Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

April 6, 2014

A Wonderful Spring Weekend

Filed under: Walking the Dogs — Karma @ 5:28 pm
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Spring is finally sproinging around here, and it’s about time after the lousy, frigid, snowy winter we had!

Saturday brought a delicious visit to Pickity Place in Mason NH. I’ve blogged many times about this favorite lunch place of my sister, our best friend and me.
Lunch was good and tasty, but the dessert yesterday was OFF THE HOOK! Check this out:
Fabulous dessert (1)

Fabulous dessert (2)
That gorgeous thing is a vanilla flan with caramel sauce, raspberries and mandarin oranges.

Happy pansies and jonquils decorated the little cottage in the woods:
Pickity pansies

as well as the perennially sleepy Pickity Kitty:
Pickity kitty

Today brought sunshine and a high temperature around 60 degrees F! That in itself is a wonderful thing. The hike that we were rained out of last weekend was rescheduled for today. I have a friend with an interesting goal this year – to hike all 92 miles (the width of the state of Massachusetts not including the north shore and Cape Cod) of the MidState Trail. It runs from Douglas MA on the Rhode Island border to Ashburnham MA on the New Hampshire border. I said I’d like to join as often as possible, so we began our quest today! We did a little over 3 miles today, but that included looping back to the parking lot, so we still have around 90 miles to go. Next time we will strategize with parking cars and such so we can accomplish more of the route in one outing.

But for today, we enjoyed each others’ company and being out in the spring air. Our dogs enjoyed every puddle they tromped through and getting muddy!
Rhode Island-Mass border
Group portrait of Sherry, Greg and me (and Angel, Teddy and Daphne) at the Rhode Island-Massachusetts border.

Rhode Island line, Midstate Trail
The marker

78 Miles to the Ocean!
A crossing trail, running through Rhode Island. Only 78 miles to the ocean! Let’s go!

After lunch on our spring hike
One more group portrait, after our lunch break.

I’m looking forward to making my way up my home state throughout this spring, summer and fall – I hope we can find the time to complete the full trail.

Happy spring everyone! Is it finally feeling like spring where you are too?

P.S. WordPress has nicely informed me that today is my 4 year blogoversary! Still carrying on the “when I feel like it” way, 4 years later! ;-)

March 30, 2014

Rain, rain… well, it’s better than snow!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:25 am
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Rainy day

The rain started yesterday afternoon and is forecast to continue all day today. I could complain, but I won’t. After all, it could be snow, right? Most of the snow, except for a few patches here and there, has finally melted. Oh and except for this snow too:
Collapsed pool
Yeah, did I mention my pool kind of collapsed this winter? Yes, that same pool that I had all those issues with last summer? The pool that I maimed my poor foot in while putting in a brand new liner? All for naught – now we need a brand new pool. Sigh. I’m hoping we can find someone to afford-ably install one for us this spring. I really have no interest in doing this job again. Hubby and I have done this several times and it is not an enjoyable project.

Here’s a more enjoyable project! We have several teachers retiring from my school this June, and retirement quilts are once again in the making. I’ve made quilt squares for three of them, two Red Sox fans and a yoga devotee:
Quilt squares

More joy I’ve found: my fitness journey continues and I’m making good progress! I can happily announce that I’m back down to and so far maintaining the weight that I was before I became pregnant with Meghan 20 years ago! That’s a loss of about 15 pounds. I haven’t weighed this little or felt this fit in as many years. I’m entering Week 5 of Focus T25, the last week of the Alpha round.
Alpha
That makes me just a little nervous but excited too. Week 6 of the program steps up to the Beta round, an even more intense series of workouts. I haven’t followed the program exactly as laid out here because of Zumba. I’ve been skipping the Wednesday workout and the second Friday workout listed – I do Zumba Wednesday night and Saturday morning instead, so I’m still doing 6 workouts a week and resting on Sundays.

The rain unfortunately cancelled a hike with friends today that I was looking forward to, and hoping to bring you pictures of, but it has been rescheduled for next Sunday. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for that. This visually un-pretty month is over tomorrow! Bring on April- I can’t wait to see things turning green and growing again.

May 7, 2013

Springtime, Lovely Springtime!

I love this time of year. This part of the world is coming alive with green grass and leaves and the bloomers of spring. We’ve had a string of 17 days in a row with no rain, and while I know we need the rain (coming soon according to the local forecast), I’ve even thoroughly been enjoying my rides to work in the morning: the sunshine at that time of day is gentle and beautiful and lights the flowering trees and greening lawns in a way that makes me remember to breathe deep and appreciate the moment.

When I walk out to my car, the air is perfumed with these:
lilac
Lilacs – mmmmm, is there a better spring time smell? And I’m going to have an abundant amount of blooms this year. The tops of my trees all look like this:
abundant lilac
They haven’t quite opened yet, that’s why the dark color, but they are beginning.

During all this lovely weather, I’ve been outside when time allows (mostly weekends) working on my yard. I did a lot of cleaning up and pruning during the April break from school. In addition to all the usual work, I made a decision to rip out a perennial bed that had not been looking overly healthy for the past few years:
periennial bed -before
I kept only what remains of my bearded irises, – they are yet to bloom this year and I don’t know how many blooms I will get – the bleeding heart
bleeding heart and my “crazy poppy”- click here for the story of that moniker.

On Saturday morning, I made a visit to my favorite local garden center, 16 Acres Gardens. (They are called that because they are in a part of Springfield known as “16 Acres” not because there are 16 acres of gardens)
garden center 1

garden center 2

It is still just a little too early around here for planting tender annuals and vegetables (unless you’re a bit of a daredevil and willing to watch the weather each night for frost warnings!) but I was more than ready to go spend the generous gift card I received from my dad for my birthday to replant that perennial bed. I came home with 9 new perennials of varying sizes and heights ranging in colors from pinks to purple to purplish-blue and planted them that afternoon:
perrenial bed - after
(I’m rather proud of myself for installing that new border around the bed too, even if it is a less than perfect circle!)

My latest-to-bloom-in-the-neighborhood daffodils are in full bloom now:
daffodil

daffodils

daffodil

as well as the giant rhodo-azalea:
full bloom rhodo-azaleas

I’ve seen two butterflies in the past few days – can the hummingbirds be far behind? I’m excited to hang up two new, unique hummingbird feeders I received for my birthday – I haven’t taken pictures of those yet but I’m sure I will do that soon.

I finally cleaned the vegetable garden patch of last year’s debris and removed the decrepit fence surrounding it. Next outdoor projects: put up a new fence and mulch my perennial bed. I’m also trying to grow some new grass in an area the dogs have ruined. There’s so much going on in the yard! But I do love this time of year!

April 28, 2013

My Color

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 9:25 am
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Hello  everyone!  I can’t believe it has been two weeks already since I posted the color photo hunt post and that I haven’t posted anything in between!  Spring has definitely arrived to this part of the world and I’ve found myself quite busy with all of the spring yard work that goes along with it!  I had a birthday a couple days ago as well, and toss in all of the everyday life stuff and I just haven’t had the chance to be here at the computer.  I feel like I have lots to write about, but since today is my deadline for the photo hunt, I will get on with telling you about my color.

I have always been  drawn to the color pink in all of its varying shades.  Heck, I even love the artist who calls herself Pink!  I think she’s a fabulous singer.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you’ve seen pictures of my kitchen and dining room.  Ever notice the color theme that runs through both?
IMG_3994

IMG_6716

When I received a Kindle this past Christmas, I ordered a case for it. Here’s the color:
kindle case

With spring busting out all over, it was time for me to start putting my feet in my favorite style of shoes – sandals! But you can’t wear sandals without first getting a pedicure, right?
pink pedi

And you knew there would be flowers didn’t you? Could there really be a spring blog/photo hunt about color from me without flowers?
unknown pink tree blossom

hyacinth

birthday bouquet
(I bought myself a bouquet on my birthday!)

Here in New England, magnolia trees are blooming like crazy this time of year. They are simply gorgeous. I don’t have one of my own, and I envy all of the yards I see with these beautiful trees. I drove around town looking for one where I could take pictures without stepping into someone’s yard, then found one at our public library. I took these shots on my birthday, which just happened to be about as lovely a day as you could ask for.
magnolia 1

magnolia 2

magnolia 3

magnolia 4

I found a webpage with the psychology of pink. Here are my favorite lines from that page:
“The color pink represents compassion, nurturing and love. It relates to unconditional love and understanding, and the giving and receiving of nurturing. Pink is feminine and romantic, affectionate and intimate, thoughtful and caring. Pink is intuitive and insightful, showing tenderness and kindness with its empathy and sensitivity.” If you’d like to read more, click here.

I hope you all enjoyed this photo hunt! It is not too late to jump in! You can post all day today, and if you’d like more time to be included, just drop me a comment to let me know. I’m looking forward to coming around to see all of your wonderful color posts! I’m hoping to do that later today, and to write a wrap-up post in a few days.

March 31, 2013

Spring’s Arrival

Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate it today. Easter is a day that is low key for me. We celebrated secularly, more so in the past when the girls were little and believed in the Easter Bunny. Now that they are nearly grown up, I still buy them a chocolate bunny, and I saw these donuts that I thought would amuse them, so I bought them too:
Easter donut
but that is about the extent of our Easter celebrations.
In the spirit of a lovely, long spring weekend Mama Nature has been fairly cooperative in that respect. Yesterday was a sunny day with temperatures in the 50′s so the dogs and I went out for a nice walk.
Daphne had her first “swim” in the little creek that crosses our path:
Daphne's first "swim" of the year
I only had my 75-300mm lens with me, so with the dogs on their leash, I couldn’t get far enough away to fit all of her into one shot. This shot, taken while I was trying, amuses me:
relaxing in the water
In addition to Daphne’s little swim, I had another first of the year. I heard peepers for the first time! Here’s a short video I took with my phone so that you could hear them too:

While we ambled by this small spring time swamp (it dries up come summertime), I saw a cute little couple:

 swampy ducks
I don’t know if this is their temporary home or just a stopover on their way elsewhere.

As we continued on our way, a hawk lazily soared in circles above our heads:
soaring hawk
The blue and the warmth and the peepers and the birds and Daphne’s swim: it all added up to a peaceful feeling of spring really being on the way. I may not celebrate Easter religiously, but this was my own little feeling of the rebirth of springtime.

I could easily end this post right here, but I have two other bits of news I wanted to share. First of all, Meghan has made her decision about where she will attend college in the fall: Clark University.

Clark is in Worcester, MA, a medium-sized city about 45 miles away from here. It is far enough away for her to live on campus, but close enough to come home when she would like. This decision is kick-starting the excitement of the end of senior year and planning for the future. Plenty more about all that in the days to come!

The other little bit I have for you is a rare “selfie”. I went to get my hair done yesterday, and at the last minute decided to have it highlighted. I decided I wanted a little change for spring, and I’m very happy with the results. I worked very hard yesterday afternoon trying to take a self-portrait of myself that I didn’t hate, and finally came up with this one that I like:
highlights3

However you spend this day, celebrating Easter or not, I hope it is warm and wonderful where you are.

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 9, 2013

Peeling Away the Layers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 3:44 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

>peeling layers
Hi there! I took a little blogging break without even really meaning to. Did you miss me? I did my best to still pop in on all of you.
The blogging muse in my mind has been quiet for a while. She has a tendency to do that when it is gray outside. That’s how it has been around here for a couple weeks. Gray, snowy, rainy, drizzly, wintery-mixy. Until today. The sun came out and it is 50° outside.
Snow is melting.
drip, drip, drip
Water is flowing.
the brook is back
Sap is running.
the sap is running
And I feel like peeling away the layers. The layers of warm winter clothing. The layers of dry winter skin. The layers of the few extra pounds that I probably put on this winter. The layers of cabin-fever cobwebs building up in my mind. A sunny 50° day in March can do that.
As a life-long New Englander, I’m not naive enough to believe that Old Man Winter is done with us BUT I’m finally starting to feel that spring is around the corner. A colleague and I were discussing how the birdsong has changed recently, as though the birds know that spring’s arrival is imminent.
While the dogs and I were walking today, I was stopped in our path by the sounds of many red-winged blackbirds cavorting in the trees above the stream. I was unable to get any pictures of them, but I did find this video on YouTube providing the sound that I heard:

Surely that’s a sign of spring.
Cedric enjoyed the sunshine today as well.
sunbeam Cedric
Several blogger friends have me contemplating for days ahead of us.
Scott has announced his photo assignment for the month of March: Black and White Photography. I told Scott he’d chosen my personal bugaboo when it comes to photography. I don’t have confidence in my choices for black and white photos, and often, I don’t react well to black and white photography. It is a challenge for sure.
Kate has me aching to find a wildlife sanctuary within day-trip driving distance of my home with her adorable photos of otters and ducks and other wonderful creatures.
Kathy has me thinking about thinking. She asks a wonderful question: What am I alive to discover? I’ve been asking myself similar questions recently, but Kathy asks it most poignantly. I’m definitely going to need to peel away some layers in my mind and soul to search for the answer(s) to that one.

March 19, 2012

Happy Spring!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:36 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Spring officially starts in less than 4 hours as I am typing this post.  It has sure felt like spring in most of the country for a couple weeks now.  I’m not complaining!  I’ll jump on the band wagon and share a few fun signs of spring from my little part of the world.
IMG_7427
Lilac bud

IMG_7431
Daylily sprouts

IMG_7430
Chives sprouting in my herb bucket

IMG_7435
My bare feet!

IMG_7434
See ya later!

March 16, 2012

Thoughts on a Friday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 6:03 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

It’s Friday afternoon.  I feel like writing a blog post.  I’m going to do what Kathy tells me to do when I’m blog-blocked.  Just start typing and see what happens.

I started doing what I normally do when I want to write a post and checked through my pictures. Sometimes I find something that sparks a memory of something I meant to blog about, but never got around to it.

I found some food pictures that I think I meant to share with you and tell you about something fabulous that I ate.  I’m not sure, maybe the food wasn’t so fabulous?
IMG_7152

IMG_7247

I found some pictures that I took in hopes of completing Scott’s current assignment, but none of them moved me. **sigh**  I kind of like this one that I took quite a while ago:
IMG_7217

but we’ll see if I can do better.

I considered creating one of my silly animal conversations with pictures of cardinals,

IMG_7235
but my humor/wit doesn’t seem to be flowing concerning Mr. & Mrs. C’s possible domestic situation.

I thought about flipping through some photo albums (yes REAL photo albums,  not on the computer) and trying to recall some funny story from my early days of motherhood to tell.
Image (2)
That would require pulling out the photo albums, finding the ones from the mid-to-late 1990′s, plucking the photos from their carefully nestled positions in the albums, hauling my clunking old scanner up from the basement, connecting to my laptop, scan the photos, put them back, put the the photo albums away.  It’s Friday!  Nope, didn’t want to do it.

I considered mentioning that it is only one month until we leave on our cruise and blathering on about how excited I am and how I went to see the travel agent today to ask a bunch of questions and about how I’m even excited to start my “electronic check in” procedures on Carnival.com, but I thought who’d want to read about that? (oops, I kind of did that anyway didn’t I?)

I could blog about the fact that we are off to Pickity Place once again tomorrow, but how many blogs have I written about that?
Pickity!

Many of my favorite blogs, including Robin’s and Holly’s, have been proclaiming the joys of early spring and showing lovely signs of it.  It’s about time I took a stroll around my yard to find some of that myself,daffodils to be

but today is a bit drizzly and cool (funny to be calling 50° cool at this time of the year, but that’s how it feels after the week of 60′s and 70′s we’ve had) and not inspiring me to go poking around outside.

So what happened when I started writing a blog with no plans?  I think I just wrote my first blog about not blogging!

December 17, 2011

S.P.D. – Seasonal Photographic Disorder!

Almost a year ago, Mr. Scott Thomas challenged those of us inclined to do so, to participate in a year long photo assignment.  The challenge was to photograph the same location throughout all four seasons of the year.  I had read about something like this in a book Scott had recommended to me, Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, and thought it was a great idea.  When he announced the assignment last December, I thought to myself – I already have a jump start on this from some photos I took in the fall, in an easily accessible location, that I was pretty happy with.  At the time of the announcement, I also made the decision that I’d feature two locations throughout the year by including the view from my favorite lounging spot, my oft mentioned backyard deck.

Now you might be wondering why I’ve titled this post the way that I did.  One reason was that the assignment reminded me how unorganized I am about my photo archives.  I use Photoshop Elements to load my photos on to the computer which organizes them by date.  That’s the only organization I have – no tags.  So, just like for Scott’s favorite photos of the year assignment, I had to scroll through a year of photos to try to find the shots I took for this assignment.  Another reason you shall discover closer to the end of this post.

I’d like to begin with my winter photos.  Locals might recognize my first location as humble little Spec Pond:
IMG_2614

Winter took us by surprise this year and piled on more snow than we’ve seen in these parts for many years.  Teddy enjoyed it at least:
IMG_2814

Spring came around and thawed us out:

IMG_4516

The deck furniture was unwrapped, but only my Mother’s Day hanging plant was in bloom and the pool was still closed:
IMG_4483

Ah, summer!  My favorite season.  At the pond, extra life guard stands appear and the diving floats are in the water:
IMG_5890

Back at home, everything is lush and green, flowers adorn the deck and the pool is open:
IMG_5290

This is one of the photos I jump-started Scott’s assignment with, fall at Spec Pond:
IMG_2141

This is also where you’ll find out the other reason for the title of my post!  I never took a fall photo from my deck specifically for this assignment!  Yep, I’m admitting it, I messed up a bit.  In my head, fall was taken care of; however, at the time I decided to add the deck to my year of photos, it was already winter.  This past fall came along and I never took a deck photo thinking it was already done.  Scrolling through my archives, I chose two alternative almost-fall-from-my-deck photos.  There was this one that I did for my Picture Fall class last October:
IMG_1645

Not really the view I’ve given you the rest of the year. OR we have this monstrosity:
IMG_6852

The view from my deck on October 30, 2011 after the Freaky Freakin’ Snowstorm - technically this is a fall photo of the view from my deck!

What a year it has been.  I think I will be ready to bid 2011 adieu!

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