Friday, June 30, 2006


Last Wednesday I got treated to a full afternoon of concerts.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

As you can see on Jake’s poster even Nate participated, which was remarkable because just that morning he had a tonsillectomy.

Originally it was just Max and Rebecca in their little combo “Rock and Roll little.” They set up a toy keyboard next to Max’s drum kit up in their room. Jake acted as a promoter and ticket seller. He made up both the poster and the tickets. Then he set up shop inside the easel downstairs and sold the tickets.

I happily went along with the game. I got my ticket and went upstairs for the concert.

The music was a bit, how shall I put it..., uneven. Max bashed the drums with enthusiasm while Rebecca noodled on the keyboard and sang disjointed words and sounds. I think they need to do a little more practice before their next gig. They are not ready to quit their day jobs, but it was very cute.

Once they were done I then attended to the pressing matter of laundry when suddenly I heard the piano downstairs.

Apparently Nate had woken up and had decided to practice.

After lunch I was rounded up for Nate’s concert. He elected to play piano and had a little stool next to him on the bench acting as a drum.

His performance was a bit more polished and melodic, but very brief. This was about what I would expect from someone who had studied piano for several years and was just recovering from surgery.

Afterwards we all had popsicles.

Nate is still under the weather, but he is quite a trooper. I fell bad that we put him through this, but he missed a ton of school last winter and this should help him stay healthy.

Hopefully he’ll be able to do a few encores after his next concert.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Big One Oh

Today Jake officially turned ten years old. We had his party last Saturday at our local laser tag establishment, Laser Quest (they have a web site, but I found the site to be very loud and annoying).

Jake had three of his friends (Davis, Chris and Ian) at the party. They along with Nate, Aunt Meryl and Ian’s dad had a great time playing laser tag. Max and Rebecca are much too young and they have some sort of misty junk that is not good for people with compromised lungs.

Once they were done playing we settled down in the party room. While we waited for the pizzas to appear we noshed on leftover cookies and brownies from that mornings dog show. I didn’t intend to bring the leftovers; I had simply left them in car. But, it turned out they were nice to have at the party.

Once we were done with the pizza it was cake time.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

I got Jake half through blowing out his 10 (!) candles. I can’t believe it has been ten years.

We had a great time at the party and it was very pleasant, except for one thing. 10 minutes before our time was up an employee poked his head in and said he would be happy to help us clear out in the next few minutes. Nooo, we still had 10 minutes before we were scheduled to leave. Larry, in fact, looked him straight in the eye and confirmed this. The guy nodded and left the room. Ten minutes later we were done and out of the room exactly on time. It would have been better if he just gave us a 10 minute warning and not tried to push us out before our time. Otherwise it was tons of fun.

Today we continued our tradition of cake for breakfast and otherwise had a quiet day.

Happy birthday to my big boy.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Artist of the Week: Rain

The past day and a half we got a boatload of rain. The rain came down with such force that it blasted the soil out of our little egg carton nursery forcing an emergency transplantation of Rebecca’s asters into a more substantial container. The poor little things were floating in pools of water with their roots wholly exposed. I popped them all into the remaining flower box and so far they are doing alright.

Yesterday we got the bulk of the rain. It alternated with gentle sprinkles with torrential downpour. Meanwhile I had four active children trapped inside and itching to do something.

I decided to send them outside.

It was warm outside and the rain was warm too. Also there hadn’t been a rumble of thunder all day.

The three boys charged out and even little Miss Rebecca danced outside for a moment. Of course she came right back inside, complained about being wet and changed into dry clothes.

Jake, Nate and Max, however, had a wonderful time playing outside in the rain. At one point Nate’s shorts were so waterlogged that they kept slipping to his knees.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

All three are so wet it almost looks like I turned a hose on them.

When I was taking these photographs it was raining so hard you can see it in the form of vertical white streaks.

Oh and the plants in the box behind them, those are Jake’s green beans. They are doing very nicely.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Suburban Olympics

The 100 yard recycle truck dash.

Yesterday morning I was enjoying our first true morning of summer vacation, we had no commitments and we could take our sweet time getting up.

After the kids were fed breakfast I went back upstairs and lolled about in bed. After a long while I heard a noise, the distinctive sound of a large truck coming to a stop on our street. As I listened to the whoosh and screech of the brakes I wondered why a truck was on our street. It was an oddly familiar sound.

Then it hit me, today was recycle day and that was the truck.


I hurriedly changed out of my pajamas and rushed down stairs. I jammed shoes on my feet and dashed out to the garage and grabbed the recycle bin. The kids were stunned by my rapid appearance and subsequent disappearance. They asked my retreating form what was going on and I replied “recycle truck!” and ran down the driveway with the bin.

The truck was out of sight at the end of the cul de sac. I dropped the bin next to the mailbox and sprinted back for the bags of paper.

Jake and Rebecca, meanwhile, had spilled out of house and were watching me in wonder. As I approached the garage I told them to move aside and for once they listened. I tore through the garage and into the house. I leaned over the gate blocking the entrance to the dining room and grabbed the two bags of paper. A few sheets fluttered to the ground as I whirled around and retraced my mad dash back to the mailbox.

I reached the end of the driveway just as the truck came to a wheezing stop. After our bin was emptied I handed over the bags. The man thanked me and asked if I needed to get more. I replied no, this was it.

He nodded his head and we went our separate ways.

Whoot! I had beat out the truck!

In reality I could have hauled it all to the dump myself, it’s not that hard.

It was just another day in suburbia and the Suburban Olympics.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Soccer Camp Wrap-up

I was looking over my latest batch of photos from soccer camp and I thought I would share this final batch with y’all.

I love this picture of Max in action.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

He is in mid-stride and is completely off the ground along with the ball. He has such wonderful expression of concentration. He is going to make that goal!

Here are two photos from a scrimmage on the last day. In the first one you can see how hard Nate is trying to reach the ball. He is at top speed and is bending towards his objective.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

In the next picture I captured Jake in mid-stride.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

I really like it when I get a photo of them with both feet off the ground when they are running.

And here is my last photo from camp. It is of my three campers and the two coaches, Craig and George.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

As you can tell by Jake’s expression he was less than thrilled with the photo session, but I didn’t let that stop me. All five are in their hot, sweaty and very grubby glory.

I think they all had fun the past week, even though the temperatures were well over 90 for a good portion of the week.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

So Tired

I was completely wiped out today.

I admit it was partially my own fault that I was functioning on a bit of sleep debt, but last night was not my fault.

For the past couple of days I have been going to bed much later than usual because I had a bit of baking to do. Since I was spending my days in Dinwiddie, I had to do everything at night. Thursday night I baked the cookies, Friday I baked and frosted the two cakes. Normally two cakes wouldn’t be a big deal but I discovered just as I was making the first that I was one egg short for the second cake. Of course the second cake was the one intended for the next day’s specialty dog show and I had to be there bright and early.


And of course this was just a few minutes before 11:00 pm. By the time I would get to the market it would be closed. Waiting until morning was not an option. I needed to be at the show site by 9:15 am. There is no way I could buy eggs and then bake and decorate a cake. I was stuck. However I could try the quickie marts, they would still be open and there was a good chance they would have eggs.

The first one was a bust. It had plenty of milk, ice cream, beer and soda, but no eggs. Then I remembered the Wawa that was about a mile away and decided to give it a shot. When I first went in I found the snack packs of two hard boiled eggs, a nice quantity, but not in a usable form. Filled with despair I rounded the corner of the dairy case, my egg buying options were running out. Then I saw them, the eggs, in all their glory. The four boxes were tucked in the lower left hand corner of the display case. I scooped up one and quickly made my purchases. Wawa had saved my bacon.

Back home I finished up Jake’s birthday cake and then started the second cake. At the same time I was making two batches of frosting. Orange for Jake and chocolate for the dog show. Fortunately the rest of the evening went without incident. I was able to bake, cool and frost the two cakes. I was even able to fit them in our garage fridge. This would harden up the dog show cake's frosting and would give me a better surface to decorate in the morning.

The next morning, Saturday, I was up by 6:15 am. I staggered down and whipped up a double batch of brownies. They would be still warm and lovely at the show. Once they were in the oven I decorated the cake. I decided the club’s logo would be the way to go. I printed out a copy and used it for reference as I freehanded the design on the cake.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

All in all I think it turned out pretty well. It’s not perfect, but then again I not getting paid for it. Then it was time for a quick bath for John.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

He looks like a sad little hound when he is wet in the tub.

And a quick shower and change for me.

The cake and the luncheon was a success and we were all done before 1:30 pm.

Good, I would be able to haul all the leftovers and dog home and get to Jake’s party only 15 or so minutes late. Which was about what I predicted, Larry and I planned that he would take the kids to Laser Quest and I would met up with them with the birthday cake. The schedule for the party was two rounds of laser tag, and then we would have the party.

It all worked out and the kids had a great time.

That night I made a serious effort to get to bed at a decent hour. I had to be up early Sunday for another dog show. My ring time was 8:00 am. Ugh, but at least the car was already packed, the dog was clean and I didn’t have to worry about bringing food for a party.

I was happily tucked in bed when I was awoken by Max’s voice.

“Mama my blankie is filthy.”


“My blankie is filthy.”

“Alright, bring me your blankie.”

As his steps faded away I glanced over at the clock. It was 3:30 am. I desperately hoped that the filthy blanket was a figment of his imagination.

Max’s thudding footfalls heralded his arrival. I blearily held out my hand and Max placed his blankie in it.

It was a sodden mess.

My heart sank. My dream of a decent night’s sleep slipped away as I went down the hallway to check out Max’s bed. It too was soaked. I then had the special joy of stripping a bed and then remaking it in the wee hours.

After Max was tucked into a clean bed with new pajamas I dumped the soiled linen in the tub and went back to bed.

Waking up was painful. I so wanted top go back to sleep, but I had paid my entry and the judge was a good one. I really did not want to miss out.

So I got up and pressed on.

Once I got moving it wasn’t so bad. I was able to get out and to the show in plenty of time.

The funny part was when I was ready to go. I told the dogs it was bed time and Crunch and Rally dutifully went to their crates. John, however, danced to the garage door. After one show he figured out if I was all dressed up it must mean a dog show.

He’s no dummy.

At the show he was full of confidence and even tried to get up on the table when it was his turn, just like his daddy, Crunch, used to.

He didn’t get any points, but he did look good.

We were done in short order and home by 9:45 am.

I was drawn out and exhausted. After lunch and a few chores about the house I finally collapsed in bed and got a nice nap.

I’m still tired, but not as wiped out as before.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Baseball and Coaches

Yesterday we had the two soccer camp coaches over for dinner (spaghetti and meatballs a perennial favorite in our family) followed by a baseball game. It was a make-up game for Nate’s team and the last one of the season.

It was a perfect night for baseball, the temperature had dropped to the low eighties and the bugs were not out in force. All we needed were hotdogs to make it a classic baseball experience. We arrived just after the game had gotten under way. Since Larry was on the field coaching, it was up to me to give the guys an explanation of what was going on.

Fortunately I like baseball and I have even played softball, so I do have a clue.

Sort of.

Anyway, when we arrived Jake promptly disappeared to the adjoining playground. Max and Rebecca, however, were stuck with watching the game. I wanted to actually watch the game and be able to answer any questions our British guests had. Of course I had to take pictures too.

Here is Rebecca with George. She got mad at me when I snapped this. She wanted to take the pictures, not be in the pictures.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

“No pictures!”

Max was a bit shy at first, but warmed up to the idea that he was with Craig, who had hair just like him. He asked Craig to sit next to him at dinner for just that reason. (It’s hard to be the only blond in family with otherwise very dark hair.)

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

There is such a cute smile on Max’s face.

But I digress; we were there to watch baseball.

Shortly after we arrived Nate stepped up to bat. I was able to catch him just after he hit the ball and was stepping off towards first.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

You can just make out Larry; he is the first base coach.

The team had a good night and our Nate was 3 for 3 at bat. Not bad for a kid who had been careening about a few hours earlier at soccer camp in 90+ degree weather.

Afterwards we brought out a full sized bat to give the guys a chance to learn how to hit.

First off Larry gave them a brief lesson on how to hold the bat and proper foot position, then it was time to play. George was first up and promptly smacked the ball to the outfield.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

It was a very impressive showing for someone who had never played before. He even had a fairly level swing. At one point he said “I’m going to chuck soccer, this is easier.”

After quite a few solid hits from George, it was Craig’s turn. For whatever reason, I was unable to take a decent picture. Then I remembered that our new camera could also be used as a camcorder.

So I present to you Two Brits Playing Baseball.

George is pitching to Craig. The voice you hear is me with the added bonus of Nate’s appreciative shout when Craig knocks one to the outfield.

Both of them had a good time watching the game and had a wonderful time hitting a few balls afterwards.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Artist of the Week: Magna Doodle

This week’s artist, as per Meryl’s request, is Max.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Most Thursdays Max, Rebecca and I get together with Aunt Meryl for lunch. Sometimes it’s fast food, sometimes it’s pancakes and more often or not it is in the cafe section of the “the good Ukrops.” Not all of the cafes at the various Ukrops are created equal. The one closest to Meryl’s new job is particularly bad, but if you drive 15 minutes further you find yourself at a particularly good one hence the nickname.

Last week we met at “the good Ukrops” for lunch. Afterwards we across the parking lot so I could return a DVD we had borrowed from her. It was a trek since I like to park in the shade. It’s worth the longer walk to avoid having the interior of the van becoming a blast furnace.

Anyhoo as I rummaged around the interior of the van to dig out the DVD Max showed Meryl his latest creation on his Magna Doodle. Meryl was quite impressed and told me, nay insisted, that Max should be the next Artist of the Week.

So here is Max’s creation:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

As I recall it was one of his epic Star Wars creations. I’ll update this tomorrow when I have a chance to talk to the artist about his piece.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Here We Go Again

This week is shaping up to be another baking week.

I have my dachshund club’s big specialty show on Saturday morning AND Jake is having his big 1-0 birthday party later the same day (Eek, he’s going to be double digits!)

It is customary for the hosting club to put out a bit of a spread during a specialty show and my club is not the exception. As usual, I volunteered to bake a few cakes. Last night (Monday) I got a call from the member organizing the food. He wanted to know what I was bringing (he completely trusts me, since I saved his bacon last year by making an extra cake). I told him three cakes and then we started to chat.

At one point I made a comment about baking cookies and he started to rhapsodize how great it would be if we could have mini-chocolate chip cookies. Well duh, I can do that. So we changed the three cakes into a double batch of cookies, brownies and a sheet cake for good measure. Which is all very easy for me.

Then there is Jake’s birthday cake. He, once again, wants an orange cake. We haven’t discussed how to decorate it, but it’ll be something simple. He is not into fussy cakes.

So starting tomorrow, it will be bake, bake, and bake.

Of course it would be during one of the hottest and nastiest weeks we have had so far.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Dinwiddie Days

This week the boys are all at soccer camp, even little Max is going to the 1 ½ hour mini-camp. Rebecca, in light of her less than enthusiastic performance in her first (and possibly last) soccer team, is only going along for the ride and is not participating.

The camp is being held in Dinwiddie County, about 30 minutes from our house. Last Friday I got a desperate call from the organizers wanting to know if I could possible take in one of the coaches for the week. The coaches are from the UK and they tour around the US all summer long going from camp to camp, staying with host families.

I said it was a possibility, but I have to talk to my husband first.

Well, after a brief call to my husband I called back the folks at Challenger Sports and said we were willing, however...
1) We have four kids.
2) We have three dogs.
3) We live a fair distance from the location of the camp and...
4) We have four kids.
This didn’t seem to faze them and it was arranged that we would be hosting one of the two coaches.

At this point I’d like to mention that it was arranged that we would meet the coach at 6:00 pm on Sunday at the soccer fields.

On Sunday we got ready for our guest and went to the meeting point.

Where we waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

All the while I was checking our home voice mail.

Finally we got a message at about 7:15 pm.

He was an hour away and could we please call him at the following number.

The number was no good.

At that point we bagged the whole thing and went out to dinner

Well it turns out that the poor guy was fried, having just gotten stateside the day before and then subsequently driven down from Baltimore. The main office had told him that he would be dropping off his partner with the other host family and then head over to our house (this was news to me). They had arrived late at the first house, determined that the two houses were too far apart and decided that they would both stay put.

So the new plan is they will stay half the week with one family and then spend the rest of the week with the other family.

Okay, that works for me. We can stick our air mattress in the guestroom and they can figure out who gets the bed.

Anyhoo, today was the first day or soccer camp.

The boys had a very good time and I got this fantastic shot of Nate just after he tried to kick a goal.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

As you can see his cleat came flying off. Sadly the ball did not go in the goal, but I got this great picture instead.

The coaches seemed to be a nice couple of guys and they interact well with all the campers. At one point Max buttonholed one and they had a very long conversation about Star Wars.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

The coach really paid attention to Max and did not just brush him off after a few minutes. It takes a fair amount of patience to really listen to a four year for any length of time.

We will be spending the rest of the week in Dinwiddie (I love saying Dinwiddie, typing it is fun too). It’ll be hot this week, but it looks like it’s going to be fun.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Fathers Day!

Almost ten years ago Larry became a father for the first time.

Here he is with an infant Jake.

Today Larry is an experienced dad of four.

So what did he get to do?

He got to buy paint all by himself without any little helpers in tow. Then he got to use the paint without any assistance from various small people.

Next he got to watch a little World Cup action and take a short nap with Nate.

There was also an unfortunate hour and half wait for a soccer coach that never showed, but I’ll write about that later. At least we were able to go out and have some tasty Mexican food for dinner before I spooned all the kids into bed.

Normally I handle just Max and Rebecca and Larry takes care of Jake and Nate. But today he got to skip the excitement of putting the boys to bed. Lord knows some nights it can be a challenge just to get them to brush their teeth, much less get into bed, but by 9:15 they were all tucked in.

So for all you dads out there, I hope y’all had a good father’s day.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wild Kingdom, Updated!

Yesterday afternoon I was in the front yard clearing out some of the excess vegetation in front of the house and measuring windows when I noticed something on the front lawn. My first impression was that it was a bicycle helmet, namely my helmet which is black.

Why on earth had the kids dragged my helmet out and dumped it on the lawn?

Then I noticed that the helmet had something sticking out at one end. Something that looked remarkably similar to a small head.

Then it stuck me, it was not my helmet, but a rather large turtle.

Since I had my yardstick with me I went out and measured it. I happened to be on the phone with Larry and he got to experience my excitement first hand. He then, very sensibly, suggested that I take a picture of the turtle.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

This is the beauty of a turtle. You can walk up to one, measure it with a yardstick, go back inside to fetch the camera and odds are it will still be there where you left it.

Here is another picture with the kids. As you can see it is a large turtle, the carapace is nearly 10 inches long and 6 inches wide. It is a bit bigger than the average size of 8 to 9 inches long.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

The turtle patiently waited until the children backed away. Then it beat a hasty retreat to the bushes to hide out until the coast was clear.

I hope we get to see the turtle again and that it avoids the cars and our dogs. Crunch actually ate a turtle once and I hope he doesn’t repeat that particular feat of marathon chewing. I didn’t realize he was gnawing on a turtle until an hour later and then it was too late.

Poor thing, I felt really bad about that particular victim of my dogs predations.

Well it looks like that the turtle may be a Cooter, either Florida or River. Or it could even be a Yellowbellied slider.

My best guess is that it is Florida Cooter. Our turtle most resembles the pictures of the Florida.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thursday Three: Beliefs

Terry writes this week:

I realize many of you come here bright and early every Thursday in order to play America's Most Popular Parlor Game, the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three, but in a break from the usual routine, today's T3 will be hosted by famed Long Island archivist and bowling guru, Skinnydan.:

Blessings Upon Thee, T3

Crap. Crap crap crap.

Forgot I was supposed to come up with T3 questions.

I know it was supposed to be about religion.

Think, THINK!

(You know, I believe I've had school-related nightmares like this.)

Fortunately, I should be able to meet those fine Possumblog standards, even at this late hour.Here goes:

1) Are you now a religiously committed person, and have you always been one?
2) Did you come to your faith on your own, or are you simply continuing traditions instilled by your parents/grandparents, etc. (For the non-believers, feel free to describe your absence of faith in the same vein)
3) Have you ever abandoned your faith and its teachings for any significant period of time, or in any significant way?

So be ye Christian, Mohammedean, or Son of Abraham, feel free to answer in ye comments or on thine own blog. Zoroastrians, Arianists, and Wiccans are on their own.

1)Sort of and no. We sporadically attend services, send our children to Hebrew school and have a nice Sabbath dinner with homemade challah every Friday, however we don’t keep kosher. Before I converted to Judaism I really did not have much religious commitment. I enjoyed Christmas with my family, but that was about it.

2)As I mentioned above, I have converted to Judaism. My family is nominally Unitarians and has been from many generations (If fact, my mother was a bit disappointed when they merged with the Univeralists). Converting to Judaism was not a big stretch for me. I already did not believe in the divinity of Christ and I enjoyed the richer heritage that Judaism offered. Both religions value free thought and I found that Judaism was a better fit. I came to learn and appreciate my new religion through my then boyfriend Larry. He never asked or expected me to convert, but he and his family was delighted that I did. My own family was very supportive of my decision and I am very lucky to have such a wonderful support from both sides. The best indication that I ever got that I made the right decision was when my friend Meryl said I was meant to be Jewish.

3)In regards to my former religion it would be a resounding yes, since I up and left it. In regards to my current, no not really. As I mentioned before we don’t keep kosher, but I do try my best to be the best person and Jew that I can.

Those were some mighty big questions and I have answered them to the best of my ability.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Artist of the Week: Father's Day

In honor of Father’s Day my father is this week’s artist.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I have posted the painting before and it is still one of my favorites. Since I have already told y’all about the painting I’ll instead tell you about my father.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

This picture was taken in 1957. He looks so handsome and glamorous. At that time he was managing Robert Lehman’s private art collection (a large portion of which is on permanent display at the Met). I *think* this photograph was taken in Paris when my father was sent over to manage the potion of the collection that was on display. The original curator that was sent over had a nervous breakdown and my father had to pick up the slack. It was a pretty cool job. The best part was how he got it. Previously my father had worked at a factory (where he nearly destroyed the machinery by throwing the wrong switch) and had been an art teacher. One day he noticed a posting for a job “Eccentric millionaire seeking personal assistant to manage collection, must be non-smoking.” My father was a smoker, but he got the job anyway.

I don’t have very many memories of him painting, but we did have a studio in the barn at my first home. It was a large old red barn that my parents had a portion of converted to be an art studio. 2/3 of the barn was used to garage the cars and miscellaneous lawn equipment. The rest was walled off with the end side of the barn being all windows (much to the detriment of the local bird population). It was a bright and cheerful space with a wood stove for heat. Other than that, I don’t remember much more. My brother and I were generally not allowed in there.

I do remember that he loved books and movies, especially science fiction. He took me to see 2001 and I have always had a special fondness for that movie. He passed away in 1976, but to this day I still love going to the movies and reading science fiction. For that I have my father to thank.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

And Now for Stories

Of course no trip is complete without stories.

When we arrived Friday we checked in, unpacked and rested a bit. Then it was time to hit the beach.

This is the view from the walkway/balcony in front of our room.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

As you can see it is a short walk to the beach (even for four year olds) and we really did have an ocean view.

Once on the beach we found a good spot and settled in. Larry and I sat on our beach blanket and the kids played in the sand and the surf.

Like most parents, I never completely relax on the beach when the kids are with me. I keep an eye on them to make sure that don’t stray to far away or head into deep water. Generally they are a good bunch and stay fairly close except Nate. He kept drifting (unintentionally) down the shore as he frolicked in the surf. Periodically we would call him back and all was well.

Virginia Beach is a very family friendly place and as a result there were a fair number of kids about. There was the adorable toddler lurching about with his siblings under the watchful eye of their mother. Kids would stroll by with a parental figure in tow. Most of the time you could tell which group a child was from, but there were exceptions. For us it was The Sand Monkey, aka Kayla.

The Sand Monkey suddenly appeared and plopped herself down next to Rebecca. She seemed nice enough and the two girls happily played in the sand together.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

We named her The Sand Monkey because of the little monkeys on her top and how her skin tone and hair perfectly matched the sand all over her. Larry was the one to tease out her name, but we couldn’t figure out where her group was. She looked to be about Rebecca’s age and was far too young to be by herself. After about 20 minutes she got up and wandered off. I watched her for a bit, glanced away for a moment and then she simply vanished.

It was a bit disconcerting for me, but there really wasn’t much I could do since I couldn’t see her anymore.

In the end I got to see The Sand Monkey once again the following afternoon with her mother. I was glad to see The Sand Monkey safe and sound.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Surf, Sand and Soccer

Last weekend was the 13th annual North American Sand Soccer Championships being held in Virginia Beach, VA. Jake’s team had decided months ago that this would be their final tournament.

I pulled the boys from school Friday. (Yes I know, bad mommy, but at this point precious little education is going on. It’s just glorified babysitting as the school year enters its final days.) So we could head on down to Virginia Beach early, beat the traffic and get a little beach time.

Traffic was light and we arrived just after 2:00 pm.

The hotel was a bit tatty and worn, but was an easy walk to the beach which is wonderful.

We got to enjoy a little surf.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Build a few sandcastles.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Watch quite a bit of soccer.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

And dig our toes in the sand.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

The team did alright. They stomped their opponents in the first game 4-0 and were then stomped in turn by their opponents in the next game 0-4. Their last game was Sunday Morning at 8:00 am and they fought their opponents to a tie 1-1. They actually out shot their competition, but they kept just missing the tiny net. They did a bang up job and we had a great time.

Rebecca was very sad to leave and burst into tears when I started to pack up the room. I think we will be returning to VA Beach sometime this summer.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Back From the Beach

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

We just got back from a weekend of sand, surf and soccer.

More pictures later

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Thursday Three: DIY


Today's Axis of Weevil Thursday Three is ALL about self-reliance and self-sufficiency! To that end, EACH ONE OF YOU will be required to make up your OWN three questions to answer! Now some of you might think that this is because I got sidetracked with eleventy-thousand other different things yesterday and simply forgot to formulate the contest for today. WELL, YOU'D BE WRONG! I just think it's time for you to show a little initiative, a little self-starterism, some up-by-the-bootstrapitis to show everyone that the Possumblog Reading Audience is full of go-getters and independent spirits!

That, and I forgot to do the questions.

SO, ANYWAY, please leave three questions and your answers in the comments below or a link back to your blog. Readers who don't have the same drive and energy that YOU do have the option of being lazy and stealing your questions and answering them in lieu of making up their own. BUT DON'T WAIT FOR SOMEONE ELSE to do it, or otherwise this will be QUITE boring.

And we CANNOT have that.

Very often.

Or more than once a week.

Okay, once a day.

OKAY, so it's boring all the time! DON'T BLAME ME--come up with something interesting yourselves!

Ahem. Sorry.

Hey! I already came up with the questions for last week.


All right, I guess I have to come up with *more* questions and then answer them, even though it would be way easier to just crib them off of Terry. Heck I could even answer the first one. It’s the shoes Terry, always the shoes.

So here are my questions and the answers to this week’s DIY edition of The Axis of Weevil’s Thursday Three.

1) What is the best thing about shopping at the Farmers’ Market? Oh I could be all boring and say it is all the lovely fresh fruits and vegetables, but that’s not it. Instead it is the growers and how I have come to know them. Take for example last week. I got down there and selected a lovely bunch of fresh veggies and salad greens from Amy (of Amy’s Garden) when it suddenly dawned on me that I had left my check book at home and I had no cash on hand. No big deal, I thought to myself. I set aside my intended purchases and strolled over to the handy cash machine. After a very frustrating 5 minutes I determined it was busted. Sheepishly I returned to Amy and just as I was about to apologize and put my stuff back so said “The machine is broken, right?” She then said it was not a problem and I could pay her back next week. Try doing that at your local supermarket.

2) Sesame Street or Barney? I can’t stand Barney. The whole show is treacly sweet and kids all look and act like little robots. I admit I am biased towards Sesame Street, because that is what was on when I was a kid. Elmo can be a wee bit grating, but I like the fact that he gets irritated with Zoe and her instance that her pet rock can think and talk.

3) Coffee or tea, what is your beverage of choice in the morning? Neither! I really don’t like coffee, except for as a flavor enhancement in ice cream and mixed drinks. Yeah I’m weird, deal with it. I like some teas, but it’s just not something that I think of on my own. In general I don’t like caffeinated beverages. I used to enjoy Coke, but I gave it all up when I started having kids and I never went back. Now I’m happy with a nice tall glass of whole milk (skim milk is yucky), orange juice or water.

So there you go, a random mix of questions and answers. And I did all by myself while fending off four year olds from the keyboard.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Artist of the Week: NY, NY

This week’s artist is my Uncle Hector. He is not really my Uncle, but he is a very dear friend of my family and was bestowed the honorific upon my and my brother’s birth.

He is a rather successful painter and had met my parents in college. They became fast friends and I have known him all my life. His family was not far from my first home and we would go there all the time. It is a very large, very boisterous and very loving family. I remember running about with a large pack of his nieces and nephews when ever we stopped by. My brother and I would be included in the family photographs, which was rather amusing. I would almost blend in with my dark hair and eyes, my fair skin being the only indicator that I might not belong. My brother, however, always shone out like a bright light, his pale blond hair and blue eyes setting him apart from the rest.

Papa Leonardi, Hector’s father, made his own wine and I vividly remember the large casks in the cellar. The family tradition was that a new born baby’s feet would be dunked in the new wine, blessing both the baby and the wine. He was also a great photographer and made a good living doing portraits and such.

Mama Leonardi, Hector’s mother, was a fabulous cook. The table was always groaning under the weight of her delicious creations. Easter was particularly memorable with the myriad of Italian pastries on the table.

So even though I am died in the wool WASP (or rather WASU since my family are Unitarians) by birth, my childhood had a distinctively Italian flavor.

Anyway, my Uncle is having an opening tomorrow at the Dillon Gallery in NY, NY.

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I love the direction he has taken with his latest works. The colors are almost luminous in his paintings. My favorites are Assisi (not pictured), Modena, Livorn and Trivento (it looks better in the catalog). I love that we are on his mailing list and that we get invitations to his openings. If there is any way I could, I would go see his exhibit in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Down on the Farm

Several weeks ago we got a bunch of freebie packets of seeds from a local contactor trying to drum up some business. They had set up a table at the entrance to the soccer fields and were giving away free coffee and Krispy Kreme (!) doughnuts. Along side the food was a big basket full of seed packets, ranging from flowers to vegetables.

Max selected cucumbers, Jake green beans and Rebecca fished out some asters. Nate was uninterested; he was more intent on goofing off with some of his friends than picking out boring old seeds.

For a couple of days my would-be-farmers pestered me to plant the seeds. I finally relented and pulled out some egg cartons and potting soil. We had fun dumping in the potting mix and poking in the seeds. Initially I had the cartons loose, but they kept drying out. I then hit upon the idea of placing the cartons in one of my sheet cake pans. This did the trick. Shortly afterwards little green shoots starting poking out.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Farmer Max

This past weekend I transplanted the beans and the cucumbers to our deck planters. The beans should be alright,

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

but the cucumbers will be a bit tricky.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

I think I’ll be able to train them to grow along the railing. If not, it is not a big deal since I haven’t actually paid for the seeds.

I know they would all do better in a real garden, but that really isn’t an option here. The deer (aka tall rats) are quite brazen here. On numerous I have found hoof prints under the deck. I would have to put any sort of a vegetable garden in a fully enclosed area (i.e. roof and all) to protect the plants. So we are limited to the deck. I have had a measure of success with my big pots with tomatoes. Hopefully the deck boxes will work out.

The asters are not quite ready and are still in their egg box nursery.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

They should be fine in a deck box.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Things Misunderstood

Weekend before last I was tooling around with my in-laws, Max and Rebecca in the car. At one point we were discussing Grandma’s and Grandpa’s return trip home. They planned on leaving after the picnic. Conveniently, the game was north of Richmond and they would be able to stop at their usual spot before continuing on with their trip the next day.

This inspired a discussion of how there are some very nice waterfront condos at their stopping point. The condos are lovely and are just 30 minutes from Baltimore, a very doable commute.

Max from the back piped up “Then you could be a death-eater.”


After a puzzling 5 minutes my mother-in-law figured out that Max thought we were talking about Voldemort, not Baltimore. Apparently it is very important to be in close proximity to He Who Must Not Be Named in order to be a death eater. This fits in with Max’s fascination with all things Harry Potter. In the Goblet of Fire Voldemort left a very big impression on Max. His big comment about him was “Voldemort is one weird looking dude.”

So true Max, so true.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, Oi, Oi!

I found this quiz over at Jordana’s and thought I’d give it a whirl.
Which country should you REALLY be living in?


G'day Mate! You're a yokker. A true Aussie. You love the beach and barbies, as well as sport and sex. Life couldn't get any simpler, and thats the way it should be. C'mon Aussie, C'mon!

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

Well this is not a complete surprise; I have always wanted to go to Australia. Also my parents, before my brother and I appeared on the scene, had seriously considered emigrating to there at one point.

I guess this means we have to by a new grill to replace the old one that collapsed in a heap of rust and grease.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Umm, No

Since this seems to be odd food week in the Axis of Weevil, I thought I should join in with a recent sighting at my local supermarket.

As I was perusing the produce aisle I took a gander at the cauliflower. It is a very pretty vegetable, the creamy white florets nestled in the dark green leaves.

It is picnic time at the school and a request was put out for cut vegetables and I was trying to think what would be a good thing to bring. Then I was brought up short when I spied this:

Orange cauliflower.

I sorry, but that is just wrong. Yes, it may be rich in vitamin A, but it looks awful. Almost pre-rotten so you can skip the “oops I forgot about in the fridge” part and just toss it when you get home.

I’m willing to try a lot of things, but not this.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Thursday Three: What have your Pets and/or Children Have Done?

Today’s Thursday Three over on Possumblog is about:
Pets and/or Children!
Today’s episode of the vaunted Axis of Weevil Thursday Three comes to us via the dog- and child-rich person of Sarah Getzler, who wrote last week to say she wants to know some things about us:
1) What is the most destructive thing your pets and/or your children have ever done?
2) What is the most constructive thing they have done?
And finally, 3) What is the most amazing thing they have done?
As usual, anyone may play along, even if you have no pets and/or children--just make up stuff if you have to!
Just leave your answers in the comments below, or have your trusty sled-dogs pull all of this over to your blog and answer it there, and leave a link below.

Well since I have both children and pets, as Terry noted above, I’ll do both.

1) Children: Nate so far has been the most destructive of my children, but it was not malicious and I was partially to blame. About two years ago I was bustling about in and out the house picking things up. I had a huge piece of cardboard lying on the driveway between the open garage containing our new van and our old (no longer insured) van parked under the basketball hoop opposite the garage. Max and Rebecca were inside napping and the boys (5 and 7 years old) were playing in the driveway on the cardboard. I *was* going to pick up the cardboard, but the boys were having so much fun on it, throwing rocks and enjoying the sound of rocks on cardboard, I didn’t. A decision I later regretted. I thought to myself what harm could there be in that. Fifteen minutes later I found out what could go wrong. They had tired of their rocks on cardboard game and decided to throw rocks over the old van into the basketball hoop. Nate had a spectacular failure in aim and smashed two of the huge side windows of the van. We were thinking of selling the old van, but ended up donating it to the CFF since we didn’t want to pay for the new windows.

Pets: Crunch and John can dig enormous pits, but for actual destruction, I have to go with Rally. When she was much younger she would compulsively chase her tail. As she circled about she would lunge and bite at the nearest doorframe. She also got bored in her crate and chewed the heck out the balustrade railing that was next to her crate. I didn’t realize how bad it was until we were about to put the house on the market. We had to rip out the whole balustrade and replace it.

2) Children: I like how my children play around all the uplifted stumps and use them as play houses for their two population of imaginary creatures, the Hokahs and the Josephs. Then there is all the endless pieces of art and Lego creations that get featured each Wednesday here during Artist of the Week.

Pets: Crunch and John’s ongoing mission to rid the world of moles and cats from our yard. The moles are killed, but the cats are only chased out. I like cats, but I don’t like the presents they can leave in our sandbox that I’m too lazy to cover.

3) Children: Jake was a late talker, he really didn’t have conversation English until age four, but he could very clearly communicate and understood all that was said to him. At age 2 ½ he could correctly identify the make of any car. We could be standing across the street and he would point to each vehicle and name its color and manufacturer. The boy loved cars.

Pets: When I was growing up at one point my family had a standard dachshund, Throopie, and a standard poodle, Casey. They were an amazing pair together. We were on a dirt road and they were free to roam about, but they never strayed far from our property. One thing they would do was to go hunting for woodchucks. Casey would stand guard at one burrow entrance and Throopie would go through another to push the woodchuck out of its burrow to the awaiting jaws of Casey. It was an amazing example of cooperation between the two dogs.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

And those are my answers to this weeks questions.