Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

February 2, 2015

Another Snowstorm, More Musing

I’m starting to think I should make “Snow Day Musings” a regular feature around here. Snow days from school seem to be the days lately that I find the time to blog and share what’s been happening in my little part of the world.

The last time I posted, a snow day started off what was my last week as the long term sub for 6th grade math. I’m back to working as paraprofessional again, and let me tell you it takes some getting used to. I’m so very appreciative for the experience that I had as a teacher and now I think it is going to push me in the direction I think I need to take. I’ve been practicing and studying to get ready to take the teacher’s test for middle school math. If I can pass this test,(that’s a big “IF” at this point: the test has trigonometry and calculus on it!! Ay yi yi!) I can add being able to teach 5th through 9th grade math to my teaching license. I’m currently certified to teach 5th through 12th grade social studies. Those of you familiar with the Common Core are surely aware of the dismal view of the future of social studies classes. Opportunities for social studies teachers will become fewer in the future, I’m sure, as social studies blends into English Language Arts classes. That is the way social studies is treated by the Common Core.
Thinking of the future

In that last post, I also mentioned thinking about a new lens and trying to get back into photography this year. All the white I’m surrounded by lately has me less than inspired, but I have been researching the lens. The more I read, the more I want it. I’ve decided that if I make the investment, I will definitely go with the Canon lens. The Canon is the only one in this price category (85mm portrait lens) that has autofocus. Tack sharp focus is something I’d really like to work on in my photography and I don’t think buying a manual-focus-only lens to save some money will help me reach that goal. So I’m researching and scheming and watching a few places to try to get the Canon lens for the best possible price.

My area did not receive the worst of the snow from that last storm, but just 45 minutes away in Worcester where Meghan goes to school, they did. Worcester received 34.5 inches of snow from that storm. We have been lucky that the snow has been light and fluffy rather than wet and heavy. Meghan sent me a few pictures from around campus after the storm.
Snow drift
A snow drift taller than she is

On campus at Clark
Those piles will be getting taller today!

While I am talking about college, happy news came for Sarah this weekend:
Acceptance for Sarah
Wentworth Institute of Technology is the school we went to visit last summer that I told you about in this post. It turned out to be Sarah’s first choice of all of the schools she applied to. We have not heard back from the other schools yet, but I have a feeling that unless we are unable to work with this school financially, this is where she will be enrolling for the fall. It has been a great few days for Sarah. In addition to this wonderful news, she just came home yesterday from a wonderful trip to Florida. Sarah participated in her high school’s technology department trip to Disney World. They spent 3 days taking “behind the scenes” classes with the Disney Y.E.S. program as well as having free time to explore the parks. She brought me home this adorable Mickey pendant because, in her words, she thought I deserved something nice. ūüôā
Mickey pendant

Before all this snow arrived, we did have a peek at the sun yesterday. (Thank goodness Sarah’s return flight was yesterday and not today!) Daphne seemed to be enjoying it.
Enjoying a spot of sunshine
She is my solar-powered golden non-retriever after all! (Yes, I say non-retriever. Daphne has never been much of a retriever. She fetched a few balls in her puppyhood days but quickly decided that game wasn’t really her style.)

And oh yeah, there was a big game of some sort yesterday too, right? Yes, of course, the Super Bowl was yesterday and our local boys, the New England Patriots, are the champs. I am not a big football person at all but I’m very happy for the hometown team. After the dismal performance of my Red Sox last year, it is very nice to have the local team to be proud of. I don’t get invited to Super Bowl parties or have a big celebration, but I do use it as an excuse to have not-so-good-for-you food. For sitting in front of the t.v. yesterday I made Queso Fundido, chicken tenders (buffalo style for me, honey mustard for Sarah) and the Pioneer Woman’s Pizza Potato Skins
Super Bowl treat
They were delicious! I may have spoiled myself against eating frozen potato skins any more these were so good. Did you know they made little tiny pepperoni slices like that? I just discovered them yesterday when I went grocery shopping and they were perfect.

And now here we are, back to today and more snow. Here’s what I found this morning at my “squirrel proof” bird feeder:
"Squirrel proof" bird feeder

A fish eye view of the backyard:
Fisheye view of snowstorm

Well, that was a lot of musing! But who knows when you’ll hear from me next – maybe the next snow day! ūüėČ

February 13, 2014

Here we snow again…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:14 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Silly dog! Doesn't know when to come in from the snow!

What’s that saying about not being smart enough to come in from a storm? I seriously wonder about Teddy sometimes. This picture is actually from last Wednesday’s snow day, but I am home again today for a snow day. **Sigh** School vacation is next week so today feels like a waste for a day off, but what can we do?

Here’s what I’m going to do. Right now I’m writing a blog post. Want to see my pretty breakfast from this morning?
Pretty breakfast

Remember that I told you recently that I’ve been doing my best to add good protein to my diet? By my calculations that breakfast contains about 25 grams. I recently learned about Ezekial bread as a source of good protein. Have you heard of it? It’s interesting. To me it tastes like whole grain bread but with a denser texture because it is made with sprouted grains rather than flour.

I plan to exercise later this morning too. I’ve got all this time on my hands so I think maybe I will try something new today. Thursday is usually a rest day with the routine I’ve been following, but I think I need to get this body moving. I’m intrigued by Jillian Michael’s newest video “Yoga Inferno” so I may give this a try. Amazon Instant Video is a great tool to have around on a day like today.

I should really refill my new bird feeder too. I don’t think I’ve shown you this one.
New feeder

I have a long history with bird feeders, and trying to find the right one. I’ve had squirrel proof ones that the squirrels have destroyed. I’ve had suet feeders that starlings and grackles do a number on almost immediately. More recently I bought glass tubed ones to prevent critters from wrecking them, but these are bad for the winter I’ve discovered. Any wet weather followed by freezing temperatures causes the seed to be stuck in ice. Now I’ve got this plastic feeder. It has a squirrel baffle on the bottom, and drainage holes too. It is easy to fill by sliding it down the pole you can see underneath.

Mr Cardinal

I think Mr. Cardinal is waiting for a refill! My apologies for the blur on some of these shots. I’ve been playing with my iPhone camera’s zoom. On the small iPhone screen these look fine of course, but blown up for computer size, not so much. I admit I’m drawn to the ease with which I can share these photos as well. I added the Flickr app to my phone and now I can just drop my shots into Flickr in no time.

Are you having a snow day where you are? What are you planning to do today? Working on my photo hunt is something you could try to pass the time!

March 3, 2012

Leaping into March

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 11:07 am
Tags: , , , ,

If February hadn’t had an extra day this year, we would have gotten out of it without any accumulating snow.¬† As it happened, a large storm pushed its way across the country, and arrived here in the early afternoon of February 29th.¬† It wasn’t too big by the time it got here, leaving us with only a few inches of snow, which are currently melting away on this rainy day, with temperatures promised to get up to 50¬į.¬† Since I may not have many opportunities for this type of photo¬† this year, here’s a few pictures of our little storm:

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I’ve found a new bird feeder problem this winter.¬† Some of you may remember my tribulations with the “squirrel-proof” feeder last year.¬† I replaced the broken feeder this year with glass and copper feeders.¬† Twice now I’ve come home from work and found them unscrewed from their hooks and lying, mostly empty on the ground.¬† The problem this time around seems to be a pack of grackles; so many of them land at a time that their weight gets the feeders swinging and they come unscrewed. I wrote last year about not having a problem with this so-called nuisance bird, but now I’m starting to understand.¬† Each time I fill the feeders, a group of about 20 birds flocks to the seed, and bullies away many of the smaller birds.¬† I’m wondering if changing the location to my back deck would help at all.

I took the feeders down, and this morning, Mrs Cardinal showed up on my window sill looking in.¬† She seemed to be saying, “Hey Lady!¬† Where’s the seed?”

If anyone has any bird feeding suggestions that won’t cost me a fortune in seed, I’d be happy to hear them.

I also took the opportunity to try a few macros while the flakes were coming down.  I got out the extension tubes and the tripod, put a black glove out in the snow, and this is what I managed:
snowflake1

snowflake2

Those are extremely cropped shots; the extension tubes don’t allow me to get that close.

Just for fun, here’s a couple shots of Teddy and Daphne having a grand time in the snow:
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“Hey Daphne, whatcha doin’?”

“Rolling in the snow, of course!¬† You should try it! It feels great!”

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“Oh yeah?¬† How’s this feel?¬† Get up and plaaaaayyyyy!!”

“Teddy!¬† Ugh,¬†little brothers can be such a pain!”

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“GetupGetupGetupGetup!!!!!!”

“Alright, alright, already!”

The result of this little storm was a delayed start to our school day the next morning.¬† Everyone knows how much I love those!¬† So far, March is kind of coming in with a whimper rather than a lion’s roar.

We’re off to a Mardi Gras party this afternoon (yes, we’re aware Mardi Gras was more than a week ago). I hope you all have a great weekend.

January 22, 2012

Sunny Sunday Morning

Filed under: For the Birds — Karma @ 2:44 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

My snowy Saturday morning has turned into a sunny Sunday morning.  It is still plenty cold outside, but the gray snow clouds have departed, and left us with sparkly snow
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and shiny, sunlit branches
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This morning was also good for the neighborhood birds; I replaced my broken feeder.  I bought a set of two glass and copper feeders:
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I figure I will lose some seed to the squirrels inevitably, but they shouldn’t be able to destroy these.¬† My favorite winter birds wasted no time in locating this new food supply this morning.¬† I had a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal and they seemed more than willing to hang around for a few photos this morning (although I still haven’t managed a shot with the two of them together yet):
mrcardinal1

mscardinal

This is clearest shot of the Mrs. I got today; she seemed rather coy Рbut I thought this over-the-shoulder look was cute. (Do birds have shoulders???)  Mr. happily posed for a few more:

mrcardinal2

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First day out with the new feeders and I’m lucky enough for pretty cardinal shots! Money well spent, I say! ūüôā

February 5, 2011

Bird Feeder Antics and Excellent Treats

First thing I saw when I wandered down the hall this morning were some acrobatics being performed on the bird seed bell:
gray squirrel antics 4

He reaches up for more seed:
gray squirrel antics 2

And then hangs upside down to eat them!

gray squirrel antics 3

I had many of the birds I’ve already shown you pictures of this week, as well as a couple of new comers, also¬†crowding the feeders this morning.

I think this is a white-breasted nuthatch:

Nuthatch

The chickadees returned too.¬† In this photo, there is a black-capped chickadee on the left, but I’m not sure about the bird on the right.¬† It looks like a chickadee, but I’m not sure what type.¬† I’d love it if you might be able to let me know in the comments:
Chickadees

Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal did make a brief appearance this morning as well, but I was either too quick or too slow to get a picture, depending on how you look at it.  I saw Mrs. Cardinal out of the corner of my eye, and quickly grabbed my camera figuring Mr. was probably close by as well.  However, I think my quick movement in the window spooked them and they took off before I could get the picture.

The squirrels and birds were not the only ones to have excellent treats (to steal a term from Gerry Sell over on Torch Lake) this morning.¬† I recently discovered Dunkin Donuts has new chocolate lovers’ donuts for February.¬† These required investigation:

New DD donuts for February

(Sorry I didn’t think to take the picture before I had a bite!)

Top left: Reverse Boston Creme – white frosted chocolate donut with chocolate creme

Top right: Cocoa puff – sugar dusted chocolate donut with chocolate creme

Bottom right: Cocoa confetti (without the confetti) Рchocolate donut glazed, normally with sprinkles.  Different from usual very heavy chocolate cake donut; it was light and fluffy, as were the other two new chocolate ones.

Bottom left: Cupid’s Choice – heart-shaped, filled with vanilla creme and decorated with pink icing and Valentine sprinkles.¬† My Sarah is not a big chocolate donut fan, so I thought she would prefer those.

Quite delicious!  I think my waistline would prefer I stay out of Dunkin Donuts this month.  My mouth disagrees.

January 30, 2011

Picture Winter Day 30.. and then some

“Glimmers of Hope”

I’m not going to say it, but those of you who’ve been following this month’s photo prompt series can probably guess what I was thinking when I read this morning’s prompt: “On the days when you’re feeling like there’s no end in sight, what signs help remind you that change is on its way; that something new is right around the bend? Today, use your lens to seek out the kind of hope that you can hold onto until spring’s splendor comes knocking.”

Luckily, the neighborhood birds provided me with some great photo-taking opportunities this morning.  I mentioned yesterday that I changed my feeder to a more bird-friendly format, and the birds took little time making the discovery.  From my front window with the 55-250 lens, I happily clicked away.  The shot that made me happiest, which I submitted to the gallery today, was this one of a male house finch:

male house finch

Isn’t he cheerful with his red head and chest, happily posed on my near-by lilac bush – which happens to be one of my first shrubs with buds come spring time.¬† Definitely a little glimmer of hope, I thought.

In addition to today’s house finch and the downy woodpeckers and tufted titmouse that showed up yesterday, I was treated to a nice variety of bird visitors.¬† I think I’ve identified most of them, but I’d love for anyone in the know to either correct me if I am wrong, or give¬†me more specific names of these birds:
IMG_3380

yellow finch

yellow finch

I think all of the above are yellow finches in their winter “clothes.”

sparrow

Some kind of sparrow?

chicadee

Chicadee-dee-dee!

blue jay

Bully blue jay.  All the smaller birds scattered when this one came to feed.

mourning doves

Even the mourning doves came cooing along

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I have lots of these little mystery birds.  Anyone know what they are?

Even as I was treated to this lovely avian display, I couldn’t help thinking it how nice it would have been if the local cardinal pair showed up.¬† The day’s chores must go on however, and I headed out to grocery shop.¬† Coming back in the door, lugging the purchases, Meghan was bubbling at me, “Guess who showed up while you were gone!¬† The cardinals!¬† I tried to take pictures for you but I couldn’t figure out how to make it zoom in.”

Alas, I had left the 50mm on the camera after attempting to take some pictures of Cedric¬†fascinated and chattering his “killer” instinct at the birds.¬† Meghan took several shots like this one:

cardinal

Imagine how nice it would have been with the zoom lens attached!

The seed supply we sprinkled on the ground is about wiped out now, although the bell and suet still have plenty.¬† I’ll be sure to spread more seed soon (MORE SNOW forecast for us Tuesday into Wednesday) and hope that Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal make a return visit!

January 29, 2011

Visitors

Filed under: For the Birds — Karma @ 10:54 am
Tags: , ,

The birdfeeder that I’ve had for a few years now unfortunately hasn’t been¬†attracting the birds I was hoping for this winter.¬† I think in my attempt to have a feeder that squirrels wouldn’t regularly empty, I bought one that was too difficult for all but the smallest birds to reach the seed.¬† I decided to start looking for a new feeder.¬† I went to our local Ocean State Job Lot store to see what I could find.¬† There weren’t any feeders I was interested in, but I did find a bird seed bell and an inexpensive suet feeder, along with suet cakes for $1 each, so I picked those up and hung them on my shepard’s hook:
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This morning I was lucky enough to get a few pictures of some visitors.  If you can help me identify these birds, please do!

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Sorry about the angle of this one with hubby’s truck in the background, but it is the best focused shot I got of this type of bird:
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Another one that looked almost the same but with a red splotch on the back of its head came along next. Perhaps a male/female pair?

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This¬†squirrel performed some acrobatics on the shepard’s hook this morning, but I wasn’t quick enough with camera to catch them:
IMG_3323

It looked like it was licking the snow!

I’ll be back later today with today’s photo prompt.