Thursday, December 24, 2009

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Rebecca and all of us would like to wish you a Merry Christmas this Christmas eve and a happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Artist of the Week: Gingerbread

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is the always active Nate.

The children positively vibrates with energy. With some children this could be irritating, but he is such a good humored and easy going child that you just accept that his energy is part of the package.

It is rare for me to get a photo of him being still. In tis one he is running along in the snow about to jam his stick in the embankment. Why he is doing this I'll never know, but him knows what he is doing and that is what matters. The nice part is that he'll cheerfully tell you his intentions if you just ask him at the time.

Anyway, the last two weeks of school this class had a big project, making gingerbread houses for their respective families.

front view
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The house weren't really gingerbread, they used graham crackers, but the end result looks basically the same.

The students had to plan, build and decorate their houses. I stopped by on two separate days to help out. I made a ridiculous amount of royal icing for Nate and brought it the first day.

Nate didn't need any help from me. All I did was demonstrate the technique on how to pipe icicles and he took off. I spent my time in the classroom helping out all the other kids.

And it turned out he really didn't need my help at all.

His house was lovely and possibly the best executed of the lot. Unfortunately the peppermints started to run for reasons unknown, but the house still looks very nice. For more views just click on the picture to take you to the photo set.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This Way Madness Lies

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Max's big present for Chanukah this year was a drum set.

He had a toy set a few years ago, a gift from my brother (who did clear it with me before sending it along.), but it has long since fallen apart.

This set, however, is the real deal.

We have a friend who is a drummer and he recommended eBay or Craig's list to find Max a drum kit. There were plenty of drums, but none quite the right size. I ended up finding a very nifty site called Vintage Drum Center.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I found all sorts of useful information on what size to buy and they had very competitive pricing. We had to pay for shipping, but in exchange we have a knowledgeable company on our side should things go awry.

It was a bit daunting assembling the drums, but the directions they emailed us were very clear. The drums have a good tone and Max loves them. So much in fact he has told me that he can't wait to take lessons.

So yes it will be loud, but we are already a pretty loud family. What's an additional crash and boom?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Seven and a Half Inches

Seven and a half inches
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Yes, the yard stick shows 7 1/2 inches, which for around here is a fairly impressive snowfall. (Mind you I have a friend in Staunton, VA that got 37 inches of the white stuff.)

This picture was taken Saturday morning. The storm itself started in earnest on Friday night. The kids were ecstatic and I let them play outside well past their bedtime. It was nice being able to let them loose, we had no obligations the next day and it was the start of winter break.

The snow has packed down a bit since that picture, but it still coats the yard in a lovely sparkly white blanket.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal

In honor of our recent snowpocalypse.

I heard this song when it first came out, but I never caught the artist. But now, thanks to an old friend who is a huge music geek, I now know it is the Fleet Foxes.

Thanks Doug!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Eighth Night

Eighth Night
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Today I went to Max and Rebecca's classroom and told the kids all about Chanukah. It was great fun for both me and the students.

I brought in all of our menorahs and let then pass around the metal (ie unbreakable) menorahs while I gave them a brief rundown of the Chanukah story. Then I passed out our dreidel collection and told them about Chanukah foods like latkes and doughnuts. The doughnut part really grabbed their attention. We had a brief question and answer period and then I was off.

It is such a good opportunity to enlighten and I have so much fun doing it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Seventh Night

seventh night
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Ah, that's much better.

I'm back in the groove and we have just one more day of school and one more night of Chanukah. Combine this with the big weather potential lurking in the wings, it could make tomorrow very interesting indeed.

Sixth Night

sixth night
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar

I've been so busy, what with the endless cookie baking and going to the school to help out that I just plum forgot. The picture was taken and the children enjoyed their presents and then that was it.

So here it is, day six.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fifth Night

Fifth Night
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Once again we have the two menorahs in action.

These are my two favorites and they couldn't be more different. They really demonstrate that there are no limits on what can be a menorah.

From the simplicity of an old bicycle chain to the incredibly detailed sculpture of various synagogues. I think I'll bring them both into Max and Rebecca's classrooms on Friday when I come to tell the kids about Chanukah.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fourth Night

fourth night
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Tonight is the fourth night of Chanukah.

Today I picked up another Chanukah menorah while rattling about Richmond. It's in the foreground of today's picture and is a very simple affair as it is made from an old bicycle chain.

I got it in a store called Ten Thousand Villages. It is a fair trade shop that has all sorts of quirky hand made goods. I noticed the menorah a couple of weeks ago, but held off on buying it. We all ready have quite a few and we really don't need another one.

And yet it appealed to me.

Maybe it's cunning design drew me in or maybe the fact that I love to ride my bike. Whatever the reason, I kept thinking of it. I described it to Larry and he thought it sounded very interesting as well.

So today I decided I would stop by and see if they still had them.

Obviously they did and so we are the proud owners of a bicycle chain menorah.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Third Night

third night
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Tonight was our congregations big Chanukah party. I helped out with making the latkes and we all had a great time. The only bad part was that this year we actually ran out.

I guess we'll just have to make even more next year.

Friday, December 11, 2009

First Night

first night
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Happy Chanukah!

We had a lovely first night at services and as a very welcome change we did not have the only children.

It was such a pleasure seeing four other kids tearing around during thte oneg. It looks like this year's Chanukah party is going to be a lot of fun!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh Dell

Oh Dell
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Dell is a very special dog.

He is full to the brim with vim and vigor, his heart nearly bursting with all the love he has to share.

He is also an exceptionally silly dog, for example we have this picture.

The red boys love to lay on the stair treads surveying their kingdom. John will acknowledge people passing by with a bit of a wag. But that is far too restrained for our Delly Belly, instead his whole body has to get in the act.

Meryl noticed him this past Thanksgiving and called me over to take a picture. He is about shoulder height and Meryl was giving him a bit of a pat. Which set off Dell in the most remarkable fashion. He got his front end up a step, but left his high quarters firmly behind. Then he set about twisting himself to try to get closer to us. He was so desperate for attention and his tail was wagging like mad.

The whole thing was hilarious and made for a funny little picture

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Artist of the Week: Happy Birthday

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is the very thoughtful Miss. Rebecca.

This was her from a few weeks ago. It was the fall piano recital and I think she looks so very grown up, no longer my little baby girl. She did a lovely job playing a duet with her teacher. She seems to have quite a knack for playing piano, but it is not her true love.

Drawing is what she wants to do and she does it very well.

The house is littered with her drawings, any scrap of paper is fair game. She also loves to share her pictures as her grandmothers and grandfather have come to learn. Pieces of paper are carefully cut to just the right size for mailing (folding ruins the picture), then she creates a tiny little drawing. Once completed, it is carefully tucked inside the enveloped and mailed.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
So it is no great surprise that she makes her own cards.

They are extravagantly illustrated and the sentiment is hand lettered. This particular example is what she gave me on my birthday. This is the inside of the card, the drawing fills up both sides of the page. For you see, cards are only exception to the no folding rule.

If you click on the picture it will take you to the rest of the card (it is its own set on my Flickr account). There you will see the cover and back. The back is noteworthy in that she consistently draws a little flower pot full of blooms on the back of all her cards. It is becoming a sort of trademark for her.

I love her bluebird of happiness. It is such a charming creature and it is just like the artist, my little girl.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Birthday Song

Because dang it, it is my birthday.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Whoever thinks weekends are relaxing does not have children.

We had this weekend the following events:

Lacrosse camp for Nate
Science and Engineering conference for Jake (8:30 to 2:30 on Saturday)
Hebrew school for all four on Sunday: Jacob as a teacher's aide, Max, Rebecca, and Nate as students.


Dinner out with the Grandparents that flew down for the weekend to visit our crazy home and dote upon their grandchildren. The dinner was to celebrate three birthdays, Larry's, his mother's and mine.

A romantic birthday dinner for just Larry and I at the very fancy (and tasty) 1 North Belmont. Interestingly I discovered that romantic candle lit interiors completely neutralize my purple hair color. Our server got quite a surprise when she let us out and my hair's full empurpled glory was reveled under the street lights.

And finally I had a Christmas cookie swap to bake for and attend today. So now I have a big pile of assorted cookies to nosh on.

I'm not saying it wasn't fun, but it was far from relaxing.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Birthday Girl

Rick Diane Jack
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Today is the little cutie in the middle's birthday.

She is my mother-in-law, Diane, and she just happens to be visiting us. It'll be just a quick visit and, as always, a fun one.

We went out tonight to celebrate our joint birthdays, Larry was yesterday, Diane is today, and I'm on Monday. It was a lovely evening filled with good company and fine food. I always enjoy their visits (as do the kids). I'm very lucky to have such nice in-laws.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Happy Birthday to the One I Love

Young Larry
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I'm just wishing a quick happy birthday to the guy that captured my heart.

He wasn't this young when we met, but I have been with him for over half of my life.

The post is a bit late, I was busy today having a nice birthday lunch with Larry and then getting him his present. And then, horrors of horrors, children wanted to actually use the computer for their homework.

What is the world coming to?

So it's late, but that's life.

Happy Birthday Larry!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Artist of the Week: Lunar Loveliness

I'm this week's artist with a little help from mother nature.

moon halo
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar

Last night was clear, a rare treat from the seemly endless rain that Virginia has been experiencing of late. I was letting out Dell for his last potty run of the night and I looked up at the full moon.

It was so very bright and there was just enough moisture in the air to create a halo around the moon. The effect was stunning. I was inspired enough to drag out the tripod and shoot a few frames.

I think this was the best of the lot. I love the contrast of the black lacy branches against the bright white disk of the moon. You can also see a hint of color on the lower edge of the halo.

This, to me, is what good photography is all about. It is seeing the shot and taking the time to do it. I did absolutely no processing of the picture, this is it straight out of the camera. I was fortunate enough to see it and to be able to take it with my basic camera and a tripod. I will toy with pictures on my computer- correct color, wipe off blemishes and crop the image. But I love also composing a picture in the viewfinder and appreciating what I get.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Get Happy

I found this delightful version of "Get Happy" over in the Manolosphere, thank you Miss Plumcake.

For comparisons sake here is the original "Get Happy"(Summer Stock,1950)featuring the incomparable Ms. Garland.

She may have the better voice and dance movies, but Rufus really knocked himself out getting all the details just right.

Monday, November 30, 2009

On The Go

On the Go
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
In addition to the morning dog walk, John and Dell got to go to the vet today.

Which, oddly enough, is a good thing in their minds.

The small inconvenience of shots is far outweighed by the attention they receive. They are just like their father Crunch in that respect. They strain at their leashes in the waiting room to go through the door to the examination rooms. They know that is where the people are and the treats they so freely dole out.

The whole clinic loves our dogs. They don't even flinch when they get their shots and always give kisses afterward. As a result we get the five minute post exam love session from the vet and techs. Most dogs are not nearly as happy as my two and dachshunds, as a breed, are notoriously ill tempered at the vets. So I understand the appeal that John and Dell have with the staff.

And all that loving just reinforces the idea that the vet clinic is a pretty good place to go to.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Disappointed, But Not Surprised

I'm not terribly political, but I do have a few strongly held beliefs.

Namely that there is far in a away enough government as is and that global warming is bunk. And now the two of them come crashing together in the most spectacular fashion. to wit- Climategate (thanks for the article Meryl).

I am saddened that researches would stoop so low as to suppress and distort data, but I'm am not shocked. I have found the claims and so called data being touted all this time as suspect and now I know my gut instinct was correct. Mind you I strongly believe that we should be good stewards of the planet, because it is the right thing to do. Nothing more, nothing less then trying to use our resources wisely and efficiently.

It will be interesting to see how the whole thing shakes down in the next couple of years. In trying to support their case for global warming they have done a great deal of harm to the whole scientific process.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Talking Turkey

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Doesn't that look scrumptious?

I love roasting poultry. The house smells divine and then you get a luscious bird to eat. Once in a great while I'll stuff a chicken, but really it's mostly just a Thanksgiving/turkey kind of thing. The blacken bits of skin are from the onions and lemons I place just beneath. It adds a wonderful flavor to the meat and, when coupled with the butter / margarine/ oil that the bird is basted with, really crisps up the skin.

Now I admit that fact I do not keep a kosher kitchen. I grew up in a Unitarian home and I am a life long member in the cult of butter. But this year I did things a little differently, I made a kosher bird.

Meryl was coming over to our house this year and she invited her mother to come down. Which was perfectly fine with me, the only tricky part was that her mother only eats kosher meat. So Meryl and I decided that she would buy the bird and I would cook it. In the end her mother was unable to come, but we decided to stick with the original plan.

Of course if you get a kosher turkey it behooves you to cook it in a kosher fashion. I had to use parve margarine and change around my normal stuffing. My normal herb seasoned stuffing was off limits so I bought a couple of challahs from a local kosher bakery and made my own bread crumbs. All I had to do was to slice it, dry it in the oven, and crumb it in a food processor. Add some sage and poultry seasoning and it looked and smelled just the same. The final product was a rip roaring sucess.

The bird was fabulous and from what I understand, the koshering process is not that unlike brining. I've been wanting to try that, but the whole wrestling around with a wet raw turkey in a vat of salted water was very unappealing. This was a much better solution.

So yay me! Another sucessful Thanksgiving, now with kosher goodness.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving decorations
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I hope y'all in the US get to enjoy a good day and a fabulous feast.

I'm thankful for my family and our continued good health. Even with the piggy flu.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Artist of the Week: Day of the Dead

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Nate, who has some seriously long hair now.

I loved how he used to look with a short, little boy haircut. But, those days are long over. He wants his hair long and that's that. I don't really mind the long hair, I just want him to take care of it and to be able to see. So we have reached a compromise, I may periodically trim his hair to keep it out of his eyes and to a mutually agreeable length in back.

The end result is what I call a Prince Valiant. But not really, since the Prince Valiant of the comic has more of what I would call a bob than anything else. Nate's has a bit more style with his long curly locks. There is one version, however, that is a bit more like Nate's hair. The Legend of Prince Valiant from the early 1990's is pretty much what I'm thinking of (Oh and look- Tim Curry is Sir Gawain!)

Day of the Dead
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Anyhoodle, enough about the hair.

Instead lets focus on Nate's skull instead.

He brought this fellow home a couple of weeks ago. It was made in art class in honor of Día de los Muertos aka The Day of the Dead. A rather fascinating holiday from Mexico that originally was celebrated in August, but had been moved (mostly by the conquering Spaniards) so it coincided with All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.

The calaveras are often whimsical depictions of skeletons/skulls. I like Nate's version very much. It has splashes of vibrant color adorning the skull and it is a very happy creation, just as it should be. Día de los Muertos is a celebration.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rebecca Storage

Rebecca storage
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
My kids in general like cramming themselves into the oddest places. Which, I think, is true of most children.

Today Rebecca decided that the lower shelf of the end table was the place to be. Normally I store Max's Vest (a rather interesting piece of medical equipment that aides in airway clearance) there, but at the time it was in use.

I found her there, all curled up and happily watching television. She promptle spilled out when she saw me, but I told her it was fine by me. As long as the Vest wasn't there, she could was free to return. She was delighted and doubly so when I told her I was going to get the camera.

It was definitely a Kodak moment and she agreed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mr.B The Gentleman Rhymer

Youtube once again proves its worth. Found courtesy of the Gentleman Shoeblogger, Manolo.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

One More Shot

one more shot
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Last week I finally got rid of the pumpkins. Normally I dispose of them before Nate's birthday, but a week's worth of torrential rain put the kibosh on that notion.

Its hard to garner enthusiasm for lugging slimy pumpkins across the yard and into the woods when its absolutely pouring outside. Then I needed to give the lawn a few days to dry out so as not to create ruts with the wagon.

On the whole the pumpkins were not too bad, most were filled with water and only a few had turned to mush. The fellow pictured here proved to be the most durable of the bunch. I had to take one last picture before carting him away. I loved the bright orange surrounded by the the fallen red leaves. It is such a classic fall picture.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Just a little something to finish off the week.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday Three: It's Baaaaack!!!

At least for this week according to Papa Possum:

What’s a Thursday without a Three?

Hmm? What’s that? You don’t understand what I’m saying?!

Well, first of all, that’s because I’m not saying anything, I’m writing it.

And second, actually, I’m not even doing that, since I don’t blog anymore.

But by way of backstory, here at Possumblog back when it was fully funct (and not defunct as it is now), we (the editorial we) and our (again, editorially) vast swarm of readers would take every Thursday and engage in a bit of alliterative memery, namely, the Thursday Three. Three (or more) probing, insightful questions would be proffered by the editorial staff writers, and readers would chime in with their very own answers to said questions. By doing so, we (collectively) could all learn what made each other tick (or how we got ticks) and revel in each others virtual companionship.

Believe it or not, at one time the Thursday Three was the most widely-read and participated-in, weekly day-of-the-week meaningless Internet meme in the entire world. (You shouldn’t believe that.)

Sadly, though, as occasionally happens with such things, the fun came to a screeching halt on August 1, 2007 when I was getting ready to take on my new job and pretty much lost the free time I once had to sit around and piddle and maunder. Since that time, I have completely never blogged ever again--not even a single post. With the exception (maybe) of the last Thursday Three on August 9, 2007.

So, why am I posting something now?

I’m not. Since I don’t blog anymore, this can’t be a blog post.

However, my good friend Jim Smith (his real name) mentioned he’d like to see something like the ol’ T-3 from Possumblog again. You know, it being that his 60th birthday is coming up this Saturday. Not that there’s any pressure.

Geez--nothing like a load of GUILT to make you heave a heavy sigh and grudgingly grab your keyboard and knock together a quick simulacrum of a quiz to give all both of my remaining readers something to do for several minutes. And celebrate Jimbo's SIXTIETH BIRTHDAY! ICE CREAM AND PONIES AND CAKE!

But how to do this, since I no longer do this?

How about the Non-Thursday Non-Three!

Sounds good to me.

SO, take a moment to peruse the following non-three non-questions and either leave your answers in the comment section below, or a link to your blog (although it’s been so long since I’ve done this, the idea of people having a blog is so early-21st Century that I should probably have some accommodation for you not-quite-as-early-21st Century Twitter people. Good thing I don’t care about you like that.)

ANYwho--since we’re coming up on Thanksgiving, answer me these nonqueries:

1. What one person are you most thankful for this year?
2. What one thing are you most thankful for this year?
3. What one event are you most thankful for this year?

AND, as a big fat bonus unquestion:

4. So, how’s it going? How’ve you been lately?

So here are my answers:

1) I am thankful for a lot of people. My husband for one, he supports my crazy ideas like purple hair. My very good friend Meryl who is always happy to talk about nothing several times a day and is brave enough to watch the hoard. But the person I am most thankful for is my mother. She just turned 80 (!) this year, but really her attitude is far, far younger. It is from her I have learned to be myself.

2) I am thankful that we all continue to be in good health and that Tamiflu is the bestest drug ever. Four of us got the dreaded piggy flu and it was no big deal. We were quick to spot it and thus we could get Tamiflu. Max in particular was the most worrisome and it never went beyond a slight cold.

3) I am thankful for my eldest son's Bar Mitzvah and what a fantastic job he did. It was such a treat watching him up on the Bema leading services while surrounded by friends and family.

4) On the whole things are quite well around here. I've got a full fridge and a full pantry in anticipation of Thanksgiving and I'm really looking forward to pulling it all together next Thursday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Artist of the Week: A Bat Story

Pirate Max
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Max is this week's artist.

It is amazing how fierce a cute little guy like Max can look. I really need to take more pictures of him in his pirate costume, he loves it so very, very much. I'm glad he is able to step beyond is Star Wars and army man obsessions.

nyway, before Halloween his class had an assignment to write a story about either a pumpkin or a bat. They got to stamp the image on a sheet of paper and then they had to do a short description and/or story.

Max went whole hog.

He even went as far as added lines to the page so that he could neatly write his story. The spelling and grammar are a bit wonky, but that is not the point. The teachers want to get the kids about writing, the nuts and bolts come later in the year.

So here it is:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The story of a bat that cutin cach a fly. Wus there was a dat that cutin cach a fly. His ferns made fun of him. That he cutin cach a fly. Wun nite his foder was caching for him. He tod his Mom he was going to cach a fly. But no mater how much he cried to cach a fly. Wun nite he went to a fly a fly floow biye and teest him. Then he floow ess fast ess he can he cat the fly finule he said.
And here it is in a slightly easier to read form:

The story of a bat that couldn't catch a fly. Once there was a bat that couldn't catch a fly. His friends made fun of him, that he couldn't catch a fly. One night his father was catching for him. He told his Mom he was going to catch a fly. But no matter how much he cried to catch a fly. One night he went to fly, a fly flew by and teased him. Then he flew as fast as he can, he caught the fly. Finally he said.

It was by far the longest and most complex story of the bunch. Max's handwriting has come a long way from just last year. Yes, the spelling is very creative, but so is the story. Max is turning out to be a good little story teller.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Pretty White Horses

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
A few months ago I was looking up some sort of event (I have since forgotten what it was) when I accidentally found out that The World Famous Lipizzaner Stallions* were coming to the Richmond Coliseum. Since Rebecca is pony mad and I too have a certain fondness for horses, it behooved me to get tickets. And so we slogged over to the coliseum one fine summer's day after somebody's orthodontist appointment (the dental school is just a couple of blocks away) to buy the tickets.

For once I find out about an event early enough to get good seats. In fact they were not just good, they were fabulous. We had our choice, from the second row on back. I decided on roughly in the middle, conveniently on the aisle. Once home I pinned the tickets to the bulletin board and noted the event on the calendar.

And life went on.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
On the first of the month Rebecca asked me if I knew where the tickets are. I showed her the enveloped stilled pinned to the bulletin board and even gave her a little peek inside. Satisfied that we still had the tickets she went off to play.

Last Saturday was the big day. The plan was that after services she and I would change and then head on up to Richmond, the only potential problem was the Richmond marathon. Numerous streets would closed and it could be tricky getting into our chosen parking lot. I left a good 15 minutes earlier than necessary in case there was a problem.

Fortunately for us, it was a snap. The stretch of Broad street w needed to drive on was free and clear and parking was easy. We had more than enough time to walk the two blocks to the coliseum and find our seats.

Rebecca was enraptured by the horses, particularly when they preformed "The Airs Above the Ground." The power evident in the horse pictured above starting to lift its forefeet off the ground in the Levade is absolutely amazing. If you click on the picture it will take you to my photo set of Lipizzaner pictures. This was my second time seeing them. Last time I was almost thirty years younger and I felt the same this time around, a feeling of excitement and awe. I can ride, but not at that level of perfection. I love watching the beautiful white horses in action and so does my daughter.

* Warning the site does have music, but it is a pleasant version of "The Blue Danube Waltz" and you do have the option in the upper right corner to turn it off.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yummy Pumpkin

pumpkin lover
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This is what greeted me at the door the other day.

A little dog madly wagging his tail and desperately wanting to bring his pumpkin inside and enjoy it where it is warm and dry. This, however, was not an option and Dell was told to "drop it" before coming inside. Dell loves the pumpkins and is main culprit in their slow, but inevitable destruction.

Normally they would be gone by now, but a week's worth of extremely wet weather put the kibosh on pumpkin disposal. Now I'm waiting for the lawn to be a tad less squishy so I can use the wagon without creating ruts. Most likely it will be tomorrow, which will make little Delly a very sad dog.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Birthday in Motion

birthday in motion
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Friday we had Nate's birthday party at the local laser tag facility. Nate got to invite a bunch of his friends and then spend the evening trying to shot them all up. Which, from the eleven year old boy perspective, is an awesome thing to do.

As is often the case, I have very few pictures of Nate that are not blurred by his constant motion. I like the one featured here because you can see the grin plastered all over his face. Even though his laser gun died halfway through the first of two games, he still had a fabulous time. Fortunately he wasn't stuck with the same gun and was able to come in second during the next game.

tank cake
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As for the cake, I'm very pleased on how it came out.

Nate wanted a plain cake with vanilla frosting. His only decorating request was that he would like to have a three dimension tank on top. I asked him if he wanted soldiers as well . He was delighted with the idea and said yes he would like my soldiers to make an appearance. (and yes I did say my soldiers, I have my very own set that is kept safe and is only used for cake decorating).

After a bit of thought I agreed to the task and this is what I made. It took three cupcakes (leftovers from Wednesday's cupcake drop off at school on his actual birthday), seven pretzels, and a whole lot of frosting. With careful carving of the cupcakes I was able to fashion a cute little tank. I think the best part is the wheels. I was originally planning on just drawing them on, but I got a great idea as I looked for a pretzel stick for the tank's gun. I could use the mini-twists are were in the same snack bag as the pretzel stick to represent the wheels and tank treads.

Nate loved the cake and his friends were pretty darn impressed.

Friday, November 13, 2009

C'est Si Bon

A little Eartha Kitt to set off the weekend

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grape Popsicle

grape popsicle
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
That is my husbands name for my new hair color.

I have always wanted to color my hair something outrageous, but I always balked at actually doing something about it. I didn't want to spend the time or the money at a salon and I wasn't too keen on doing it on my own.

That is until now.

After a year of successfully coloring my hair at home I was ready to step up to the challenge.

What brought this all about was boredom with my hair color tempered with the frustration of not being able to find just the shade of auburn that I desired. As I idly scanned all the color options at my local drugstore my eyes were caught by one box on the bottom shelf, bright blue screamed for attention. Now that could be fun.

I rocked back a bit on my heels and thought about it. Maybe not blue, maybe purple would be a better choice. I had to sleep on it.

I brought it up with my husband and he was game. So the next day I sallied forth and got color stripper and demi-permanent purple. According to one shop purple doesn't come in permanent because it's not "natural"- which is ridiculous considering what some people do to their hair with so called "natural" tints.

The color stripper was ineffectual with my 10 plus years of coloring so I had to go out again and get bleach. I won't scare you here with the results of the bleaching, but if you really want to know click here. I have always maintained that I would not look good blonde and now I know it's true. The reaction among the kids was very funny- Jake gave a startled "Whoa," Nate burst into laughter, Rebecca looked upon my strawberry blonde tresses in a mixture of horror and amusement, and Max was best of all. He literally fell over backwards. He flat out refused to look at me. I decided to give my hair a bit of a rest and held off to the next day for the empurpling.

The next morning, after I sent off four slightly shell shocked kids to school, I donned my vinal gloves and did the deed. It was very easy and I am fairly pleased with the results. I expected the coor to be a bit warmer, but I prefer the cooler tone that I got. Larry likes it and dubbed it grape popsicle.

As for the rest of the world, well my friends like it. Nate's fifth grade class thinks it terrific, but then again I did have cupcakes at the time. And Max, well he is over the shock of the blonde and no longer refuses to look at me. He told me later that it is much better than blonde, but that he liked my old color more.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Eleven Years Later

baby Nate
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
In eleven years Nate has gone from this sweet little baby to a never ending whirl of motion.

He looks so calm, so quiet and ever so peaceful.

And back then, he was.

He was the easiest baby to care for. I could put him down on a mat and he would happily lay there watching the world. Mind you he wasn't still for long back then, always wriggling about, but in a happy way.

Now, at age eleven, he is so grown up.

He is still a happy boy, always quick to see the humor in almost any situation and heaven knows he is still active.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
He is still very cute, with his bright eyes and ready smile now bound by braces. His face is framed by his curly locks that he only grudgingly allows me to trim.

We'll be celebrating his birthday this weekend playing laser tag with some of his many, many friends. It'll be fun, because it's always fun to be around Nate.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wide Open

wide open
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I frequently complain about the hot weather coupled with the high humidity in the summer down here in the Virginia and the laughable winters are also another sore point. But the weather we have had the past couple days almost makes up for it.

Temperatures in the 70's with almost no humidity or bugs, it's heavenly.

I've thrown open the patio doors and have reveled in the glorious weather. The leaves are falling, but you can still see a bit of color in our backyard.

Sadly, the remains of Ida are making their way up the coast and the next few days will be soggy indeed. I'm glad I seized the moment when the weather was good and put our new back door to good use.

The previous set had one false door, only the right hand side could be opened. It irked me to no end. When the bottom frame rotted out I was in a small way happy. I could finally get a proper set of patio doors.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Max in Motion

Max in motion
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
It's the last week of soccer practice (much to Rebecca's delight) and the schedules have been rejiggered because of the time change and the near total darkness at 5:30 pm.

Originally Max and Rebecca's team had practice from 6:00 to 7:00 pm on Mondays and Fridays over on the unlit back field. Since it's pitch black at 6:00, the club moved them the front field under the lights starting last Monday for a Monday only practice from 5:15 to when ever.

The front field is for the big kids and it was the first time the dynamic duo got to use that field. This was a big deal to them and being under the lights was the cherry on top. So of course I brought my camera along.

Most of my pictures were pretty much blah, except this one.

I just love how I captured Max in motion. It took me a while to figure out the yellow blob on his shoulder, it is actually a person on the other side of him wearing a yellow jersey.

This really captures the energy that little boys (and girls) have.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


mushroom closeup
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
We get some strange looking mushrooms in our backyard. This one popped up last January. It was large and looked so very odd I took a picture and promptly forgot all about it.

I was browsing some of my older pictures today when it caught my eye.

I started to play with a bit and found if a did an extreme closeup it looked a bit like an alien landscape. For comparison check out these wonderful pictures of the planet Mars. Those pictures were taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter using its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera.

The pictures are breathtaking in their detail. Number12 in the series is the one that sprang to mind as I played with my picture. I'm not saying it is a dead ringer, but it is evocative. Either way go and enjoy these glimpses of another world.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Street Art

Wonderful street art I found on YouTube.

Joshua Allen Harris' Inflatable Bag Monsters are so ephemeral and I love them. What a great use of a classic feature of the cityscape, the subway grating.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Dang Pumpkin Eaters

On alert
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I mentioned a few days ago that dachshunds + pumpkins = sadness.

Well the boys were at it again.

I looked out the front door and saw that a pumpkin had been dragged over with a significant chunk taken out. Halloween is over and I really don't care, except it is the same beleaguered pumpkin, Miss Rebecca will not be pleased. Although, I will note, the dogs at least had the courtesy to not chew off the face.


caught in the act
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Dell was all excited when I came out to photograph the destruction. He spent most of the time swirling about my feet in a pumpkin induced madness. Eating pumpkin seems to jack him up to new levels of crazy dog energy. Candy, on the other hand, has no effect on him. But then, something grabbed his attention and he snapped into the perfect pose.

John, meanwhile, saw that the buffet was still open and took out a few more bites.

Silly dogs, at least they are eating something good for them.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Artist of the Week: Out of the Blue

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Rebecca is this week's artist with something a bit out of the ordinary for her.

Her Halloween costume, however, was completely in character. She opted to be a fairy princess this year. For over a month she had been planning out what she was going to wear. She has a pretty little tutu from Grandma and she decided to pair it with a set of wings and a wand. For the past few weeks we had combed the internet for wings, but the shipping costs were often more than the cost of the wings. In the end we went to Target and got a gorgeous set of gossamer pink wings. They looked lovely with her tutu and were a bargain and a half and had a nice matching wand to boot.

Originally we had planned on her wearing a long sleeved white turtle neck beneath and white tights, but that proved unnecessary on All Hallows Eve. It was a balmy mid-seventies outside with a nearly full moon. A far cry from previous years that were cold and nasty.

Rebecca's jet
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Anyhoodle, this is about what Rebecca did earlier this week.

Her brothers have a long established tradition of fashioning all sorts of vehicles from LEGOs. Rebecca normally looks on and admires her brothers' creations. But not any more, she has stepped up and knocked one out of the park.

I think we were in Max and Nate's room corralling up the mess therein. She came in to show off her fighter jet. I can safely saw we were all impressed. She really did do a bang up job. I particularly like the little puppy pilot under the cockpit's canopy. She got all the details right from the nose, to the wings, and on back to the tail assembly.

Pretty amazing for somebody that never really expressed interest in jets before.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I Voted And It Felt Good

vote 2009
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Here is my annual election day post.

I take my civic duty very seriously and, if you can, you should too.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Pumpkin Mathmatics

Rebecca's happy
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I didn't mention this yesterday, but we had a bit of drama with the pumpkin carving.

Rebecca's first pumpkin was the one she choose to have a happy face. She carefully drew the design and was very pleased with how I carved it out for her. Once it was done I told her to set the pumpkin out on the front steps and fetch another one.

We thought nothing of it until about half hour later Rebecca went outside with another pumpkin. She came back devastated. Dell had decided to have a little pumpkin snack and completely destroyed the face of her pumpkin.

She sat on the bench howling over the tragic loss of her pumpkin.

I went out to survey the damage and I have to admit it was pretty darn impressive. Dell had very neatly devoured the entire face of the pumpkin, yet he left the lid completely intact. It was bad, but the pumpkin itself was salvageable.

I just turned the pumpkin to the opposite side and replicated Rebecca's original design. It was a fairly good match, in fact it was good enough to calm Rebecca down.

The big thing we learned was that dachshunds + pumpkins = much sadness.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween Pumpkin Madness

Rebecca's cat
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Yes, I really did carve all 18 pumpkins and I have the pictures to prove it.

I was a bit off my pace this year, I didn't quite get all the pumpkins done before sundown. It is usually a close thing, but I make it. For the first time ever I cut my hand and that threw me off. I had to keep stopping because the band aides kept sliding off from the pumpkin slime until I finally got the bright idea to wear a dish glove on the injured hand. Then it was smooth sailing.

This year Nate wasn't all that into the Halloween thing. He decided against trick or treating because he wanted to wear a super scary outfit, but he didn't want to traumatize Max. So he ended up staying home with his older brother and Aunt Meryl (who stopped by). This lack of interest also extended to the pumpkin carving. Previous years he was an active participate, this year not so much. He only made one request, a spider and he left the design completely up to me.

As for the rest of the crowd, they were more than happy to tell me what to do with the pumpkins.

Jake designed all four of his and left the cutting to me. He is really getting in to the whole design phase. No longer does he want a perfect pumpkin, he has learned the joys of the warty and the strange.

Rebecca, on the other hand, still wants perfect pumpkins. She takes great pains to get just the right pumpkin and carefully draws her design. She did four of her three. It would have been all four, but her cat was far too tiny and I proposed doing that my self.

Then there is Max.

Foe weeks he has been telling me that he wanted a bat, a penguin and a turtle eating a sandwich. The first was fine, a nice traditional Halloween design. But from there they ideas get increasingly bizarre. Penguins and turtles are his two favorite animals, so there were no surprises there. It was the "eating a sandwich" part that got me. I got exasperated and asked him to draw me a picture of exactly what he meant and well in the end that's what I carved. The ant was a last minute addition and I have no idea where that came from.

So in the end eighteen pumpkins resulted in three bags of pumpkin guts to be dumped in the woods for the deer, six band aides, a ton of pumpkin seeds for roasting, and a whole lot of fun. If you want to see all the pumpkins you can click on the pictures and check out the photosets over on Flickr.

I hope y'all had a happy Halloween, we sure did!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gonna Get Medieval On Your Class

Today the gifted fifth grade classrooms had a Medieval Faire. There was a banquet, games and various information booths, created by the students, all about the middle ages.

Medieval games
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I volunteered to cook for the banquet. Instead of my usual bakingpalooza I decided to supply a veggy dish. The teachers requested that the food have a medieval aspect to it and very helpfully provided the web site Medieval Cookery. I poked around a bit, but nothing really grabbed me. Instead, I made sweet potato and apple tzimmes.

Tzimmes is a very old and traditional dish for Rosh Hashanah and has been around in some form or another since at least medieval times. Since it was for a big crowd I ended up doubling my recipe. I didn't want to run out and I could always take the leftovers home.

Nate and a few of his friends created a game and holiday information booth. They (though really it was just Nate stuck at the table) had a few games set up like chess, backgammon, Fox and Geese, and bocce ball. He was very happy to run through his speech when he had his rare visitor. And it wasn't his fault that his booth didn't attract a whole lot of notice. Bocce ball was popular but he was competing against jousting.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
And not just any old form of jousting, but swim noodle and hoppy ball jousting. Nothing says medieval more than whacking at your classmates with a long foam tube while bouncing on a ball.

Then again what do I know.

It was, however a fun afternoon. The kids enjoyed the food, I got bring back a little less than half of my tzimmes (woo-hoo, part of dinner is done!), and I even learned a little bit about life in medieval times.