your day-after-Thanksgiving?

November 23, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Goodness

As I told you last year, with my somewhat silly take on the Lydia Maria Child classic, I go to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. (I host the family for Christmas, so it works out nicely)  I have some dishes that I make every year to bring to her house, which I’ve just completed at the time of this blog post, and you can see pictures of in my link up there to last year’s post if you are interested.  This year I’ve made a tasty addition.  While flipping through my current issue of Fine Cooking magazine, I was inspired by this recipe.  There were several variations suggested for this simple cookie.  My choice?  Chocolate-dipped chocoalate chip shortbread cookies.

It is a pretty simple recipe, and it would be easy to customize to your liking.  When you make the dough, you just press it into a pan, slice ’em up (before baking) and perforate:
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After they cooled, I melted the extra chocolate chips and dipped:
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Look delicious, don’t they?

Whatever you will be eating tomorrow, have a wonderful Thanksgiving day!

November 22, 2011

Alone for a moment

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 5:16 pm

Pssst… it is an odd moment in my house.  Quiet.  Empty except for me and the furry ones.

Do you ever have odd thoughts when you are alone?  Think about something you might do if you were alone?  Wish for something maybe you really shouldn’t have when you are alone?  I do.

I have odd thoughts more often than I care to admit.  I think about my life and where it is or isn’t going.  About how it will likely change quite drastically in the next 5 years.  About how I may find myself alone much more often in those days to come.  Is that odd to think about?  Maybe my thoughts aren’t so odd, but just feel odd when they come to me unbidden, in those few moments when I am alone.

What do you think about when you are all alone?

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November 20, 2011

It’s all in the details

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 8:48 pm
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I’d been wanting to write a blog post this weekend, but I hadn’t taken any pictures this week to share with you.  Today I had plans for a luncheon at a favorite spot that I’ve shared with you many times, Pickity Place.  My sister, our best friend and I were in need of a nice girls’ day out.  At the last second this morning as I was on my way out the door, I grabbed my camera and put in my bag.  My thoughts were : I’ve taken so many pictures at Pickity Place, what new could I possibly find to share?  It is November afterall – No leaves, no flowers, November.  However, one lesson I’ve learned in the past is that it is the times that I don’t have my camera with me that I will surely wish that I did.

Perhaps it should have come as no surprise, I did find a few photos today.  One of the wonderful things about Pickity is the way that it changes with the seasons and makes each one beautiful.  The sun came out for a surprisingly warm day for mid-November in New Hampshire, and the sunlight seemed to have a special, almost filtered, quality to it at this time of the year.  Today I found some beauty in the small details, details that I might not have otherwise noticed if it had been a day filled with striking flowers and bountiful greens.

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chicken

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Some of the most beautiful details come in the form of the amazing meals served at Pickity Place.  I didn’t think to take any food pictures until we got to the last lovely course.  Today’s dessert was a pumpkin spice roll with caramel-raspberry sauce with fresh whipped cream.  The small quarters where the meals are served made it a little difficult for me to focus since I only had my 55-250mm lens with me, and I thought when I looked at the LCD that the dessert was my focal point.  Instead, here you have focus on my delicious mulled cider and the remains of our refreshing water carafe, but you can get the idea!  More great details:

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Thank you Pickity Place – and Jennifer and Renae- for another fabulous afternoon.

November 14, 2011

Best of, Part 5

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 4:00 am
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We’ve arrived at the final installment of my favorite photos of 2011.  This was kind of a long series, wasn’t it?  I hope you know that it isn’t that I think I’m so great that I needed five posts of my favorites, LOL!  It is partly my indecisiveness and partly my deep love of photography.  It is a hobby that brings me great joy; that great joy is multiplied several times when I manage a shot I’ve been coveting or one that I believe has come out beautifully.

I mentioned yesterday that there were two posts that helped to sway me to write this last post in the series.  The first was this one by Kathy.  Kathy is changing her ways a bit with regard to her blogs.  She’s made the decision that she is going to be more selective about her choices for blog posts.  She asked some cutting questions about whether she should blog about what would please others to read or stick to choices closest to her heart ( I hope I am explaining this okay Kathy!)  Then I popped over to Danielle’s blog to see her “Best of” assignment for Scott.  She has some truly compelling moments captured in her favorites.  Her most wonderful shots, in my humble opinion? The ones with her children in them.  She has a way of capturing these shots that make me sure we are getting a glimpse into their personalities.

And that, dear readers, is what I’ve been trying to decide about.  My children.  Of course, they are beautiful to me, but perhaps the rest of you would not find their photos to be as interesting as I do, so I hesitated to include them in my “best of” series.  However, if I am true to my heart, my girls need to be included in my best, because they are the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.

I’ve chosen three of my favorite shots of each of my daughters and created a collage for each:
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This is part 5, my final post in my series for Scott’s assignment to show your best of 2011.

November 13, 2011

Best of, Part 4

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 3:46 pm
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I’ve been trying to neatly package this set of photos with a category name like the last three, but the best name has been eluding me.  “Fire and Rain” came to mind if you, darling readers, are willing to accept a little stretch.  “Light” was another thought I had, but then I started thinking, well, isn’t that really the essence of photography?  On the other hand, each photo in this group does showcase light in a different way, so we’ll go with that, okay?

As those of you who’ve been with me for a while may remember, I’ve been chasing a gorgeous moon shot for a long time.  I shivered in the cold try to do justice to “supermoon” and lamented my bad luck at missing a beautiful shot on Cape Cod.  Just a couple days ago I was out trying yet again.  My favorite photo of the moon that I’ve achieved so far would be this one from my vacation in Maine in August:
Aug. 13 full moon over Biddeford Pool

One thing I plan to do in 2012 is pay more attention to the cycle of the moon and try to get out the night before as Scott has suggested.

On this same vacation, I did something I’ve never done before.  I got out of bed before sunrise and took pictures.  Plenty of times  I’ve awakened, looked out the window and thought, “how lovely.. I should take a picture” and then promptly gone back to sleep.  This year I hauled myself out to the beach with my camera and waited.  I was rewarded:
sunrise, Hills Beach

Sun and water on my vacation makes a nice segue into my next photo, the beautiful rainbow over Stage Island, one of the group of small islands you can see in many of my vacation photos.
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And speaking of rain (you need rain to get a rainbow, right?) I found this curious formation of rain drops on grape leaves at home this summer:
raindrops on grape leaves

Moving away from the rain and back into the light, two holidays provided me with two fun lessons about using my camera.  Last December I discovered the “star” effect of a long shutter speed and tiny aperture on Christmas lights. I was delighted:

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After consulting several photographer-bloggers (thank you, Scott, for your helpful hints!), I purchased a shutter-release remote and using the “bulb” setting on my camera for the first time,  went out to shoot fireworks in July:
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It has been such a wonderful year of learning about my camera and how to use it – and I have many of you to thank for it!  Thank you to every one who has offered a tip or made a beautiful photograph and gone on to explain how you did it.  I appreciate it all.

I was trying to decide whether this would be my last post in this series or if I would have one more.  The subject matter is very dear to my heart, but my concern was that others would not find it to be as compelling of a subject as I do.  After reading a couple of persuasive blog posts (I’ll share the links to those in my next post), I’ve decided I will share one more.  Perhaps the subject matter won’t be a surprise to you.  Come on back tomorrow to see what I am talking about!

This was part four in my submission to Scott Thomas’s photo assignment #16.

November 12, 2011

Best of, Part 3

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 8:29 pm
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First were the birds.  Second were the flowers.  Are you waiting with bated breath to see what part 3 will bring? No, I didn’t really think you were, but here’s part 3 anyway!  The critters, of course!  Furry, rather than feathered this time around.

Although they really try my patience when it comes to my bird feeders (I am currently shopping for a new one since they managed to destroy my “squirrel-proof” feeder), squirrels are really rather comical.  I found this one doing quite the acrobatic routine one morning:

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For my June photo hunt, I asked for a cow picture as a bonus shot.  I’ve had a thing for cows for a while now.  It may stem back to my days as a milkmaid at Old Sturbridge Village, but that doesn’t really explain my love of Oreo cows:
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Teddy and Daphne make fairly regular appearances here on the blog, so here are my favorite shots of them from this year:

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Teddy’s hi-key portrait in the snow

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My solar-powered golden retriever enjoying a sun beam.

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And an animated shot of the two of them showing their doggy love for snow.

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I could hardly leave poor Cedric out of the fun, right?  Here he is in a “serious” game of “cat and mouse”!

I still have more to come!  This was Part 3 of my submission for Scott’s assignment: Best Photos of 2011.

Best of, Part 2

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 10:54 am
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You just knew this topic would have to be one of my “best of” posts, didn’t you?  You knew flowers would have to sneak in here, didn’t you?  Because I find flowers to be such an easy, beautiful photo subject, I tried very hard in my narrowing down process to choose shots that I thought were different or unusual in some way, at least for me.  Let me know if you agree.
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I remember being really happy with this lilac bud photo – one of the first flower shots of the spring that I took back in April.  The light in the background, as much as I’d like to say I planned it, was a happy accident.

Lily of the valley

I chose this one because tiny lily of the valley can be a challenge to shoot.  I’ve got a small patch of them that have been growing near the foundation of this house since long before I lived here.  They aren’t showy flowers and they aren’t easy to get at, so I was pleased with how this shot came out.

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“Crazy Poppy” made it into my favorites because of the interesting relationship I have with this flower.  Orange is not one of my favorite colors; at the time I bought this perennial, I thought it was red.  Imagine my surprise when it bloomed flaming orange.  I’ve tried to remove it from my garden a couple times – and every time it came back, so I let it be.  Now I look forward to seeing its funny buds (almost perverse looking – really, have a look here!) and cheerful bloom each spring.

The next three photos come from my experience at Big Summer Potluck in Pennsylvania this past July.  While we sat in a rustic barn listening to presentations, I couldn’t take my eyes off the lovely arrangements placed in the windows and the beautiful filtered light coming through.
Gorgeous arrangement #2

Gorgeous arrangement #1

I also had the chance to photograph perhaps the most unusual flower I’ve ever seen, the lotus:

Strange centers too!

My daughter Sarah received a bouquet of sunflowers for her birthday this year.  The flowers remind me of her sunny personality.  In the light of a sunny window and reflected in a mirror, this is one of my best flower photos:
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This is part 2 of my contribution to Scott’s photo assignment #16.

November 11, 2011

Best of, Part 1

Filed under: For the Birds,Photo assignments — Karma @ 6:08 pm
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Scott’s assignment for this month is to show off your “best” photos of the last year (from Nov.1, 2010 to Oct. 31, 2011).  Like Kathy of Lake Superior Spirit, I think I’m going to have to be a bit of a rule-breaker this time around.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time going through my archives from the last twelve months, trying my best to narrow down.  Scott said he was looking for a minimum of 3 photos, but that we could share as many as we wished.  So maybe I’m not really rule-breaking all that much, but like Kathy, I’ve decided to do a few posts on the subject.  To keep it interesting, I’ve categorized my favorites and will do a post for each category.  I believe I’ve shared the majority of these with you already, but maybe some will be new to some of you, and at the very least forgotten about by some of you regular readers.

My first category I’m sharing is Birds.  Through the various feeders in my yard, and birding opportunities in the woods and on vacation, I’ve gotten very interested in trying to get decent photos of these fast-moving creatures.  I actually took one of my favorites just a few days ago, but that doesn’t count for Scott’s assignment!

I was absolutely thrilled to get my first pictures of a hummingbird this year.  I had a pair that seemed to make their home very close to my yard this past summer and I was lucky enough to get some unique photos of which I’m proud.
My first hummingbird picture!

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The photo-elusive male cardinal finally stayed around long enough for me to get some nice pictures this year.  Suet cakes turned out to be the key to getting Mr. C to hang around!

Male cardinal

On a visit to Cape Cod a pair of mallard ducks were quietly swimming in a small creek near my mother’s house, and I just couldn’t take my eyes off of them in the pretty afternoon light.
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Mr. Duck

A return visit to the Cape in July provided me with my first photo of an osprey.
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Seeing this bird of prey and getting this photo gave me a thrill.

I believe the above to be my best avian photos of 2011.  Out of all photos I plan to share over the next few days, these shots gave me my strongest sense of accomplishment due to the challenging nature of the subjects, and the way they forced me to learn more about using my camera.

By the way, I just realized that this assignment will reflect a year of growth in learning to use my Rebel; I bought the Canon in July of 2010, and the time period for the assignment begins four months later.  Kinda cool, huh?

You still have plenty of time to participate in Scott’s assignment – it isn’t due until November 16th!  I hope many of you will jump in and show off your best!

ETA: I forgot to mention that I had some bird photo goals for this year that went unfulfilled.  I had been hoping to also photograph an oriole, a clear shot of a red-winged blackbird (the only one I got this year can be seen here) and Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal together in one shot.  Bob or Tracy, any advice for fulfilling those goals?

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