Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

April 3, 2011

Getting Ready for the WordPress 5K

Did you get that email from WordPress about a week ago inviting you to participate in their World Wide 5k walk/run?  I’m planning to participate next Sunday, so Daphne, Teddy and I went exploring for our possible 5K route.  I noticed on a recent walk that my town had kindly added a map of trails in the woods near the powerlines where I walk.  I’d been pretty much following the same route since I discovered it last summer, so the map was of interest to me.  Studying it made my head spin, just a bit, as I tried to get my bearings.  These routes ending in the places the map claimed didn’t seem possible to me, so I had to see for myself.  Since I was exploring today and not sure what I would run into, Andre did not come along today (he’s still pouting over there refusing to look at me), but I had my cell phone and iPod (with newly downloaded pedometer!) in my pocket, so I have a few not-wonderful pics to share from our explorations.

I followed part of my usual trail as I began today, and had my eyes open for paint splotches marking the other trails.  One of the branches I took today was the “Cedar Swamp” trail.  Sprinkled all along the edges of this trail were these:
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Anyone recognize it?

As I continued on my path, I had an encounter with a bird of prey that took my breath away in appreciation.  I have no picture to share, but I have reason to believe what I might have seen was a golden eagle.  It took off from a low branch of a tree about 20 feet in front of me, had a brown belly and brown wings, and appeared large enough that I’d have to hold it like a basketball.  I stood in full appreciation of the moment.

As I tried to see where the magnificent bird might have landed, a bit of an obstacle literally lay in our path:
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Poor Teddy bonked his head on the branch pointing downward, but we all managed to scoot under the fallen tree and continue on our way.  I had unfortunately no more siting of the wonderful bird.  I took this picture of the direction I saw it fly in to try to help me remember our encounter:

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The dogs and I continued our walk, they taking in all the new fresh smells, my appreciating a fine spring afternoon.  They got a little muddy and wet as several parts of our walk looked like this:
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..but I in my boots, and they being dogs, we were unbothered by it.  Daphne and I tried a balancing act along that log while Teddy happily slogged through the middle.

As I came over a familiar hill near the last leg of my walk, a wonderful sound filled my ears.  A sound that really says springtime to me:

Turn the speakers up loud on your computer to hear them: peepers!!  How I love that sound.

According to the iPod pedometer, we walked 3.829 miles or 8,631 steps in a leisurely 91 minutes today.  A wonderful walk full of moments to appreciate – I’m looking forward to next Sunday very much.  Let’s hope weather and the moments are equally wonderful.

ETA: Clarification: WordPress didn’t send out an email about their 5K, I just realized!  I subscribe to the Daily Post blog just to keep ideas for my blog flowing and the news of the 5K was shared there.  My bad!  All the information you need to participate, if you are interested, is in that link.  Our friend Gerry and her duo are planning to participate and she has also made a couple posts about planning her route.

March 18, 2011

A Couple Spring Like Days

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans, right? Yesterday and today in these parts, we were treated to above normal temperatures that definitely boded of spring.  Most of the snow in my yard is even melted!  I made plans to make the most of it.  My plans for after work today: 1)walk the dogs – check! 2) come up with a dinner plan involving the grill – check!  3)enjoy grilled dinner – check! 3) briefly refresh my memory for a presentation I have to make for my class tomorrow – check…. uh, no. Disaster!  Program I needed?  Completely eaten by my computer.  Which then completely unravelled my other plans for the evening: write a blog post, catch up with other folks’ blog posts, watch Tuesday night’s Glee on DVR with my daughters.  Spent all that time finding other programs for my presentation.  GRRRRRR!

I wanted to tell you about the lovely afternoon I spent yesterday drinking my first iced coffee of the year and experimenting with different close-up shots for Scott’s assignment this month.  I wanted to tell you about the adventurous walk Meghan, Daphne, Teddy and I took in the melting woods this afternoon.  I wanted to share some more pictures from the gorgeous spring bulb show I attended last weekend.  After scrabbling to get presentation material together for tomorrow, I felt the need to de-stress a little and smash some balls on Zuma Blitz on Facebook. 

Since I’ve calmed myself enough to write this blog post, I guess I could just show you some pictures now, couldn’t I?

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Energetic Teddy in virtually snow-free yard

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Remains of the snow penguins

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Meghan with Teddy and Daphne… yes, she was wearing shorts and a t-shirt today!

And now for some more pretty, flowery-type objects:
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I’ve got some other shots I’m holding back for Scott’s assignment.  I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone tomorrow…. after I make my *&#$ presentation!

E.T.A. (Saturday afternoon): I got my presentation done.  It didn’t go off without a hitch, but I ended up facilitating a lively discussion!  All’s well that ends well.

March 9, 2011

In Search of the Rhythm of Spring

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 4:49 pm
Tags: , , ,

When this week’s assignment for Picture Inspiration arrived in my inbox, I craved a taste of spring.  I’ve bemoaned our mountains of snow in this area this winter more than once here on the blog, and I couldn’t face any more scenes of white for the current assignment.  The assignment is titled “Finding a Little Rhythm” (by the way, does anyone else have trouble spelling that word?  I always want to put another y in there between the second h and the m.)  The instructor gave us this definition of rhythm: “a harmonious sequence or pattern of masses alternating with voids, of light alternating with shade, of alternating colors, etc.” and suggested that we focus on a part of that definition as we decided on our pictures.  My local garden center came to mind to fit the bill for both the definition and my taste of springtime.

I actually found my first pattern when I pulled up in the parking lot:
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Stacks of planters, with a touch of snow in the foreground, give me hope for spring; in about a month and a half, many of those planters will be filled with gorgeous arrangements of flowers for sale.

Inside the shop, another pattern with hints of spring’s arrival appeared:
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Watering cans and other watering implements – aren’t those piggy cans adorable?

Next I strolled into the greenhouse to see what might be for sale at this dismal time of year.  I found:
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cacti…

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cyclamen…

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…and orchids.  All very harmonious sequences, but the photo I decided to submit to the Picture Inspiration gallery  was this one:

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I was charmed by this colorful display and thought the gazing balls fit the “pattern of  masses of alternating colors” very nicely.  Speaking of being charmed, I was also strangely charmed by this fellow:

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He’d make a lovely accent piece on a deck or patio, but I wasn’t quite charmed enough with his $50 price tag!

Ahhh.. the breath of spring was lovely.  It is gray and 38° this afternoon, and we have a possibility of snow tomorrow  as I am writing this post, but this weekend has something in store that will surely fill my lungs, eyes and soul with all that spring has to offer!  You’ll have to wait until Saturday night or Sunday to find out what it is!

April 22, 2010

Dog Walk

Filed under: Walking the Dogs — Karma @ 3:53 pm
Tags: , ,

I took my dogs for a walk on this lovely spring morning and took my camera with me.  Due to having two happy-to-be-walking dogs along with me, some of my photos are not as tack sharp as I would like them to be, but I thought I did okay for having approximately 130 pounds of dog in tow.  I use a “Y” shaped leash so that I only have to have one hand on a leash for the two of them, which left the other hand free for my camera.

Here’s Teddy(left) and Daphne(right), raring to go.  This shot is one of the not-so-sharp ones, but I liked the “action” shot of Teddy’s voluminous tail.

As I mentioned during Scott’s last challenge, I consider myself a townie.  There were only short periods of my life when I did not live here: previous to my parents buying our first home here, which we moved into when I was 3, and for 5 years after I graduated from high school, when my parents sold their house and moved out of town.  In 1992, I got married and moved back here.  That qualifies me as a townie, doesn’t it?  Reason I mention this is because, as many towns I’m sure do, Wilbraham has old neighborhoods and new ones, and my dog walk takes me through some of each.  By Wilbraham standards, I suppose my street should be considered relatively new.  The street and the houses on it were all built in the 1960’s; the town of Wilbraham was incorporated in 1763.  By my own life standards, however, I’d consider my neighborhood old.  Here’s my street:

A pretty average suburban neighborhood of ranch-style houses.

Up at the top of the street, we turn the corner on to a sidewalk of a fairly well-traveled, but still residential street.

The dogs and I walk this sidewalk, past the middle school in town where my younger daughter walks to and from school each day, and take a right on to this street:

This street is one of many “new” neighborhoods in town.  A lot of these developments have popped up on lands that used to be owned by family farms.  As is happening in many places today, these old family farms can no longer make it in today’s economy, so the descendents of the original farmers have sadly had to sell off land to developers who build streets of cookie-cutter “McMansions.”  The houses are all beautifully maintained with putting-green lawns and professionally landscaped yards.  There was a time when I envied the owners of this style of house and yard.  While I wouldn’t mind owning a home with more space and larger rooms than where I am now, I’m not interested in a huge house I can’t afford to heat with not much of a yard for my vegetable garden, my above-ground pool and space for kids and dogs to play.  The interesting thing about this McMansion neighborhood is that very close to these finely manicured lawns, you can turn down a little side street with no houses on it and find this:

A swamp where the only neighbors are peepers, quite loud peepers, which I shot video of on my cell phone about a month ago because they were so loud.  If I could figure out how to get that sound from my phone to this blog, I would do it so you could hear them.  At the end of this short swamp street, you turn the corner into another “old” neighborhood:

As you can see here, the fence is in need of repair, possibly the back porch too, and the lawn isn’t so perfectly maintained.  Its not a “poor” neighborhood, by any stretch of the imagination, but maybe just a more “blue collar” neighborhood:

Houses maybe a little smaller, some Capes, some smaller than my house.  But as I walk through this neighborhood, I can feel myself relax again.  It seems to be  the kind of place where you don’t worry about your kids being out riding their bikes and playing in the neighbor’s yard.  No one is going to be upset if you work on a car in the driveway or hang a clothesline in your backyard.  As lovely as the other neighborhood looks, I can’t help but feel people are watching as I walk my dogs to make darn sure that the dogs don’t step on their Chem-lawns.

I leave this neighborhood and head back up to the sidewalk of the well-traveled street, and walk back toward my neighbor’s lovely flowering tree.

I love this tree.  I’m not sure what kind it is.  Flowering dogwood, perhaps? (Let me know in the comments if you know what it is).  Its not only beautiful now in springtime, but in the fall it turns a gorgeous shade of red.

And then I am home sweet home again:

I just realized I forgot to crop the newspaper out of the shot.  I suppose its appropriate concerning the title of this post.  Those of us who walk dogs know well what those nice, long, orange bags are good for!  ( I didn’ take a picture of that!)