Thursday, November 28, 2013

Second Night With Some Turkey

turkey by Teckelcar
turkey, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today we celebrated our traditionally very relaxed Thanksgiving with the added bonus of the second night of Hanukkah once all the dishes were cleared away.

With the predicted bad weather for the week I was especially thankful we weren't traveling anywhere farther than the dining room. It turned out the storm only dumped rain on us and today was sunny and clear, but I'm still glad that I didn't do any driving. Instead we had Meryl over. She brought wine and chocolate while we proved the rest.

The turkey was brined this year and was scrumptious. Don't let the dark skin fool you, it was moist and flavorful. Well worth the extra steps and the sharp words I had with the bird on Tuesday. The turkey wasn't thawing on schedule, so I had to speed things along with cold water on Tuesady so I could mess around with it on Wednesday. The cold water worked and it was perfect by Wednesday evening.

Second Night by Teckelcar
Second Night, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I plopped the thawed and rinsed  turkey into a bag with the brine mix which was then put in a large pot with ice. The whole works out then went into the garage that was at about 45 degrees. Todat at about 11am I rinsed the bird and soaked it about half an hour to clear out the excess salt. The turkey went in at 2 and by 5:15 or so was done. A little earlier than I planned, so I had a bit of a scramble to get the biscuits, taters, and such done on time. It all hit the table at about the same time and was very good.

After the main course we had our chocolate course, Meryl's big contribution to the dinner. it made a nice transition between dinner and dessert. And oh yes we did have dessert, pumpkin pie and apple tarte tatin aka apple tarty thingy.

 Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

First Night

First Night by Teckelcar
First Night, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I almost forgot to take a picture, the candles are burnt down to just a pool of wax. But they are still lit.

Today has been a flurry of preparation for turkey day. The obligatory pumpkin pie is tucked away in the fridge along with the cranberry sauce. The turkey is fully thawed, the result of my having words with it yesterday and speeding it along with cold water. Now the bird is brining in a bag and is stashed in the garage (it's about 45 in there) nestled in ice to maintain a safe temperature.

So happy Hanukkah and may your Thanksgiving be peaceful and full of good food.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pomelo Head

Pomelo head by Teckelcar
Pomelo head, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
John is a very patient dog.

He was less than thrilled with my instance of a pomelo rind hat, but he tolerated it long enough for a few pictures. Which was far better than than his brother.

Dell, who believes that things are divided into two categories: food and potential food, was far more interested in eating the rind than wearing it. I should have recorded his attempts at grabbing the rind with his jaws every time I brought it near his head, it was hilarious.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Travel the world via Instragram. Thomas Jullien combined 852 images fro Instagram to create a sort of stop motion trip. It's quite fun and the sound track from the Black Keys was a big plus for me.

An Instagram short film from Thomas Jullien on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I'm Only Human

Bluffin by Teckelcar
Bluffin, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
You see this muffin, doesn't it look delicious? All chocolatey and poofy. You just want to tear into it with a nice glass of milk.

Well it's not.

It is the blandest thing I have ever baked. It was supposed to be a chocolate muffin, Rebecca wanted to make chocolate muffins with me and we had a lovely time. Right up until we tried out the muffins.

They were such a disappointment. I added the upper end of the called for chocolate, but it tasted like I waved a stale bit of chocolate at the batter. Nate came up with the term bluffin, a contraction of bland muffin.

I tried one with some cream cheese frosting and all it did was ruin the frosting. I would have been better off just licking the frosting off the knife. I ended up tossing the last bluffin because nobody, and do mean nobody, wants a second one.

So not everything I bake is good, I'm only human.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Crimson Permanent Assurance

This is one of my all time favorite short features, from the fine folks of Monty Python. Originally slated to be a Terry Gilliam animation during "The Meaning of Life," its scope grew such that Gilliam requested it become live action and a stand alone short at the beginning of the movie. A brilliant satire of the go-go 80's of London.

Friday, November 15, 2013

All Too True

Jacob sent me this image on FaceBook with the note "I think you will find this relevant."

Which is a very accurate description of how I play Skyrim. I have been playing the game for a while ad I entertain my children with my all too frequent announcement "Now I'm going to do something stupid, it's time to do a save." My son totally understands me and I love his dry delivery.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Frosty Morning

Frosty Morning by Teckelcar
Frosty Morning, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
We have had some very frosty mornings the past couple of days, as evidenced by the traceries of frost on the glass tabletop out on the deck. The sudden and rather early plunge in the temperature has caught out a few people in the neighborhood.

The backflow piping for sprinkler systems jut up into the cold air and those that hadn't winterized their systems yet swaddle them up at night to prevent freezing. Then they are forced into running their sprinklers in the predawn hours to keep the water moving. My neighbor was one such vicyom, which surprisd me since he is very handy about the house and fixes his own cars. It turned out he called his guy to winterize their system four weeks ago and they just got around to blowing out all the water today. i wouldn't be surprised if they hire someone else next year.

Meanwhile I'm happy that I never did fire up the lawn sprinklers this year. It was such a wet spring and summer I did not see the point of wasting water and money. As a result,I was already winterized. Being cheap sometimes pays off.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Artist of the Week: What Goes Up

Jacob by Teckelcar
Jacob, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I've been slacking off on the whole Artist of the Week thing Mostly because I have been wanting to feature Jacob and his band, but also due to the intense competition for my computer between yself, Max, and Rebecca. Silly middle schoolers with all their computer based homework.

Anyhoodle, this week's artist is Jacob in his final year of high school marching band.

I took this picture of him at the start of the football team's penultimate regular season game. His grandparents were visiting just to see him march and I was in attendance for my first ever high school football game. It was a beautiful night for football, the weather was clear and mild, much nicer than you would expect for November. We had a grand time and left after the halftime show since we were only there for the band.

Recruitment by Teckelcar
Recruitment, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The previous day I had gone out with the band for a recruitment drive. The idea was to visit several feeder schools, one elementary and two middle, and drum up some excitement for band. All of the students we met were polite, but the elementary kids pictured here were the most receptive. They asked plenty of questions and begged for the band to play a few more songs. Hopefully a few more kids will get turned on to music.

And now for the music, I never did get a proper video of this year's show "What Goes Up." The best I have is of a semi dress rehearsal (they have the be-plumed hats on) with the addition of a pickup truck that was not moved in time. The music was a bit flat, it was pretty darn cold with a wicked wind, but they did do a good job coping with the rogue vehicle.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Winter is Coming

First Snow by Teckelcar
First Snow, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today we got our first snowfall of the season. It didn't stick and it didn't last for very long, but we did get a sustained snow flurry for about an hour.

I was on the phone with my husband when I glanced out the window are saw the first flakes come down. I blurted out with unrestrained glee "It's SNOWING!" Then proceeded to do a happy dance. Hopefully I didn't damage his hearing, I think not since he did sound genuinely happy for me. I'm a northern girl at heart and the first snowfall is always my favorite.

cozy by Teckelcar
cozy, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I know winter won't officially start for quite some time, but I'm ready for it. Our home has a new roof plus skylights and autumn has reached that dreary stage when everything seems dead. The lone holdout is my parsley, which still retains its vibrant shade of green. The weather is cold and our dogs have the right idea of getting all cozy under their blankets.

Monday, November 11, 2013

15 Years of Excitement

Copy of tumble_Nate by Teckelcar
Copy of tumble_Nate, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This is Nate from well over a decade ago and he is still the same silly boy that is almost always in motion. He is almost my height now, it looks like he is just 2 inches shorter than me. that difference, however is not going to last. I swear he has grown a few inches in the past few weeks.

As for his birthday, he didn't get the day off even though it is Veterans' Day. He did, however, get to have a couple of his favorite foods. His request for his birthday treat was cinnamon rolls. He is not a big fan of cake, coffee cake is more his speed.

cinnamon roll by Teckelcar
cinnamon roll, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
He was willing to have me buy him a coffee cake, but I wouldn't hear of it. Dang it, I have made them before and I can certainly make them for my son's birthday. It just meant I had to have them all set to go in the oven before I went to bed and set the oven's time to preheat it so I could pop the rolls in a 5:30 am.

Nate was very pleased with his birthday treat and I think the smell of the cinnamon rolls made everyone wake up a little easier this morning.

Thursday, November 07, 2013


old by Teckelcar
old, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
We have had some big doings over here. As of today we officially have a new roof on our home. For the past three and a half days there has been a crew of guys ripping off the old, starting to leak shingles and replacing with lovely new ones. It's been very loud and I have been blocked from our garage and driveway from the assorted roofing materials and truck filling up the driveway. Plus there is the added joy of schlepping across the front yard to get to our vehicles.

I know, first world problems. However, I did have to drag a 40 bag of dog kibble across the lawn to replace the empty one.

Anyway, part of the whole re-roofing was the replacement of our seven (!) skylight, one in each of the upstairs bathrooms and the remaining five in the ceiling above the rear portion of the house. The top picture is on of the downstairs skylights with the old window. It's almost opaque, there is no view and the light is fairly dim.

new by Teckelcar
new, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Here is the adjacent skylight with the new crystal clear window.

I was shocked by the difference. I knew the previous skylights were not particularly good, but I didn't know how bad they were until now.

My eyes are continuously drawn to the new view. I just can't get over how much better the new skylights are. And the improvements don't stop there, the windows are far more energy efficient. The glass is insulated and sealed which could potentially lead to lower fuel bills in the winter and the summer.

In the meantime I'm going to enjoy the new view.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013


Done by Teckelcar
Done, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I voted today, sometime around 10:30 am. I like to avoid the morning rush, but still have the rest of my day. After I fed my ballot into the scanner I found out I was voter # 819 for my district, a pretty good turnout for fairly early in the day. The best part was as I walked out of polling place with the knowledge I was done with this very ugly election cycle. The two major candidates were awful, as I explained to a friend it was as though the barrel was emptied. And they were scraped out from the bottom. In fact The Richmond Times Dispatch refused to endorse any of the candidates, a pretty shocking state of affairs.

 I'm just glad it's over along with all the political phone calls that have been tying up our phones.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Handspring Puppet Co

 Saturday I got to see the stage version of War Horse courtesy of Meryl. I wanted to see the movie, but missed it so I was thrilled when Meryl invited me to go with her. I knew going in that puppets were used instead of horses and I had a vague idea of what they looked like, however I was blow away by the creations in action. The construction and the manipulation of the puppets resulted in a very life like horse. The mannerisms and movement are spot on.

I found this video about the manufacture, Handspring Puppet Co. Based in Cape Town South Africa, they build the puppets almost entirely by hand.

Sunday, November 03, 2013


Meimei by Teckelcar
Meimei, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Meryl has gotten a new kitten and I have had the pleasure of being amongst the first to meet her.She a former feral and is a bit skittish, but Meimei is warming up to me.

She has a gloriously loud purr, I call it thunder purr. I can clearly hear her when I'm playing with her with the laser pointer. It is so much fun watching her zoom about with such obvious joy.

And a bit of joy is always something to be appreciated.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Friday Night Lights

Under the Lights by Teckelcar
Under the Lights, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
For the first time ever I went to a high school football game. Though in reality I was just there for the band.

it's Jacob's senior year and I realized that if I was ever going to go to a game I should get off my duff and actually go to one. It was the penultimate regular season game with nothing particularly special about it. My in-laws were in town and we decided it would be fun to go to the game. We would watch the first half of the game, the band's halftime show, and then head on back home.

It was a beautiful night for football, the weather mild with the rain holding off until after halftime and even then it was just a fine mist. I had fun chatting with Larry's mom and not watching the game (It was expected to be a rout and our high school did not disappoint, only one touch down by the visitors). I alsogot a kick out of the warm reception I got from the band members as I walked past. They are a nice bunch of kids and I'm glad my son is one of their number.