Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

February 9, 2015

Guess what? It’s another snow day!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:46 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Looks like I called it right in my last post. I thought maybe you’d hear from me on another snow day, and here we are. Between the Martin Luther King holiday and snow days we’ve had, I’ve been to school on Monday only twice in 2015. And next week is February break from school, so perhaps February 23rd will be my next Monday at work.

In this post from a January snow day, I was playing with the lenses for my iPhone and I showed you my front yard with bird bath visible. Have a look at where the snow is on that bird bath now:
Snow piling up

Speaking of lenses, I was rather happy on Saturday morning when I thought I was going to get a great deal from B&H Photo on that lens I’ve had my eye on, the Canon 85mm 1.8. I received a notification from Canon Pricewatch that there was a used one available from B&H. I quickly went to their site and found it still available. I put it in my cart. Now B&H does not process web orders from Friday night until Saturday evening. According to the timer on the site, shopping checkout would be available again around 6:45pm. I left the site open all day and checked that the lens was still in my cart. I returned to start checkout around 6:50pm and the lens was gone from cart! I don’t understand this facet of doing business. Why was another customer allowed to buy something I had placed in the cart? Were multiple customers allowed to place the same item in their carts and the first one back to pay for it, gets it? If I had known that was the story, I would’ve been at the ready minutes before the checkout opened. I guess now I know better if I try again. Needless to say I was hugely disappointed.

Back to the snow day. Icicles are getting big
Icicles getting long

and temperatures are staying small.
Sigh

Birds have rediscovered my feeding area, enjoying what the squirrels leave behind. I found a cute little downy woodpecker on a suet cake yesterday.
downy2

downy1

But boy let me tell you, cabin fever is hitting me hard. Sarah just got back from Florida, my sister is on a cruise as we speak, and I know teacher-friends will be taking off for warm climes during the February break. I’ve been trolling Expedia daydreaming about making my escape. Anyone have any tips for scoring a great deal?

January 12, 2015

Snow Day Musing

It’s a snow day today. I am bummed. This is my last week of teaching and I was hoping to be able to enjoy every last moment available to me in “my” classroom. I’m sitting here at home with about an inch of snow on the ground, nothing currently falling from the sky. Supposedly there is to be a “wintry mix” approaching late morning into afternoon, and I guess that is the reason for the cancellation – possibility of difficulties at dismissal time, but right now it feels like a waste, especially for me.

I am hoping to focus back in on photography a little more this year. I’ve been perusing photography books I own, trying to learn a bit more about using Lightroom, and contemplating whether putting my old Photoshop Elements 7 program on this computer (if I can find my disk, darn it!) would be worthwhile for other types of tweaks that might not be possible in Lightroom. Elements is up to 13 now. Anyone using that program? Looks like the upgrade (I’m assuming this is for owners of previous versions of Elements) costs around $80. Worthwhile expenditure?

I’m looking a little bit at lenses too. Considering an 85mm portrait lens. Photos with faces in them are often the most interesting, aren’t they? The lens that would fit my camera that’s kind of in my price range (but still expensive!) does not have autofocus. The Canon version with autofocus is about $180 MORE than the no autofocus one. If I decide to invest in a lens, I want it to be something I will be able to make good use of. Thoughts or opinions there?

Speaking of lenses, I received a neat little gift for Christmas.
Lenses from Photojojo
This is a set of lenses for my iPhone from Photojojo. There’s a telephoto, a wide angle and a fisheye.

To show you a little comparison, here are some shots of my birdbath out in the snow (yup, I forgot to take it in for the winter – so far it seems to be okay), taken from my dining room window
Without telephoto
tightest view available from iPhone zoom

Telephoto
Tightest with the lens attached

Without wide angle
widest view without and…

Wide angle
with the wide angle lens.

The fisheye is fun to play with!
Fisheye 1
The mess of the living room on Christmas

Fisheye 2
Christmas desserts

Fisheye 3
snowy yard

Fisheye 4
Teddy has a peek outside

February 14, 2014

White Out

Well, here I am at home again for a second snow day this week. I bet most of the school kids are thrilled – this makes for an extended February break. Me, not so much. I’d rather have gone in on a 2 hour delay. This puts our last day of school up to June 20th, and let me tell you it gets hot up on the second floor where I work.

So would you like a look around my snowy world? Maybe not since so many of us are buried in the white stuff. There’s a few of you out there who still like it (yes, I’m looking at you Michaela, lol!)

Here’s a few peeks at the places you are used to seeing here on my blog, all whited out:
waiting for the plow
This is the spot where my perennial garden lives in the summer time. How about this spring time view instead?

perrenial bed

 

 

patio furniture
Deck furniture. Here’s a much better use for the deck furniture in my opinion:
Dinner on my own

 

 

buried garden
My vegetable garden. **Sigh** Looks much better this way:
garden looking good

 

 

snowy rhododendron
The big rhododendron-azalea bush looks sad like this to me. Here’s a happier view:
IMG_4425

Daydreaming of spring on this snowy day.  At least the boys of summer are back at it – pitchers and catchers report to spring training tomorrow!

 

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!

February 1, 2014

Musings on a New Month

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 6:12 pm
Tags: , , , ,

February 1st. I think many of us are quite happy January is over. Unless you are a reader from more tropical zones or the southern hemisphere (Hi Joanne!) I’d say the words that best sum up January are “freakin’ brrrrrrr!”

As a friend so eloquently posted on my Facebook timeline:
bcb00e24c29e44aaaaa881b6211dfc3b

We were treated temperatures above 40 degrees F today, so that was a nice change. Rumors are we could see 50 tomorrow! Woo-to-the-hoo!

Oh, I finished the taxes and the FAFSA today. Accomplishment!!
Tax time

February. What else. Meghan’s 19th birthday will be arriving at the end of this month. How very strange it will be not to have her home on this day.

After a conversation with friends at a little get together last weekend, I’ve been experimenting with smoothies. Remember when I told you I’m trying to get close to 100 grams of protein daily? I’ve started adding vanilla-flavored whey protein to a couple things. I’m putting it in oatmeal for breakfast (quite yummy actually) and a scoop goes into the smoothie along with yogurt, ice, milk, and whatever fruit I have handy. Last night I snuck a few leaves of spinach into it and offered to share with Sarah. She never even suspected the spinach was in there.
Smoothie glass
Would have been prettier if I’d thought to take the picture before I drank the smoothie…

Speaking of Sarah, here’s a funny snippet of conversation we had this week:
Sarah: Mom, when is the Super Bowl?
Me: This Sunday, why? (Sarah is NOT a football fan)
Sarah: Oh does that mean junk food????

Last year, all 4 of us were home for Super Bowl Sunday. Hubby had the day off from work and Meghan didn’t have plans to be out with the boyfriend. This year it will just be Sarah and me. We are not big football people, and could care less about the two teams playing this year (my apologies if any Seattle fans are reading. No apologies for Denver fans, however, because if you are from New England it is pretty much required that you not like Peyton Manning.) but Super Bowl seems like a good excuse to eat in the living room, have nachos and chicken fingers (buffalo flavored for me!), and watch some funny commercials.

IMG_2407
Good football watching!

I’m still hoping to get re-inspired for photography again soon. I’m seeing some good ideas around the blogosphere and I thank those blogging friends for the thoughts. Mike of Picture Day shared his list of photo projects recently. And Amy of PlainMama referenced an interesting sounding photo group on Flickr: The Hours.
If anyone else has some good ideas for getting out of a photo slump, I’d love to hear about them.

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 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!

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.

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)

February 9, 2013

Morning Views from Nemo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:23 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Western Massachusetts turned out to be the lucky ones this time around. It is a little after 10am on Saturday morning as I type this blog, and the power, internet and cable are still on. The snow seems to have finished and the winds are diminishing. The snow plow still has not been down my street, so I won’t be going any where any time soon (although hubby has a 4-wheel drive vehicle should we really need to get out). It is hard to tell exactly how much snow we have because of all of the drifting from the wind, but of course I have some photos to share with you to give you an idea.

Walking into the kitchen first thing this morning, this is what the dogs and I saw:
After Nemo: first look

When I first opened the slider to let them out, the dogs really weren’t sure what to do when faced with snow nearly as tall as them. Then they jumped into it and plowed their way through:
After Nemo: dogs trying to get thru the snow

After Nemo: deck

Here are some views of my deck and back yard:
After Nemo: deck/grill

After Nemo: deck/table

After Nemo: backyard

You can see in that last shot that the trees are not coated in snow. I’m thinking that must mean the snow is more of the light and fluffy type rather than the heavy and wet stuff.

In my front yard, you can’t tell where the yard ends and the street begins since the plows are yet to make their way by.
After Nemo: driveway

After Nemo: front yard

Happy to report we are all safe and cozy and warm here. I have family and friends who are still not out of Nemo’s grips just yet. Eastern Massachusetts and other parts of northeastern New England are still under assault from the storm for a good part of today, and power is out for some. I’m hoping for the best for them, and that power is restored as soon as possible.

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