Weird, Wild Winter


This winter has been fairly mild, but if weather can be called bipolar, then that’s what we have. Last week we had temperatures of almost 70 degrees and within two days the temperatures were back down in the 30s, with tremendous wind gusts. Is it summer? Winter? Noooo …. it’s all-seasons-in-one. These meteorological mood swings are hard enough on people, but the spring flowering trees and bulbs don’t know whether to bloom or not, and this wreaks havoc on the cherry blossoms.

Nevertheless, it’s “crocus watch” season here. Sooner or later those cheerful little flowers are going to appear. I never see them coming. I look and look for their green leaves amongst the leaf litter, but I just don’t see it. And then, one day when the sun is out — Presto! It’s a crocus. I swear they pop out of the ground overnight! So, I’ve been keeping an eye out but it’s too early. This lovely purple and white crocus photo is from a few years ago and I’ve doctored it with Topaz Impressions filter and added some texture.

In other photography news, I’ve just bought a light tent and two LED tabletop lamps to do some still-life photography. The tent is much bigger than I thought it would be and frankly, the thing is big enough I could crawl into it. I’ve ironed the nylon backdrops but they’re still a bit creased, so I will deal with that when the time comes. This is where controlling aperture is a good thing — and that’s something phone cameras don’t allow you to do.

I’m assembling other things for the still-life photo shoots, too, such as art papers for backgrounds and an assortment of tools and clips for holding the papers in place. The lamps came with yellow and blue filters, but I’ve also ordered a swatch book of filter gels and hope they can be cut to fit the lamps. Stay tuned for more posts on photography in the near future.


Is it finally spring?

The weather has been so strange this year. Just a week ago it snowed. I went to the Mid-Atlantic Conference on British Studies in Baltimore and on Saturday afternoon we were treated to snow flurries. Plus, it was bitterly cold and windy. Walking from the conference center back to the hotel where I had parked my car was nearly unbearable. The only thing that kept me from running back to the garage was the thought that I would fall prey to cold-induced asthma, so I pulled my scarf over my ears and kept trudging.

Today the temperature is in the 70s and I’m ready to turn on the air conditioner. As soon as it gets warm here in the Washington metro area the humidity shoots up and it just gets gross. Of course, it rained today so the humidity is high, but pretty much from now until next October it’s going to be humid. Ugh.

On a positive note, it looks like spring is finally here. My lone yellow crocus survived the cold snap and has been joined by about twenty other crocuses in a variety of spring colors. I think the harsh winter gave me spring fever, because today I went to a local nursery and got a narcissus plant for indoors and a new planter for my African violet. And a pair of pink flamingos for the front yard. I may have spring fever, but it seems that I’ve been bitten by the retro bug, too.

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 98


Will spring never get here? Honestly, I like snow, but I’m really done with the sub-freezing weather this year and snow in the metropolitan area is not something to enjoy. It just makes traffic worse. And look at these poor little crocus flowers! I think the crocus came up last year in February. This year they only just managed to bloom after St. Patrick’s Day and they were rewarded by being covered up in snow.

This week’s writing prompt is a grab-bag of five items that you must use in a story. Here’s the scenario: you’re looking around in your garage for your snow shovel, which you just used a few days ago, so you know it’s in here somewhere. In the process of scouring the garage for the missing tool, you find these items:

  • a broken action-figure doll sans clothing
  • a chewed red plastic dog food bowl
  • three keys on a leather key fob
  • a baseball glove
  • an antique carpenter’s square

Come up with the scenario for a story that uses all of these items that isn’t a short story about a flea market or yard sale! The genre can be whatever you choose. Enjoy!

Is it Spring Yet?

crocuscrowd.jpgHere in suburban Maryland, the weather hasn’t been able to make up its mind what season it wants to be. For the better part of the last two months we’ve had quite a few days with temperatures in the mid-30s, which is pretty cold for this area. It warmed up to 70 for one day, then went back down to the 40s the next. You need to carry clothes for every season, because you’ll need them all in the course of the day!

Our crocus have come up and are blooming. This photo is from last year, because I haven’t done much photography yet this year, and the crocus we have are already fading. I had to dig some of them up for the house work last fall and didn’t get around to re-planting them. Still, the ones that I didn’t dig up are finding nice sunny spots for themselves and blooming away. They’ve even escaped from their flower bed and are free-ranging in the front yard. Unfortunately, they get stepped on by the mailman. There’s nothing sadder looking than a squished crocus.