Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Artist of the Week: Dragon!

Rebecca by Teckelcar
Rebecca, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Miss. Rebecca. She is such a girlie girl, loves cute little animals, drawing, cooking, and dressing up. Then there is the insanely competitive and stubborn side to her personality. She is a tough little soccer player and never backs down. Rebecca just keeps at it and is not at all afraid of the ball, which makes her a fairly good goalie.

The stubbornness also gets born out in never wanting to be wrong or self contradicting, something I got to see just this morning. Max asked to try out "that stuff Rebecca eats every morning. You know that chocolatey stuff." I was perplexed at first and then I had my ah ha moment, he means Nutella.

Meanwhile Rebecca was deeply offended that Max said she ate Nutella every day. She most clearly did not eat that stuff every day and he was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. She sat and stewed for a bit and eventually got over her snit.

Dragon by Teckelcar
Dragon, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Sort of, because in the morning Rebecca can be a bit of a dragon.

When things calmed down I asked her what she wanted for breakfast. I was then treated with watching her for five- almost ten minutes trying to figure out what she wanted to eat. Very clearly (at least to me) she wanted to say Nutella on bread, but there was absolutely no way she was going ask for that after her earlier outburst about not eating the stuff everyday. In the end she settled on dry cereal.

Happily she kept her inner dragon in check and did not blast us like this charming fellow she drew a few weeks ago. I think he is a lovely dragon, but I wouldn't want to have an argument with him about breakfast foods. I would end up being extra crispy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Change in the Weather

frosty pansy by Teckelcar
frosty pansy, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
After several bright sunny days in the 70s, the hammer came down today. It was much cooler, very wet, and very appropriate for late November.

I did enjoy the t-shirt weather and heaven knows the delay of the heating season, but it certainly did not feel like fall. It was odd riding the lawn tractor to mulch the leaves and be comfortable in a t-shirt and shorts.I knew it wasn't going to last, so I did make an effort to go outside as much as possible. Yesterday I espied mare's tails in the sky and told Meryl this would mean a change in the weather. She had never heard of the term and I had to tell her I was from a long line of sea captains and this was part of the folklore handed down. I had been taught what certain weather patterns would mean and by gum the weather changed just as I said it would. The temperature dropped and the fair weather turned wet.

I prefer the crisp fall weather, but you can keep the rain.

Monday, November 28, 2011

'Brinicle' Ice Finger of Death

This week film is a little bit different in that the BBC doesn't seem to allow embeding on blogs. Pity.

However, I can send you over to the absolutely outstanding article and film. It is utterly fascinating to watch and well worth reading.

Hat tip to Ellen over at

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Deer Track

Deer track by Teckelcar
Deer track, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This picture was a close second for my MCP Project 52 entry. In the end I decided against it since there really wasn't that much water in the picture, even after pouring a bit of water into the deer track.

Anyhoo, I like the picture so here it is.

There were actually quite a few sets of tracks in our lawn Friday morning. I noticed them as I walked along the edge while trying to find just the right spot to photograph water droplets on the blades of grass.

As for the presence of the tracks, they were far from unexpected, especially since a doe ambled out of the woods as I was mowing the other day. She was unconcerned about my riding about on the noisy tractor and she just glided across the lawn, snatching mouthfuls the leaves as she moved along.

Friday, November 25, 2011

MCP Project 52: Water

Black Friday Morn by Teckelcar
Black Friday Morn, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's theme was water and since I had it in my head that this would be easy I procrastinated until Friday morning. Fortunately the weather cooperated and I was able to get out this morning and do a little picture taking around the neighborhood.

My first stop was the pond in our subdivision. I got some perfectly nice, yet perfectly boring pictures of the pond. I got one of the mist curling about the surface, but it wasn't nearly as nice as the one I took back in August up at Bear Creek State Park. So I made my way back to the van and started to drive home.

About 10 yards away from the parking lot by the pond I espied the stream that flows into the pond. I pulled over and slide down the embankment to get closer. I love the light reflecting on the stream's surface and refracting through the mist. The feathery grass in the background coated with frost add a nice counterpoint. I was very pleased with the shot and glad I noticed the gleam of light from the van as I drove past.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


clean by Teckelcar
clean, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I hope those of you that celebrate Thanksgiving today had a happy and bounteous one, I know we did.

I am thankful for many things today- a loving family, good friends,  and plenty of delicious food to share. Right know I'm most of all thankful for our dishwasher. I'm on load 4 or 5, I lost count between dinner and dessert.

And yes that is the good silver in the washer. We only use it a couple a times of year and when we do it's a boat load. Far too much to do by hand. Life is too short to be shackled to the sink.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Artist of the Week: Quiet Hero

This week's artist is a little bit different, I can't say who she is or post a picture. However I will tell you why she is my new hero.

I met this remarkable young women just by chance. I was helping out with outfits for a group of students and she was one of many. She made a disparaging remark about the size she needed and I, along with the other adult person present, told her she was fine. Size is just a number and she shouldn't be so negative. Yes she is a big girl, but she is fit, active, and a delight to be around. The other adult present then said "Anyway you'll be losing weight after your operation."

Hmm, what's this about. We bustled about and then I got the full story.

It turns out this sweet young woman will be donating one of her kidneys to her mother.


She then went onto say some people were giving her a hard time about this amazing, wonderful act she was doing for her mother. Statements along the line of "why are you doing this."

I was floored.

I spoke up and said. It's your mom, why won't you. This is the most incredible thing you can do to the person that brought you into this world. You are giving a  gift that is beyond birthday and Christmas presents for the next 20 years. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about your decision. As she left us, I told her she was my hero.

No one was making her do this, it is by her own choice. She is fully cognizant of the pain and risks involved, but it is something she wants to do. A little bit scared, but fully confident that she is doing the right thing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Occupy Walmart

Hanging out at Walmart by Teckelcar
Hanging out at Walmart, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Yesterday as I was walking into my local Walmart I spotted a couple of people hanging out in the parking lot. They had set up a couple of chairs on one of the grass islands in the parking lot and were, presumably, sitting next to their pick-up truck.

I thought it was odd and called up my friend Meryl once I was inside the store. She agreed it was utterly bizarre. Yes it was a nice day, but really the parking lot? My area does not lack for green space and there is a county park just 2 miles away. Meryl asked me to take a picture and I said I would try my best with my pathetic cell phone if they were still there.

Amazingly enough they there still there and a third person joined them. Now it was getting seriously freaky. I dug out my phone and discretely snapped a few less than stellar shots. After I uploaded the best of the lot I stuck it up on Facebook. Shortly thereafter Meryl declared it was Occupy Walmart.

Who knew my community was on the cutting edge.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tiny Food

In honor of the upcoming food centric holiday I give you a video featuring tiny food.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Party Wagon

party wagon by Teckelcar
party wagon, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This is what the back of my van looked like last week. We brought home all the food Saturday and left the nonperishables for the next day. Larry and I were bushed and the idea of driving back and forth for the second load was unthinkable. We still had an after-party that evening and we wanted to relax a bit.

So Sunday morning we made our way back to the synagog and loaded up the van with two huge flower arrangements, a dozen glass bowls with pansies, two amplifiers, two pedals, a guitar (Nate's), a bass (Larry's), and two stands. It was a full load and after we packed it all in the van looked very festive.

The ride home was for the most part uneventful. Nate's guitar did topple over, but fortunately nothing broke. We made one side trip to drop off the huge arrangements at a local nursing home. After Jake's Bar Mitzvah we didn't think of donating them. I'm glad this time we did, they got to brighten a few more lives.

Friday, November 18, 2011

MCP Project 52: Over the Top

Frost on the Pansies by Teckelcar
Frost on the Pansies, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's theme was "Over the Top" and it certainly was a challenge for me.

I wasn't quite sure what to do with the theme. I had an idea of an overflowing water pitcher, but it never really came together. So in the end I picked out a picture I really liked and worked the theme into the description. A bit of a wimp out, but then again nobody is perfect.

My over the top picture is of the pansies from Nate's Bar Mitzvah coated in frost and ice. After the Bar mitzvah they sat on the deck in their glass bowls. I needed to transplant them, but I was in no hurry.

Then it started to rain. Wednesday wasn't too bad, but it was wet enough to deter me from any outside work. By Thursday, however, the light rain became intermittent deluges. Since the bowls had no drainage, my poor pansies were starting to float. I braved the weather and transplanted the contents of all 12 bowls to my deck rail flower boxes.

And it was a good thing I did, we had a hard frost last night. the water collected in the bowls (1/4 and more) froze solid. If I hadn't transplanted the flowers and emptied the bowls I think they would have all broken from the soupy soil freezing.

As is the pansies got kind of a rough deal. Their new home wasn't full of water, instead it was frozen and they were coated in hoar frost. I found that to be over the top, from a near drowning to semi-frozen in far less than a day.

Oh and that pretty little drop on the bottom of the bloom and catching the morning rays, it's not a water drop. In actuality it's a solidly frozen bead of water.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Group photo by Teckelcar
Group photo, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
One of the great things about Bar Mitzvahs is the bringing together of family. People that you only get to see maybe once a year make the effort to put into an appearance. It's a happy occasion, full of food and happiness.

Sadly a few people couldn't make it this time, but in three years I expect to see them all for the dynamic duo's B'nai Mitzvah.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Artist of the Week: Bar Mitzvah

blessing of the candles by Teckelcar
blessing of the candles, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Last weekend was Nate's 13th birthday and his Bar Mitzvah.

A few years ago Larry calculated when Nate's Bar Mitzvah would be and we were delighted that find it would be 11-11-11. Even better, his actual birthday would be on a Friday. Which is pretty darn cool. In reality the date means nothing, but it does make it memorable.

So for the past few months have been a whirlwind of studying, preparation, and attending services on both Friday night and Saturday morning.

blessings for wine by Teckelcar
blessings for wine, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr
For me it was a weird mixture of being easier and harder than Jake's Bar Mitzvah. On one hand it was old hat, since I had already done it before. And yet that made it harder, a few details almost got forgotten. But in the end it all came together.

Nate did a good job, even with the minor mixups with the pianist Friday night. It seemed as though the two of them weren't quite on the same page (sadly the original pianist that played with Jake passed away and we had someone else). It wasn't disastrous and Nate, to his credit, adapted as best he could and didn't lose his cool. Sunday things were a bit smoother and, miracle of miracles, Nate finally slowed down.

I'm very proud of Nate and the dedication he showed while studying. He even wiling gave up sports for the fall season. Nate recognized that he didn't have the time and that inevitably there would be conflicts.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Friday Morning

Friday morning by Teckelcar
Friday morning, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This is what the sanctuary looked like Friday morning. The light streaming through the stained glass and the flower arrangement complimented each other perfectly.

I noticed it as I was checking on the flower arrangements (which were gorgeous by the way). I ran back to the van to grab my camera, I had to take a picture.

It was one of the last quiet moments of a very busy day. Larry and I has already attended a Veterans Day ceremony at the elementary school and now we were setting up for Nate's Bar Mitzvah.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Veterans Day 2011

Amongst the craziness of preparing for Nate's Bar Mitzvah, Larry and I took time out to attend the Veterans Day assembly at Max and Rebecca's school. We were treated with two versions of "America the Beautiful" by the fourth grade.

Max was in the first group that did a lovely a cappella rendition, you can just see him in the middle of the shot (and yes those huge kids surrounding him are really in the fourth grade). Meanwhile Rebecca was in the second group that preformed the song with chimes. Like Max, I tried to center her in the shot.

There were also performances by the third and fourth grades, and a presentation by a father of three in the school who happens to be in the Air Force. It was a lovely way to commemorate Veterans Day.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

MCP Project 52: Book Title

circle dogs by Teckelcar
circle dogs, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Whew, this has been a crazy busy time. Nate had his Bar Mitzvah this weekend (more on this later), thus no post on Friday.

So, he we go with what would have been my traditional Friday post.

This week's MCP Project 52's theme was "Book Title." I originally planned on doing something with a stack of books and their juxtaposed titles, but that idea got tossed when Rebecca causally remarked one day that the red boys were "Circle Dogs" on the couch.

Circle Dogs is a charming picture book that we have has for quite some time. It features a family and their two dachshunds over the course of a day pointing out shapes that can be found in the boldly colored, retro illustrations. The book is wonderful and a dead on description of what a dachshund's day is like.

I had to use that idea that Rebecca had implanted in my mind.

It was no big deal for me to wait for the dogs to assume the "circle dog" position, every night they curl up on the couch. All I had to do was find my copy of the book and place it on the couch with them. They boys were very obliging and I ended up taking a dozen pictures as they shifted their positions over the course of the evening. I picked this shot to submit because the dogs reflect the two dogs on the cover. Which turned out to be a very good choice, for the THIRD time my picture has been selected to be in the MCP Project 52 top ten.

Dang, I'm pretty well chuffed!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Morning Visitor

hawk by Teckelcar
hawk, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This morning Rebecca looked out into the backyard and spotted our avian visitor. She turned to me and asked "Is that a hawk?"

Why yes it is darling.

I snagged the camera and took a picture through the glass. It was blurry, but recognizable. Then I told Rebecca to stay quiet while I eased the door open. I poked the camera out and quickly took another picture, this one was better.

Ducking back inside and closing the door, I told Rebecca I was going to try to get a bit closer. I excited through the garage and circled around the house. As I slowly stalked the bird I took more pictures.

When I was about 20 feet away the hawk decided it had enough and fly away. I think it is a red tailed hawk, but I'm not entirely sure.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Artist of the Week: Penguin

Max and the bunny by Teckelcar
Max and the bunny, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Max is the week's artist.

This picture was from the same party that had the bunnies. In fact Max has the more heavily marked rabbit in his lap. Max enjoyed the animals, but I think he had more fun with the boy that had arrived with the petting zoo. The boy is roughly the same age (maybe a bit younger) and seemed to be the son of the owners. Max thought the boy was a guest and when it was time for the animals to leave Max was shocked that his new friend had to leave as well.

Anyway, Max had a good time.

As for this week's art, this little gem was found as I was clearing out some old school papers from Max's school work drawer.
Penguin by Teckelcar
Penguin, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.

I don't remember seeing it when it first came home, but I'm glad I eventually got to see it. The smart little penguin is on an eight inch blue disk of paper that was carefully cut out. I like the confident air of the penguin as it appears to walk towards the viewer. The one upraised foot neatly coveys motion to the figure. I love the over-sized flippers and how the penguin is not quite centered on the disk.

I think it is a charming picture and I'm glad I made its acquaintance.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Morning on the Pitch

Max by Teckelcar
Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
It was a rather chilling morning last Saturday. Max and Rebecca both had games at 9, fortunately at the same park, and it was picture day to boot.

So that meant we had to drag ourselves to the fields by 8:10 am.

I got to bundle up, but the dynamic duo had to doff their jackets for the pictures and the games. The pictures were particularly hard since it was in the shade and they couldn't run around. Once they hit the fields for warm-up and the game they were ever so much happier.

I, however, was very chilled. Since I wasn't moving around the stiff breeze cut right through me. At least I had dressed properly and I followed the sun for what meager warmth it gave. But, it was worth it, they both played well- Max's team tied and Rebecca's won.

Then again, I'll take cold over extreme heat any day.

Monday, November 07, 2011


I saw this over on Fetch My Flying Monkeys. I thought it was an amazing little video and was too good not to share. It starts out as a series of stills with an audio track, then at about 25 seconds in the video starts in earnest. Enjoy.

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Little Bunny

Little Bunny by Teckelcar
Little Bunny, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
We went this unbelievably cute critter at a birthday party today.

The party was in honor of another cutie's first birthday. We are friends with her father, grandfather, and uncles hence the invitation. The proud grandfather even went so far as to hire a pony. Along with the pony there were two miniature goats, a couple lambs, a brace of chickens, possibly the world's happiest pot bellied pig (it never stopped wagging its tail), a rabbit that has an amazing coat- the fringes along its jaw resembled an outrageous pair of mutton chop sideburns, and two of the tiniest little baby bunnies.

The critters were a huge hit with the dynamic duo and most of the other party guests. The little bunnies, however really stole the show.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

MCP Project 52: Muted Tones

Fall on Mute by Teckelcar
Fall on Mute, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Oops! Almost forgot to post this!

Anyhoo, this week's theme was muted tones. I immediately thought of Virginia's (well at least around here in central VA) muted fall palate. Having grown up in New England I've been spoiled by the richness of nature's splendor up North. Around here it is rather bland, with the notable exception of Winged Euonymus' (aka Burning Bush) brilliant scarlet foliage.

So I happily snapped away under my dogwood catching the light filtering through the leaves in a lovely kaleidoscopic pattern. This is pretty much straight from the camera with a bit of cropping.

I also considering taking a picture of Jake playing his trumpet with the mute in place, but... It had already been done. I looked through the Flickr pool for MCP Project 52 and saw just exactly that. And decided to stick with my dogwood leaves.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

New Reflections

new reflections by Teckelcar
new reflections, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This is the final post from my photo trip to Richmond.

This is the same building that was reflecting the Old City Hall and this was my view stepping out of city hall. There was no question in my mind in whether or not to take a picture. I just needed to find the right angle.

I love how the imperfections of the window glass slightly distort the reflection in each pane of glass. It is a wonderful effect and I just wanted to share this one last picture.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Artist of the Week: Lone Pumpkin

Rebecca by Teckelcar
Rebecca, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Rebecca, who in a small way saved us from a pumpkinless Halloween.

As I mentioned yesterday, I completely failed to get any pumpkins. It was my own fault for waiting until Halloween itself to buy them, but I've been a bit preoccupied by Nate's up coming Bar Mitzvah and figured there would be pumpkins somewhere.

Well I was very, very wrong to assume that there would be any pumpkins left on Halloween. I went to all my usual sources and came up with zip, zero, and zilch. In most cases all evidence of pumpkininess was completely swept away. Only once did I find an empty display rack. It was a very sad thing indeed. I had Meryl help out and we discovered via phone that even a local farm stand could not help me out in my quest for pumpkins. Crushed by inability to find any suitable gourds I dragged myself home.

wee little pumpkin by Teckelcar
wee little pumpkin, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Rebecca, as I would have predicted, was the one most disappointed by lack of pumpkins. She stewed around and had it very clear she was not happy with this turn of events. She didn't quite believe the total absence of pumpkins in our county, so I took her out with me to try one more store. In the end I bought three balloons, one orange and two black.

When we got back home Rebecca ran upstairs. A short while later she came back down and asked to use one of my sharpies, in black. It had to be black. I told her to help herself, I kept them by my computer.

A few minutes later she triumphantly presented to me the cutest little wee jack-o-lantern I had ever seen. It was the gourd she won at the county fair and had held onto since the beginning of September. Technically it is not a pumpkin, but it'll do in a pinch. Rebecca had done a lovely job drawing on the gourd and saved us from a pumpkin free Halloween.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Trick or Treat !

Trick or Treat 2011 by Teckelcar
Trick or Treat 2011, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
It was a rather soggy Halloween last night.

The day itself was sunny and mild, but as the day progressed clouds gathered and darken. Then at about 4:30 the first drops of rain fell and from then on it only got worse.

But the real tragedy was the dearth of pumpkins on our front steps.

I had been busy and kept putting off my big pumpkin purchase. I didn't actively start shopping until Monday. At which point, much to my chagrin, there were no more pumpkins to be had.


So there was no massive festival of pumpkin carving for me this year. A disappointment to be sure, but due to the rather foul weather not necessarily a bad thing.

We had only one trick or treater, the little boy next door. Combined with the steady rain all evening that would have extinguished out jack-o-lanterns, all my carving would have been unadmired.

Next year, however, I'll be a bit more on the ball.

That being said, Athena and Black Ninja had a good time being squired about in the van. A bit of a cop out for me, I prefer walking from house to house. However I'm also a realist and it would have been thoroughly unpleasant to to tramp about on such a dismal evening.