Monday, March 31, 2008
We had a pretty good week. We got to sleep in, go to the National Zoo and went up north for a Bat Mitzvah. And when I say up North, I mean all the waaaaay up to the Connecticut/New York suburbs of NYC.
The drive was not to bad, 7 1/2 hours on the way up which is warp speed compared top some of our epic 12 hour slogs. Coming back was an hour longer due to stopping for both lunch and dinner and a massive jam around Fredericksburg on I95. I have no idea what was going on, but when we saw an exit just before traffic ground to a halt, we bailed out and threaded our way through Freddysburg on route 1. When 1 crossed under 95 just South of Fredericksburg we popped back on and were treated to smooth sailing. Northbound wasn't so lucky and had at least a 10 mile backup.
I'll share pictures of all our adventures after I get the film developed. It stinks not having a digital camera anymore. I hope it turns up this weekend when Hebrew schools resumes. I'm pretty sure that's where I left it.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
She looks so cute all bundled up in her beach towel and I thought it was fitting for this week since it's warm, but I'm featuring her snowmen.
Just after winter break Rebecca brought home a charming project that demonstrated the concept of first , next and last. She had to draw a series of pictures showing how to build a snowman from start to finish.
It is a fairly ordinary progression from one snowball, to two stacked snowballs and finally the completed snowman.
Nothing very earth shaking here.
But... when you turn over the project you get to see the whimsy that is Rebecca.
On her own she decided to draw what happens when a snowman melts.
I love how the snowman starts out so very tall and proper.
Another snowman she brought home was an in class project that was to be given as a gift. It's book loosely based on "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?"
She had help with the binding and such, but the illustrations are all hers. If you are interesting in getting the whole story, just click on the cover and it will lead you to the photo-set of the whole book. There is even a little surprise at the very end of the book.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
We didn't see the whole thing since we left home a bit late and I needed to get Jake home in time for a bit of dinner before his 7:30 base ball practice. I took a bunch of pictures and I'll post them as soon as I get them developed.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
After a bit of digging I found a roll from our trip and I'll share a few of the pictures we took of the synagogue and the Jewish Cultural Museum. First up is a picture of the organ and some of the chandeliers inside the sanctuary.
It was beautiful inside the building. My pictures really don't do it justice, the dark mahogany wood, the bright sunlight streaming in and the white paint conspired to confound my film. But I did get a few good shots and if you click through the picture it will lead you to the picture set. I don't remember much, other than the building being very cool and airy inside.
I remember the museum was quite small and we had to go up a flight of stairs. Inside the first thing that caught your eye was the fully set Seder table safely contained by plexi-glass. Nearby was a display of scrolls and judging by the illumination on the bottom one, I think there was at least one megillah. Which is rather ironic. The two things I photographed are about the holiday we just had (Purim) and the one that we are preparing for (Passover).
At the very end of the picture set is the street entrance to the building. It is a rather plain door set in the wall outside the Synagogue. For whatever reason that is the only external picture I have. For a souvenir we picked up a couple of copies of the sisterhood's cookbook in the museum. I'm going to try out a few recipes and post the results at a later date.
Friday, March 21, 2008
moar funny pictures
I took this picture last summer at my cousins house. After a few days of passing by it I suddenly realized that the sculpture and the buckets we had were just the right size for each other. The kids immeadetely got the joke.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
He and John also wrestle and chase each other through out the house. The funniest is when they are outside. They tear across the lawn shoulder to shoulder, bumping each other. It's kind of like a roller derby out there. John gets so excited that he starts barking at Dell. When they stop Dell gives him a look along the lines of "Dude, why the barking?" and then they take off again.
I've seem to have lost my camera, but I'll try to shoot some video of the two of them this weekend and post it.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
His project was to determine which fertilizer worked the best. We got off to a late start, what with all the hospital madness at the end of January and the beginning of February, but we did get started and the plants cooperated.
He ended up with six different conditions: plain topsoil, topsoil with Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab soil enhancer, compost from a local organic farm, composted cow manure, organic compost from Ukrops (a local supermarket chain that composts trimmings from the produce section) and Sta-Green (a chemically based product). As for the plants, he went for green beans. I found some nifty germination trays and he planted 36 seeds (half a tray for a total of 3 trays) for each of the conditions. The dining room table became a greenhouse and he waited for the plants to start growing.
As I stated earlier the plants were cooperative. I was afraid we started a bit late, but after 3 days a few plants were already poking out of the soil. 11 days later we had a veritable forest of green beans. I practically did a double take every time I went by the doorway to the dining room. You could practically see the plants grow.
Today I stopped by the school to check out the science fair. Literally every available surface was covered in the library. I found out from the librarian that there were over 200 submissions. From what I understand the posters will be judged and the winning entries will go on to compete in the county wide science fair.
I don't envy the judges. There were a lot of outstanding and informative presentations. Everything from chilling sodas, to what batteries work best, roof trusses and the very popular mentos fountains.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
My friend Dianne found this video over at StumbleUpon Video and sent me the following note:
As I watched this video, I couldn't help think of Crunch and the boys. Thought you would enjoy this.
Jerry, with his white face, looks so much like Crunch. Crunch was also tennis ball crazy, but he never got his own ball throwing machine. I think the whole thing is fantastic.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Meat, it's what's for dinner.
I'm a big fan of IEATAPETA, not only do I get to indulge my carnivorous tendencies but I also get to thumb my nose at peta, an organization I utterly loathe.
Then on Sunday was Hebrew school's Purim Parade. Jake and Nate didn't dress up, but the dynamic duo did. Max wanted to be a guard and wanted to bring a spear to school. I was able to cobble together something from a short mop handle and construction paper. Max was very pleased with the end result. Rebecca opted to be Queen Ester (as did every other girl) and wear her big princess dress along with a matching wand and tiara set. Thankfully she decided to wear her sneakers and not her dress up shoes. Her "fancy shoes" are very slippery and would have been nightmare for her to walk in when we cut through the side streets after parking the car.
Neither won any prizes, but they did have a great time.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
A few days ago he posted up a few REM videos. The following day I dropped by and mentioned that I had seen them at my college. Turns out that he had been there too.
It really is a small, small world.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
He has been very industriously digging around the roots of stump in our yard. The stump is a left over from Hurricane Isabel in 2003.
We lost quite a few trees and we have a couple of stumps on our property. We were lucky that the trees fell into the woods and not onto our lawn or our house. Since the stumps were not actually in the way we decided to let them be. The kids and dogs all think this is a great idea and I'll often see them playing on or around the stumps.
Yesterday John got a real bee in his bonnet over one of the stumps and decided to really clear out the soil around the roots.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I think Annie Lennox has the most gorgeous voice. And she is not afraid to use it. She is utterly amazing.
Monday, March 10, 2008
IHOP was quite an experience. We had a long wait since we arrived at the tail end of the post church rush and the start of the college crowd's "I just rolled out of bed and I want pancakes" invasion. The kids didn't notice it, but I found it funny to see tables of people in their Sunday best next to those that hadn't even bothered to change out of their jammies. I'm proud to say that I never went anywhere in my pajamas, except to bed.
Anyway, this is about a dog. My dear friend Dianne and her husband Andy offered Dell to us after Crunch passed. Dell needed a family of his own and John needed another dog to play with (playing with Nate is fun, but it's not quite the same.) We said yes and I went to go get Dell when we were ready.
Dell is a sweetie and John was ecstatic when he met Dell. I swear John has been going "OMG! OMG! OMG! ANOTHER DOG TO PLAY WITH ME!" So far there has only been one mild altercation after John bugged Dell a little too much. I only let them out together in short bursts and only if I can keep a close eye on them. Things will settle down with time and I won't have to watch them whenever they are together.
So now we are back to having a couple of red boys in the house, torpedoing around and crashing to each other.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
At 6:30 am the alarm clock sounded and Larry voiced his disbelief about the hour (it was still dark) before shutting it off. I staggered out of bed and got Max started on his therapies. He needs to be nebulized (albuterol and Tobi)and have chest PTs before we head off to Hebrew school. The Tobi is especially onerous because it takes at least half an hour to fully nebulize. At least Max can sleep through that part. I was dragging the whole time and poor Nate was so confused, I had only reset some of the clocks and he thought it was much earlier than it was. We left late for Hebrew school and I had a hard time parking, but we were only a minute or two late. Which is pretty darn good considering. Normally we are on time, so I don't think the teachers will hold it against them. I know the kindergarten teacher was as out of sorts as we were.
Friday, March 07, 2008
I decided that the megillah itself was off limits, but the smaller square could be passed around. I think the kids really liked being about to actually hold the smaller parchment. They also got a kick out of seeing the whole megillah unfurled. Nate's teacher at that moment pointed out that the whole thing was hand lettered and this was how "books" where originally written. Painstakingly printed by hand on a scroll.
Nate told the class it was the story of Esther. about two thirds of the class understood what he meant. Of the remaining third one girl asked who was Esther. Before Nate could answer another girl answered "It's a Christian story." Nate then corrected her and said that actually it's a Jewish story. The girl was a bit surprised, but accepted this idea fairly easily. Nate then answered a few more questions and then it was time for the class to move on.
I had a lot of fun and I know Nate loved having me there. And once again I've become the go to person for all things Jewish in our school system
Thursday, March 06, 2008
The best part was all the negative side effects and where it is found. However they did miss one of the biggies, water is often refered to in biology as "the universal solvent." Makes it sound pretty dangerous.
In fact here are some excerpts from the Material Safety Data Sheet:
===================== Hazards Identification =====================
Routes of Entry: Inhalation:NO Skin:NO Ingestion:NO
Reports of Carcinogenicity:NTP:NO IARC:NO OSHA:NO
Health Hazards Acute and Chronic:NONE
Explanation of Carcinogenicity:WATER IS NOT LISTED BY IARC, NTP OR OSHA
AS A CARCINOGEN, MUTAGEN, TERATOGEN OR NEUROTOXIN.
Effects of Overexposure:WATER MAY CAUSE DEATH BY DROWNING.
Medical Cond Aggravated by Exposure:NONE KNOWN
================== Accidental Release Measures ==================
Spill Release Procedures:IF UNUSED WATER IS SPILLED, MOP UP OR FLUSH TO
I like the death by drowning and the lack of neutralizing agents.
What makes it even funnier is that my nine year old and my eleven year old were joking around about this dangerous chemical not too long ago.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
My Grandmother had been wanting to go to Europe for years to do research on her book about decorative papers. 1938 my Grandfather (at least according to my mother) said "Put up or shut up." So off she went, by herself, to visit all the makers of decorative papers in Europe.
It was an interesting time to be in Europe. Hitler and Nazism were making life very difficult for Jews and since many if not all of the decorative paper makers were Jewish my Grandmother had a hard time. She went to a central office to look up various names she had been given and she was told that the office was closed. A man seeing her plight pulled her aside and offered to meet her later, away from the office. When they met again he explained to her that it was dangerous for her and the particular people she was looking for to pursue that line of inquiry. In the end she did find some of the people she was looking for and one of them was Carl Gydesen.
I'm not sure where they met, but they did become friends. He made this beautiful picture for her on plain brown paper. She tried to keep in touch with him after her return stateside, but sadly he disappeared. She never knew his exact fate and that of the other people she met. However she was certain that he was one of the many victims of the Holocaust.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
The text is quite faded at the start of the scroll, but as you unwind it the inks brighten up and are no longer faded. There is only one other illustration and it appears at the very end of the scroll. It is similar to the one at the start, which is to be expected.
For those who are interested this site gives a good run down on what a megillah is and how it is made. I love the pictures of the illuminated scrolls on the opening page. My Grandmother would have liked them as well.
In addition to the main scroll is a smaller square of parchment wrapped around the scroll.
yad should be used to prevent fingers from coming in contact with the parchment. The oils on fingers can wreak havoc on the scroll itself.
At some point I need to bring this in to a scholar and try to figure out it's age and probable land of origin. But for now I'll keep it safe. It's interesting how it was rescued, unwittingly, by a gentile (my Grandmother) to only end up back in a Jewish home.
Monday, March 03, 2008
I started out with just our local system. The library closest to us is great. The librarians are helpful, the story times are well run and the catalog is online with the added bonus of online renewals. I average about three books every other week.
Then last summer I was stuck in Richmond with three bored kids (Jake was in Art class) and the temps were in the upper nineties. We found a branch of the city library system just a few blocks down the road. We perused the shelves in air conditioned comfort and I ended up getting a card so we could bring our treasures home.
Today I headed up to Richmond in search of semi-obscure books at the Library of Virginia. Nate has his monthly "share" (ie show and tell) this week and the theme is family heirlooms. He settled on a megillah that my Grandmother was given when she was in Germany just before the start of WWII. She was traveling through Europe meeting various makers of decorative end papers. Many of the guild members were Jewish and knew something terrible was going to happen. They pressed upon my non-Jewish grandmother all sorts of artifacts to bring back to the US, one of which is a megillah. The books I needed from the library tell a little bit about decorative end papers and one has a picture of my Grandmother. (I don't have any pictures of my Grandmother. She died when my mother was 21, a good fifteen years before I was born.)
So anyway, I now have three library cards. Maybe I should try to get a few more.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
I love movies. I love going to a movie theater with a friend or two and settling in the dark with a big bucket of popcorn. I love them so much I joined my college's film society. It was great fun picking out the new movies each semester, pouring over the film catalogs and looking up interesting film titles in Pauline Kael's 5001 Nights at the Movies. I like all sorts of movies and I'm willing to give most a shot with three notable exceptions: anything by Jean-Luc Godard (pretentious twaddle), most movies by Jerry Lewis (he grates on me) and movies with over the top violence. A movie can be gory, but it has to have plot or at the very least a sense of humor (I love both From Dusk Till Dawn and The Evil Dead series.) So it put it in a nutshell I'm a film geek.
Here are the rules:
Bold movies you have watched and liked.
Turn red movies you have watched and loved.
Italicize movies you saw and didn’t like.
Leave as is movies you haven’t seen.
The Godfather (1972)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Schindler’s List (1993)
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Star Wars (1977)
12 Angry Men (1957)
Rear Window (1954)
No Country for Old Men (2007)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
City of God (2002)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Citizen Kane (1941)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
North by Northwest (1959)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
Fight Club (1999)
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)(First DVD I ever bought and I got to see it at Radio City Music Hall, it was awesome)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
The Matrix (1999)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
American Beauty (1999)
The Departed (2006)
Paths of Glory (1957)
American History X (1998)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
The Third Man (1949)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
The Pianist (2002)
The Shining (1980)
Double Indemnity (1944)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Leben der Anderen, Das [The Lives of Others] (2006)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Boot, Das (1981)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Metropolis (1927)(haven’t seen it, but I want to)
Raging Bull (1980)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Sin City (2005)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
All About Eve (1950)
Modern Times (1936)
Some Like It Hot (1959)(Love, love, love the ending- “Well, nobody's perfect”)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) (I remember seeing it in the movie theater with my father)
The Seventh Seal (1957)
The Great Escape (1963)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Touch of Evil (1958)
The Elephant Man (1980)
The Prestige (2006)
Vita è bella, La [Life Is Beautiful] (1997)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
The Sting (1973)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
The Apartment (1960)(very depressing)
City Lights (1931)
Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Batman Begins (2005)
The Big Sleep (1946)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Blade Runner (1982) (I’ve seen both the original and director’s cut, but not the Final Cut from 2007)
The Great Dictator (1940)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Salaire de la peur, Le [The Wages of Fear](1953) (I wanted to get my college film society to show it, but no dice)
High Noon (1952)
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
Fargo (1996) (Saw it when we were in Wisconsin, which added so much to the film)
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Back to the Future (1985)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
Donnie Darko (2001)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
The Green Mile (1999)
Annie Hall (1977)
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Diaboliques, Les [The Devils] (1955) (very freaky movie)
It Happened One Night (1934)
The Deer Hunter (1978)
Life of Brian (1979)
Die Hard (1988)
The General (1927)
American Gangster (2007)
V for Vendetta (2005)
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
The Graduate (1967)
The Princess Bride (1987)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
Harvey (1950) (First movie I ever bought, still have it on VHS)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
The African Queen (1951) (Katherine Hepburn and Bogey, what more could I ask for)
Stand by Me (1986)
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Conversation (1974)
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Wo hu cang long [Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ] (2000)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Gone with the Wind (1939)
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
Cabinet des Dr. Caligari., Das [The Cabinet of Dr Caligari] (1920)
The Thing (1982)
Groundhog Day (1993)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) (didn’t care for it, but I might have been too young)
Toy Story (1995)
Out of the Past (1947)
Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Ed Wood (1994)
The Terminator (1984)
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)(Awesome cast, fabulous movie)
The Exorcist (1973)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
The Hustler (1961)
Toy Story 2 (1999)
The Lion King (1994)
Big Fish (2003)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)(It’s a good movie, but not my thing)
In Cold Blood (1967)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Roman Holiday (1953) (Audrey Hepburn!)
A Christmas Story (1983)
Ying xiong [Hero] (2002)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Cinderella Man (2005)
The Searchers (1956)
Finding Neverland (2004)
Inherit the Wind (1960)
His Girl Friday (1940)
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Whew that's a whole lotta movies.