Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I hope y'all had a safe and fun Halloween.

This year we have a fabulous witch, a pirate and a member of the Russian Mafia (with in gun storage of candy).

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Insanity Continues

Once again I have bought a boat load of pumpkins. I seem to be holding steady at 18, I'm pretty sure that is how many I got last year. Either way it's a heck of a lot of pumpkins.

My plan is to hollow them out tomorrow after we are all done with soccer. I think I'll be willing to carve a few as well. We'll see how it goes. My main concern is the weather, as long as it doesn't rain I'll be happy. So far it like it will be cool and clear.

Now I just have to find my jumbo bag of tea lights...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My House is Infested

With Dachshunds.

Theoretically the top cushion should be against the back of the dog couch, but John prefers to have it stacked top of the bottom cushion. He usually pulls it back down within an hour of my straightening it up into it's "official" position. So at this point I don't bother unless we have company.

Nate noticed Dell in the dog couch the other day and took this picture. We both found to rather funny that Dell's head was the only thing you could see. Normally he and John will be on top of the cushions, each dog curled up in his respective spot. But not this time, Dell apparently wanted to be inside the cushions.

And stay he did until something far more exciting (at least to Dell) happened in the house or outside.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Artist of the Week: The Life and Death of a Pumpkin

This particular short film was the very well deserved winner of the Best Short Film and Best Concept, 2006 Chicago Horror Film Festival. It is done in true horror film style with a very generous dash of humor. This movie very seasonal appropriate and I could not resist featuring it today. I think Aaron Yonda and Benson Gardner came up with wonderful film, the one caveat I have is there is an ad at the beginning of the film.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Best Part

I really love fall. The cooler temperatures, the crispness to the air (well not so much today- it was rather warm and humid down in old Virginny), and the splashes of color that grab the eyes as you drive down tree lined streets. But the very best thing is cider.

I love an ice cold glass of full bodied cider. The best ones have a bit of effervescence that somehow enhances the whole experience. Apple juice is such a pale shadow, it only vague hints of its apple origins. A good cider boldly proclaims itself and, if you are lucky, you can even tell what the varietal used.

I very rarely bought apple juice for my children, it's nutritionally bankrupt and is closer to sugar water than fruit juice. Cider, however, is a whole other ball game. We all look forward to cider's return each fall.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Millimetres Matter

A teeny, tiny catapult paired with itty bitty pastries results in some delightful insectile mayhem. And yes it's another ad, but it's too cute for me not to post.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


A few months ago while poking about the library I was seized by the notion to reread the Dune saga. I had read some of them in high school and I thought it would be nice to read the ones I had missed the first time around and reacquaint myself with those I had read. It had been long enough ago that the books would be relatively fresh.

And so I did.

I plowed through all six of the original novels by Frank Herbert. I found the later ones not quite to the same level as the first, however they still were very engaging. It was a disappointment to reach the end of Chapterhouse Dune and the end of Frank Herbert's writing. The series felt unfinished and I wanted more.

Thus bringing me to the books written by Brian Herbert (his son) and Kevin J. Anderson.

So far I have read about a third of their output. The books are partially based on old notes and a treasure trove of ideas that turned up in a lock box 11 years after Frank Herbert's death. There are differences from the original series, but the overall feel of the books is the same. What I am enjoying, so far, is that the books I have read are exploring the backgrounds of the main characters. I am learning more of how the characters came to be. The explanations and stories fit neatly into the pre-existing Dune universe. My opinion may change once I start reading the books that continue the original storyline, but for now I like what I have read.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Brilliant Fall

burning bush
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I think autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the crispness in air from the cool nights and warm days. I get to wear my funky boots and jackets again after the long insufferably hot Virginia summers have passed.

And then there are the colors.

We don't get quite the vast stretches of brilliant fall foliage like up north, but it is around if you keep your eyes open. The Winged Euonymus, aka burning bush, is one of my favorite plantings we have on our property. Come fall it never fails to delight the eyes with is scarlet color.

So I raise my glass of cider (mmm cider another fall favorite) to you autumn.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Artist of the Week: Domino Tower

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week it's Max's turn to be artist of the week.

I took this picture of him back in July when we were visiting my cousin. It is from a much larger picture that I cropped down to just Max. His stance has an almost wistful quality as he looks out to sea or he is just contemplating chucking some rocks into the water. Either way I really like the pose, he is relaxed and for once keeping still without my telling him to stop moving.

A rare moment indeed in this household.

Four kids + two dogs = nonstop action

And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Domino tower
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Anyhoodle, Max a few days ago was playing with the dominoes and created the rather intricate tower pictured on the right. When he completed it he promptly asked me to take a picture. I duly complied with his requst and not 10 seconds later Dell ambled by and knocked over the tower with his tail.

A classic moment.

Fortunately Max understands that is one of the hazards in our household. As I stated above, it's an active household and things get knocked on a regular basis.

As for the tower, I think Max really outdid himself. He was able to use most of the dominoes and balance them on on just two vertically standing tiles. You would think it would tip over in an instant, but it required a direct hit from Dell's exuberantly wagging tail. I think that is pretty impressive.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Finally Happy

old chair
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Fifteen or so years ago we acquired a dining room table. A friend of the family was in the process of emptying out her parents old house and putting it on the market. By way of Larry's mother we were invited to come over and take whatever struck our fancy from what was left after the family went through the house.

It was too good an offer to refuse, so we headed on over.

Most of the furniture was not to our taste, but with one notable exception- the dining room table.

It has a beautiful faux Malachite finish and has built in storage for it's four leaves. I fell in love with it and wanted to take it home. But first Larry had to drive Jake and I home then empty out he van. Before he left I told him not to bring home the chairs, they were ugly, stained and were far too low for the table.

Unfortunately the soon to be former owners insisted the we bring the chairs home along with the table.

And so for the past decade and a half I've lived with dinning room chairs that pretty much reviled.

new chairs
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
But now that has all changed for the better, a few weeks ago I found my chars.

They are simple and elegant with a style for more appropriate than their predecessors. No longer do we sit with our chins practically in our plates. If fact the new chairs are so much nicer that even Nate noticed. He declared the the new chairs are far more in keeping with the table than the other pattern and design. Which is quite a statement for an eleven year old boy.

Meanwhile I'm just happy the I finally got some dining room chairs that I actually like.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Elements song in Japanese

In honor of my twins' recent birthday I present to you a quirky Japanese translation of Tom Leher's classic song The Elements featuring the twins Angelina and Jennifer.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Twin Cakes

twin cakes
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Just like Max and Rebecca, their birthday cakes look nothing alike.

Rebecca requested a cake with chocolate icing and a pink unicorn. Max wanted a turtle cake with the cake corps, but was rather vague concerning how the army men were to be deployed. I opted not to dirty my army men and left them off the cake (bad mommy- but I was seriously over extended and decided my sanity came first).

Over all I was happy how both cakes turned out. Rebecca had fun putting on the sprinkles (I helped with filling in the unicorn) and Max admitted that his cake was pretty good even though he did miss the army men. As for their party guests, they were all impressed and then happily devoured the cake.

As for the party, it was their first non-home based birthday party and it was very exciting for them. They had decided almost a year ago on where they wanted their party and stuck with the same idea. There was only a brief moment of regret on Rebecca's part when I informed her that she could not invite her whole class, but she got over it very quickly. They and their friends had a great time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Number Nine Times Two

smiling twins
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Nine years ago today I met these two little bugs. In this picture they are not even a year old.

A lot has changed since then, but they will always be my smiling babies, ready to be hugged or give a hug.

Their big party is tomorrow and for the first time it will not be at home. My babies are growing up.

Happy, happy birthday Max and Rebecca.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Trololo Cat

Two thoughts here: there are some very strange things on the internets and cats seem to be inherently funnier than dogs in stuff like this.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Artist of the Week: Riding in Style

An Alaskan couple, Jody Foster and Fred Keller, have been all over the web lately and for a darn good reason.

Using an old 1976 Mazda pickup truck, they created their very own adult sized Radio Flyer.

Sadly I couldn't find any pictures that I could legitimately repost. Instead, you'll have to go to the article I linked above. I think the whole idea is absolutely brilliant and they did a masterful job. It looks like they are having a blast tooling about in their not so little red wagon.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Electric Blue Frivolity

electric blue
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
A couple of weeks ago I realized by toe nails were long over due for some attention. The nail polish was chipped to a ridiculous degree and I just couldn't ignore them any longer.

I was a bit bored of the usual pinky toned spectrum that I have been using all summer, it was time for a change.

Rebecca had picked out some bright blue polish the other day and I thought why not.

So now I have electric blue toe nails. They are very cheerful and bright. The funny part is that two weeks after the fact I still startled by my own nails.

Frivolous indeed and we can all use a little bit of frivolity in our lives every now and again.

Monday, October 11, 2010


The world's smallest stop-motion animation character shot on a Nokia N8
Just a sweet and very creative little film. Yes it's an ad, but that has never stopped me before. If a movie is well done, it deserves recognition.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Awesomeness of This Monday

Tomorrow, Monday, is an early dismissal day (some folderol about professional development). And by early dismissal, I'm talking about 3 hour early release.

Which roughly translates into less than 2 hours between me loading the youngest onto the bus, we leave for the bus stop at 8:45 am, and then picking up Jake from high school at 10:45 am. He does not ride the bus because to is a an one and a half hour odyssey each way with a 5:45 am pickup from our neighborhood. Meanwhile we live 10 minutes from the high school.

During this precious child free time I'll walk the dogs with friends in the neighborhood for about half and hour, pick up a few things at the grocery store and then... go get Jake.

Woo Hoo!

As a friend of mine pointed out, why couldn't this be on a Friday instead of a Monday. At least we could then cut out early for the weekend.

But then again, that would make sense. I don't begrudge the teachers getting time to various training and development. I just question the whole scheduling. Half days are the pits for both stay at home and working full time families.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Circle Dogs

Circle Dogs
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As I have mentioned before, I have a children's book featuring dachshunds called "Circle Dogs. "

It is utterly charming, with deceptively simple illustrations that perfectly capture the spirit of the text. Together, pictures and text, you are drawn along a day in the life of a dachshund owning family, the dachshunds being the circle dogs.

And why are they called circle dogs?

Because when dachshund sleep their bodies form circles.

Nate saw John and Dell sleeping in perfect circle form and declared them circle dogs and took this picture. He said the red boys were just like the book and I couldn't agree with him more.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Artist of the Week: Mountain Lion

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
My little firecracker Rebecca is this week's artist.

She is a real sparkler once you get to know her. She is very shy at first and can even come off as aloof when she feels unsure about acquaintances. Rebecca feels very uncomfortable in situations when she can't remember a name or, at the very least, the other person's connection with her. We are trying to teach her that it is okay to smile and be friendly with someone you know only in passing and can't quite remember their name. This will come in time, I don't want to push her to hard or to fast on the social niceties. And really, a little wariness is not such a bad thing.

However once she really knows you, there is no holding her back.

She is happy to give out hugs and will literally hang off of you. I've seen her hanging off the forearm of some of her coaches. She will be giggling madly with a huge smile plastered across her face and radiating joy.

mountain lion
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
And as anyone one who knows Rebecca, another source of joy for her is art.

She enjoys and appreciates art museums, carefully examining each work while ignoring the complaints of Max and Nate. Making art is an even greater source of happiness. She is always drawing something. Rebecca's classmates have already declared her to be an artist. They have seen what she can do and how it is a part of her.

So of course this means she brings home a fair amount of artwork. This drawing of a mountain lion came home at the end of the previous school year. Rebecca was a bit upset that it did not weather the trip home at all well. It was wrinkled, folded, and had a couple of small tears around the edge. I had to set it aside and stack papers on top to smooth it out. I didn't want her to toss her happy lion. I thought it was a wonderful drawing that just needed a little care. And three and half months later the drawing is in a much better state.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Dedicated Soccer Mom

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
It's that time of the year again when I get to spends hours upon hours sitting outside while my children practice or play soccer. There is baseball and Marching band as well, but I don't have to stick around for those practice sessions.

This year Rebecca is on strictly girls only team and she is really enjoying being around just girls for change. As for Max he is on a co-ed team which is mostly boys with just a handful of girls (And yes, that girl really is that much bigger than Max). Which means the dynamic duo are on very different game schedules.

Fortunately the games don't overlap by too much and so far it hasn't been complicated. The real bright spot is that the practice schedules mesh beautifully. Rebecca is Monday and Thursday while Max and Nate are Tuesday and Thursday. All of the fields are within walking distance and all of the practices start at 5:30 pm.

Heck, I've even been bringing a neighbor's child, J, on Tuesday and Thursday. His mom had knee surgery and will be out of commission for quite some time. I'm more than happy to help out since I'm going there anyways. I'm a soccer mom and I have room in the van. One more kid is not a problem.

In fact today I was such a dedicated soccer mom I even went to practice for a team my children are not ion. Poor Max has a major muscle pull in his left leg and was unable to attend practice. But Nate still had baseball today and that meant I still had to go to the park. So J still got his ride and ended having me hanging out at his practice instead of Max's.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Waldo Ultimatum

Where's Waldo for grown-ups.

A movie that I would love to see.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Season's End

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This past week I bought a lovely bag of vegetables from my favorite grower, Amy of Amy's Garden. She has some of the best produce around. In the bag were peppers, eggplants, salad greens, sweet turnips and tomatoes.

Her tomatoes are outstanding. The sun gold cherry tomatoes are almost like candy, I saw Amy had them available and got an extra pint. Rebecca and I are working our way through them with a little bit of help from the rest of the family (even Meryl is a fan).

Pictured here are some of the slicing tomatoes included in the bounty. They were so very very ripe I had to slice them up tonight. All I did was sprinkle a smidgen of salt, a healthy grind of pepper, a generous splash of balsamic vinegar (the dark spots in the rather vivid photo), and a handful of my rejuvenated basil.

It was divine.

Sometimes I'll have a bit left, but not tonight.

Friday, October 01, 2010

When Architecture Goes Bad

One of the on going assignments in Jake's Foundation of Engineering class is to bring in an article each week that features engineering. So far he has brought in articles about building green houses, ultra efficient cars, and so on. As a result I have found myself being a bit more aware of such articles.

One such article that has been spotted all over the place concerns the Vdara Hotel at CityCenter in Las Vegas (this particular link was featured over a amcgltd). It's a tall gleaming tower of glass that features a concave side facing south with a pool area centered on the southern wall and built on a low three story building. Which sounds lovely, but in reality the building is like a large mirror that focuses the sun energy on the pool area below.

The designers anticipated such a problem and placed a special film that would scatter 70% of the sunlight. However this is proving to not be terribly effective. People are getting burned and there has been at least one case of a plastic bag melting under the intense glare. Amusingly enough the employees are calling the phenomenon the "Vdara Death Ray."