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. :-)
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! ;-)

November 28, 2014

When did all this happen?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 8:55 am
Tags: , , , ,

Is there a conspiracy out there? Mama Nature and Father Time must be in cahoots. How is it possible that I am already looking at this?
My world right now

I’m sure it was but a couple weeks ago that I was settling in to my temporary teaching job, sitting in the sunshine on the deck correcting papers, thinking that it would be time to close the pool soon and getting used to Meghan being back at college for another school year. What? It is time for Meghan to be home for Thanksgiving break already? What? There’s a snow storm coming the day before Thanksgiving?

Teddy really did not seem to care about all this.
First collie in the snow pic of the season
Maybe I should take a cue from him!

Meghan arrived safely home Tuesday afternoon before the snow began on Wednesday. I’ve been enjoying spending time with her and having conversations about what has been going on in our worlds during these months that she was back at school and I’ve been playing teacher. We talked as snow covered Teddy and I cooked and baked several items to bring to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving. There were mishaps that afternoon, due to my multitasking of cooking, cleaning, listening to music and enjoying my daughter’s company however. I overcooked some delightful little brownie cheesecake bites for one thing. I thought they needed a couple more minutes in the oven after the timer went off, and neglected to re-set the timer for those couple of minutes. About 7 or so minutes later, I remembered them – thoroughly browned and a bit too crisp for my taste. Then there was this:
Shattering surprise

At one point during the day, I had 3 of the 5 burners on my gas cooktop cooking away. That glass lid had been left out in the chaos on a burner that wasn’t on, but was surrounded by burners that were on. I was draining some pasta at the sink and then walking back toward the stove when a sound like a shot going off scared the you-know-what out of me! The glass imploded within the metal frame of the lid into a zillion small pieces. One more cleanup chore added to a long afternoon of them.

A soothing soak in the hot tub with Meghan while the snow fell around us made the aches and pains of the afternoon fade away. Thanksgiving was a wonderful day spent with family and friends. I am so very thankful for all the good I have around me. I hope your Thanksgiving was the best that it could be.

Now on to getting ready for the next holiday that will soon be upon us! No Black Friday shopping for me, at least I’m not thinking so as I type this post. We will see how the day progresses. I am open to the possibilities.

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
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , ,

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
Tags: , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , ,

"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)

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