Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The National

Lately I have been obsessing about the upcoming Dachshund Club of America 2006 National Specialty. It is an annual event that is held in a different region each year. This year it is being hosted by the Dachshund Club of Metropolitan Atlanta at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. A National Specialty is a dog show that is devoted to one breed (in this case dachshund) and is held under the auspices of the national breed/parent club. All AKC recognized breeds have a national club.

The whole shebang this year runs from March 25th to April 9th. I would dearly love to go to all of the field events, the field trial and the earthdog events in particular, but realistically I can only attend the main specialty show on April 6th-8th. After a lot of consultation with Diane I have decided to enter Crunch. At 13 ½ this will be his last National and he is in amazing shape. We thought it would be fun to enter him in the stud dog class. Here is a definition of the class:
For stud dogs and at least two and no more than four of their get (i.e. offspring). Stud dog must be entered in the appropriate Stud Dog Class and must be shown in the ring with its get. Owner of stud dog need not necessarily be owner of get. Get only to be judged, based upon their merits. While the merits of the stud dog are not considered in the placement of the entry, the stud dog must be examined to determine if it has a condition that would require its disqualification or excusal under Dog Show Rules, AKC policy, or the standard (written description of the ideal dog) for its breed. Get must be entered in a Regular Class, Best of Variety Competition, or some other Non-Regular Class.
Diane has ready access to Crunch’s latest litter and we thought it would be quite a statement for the old man to trot into the ring with two of his very young (Not even a year old!) get.

Of course the big question is which of the puppies will we bring? I decided not to bring John because three days cooped up in hotel room with possibly a female dog in the vicinity would probably destroy Crunch and John’s relationship. The red dogs get along very well and I want it to stay that way. That leaves the puppies from the latest litter. Diane and her family got a gander of Brad this past weekend and sent me these pictures:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

This is a quote from the accompanying note:
Here are some fresh pictures of Brad. Happy little guy and coming along nicely. Still immature but for his age, this is a pretty nice puppy. His owners are wonderful and spoil him rotten.

So it looks like Brad will be going to Georgia with either Val or Trudy.

I can see a very strong resemblance to both Crunch and John. Brad has a nicer topline than John and a better head than Crunch. The immaturity is to be expected. Crunch really did not come into his own until three and it looks like John is the same.

In addition to Stud Dog Class I’ll be entering the old man in the Veteran Class (dogs seven years and older). I figure he’ll be one of the older if not oldest entry and quite possible the fittest. It will be quite a statement to have him entered in both Veteran and Stud Dog. It should be very interesting. I’ll be bring my camera and I promise to post pictures.

Monday, February 27, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different

Everyday after lunch Max gets his nebulizations and chest physical therapy. Everyday he gets to pick what we watch when this is going on. And seemingly, everyday he picks one of the same four movies. They are as follows:
Attack of the Ewoks
Attack of the Clones

I don’t even watch them anymore. I just set him up and then putter about downstairs while he is nebulizing. I only watch during the 20 minute it takes to do his thumpies.

On Saturday I could not take it anymore. I put my foot down and picked out something I wanted to see. I rooted about our movie collection and pulled out “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” It has knights, silly monsters and bizarre animations; a good movie for my crowd (Oh look, there is a Lego version!).

When I announced my choice it was greeted with universal disdain. Both Max and Rebecca loudly stated that they did not like that movie, it was stupid. Max then crossed his arms and proceeded to pout while Rebecca noisily rolled about on the sofa in protest. Nate was uninterested and wanted to work on the computer. I ignored them and loaded up the movie into our player.

After the initial horror of my ignoring them wore off they were entranced by the movie. They loved that coconuts were used instead of horses (why momma, because it’s silly dear) and delighted in the screwball animations. Nate abandoned his game to come join us. Jake, who was at soccer practice when the movie started, joined us about a third of the way in. It was a big hit. On Sunday they wanted to watch the movie again.

It looks like we have produced another generation of Python fans. I guess I’ll have to start taping the shows when PBS starts rebroadcasting them in April.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


As I have mentioned before we have a lovely crabapple tree just outside the kitchen window. Here is a picture of it now.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

As you can see it is quite bleak outside. The surrounding trees are bare and there is, excepting the toys littered across the lawn, precious little color.


Looking out the window today at lunch I noticed a few spots of bright green.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

It looks like spring is coming. The robins have been here in full force for the past couple of days and now my crabapple is starting to leaf out.

So much for winter. Maybe next year it'll be better.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Matzo Ball Soup

Last week I roasted a chicken for dinner. Once we were done I set aside the remaining wing and legs for my husband to take to work for lunch and I saved the rest of the carcass in a large plastic bag. It took up a fair amount of space in the fridge and it sat there mocking me for a few days. Tuesday I was finally motivated enough to make soup.

I have a large stock pot with a nice stainless steel colander. I left the colander inside the pot and plopped the carcass inside of it. I then added some baby peeled carrots and a roughly chopped onion. (I would have added celery but, alas I was out and I didn’t feel like trekking out to get it.) I then filled the pot with a mixture of water and few cans of chicken broth I had on hand (there wasn’t quite enough meat on the carcass to get the volume of soup I wanted so I had to pad it out a bit) until the carcass was covered. I add a little salt and pepper and let it simmer for a couple of hours.

In the mean time I made the matzo balls. I admit I cheat and use the mix (I use the plain mix without the soup packet). For a very funny run down on how to make matzo ball soup you have to check out this site. (But don’t click on this, tri-color matzo balls is just plain wrong.) Once the mix is properly chilled I make the little matzo balls and place them on a plate. Then just before I cook the matzo balls I pull out the colander that contains the carcass and vegetables and put the whole thing in a large bowl. The matzo balls then get plopped into the simmering soup and the lid gets slapped on top. The matzo balls need to be simmered for 20 minutes with the lid on, do not peek.

While the matzo balls are doing their thing I pull out all the bones and carefully clean off all of the remaining bits and pieces of chicken meat. The meat, along with the carrots and onions will go back into the soup. The skin and bones all get tossed.

Once the matzo balls are done I put back the meat and vegetables. Here is the final product:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

It is not a traditional matzo ball soup, but it is very tasty.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thursday Three: Time Management

It’s Thursday and y’all know what that means! Time to play the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three! This week it’s all about time management or our lack of such skills. This week was a close one, but with some help Terry was able to pull it off.

Although I was able to escape the deep dark depths after I got thrown into a well yesterday, I still don’t have time to play with anyone or anything today, so I would like to thank Long Island’s own Skinnydan for today’s questions for the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three.

Although they might seem awfully reminiscent of the Thursday Three from October 6, 2005, they are completely new and fresh, so let’s go ahead and plunge right in, shall we? YES! WE SHALL!

1) Are you the sort of person that's always late, always early, always right on time?
2) Is that true all the time, or are there things that will make you change your normal patterns (e.g. you're always early, but get to the dentist late)?
3) How good are your time management skills? Do you know exactly how much time you have, or do you look up at the clock & realize three hours have somehow disappeared?

Okay, all of you post either your answers in the comments below, or a link back to your blog. Me? I can’t get rid of K-Fed, and he really needs a bath and a shave.

All righty then, I guess I need to get to work before I go off and meet Meryl for lunch.

1) I have to be honest, I dwell in the world of practically on time. I figure if I’m within a 5 minute window I’m on time. This is compounded by the fact that I’m usually accompanied by my entourage that has no concept of time or timeliness.

2) There are plenty of things that can and do change my normal pattern of behavior. I am fanatical about meeting the school bus. We are usually early (Shhh, don’t tell the kids!), because I dread the chaos of driving the hoard to school. We are very fortunate that we have a driver that shows up at a consistent time and the advantage of a back-up bus stop within easy walking distance. On the other end of the scale, I really don’t care when we show up for Max’s CF clinic appointments. They are always running an hour behind. Oh and I’m almost always late meeting Meryl for lunch, but not horribly so.

3) My time management skills are okay, as long as I’m not reading a book. All bets are off when I dive into a good book. Otherwise I’m pretty good of keeping track of the time I have available.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Artist of the Week: Tall!

Every night just before bed, there is an explosion of Lego building activity from Nate and Jake. When they are particularly proud of their creations they bring them downstairs for me to photograph. We hit upon the photographs as being a good alternative to the boys trying to preserve their creations. There is far less arguing and hard feelings when something gets knocked over.

A few weeks ago Nate came downstairs with this particularly tall Lego building.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

It was a bit tricky, but he was able to maneuver it downstairs and place it on the table. I love how the pride of accomplishment shines from Nate’s face. And I was impressed that in his original construction he built the structure on a wide base so that it would not tip over.

It came apart when he was carrying it back upstairs, but he was satisfied that its glory had been captured with the camera.

He then wanted to know if this would go up on this site under Artist of the Week.

So here you go Nate, Artist of the Week.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

VCU Spells VCU

It is a slow day here. The boys are back at school and Larry is back at work after a three day weekend.

This was a particularly nice weekend in that we did not have to anything in the morning. For three days in a row Larry and I got to stay in bed past 8:00 am. For those of you without kids that still seems horribly early, but trust me it was nice being able to lie in an hour plus longer than usual.

Anyhoo, not much excitement occurred here at home, but we did go to a VCU basketball game Friday and had fantastic seats right behind the net and on the floor. Unfortunately I forgot my camera and I have no fun-filled images to share.

We went with one of Larry’s co-workers and two of her children, which are right around Jake’s age. All of the kids had a fantastic time together. They spent the majority of their time running and jumping about in the area between our seat and the court. Jake was initially disappointed by our seats when it turned out that the cheering squad spent their downtime in front of us and therefore obscured our view of the game (as I commented to Larry, in about 6 years he’ll have a different opinion and will welcome such a distraction).

Nate was completely in his element and spent his time equally divided between watching the game and running about while tossing his towel. He was very entertaining to watch for not only us, but for the rest of the crowd as well. There was one student I noticed who looked like he would have liked to join Nate, but he wasn’t confident enough to do so.

Max and Rebecca were particularly fond of Air Rodney (an inflated mascot that sadly has no images on the net) and kept mobbing him. They also spent their time tumbling about on the floor. They were pretty well behaved and had a good time, but the game was a bit long for a four year old’s attention span. Rebecca wanted to know if it was over after the National Anthem was sung (We got there at 5:30 for a 7:00 game it insure good seats) and Max was ready to go after half time.

We were also near the pep band and in addition to the free t-shirts we had all scored; the kids all got a VCU Rams towel. It was a very close game and in the end the Rams came out on top.

We will probably go to more games in the future. The tickets are a steal at $6 (this game was particularly good at $5 each) and if you show up early you can get some great seats.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sleeping Habits

Normally my children are happy to go to sleep in their respective beds; the trick is getting them to stay there. Once in a blue moon we will get an odd request to sleep somewhere else.

Nate sometimes sleeps in the quest room when Jake is particularly chatty or has a loud cough (Jake and Nate share a bedroom). Jake likes to sleep on the floor in his sleeping bag, but he always ends up back in his bed. These are very reasonable requests.

A few weeks ago Nate picked a very odd spot to sleep in. There is a unit in their room that has shelves up top and a rolling bin below. This is what it looks like:
That night Nate wanted to sleep on the floor tucked under the shelves and behind the bin. In his little hidey hole he brought with him the Lego bin and nothing else. I tossed in a pillow and he was all set.

Later that night, after they were all asleep I snuck in and took a picture of Nate all curled up.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

The next day he awoke none the worse for wear, but he did admit it was not the most comfortable place to sleep.

I think he originally snuck back there to get some extra playtime. The idea of sleeping there was just a cover-up. By letting him sleep there I think we will not be having any repeats.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Rally has noticeably aged the past year. She is still alert, but you can see the stiffness in her joints as she trundles about. Now she spends her day between the dog couch (yes, we really do have a couch just for the dogs) and her crate. When she sleeps it is very deep sleep and it always takes her awhile to wake up.

This is Rally today.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

She no longer does stairs and we have to carry her up and down the three steps from the deck to the back yard. She quickly learned to give a few barks at the bottom of the stairs when she is ready to come back inside.

Rally has never been a high octane dog like Crunch and John, but she has always been a sharp number and who knows what she could have accomplished with opposable thumbs.

This is Rally from a decade ago.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Her other remarkable characteristic was her iron clad stomach. She could eat anything and I do mean anything. One time she ate a bunch of chocolate and I tried to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide. For most dogs one dose will do the trick, after three doses all I got from her was a very small burp and at that point I gave up. But those days seem to be over.

She was not well this weekend and my best guess is that she got a hold of some Valentine’s Day candy. After a brief fast and a slow return to full rations she seems to be much better now.

It looks like Rally has reached that point where we will treasure each day we have with her. It is hard to live with an old dog, but the alternative is even harder.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Kitchen Fun

I was on the phone with Meryl the other day (what a shock we usually chat at least once a day) and I was asking her what treat we should make for when she comes over. Nate was dancing about and interjected that we could buy some cookies. I paused in my conversation with Meryl and looked down at Nate and reminded him that we normally don’t buy cookies we make cookies. Nate then bounced about some more and agreed with me and then stated, but we don’t make candy!

At that moment I remembered a type of fudge, called penuche, which I used to make when I was a little older than Jake.

This prompted me to look through my cookbook collection for a charming little book that I used to make penuche. And here it is:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

It is from 1932 and was originally published by The Harter Publishing Company (which seems top have dropped off the face of the Earth) and was later reissued by Gramercy Press on June 27, 1993.

The book starts with “Rules for Little Cooks” on the inside front cover:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Yes, it is a bit dated with its gender stereotyping. But you must remember it was a product of its time. I love the illustrations which are peppered throughout the book.

And here is the Penuche page:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

The only changes to the recipe that my family made were omitting the nuts and cooking the penuche until it reaches the soft ball stage (and click here if you want to see the QuickTime movie version) before adding the vanilla and mixing until creamy.

It is a very easy treat to make and very tasty.

I’ll post more from this book as I try things out with my children.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Thursday Three: Olympic Version

In honor of the ongoing winter Olympics Terry gives us:
The Axis of Weevil Thursday Three, Olympic Version!
Our questions were proffered this week by famed academician and ice skating judge, Jim Smith, who wonders the following:

1. Do you even watch the Winter Olympics?
2. What is your most memorable Winter Olympic moment?
3. Which Winter Olympic sport would you most like to try?

As always, anyone who passes the drug test may participate in the T3, and in keeping with REAL sports, there will be NO style points. You will be judged purely on objective criteria such as speed, strength, and how nice you look in a Spandex body suit.

ON THEN, NOBLE COMPETITORS! Leave your answers in the comments below, or a link to the answers as performed on your own blog.

I don’t know about the spandex requirement but, yay! questions about fun in the snow!

1) Oddly enough I really have not been watching the Olympics this year. Other years I have been far more interested. It might be due to the fact that I no longer have any connection to any of the competitors. I went to high school with the following winter Olympians: Dorcas Denhartog Wonsavage, Chris Hastings, Joe Holland, Jim Holland, Tim Tetreault, and Liz McIntyre. Now they have all retired and as a result I have nobody to root for on the current team. However, I will be tuning in this weekend to see what is happening. I like watching all the sledding events, hockey (USA! USA!) and speed skating (short track is amazing to watch). Snowboarding and the moguls competition are also good events to watch.

2) I have several memorable moments in the winter Olympics. I didn’t even know Dorcas was competing until I saw her on TV during the Calgary Olympics. When I saw her name I new it had to be her, she has such a unique name. She is a genuinely nice person and I was so excited for her. I also remember the 1980 “Miracle On Ice” USA Hockey team. The most poignant moments were Dan Jansen and his struggle and eventual triumph on the ice.

3) Bobsled. I think it is the most exciting of the events that I’m willing to try. It looks a bit safer than the luge and the skeleton (those guys are truly insane). I love to go sledding and I have some very fond memories of some of the foolish things I did on the sledding hills of my childhood. The best are when I went down our sledding hill which was amazing; it was steep with a short leveling off for about four feet and another three foot drop-off. This made for a great spot to make jumps. One time when it was just a sheet of ice I went down on an old inner tube type sled. I was a least a little bit sensible and only went halfway up the hill. I hopped on and went careening down the hill and was launched a good 10 to 15 feet by the natural jump. The tube popped when I landed and my bottom was sore for several hours afterwards. It was great!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Artist of the Week: Giant

This week's artist is little Miss. Rebecca. Here she is proudly showing off her creation with her brother Max:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

It is a picture of a Giant.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Grrrrrr, behold the mighty giant!

I mistakenly called it cute and I was quickly corrected by Rebecca that "It's not cute It's BIG!

She loved watching me scan the picture, which is here, but was very distressed that I originally scanned it upside down. All was right when I flipped the image around, except that it needed to be BIG.

Rebecca has some very firm opinions and has no qualms about sharing them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Laurence Simon posted this fun link for today.

I made this one for my sweetie:

Have fun!

One Year Old

This site is one year old today!

I must say it has been an interesting experience and I hope to keep it up for many more to come. Oh and I hope y’all had as much fun as me.

So here is some virtual anniversary cheesecake:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

PS: Happy Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 13, 2006

There is This Movie We've Been Trying to See

And the short answer is yes, we finally got to see The Goblet of Fire, in IMAX no less. But then you miss out on all the fun if you don’t read any further.

As y’all know my husband and I have been having some difficulties in seeing the aforementioned movie, namely it kept getting sold out.

But this time would be different; I ordered the tickets four days ahead of time. All we had to do was show up.

Then a monstrous storm decided that we would be getting winter after all, with snowfall totals ranging from 2 to 5 starting sometime Saturday and tapering off on Sunday morning.


The Richmond area does not handle snow well at all. For example our road does not get plowed until a day and a half after a snow event ends. Panic is usually the reaction and everything shuts down with just an inch of snowfall.

So even though I had solved the ticketing problem I now had two new hurdles: will the theater be open and will I be able to get there? I called the Science Museum and they claimed that it “was very doubtful” that they would be closed and Meryl generously offered the use of her Jeep.

So far so good.

Sunday dawned clear and bright with a soft wet blanket of snow on the ground. The day was warm, holding steady at about 40. As a result the roads were soon clear. Meryl came over to watch the kids and we were free to go. (Jake and Nate had already seen the Movie with their grandparents and we did not want to take Max and Rebecca.)

Whoo-Hoo! The movie was going to happen!

We headed up early with our ticket confirmation in hand.

Signs announcing that the movie was sold out greeted us as we went inside. I handed over my printout and in short order we had our tickets. We then winded our way downstairs to get in the huge line for the theater. At little bit before two we finally got inside the theater.

It was packed. In the end we had to settle for two seats in the third row, but we were in! Larry was to my left and two my right there were two boys, brothers are my guess. The rest of their family was in the row behind us.

And then we waited.

And waited.

The lights went down, the lights went back up. Several times

Both Larry and I had the same thought. The movie/projector is broken. We were not going to see the movie. Larry knew this was prime blog fodder.

All throughout the father behind us kept up a running monologue of every stray thought that popped into his head.

Oh no, we were trapped near a talker. Please stop, I don’t want to hear any more.

And then it happened. I heard what sounded like a loud sneeze and turned to look at the boys next to me. The father just commented “nice sneeze” when I noticed that it had been a bit more than a big sneeze. In fact, it was a lot more. The poor kid was huddled in his seat, staring down at his hands. He was not well and he had nailed himself and the seat in front of him. I told the father it was more than just a sneeze.

The father apologized to the poor people ahead of his son. The mother collected the kid and whisked him away. Meanwhile the gentleman in front (who was an incredibly good sport) took off his sweatshirt, mopped up his seat and calmly accepted the apology. I was stunned. I would not have blamed the kid, but I would not have handled it with as half as much grace. After a few minutes Larry and I edged over a seat to distance us from the mess. And then the lights went down for real and the film started.

It was wonderful.

I got completely lost in the magic of the film. It would have been even better if we had been a few rows up, but it was still good. And, as I had suspected and as Meryl had warned us, it would have scared the crap out of Max and Rebecca.

So in the end the third time really was the charm.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Hey! What's All This White Stuff?

Winter finally arrived last night with a very squishy thud. It rained all day yesterday (Saturday) with a small attempt to convert to snow at around 6:00 pm. It wasn’t until 9:00 pm that the snow started to come down in earnest.

This morning I sent the kids out into this:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

We got about 2 to 2 ½ inches of very wet snow. Jake and Nate rushed outside at about 8:30 am. Nate paused long enough to eat half a banana bread muffin and Jake went outside without any breakfast (his choice). Max and Rebecca elected to have a leisurely breakfast and did not join their brothers until after 9:30.

They all had a marvelous time outside. Jake and Nate tried to sled our embankment, but it was not really happening so they moved down towards the creek. The creek (and I used that term loosely) is essentially a picturesque drainage ditch along the edge of our property.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Max and Rebecca tagged along with their older brothers. At that point I leaned outside and told them to stay away from the water. There was much moaning and groaning, but they did. Sort of.

After 45 minutes or so Rebecca came back inside while the boys remained outside in the snow. Half an hour later the doorbell rang. I went to answer it and found a thoroughly drenched Jake standing outside. He told me with a very big smile that he had kept Max and Rebecca away from the water, but that he hadn’t done such a good job with himself. He had reached too far and had fallen in. He floundered for a bit and his two brothers helped him up to the house. The amazing part was that they remembered to bring the sled back and Jake’s boots.

Jake’s snow pants were soaked through to his pants underneath. His jacket was a little better, but not by much. One boot was entirely filled with water and weighed a ton; they ended up bringing that home on the sled. After a quick change of clothes for Jake they all settled down for lunch.

The rest of the day was uneventful (except for a visit from Aunt Meryl which I’ll write about tomorrow) and by the sundown most of the snow was gone.

So that is pretty much it for our biggest weather event of the season.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Well Would You Look at This

This just in from the weather channel:






That’s what I get for washing all the snow pants and buying movie tickets. If I don’t get to see Harry this weekend Meryl will never stop mocking me.

Orange Muffins

A couple of weekends ago I tried a new muffin recipe. I got a request for orange muffins and I thought it sounded like a good idea. After a bit of googling I found this one at allrecipes.com.

The first time I made them I think they came out well. I am not entirely sure, because at the time I had a nasty cold that made everything taste like spackle. I could only taste the oddest flavors (We had some cherry beer and it tasted like Robitussin, blech!). Also I was out of oranges and substituted clementines. The walnuts remained optional and were not used. Larry and Jake seemed to like them so I decided I should give them another shot.

Last weekend, when Grandma and Grandpa were visiting, I made them again. This time I had actual oranges and I could taste food again.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

They made the kitchen smell wonderful and they were very tasty. My in-laws enjoyed them and I did too. The only thing I might change is to use a little less salt. The muffins had a nice texture, not at all dry and crumbly. The cinnamon topping went well with the orange flavored interior. The muffins are very reminiscent of my orange cake. They made a nice Sunday morning treat.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thursday Three: Can We build It?

Yes we can! This week’s Thursday Three from Terry is all about public spaces. To whit:

Yes, once more that music means it’s time for America’s Most Popular Internet Game, the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three, which is almost like the more aged Friday Five, excepting that it is on a Thursday, and we only have three questions.

LIKE THE ONES WE HAVE TODAY, furnished to us by famed back deck carpenter Jimbo Smith, PhD (Posthole Digger), who decided we should concentrate this week upon the king of the fine arts, the noble craft of architecture, specifically as applied to those structures built by taxpayers.

Each of you put on your hardhat and think about the following questions:
1. In your own hometown, what is the best public building?
2. Again, thinking of where you live, what is the worst public building?
3. And finally, either in your own hometown or just in general, what do you consider the best modern public building? (For the sake of argument, let’s let “modern” mean anything done since 1962, and not necessarily tied to the Modern style. Purely arbitrary, I know.)

Now then, think hard and either leave your answers in the comments below, or leave a link to your answers on your blog. Remember, anyone can play along, even if you don’t pay taxes.

Of course this means I get to include pictures! Whoo-hoo!

For the purposes of this week’s questions I will define my hometown as being the place I live in now.

1) Originally I was going to cheat and use Richmond’s Old City Hall, But then I remembered this little gem of a building:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

There is a plaque out front which has the following history of the building.
“This area, known as “Cold Water Run,” is the site of the first ________ County courthouse, erected in 1750. In 1917 it was demolished and replaced with a larger Georgian Revival brick building that served the county until the 1960s. The most famous trial here was that of seven Baptist preachers for breach of ecclesiastical law in 1773. In 1780-81, Governer Thomas Jefferson designated the courthouse village as a training post and encampment of all reinforcements for the Continental armies from the southern states.”
And here is one more view from the side.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

2) Ironically the worst public building is a stone’s throw away from the prettiest. Here it is in all its modern glory.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

The brick and stone structure to the left is a replication of the old county jail.

To add further insult it also has this addition with a trailer out front.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

I will, however, note that all of the people inside are unfailingly polite and helpful.

3) My favorite modern public building is Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin. This structure was a very long time in coming, if you click here you will get its timeline. Technically it does qualify, but only because it took 60 years before it was actually built. I have been inside and I found it to be a very bright and airy structure. My only complaint is that the rugs have a horrible eye-twisting pattern.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Artist of the Week: Creatures

This week’s artist is Max.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

The artist this past summer.

His drawing is composed of two creatures.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

The small blue figure is, according to Max, very cute and it has a shell. He is running away and is going to hide in his shell. It has teeth and is smiling. The spots on the shell have something that comes out and hurts the bigger creature. I think Max went onto say that it takes off mean arms. I’m not sure because he was bouncing about as he told me.

The larger, green creature is trying to eat the other one, but it has only two baby teeth. It is mad and mean. When he finds the small one hiding in his shell he will think it is a ball. Max went on to say that he forgot to make the arms. Then Max took the picture back and added “mean arms.”

It is fun now that the Max and Rebecca can draw pictures and have a story associated with them.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Chasing Harry

Last weekend Larry and tried to see Goblet of Fire. His mom called earlier in the week and wanted to know if she and her husband could pop down for the weekend. She had found an absurdly low airfare and they had nothing going on. We happily agreed. We always enjoy Grandma and Grandpa’s visits and they could watch the kids while we go to the movies. Originally Meryl was going to watch them, but she has been a bit under the weather and it would probably be best for her to stay home and recover a bit longer.

The plan was that they would be arriving around 2:30 pm on Saturday and leave Monday morning. It would be one of their classic quick visits. If I could, I would drop off the dogs at the kennel in the morning, Grandpa has asthma and dogs are one of his triggers. He is OK when they are not around and the dogs are not allowed upstairs (so it is relatively allergen free), but it is a bit much when the dogs are underfoot. Then that evening Larry and I would go see the 7:00 pm showing of The Goblet of Fire at the IMAX Theater in Richmond. Sunday would be spent shuttling the boys to Sunday school and Nate to his soccer game with the evening spent watching football.

It was a grand and glorious plan.

Prudently (at least I thought so) I decided to hold off buying tickets for the movie until my in-laws arrived. Bad weather, missed fights and illness could foul up our plans. At a little before four I logged onto the Science Museum’s website to buy the tickets. It would not work. I tried all sorts of tricks and the web site kept blowing me off with a generic error message. After about 15 minutes of that I then called the box office directly. It was open until 5:00 pm, but I was continually shunted to the answering service. At about 4:55 pm I left a message and gave up.

At this point y’all know what is going on, however hope springs eternal in our hearts and we decided to press on.

We had a nice early dinner of pasta with a homemade sauce and dinner rolls. I had some bison burger in the freezer and used it to good effect in the sauce. By 6:15 Larry and I were on the road. We made the theater in good time, but the parking lot was jammed. After a bit of cruising about we found a spot. At this point we were very concerned about the movie being sold out. The full lot was not a good sign, but we got out and made our way to the theater. I decided to bring my jacket even though it was downright hot out. As we reached the doors we heard one couple mention that it was sold out. With a sigh we went inside.

It was sold out. Again.

At this point I felt like my life was a bad episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show (scroll down to the reviews). It was like one of her dinner parties which are always destined to fail. All I wanted was to see the movie on the big screen, but it just never seems to work out.

We spoke with the folks manning the desk and it turns out that the movie had sold out by 2:00 pm. That was why the web site was behaving so strangely, I was trying to buy the tickets two hours too late.

Then as a capper to our evening the skies opened up with a drenching downpour as we returned to the car. Larry sprinted ahead and I smugly put on my coat. Ha! I had justified dragging the dang thing along with me. We then cruised a bit in the car, considered going to the Krispy Kreme (the hot light was on) and then settled at a restaurant for beer & snacks before heading home. At least it wasn’t a complete wash.


Well we are going to try again. Next weekend our schedules and Meryl’s coordinate for the Sunday afternoon show. This should work. I already have bought the tickets.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The World's Ugliest Pants

I get the Lilly Pulitzer catalog. In it is an array of fashions suitable for the preppy or the preppy at heart.

I have ended up on that particular mailing list not for my very preppy roots (The Official Preppy Handbook is frighteningly close to home), but for a purchase I made in 2004. Our family was invited to a spring wedding and I decided that it would be nice to get a matching outfit with Rebecca. What I was looking for were some mother/daughter dresses, I figured that if I was ever going to do something like this now was the time.

I first went to Talbots and had no luck. Then I went over to The Pink Palm, which was conveniently located across the road. Once inside we were assaulted by all things bright pink and green. We had hit the mother lode as they had tons of options for us. Meryl had tagged along and she was in charge of Max while Rebecca and I tried on a huge assortment of dresses. After a lot of modeling on both Rebecca’s and my part we settled on these two dresses:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Sadly I do not have a picture of the two of us wearing our matching finery.

Fast forward to last week, when I received the spring 2006 catalog. I casually flipped through its pages when I found this (click at your own risk), the world’s ugliest men’s pants.

They are so bad I had to show them to Larry. He didn’t even believe that they were for men. I had to point out that the description starts “Men’s flat front pant.” I think I can safely say that he and I both think that they are the world’s most emasculating pair of pants. As an added bonus they also come in the following patterns (boxed in red):

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

The rest of the catalog has its usual assortment of pink and green fashions, but nothing on the same level as the pants.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Somebody Loves Me

Look at what I got in the mail yesterday:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

My Mother sent me these very yummy chocolates. The cube in the back is filled with a variety of little squares of chocolate. In the long box in front is a nice sample of some of Lake Champlain Chocolates’ truffles.

She warned me ahead of time, so I knew what was in the box when it arrived. The kids were very excited to see a package from their Nana and wanted to know if it was for them. I told them no, but that I *might* share some of it with them.

Once the package was opened I gave Jake and Rebecca a square each from the chunky little cube (Max and Nate were uninterested). Rebecca wanted a pink one, which was luckily milk chocolate and announced that the pink ones were for girls. They all looked curiously at the long truffle box, but I will not share those with the kids. Quite honestly the truffles would be wasted on them. However, I am willing to share them with my husband, because I’m not a complete pig.

Well, he got one, but the rest are mine, all mine.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Cheese Cake!

Last week the local store had a sale on cream cheese and sour cream. Combine this with Jake and I wanting cheesecake and you can guess the rest.

Last night I baked it and tucked into the fridge. Cheesecake is one of those desserts that really needs to be made a day ahead so that the flavors can fully develop. My version is dense and creamy with the silkiest of textures. Not at all like those fluffy creations that restaurants try to palm off as the real thing. We are talking about something with a gazillion calories per slice. There is no such thing as low cal cheesecake. This of course makes it the perfect treat for Max, who needs every calorie we can stuff inside him (heck he gets ice cream three times a day and is still rail thin).

So here it is:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

The recipe is originally from “The Frugal Gourmet”, but with modifications.
1 cup Oreo cookie crumbs
¾ cup sugar (divided)
¼ cup plus 2 tbls melted butter
1 ½ cups sour cream
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 shot of Kahlua (optional)
1 pound cream cheese, broken into small pieces

In an ungreased springform pan, combine the Oreo cookie crumbs, ¼ cup sugar and ¼ cup melted butter. Once the mixture is blended press it down to line the bottom of the pan. In a food blender put the sour cream, the remaining ½ cup sugar, eggs, vanilla and Kahlua. Blend for one minute. Add the cream cheese and blend until the mixture is all lovely and smooth. Then, while the blender is still going, pour the remaining 2 tbls melted butter through the top. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan. Bake the cheese cake at 325 in the lower third of the oven for 45 minutes. Once the cake is baked, finish it off by broiling it until pretty little brown spots appear on the surface of the cheesecake. It must be refrigerated for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight. When serving, allow it to reach room temp before eating.

The original recipe called for graham cracker crumbs for the crust and had no Kahlua.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

It is another warm day here in Virginia (64 when I last checked) and Rebecca is looking forward to tonight’s treat.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Thursday Three: It's Something Seasonal

In honor of Groundhog day we get the following missive from our favorite possum, Terry:
Being that there is so much talk today regarding the seasons (and, of course, marmots), it would probably be a good time to ask some questions along the same line. LUCKILY FOR ALL OF YOU, the kind and generous Sarah Getzler of Life at Full Volume fame sent along some pertinent questions last week (when it seemed there might not be a T3 due to my lack of basic cognitive function).

SO, to get right into it, Miss Sarah wants to know:

1. What is your favorite season, and why?
2. What is your least favorite season, and why?
3. Daylight savings--pro or con?

All of you get our your pens and paper and get to work--either leave your answers in the comments below, or a link to your blog with your answers. ANYone is free to play along, even those weird people who live way down below the equator where the seasons are all backwards and sideways.

So I guess I should post my positions on those *cough* fine questions provided by yours truly.

1)I guess my favorite season would be winter. I love all the other seasons. Summer is fun with its lazy days and beach fun, spring has all its pretty flowers and the smell of growing things and fall has its brisk mornings with the bright colors of autumn foliage, but there is something about the crisp air of winter I really like. I love wearing winter clothes and bundling up to go outside. There is nothing better than a nice mug of hot cocoa after playing outside in the snow. I love looking outside and seeing the tree branches rimed with ice and a new blanket of snow on the ground. So you can imagine what a disappointment that this year’s winter that is not is to me. I really am a Northern girl at heart.

2)My least favorite season is a bit of a toss up between spring and summer. Spring is lovely with its soft breezes and gentle warm air, but those springtime breezes come loaded with pollen and when the pollen arrives so do my allergies. I remember one year looking out across the yard one spring morning in absolute horror as a large yellow cloud of pollen drifted across my lawn. In summer the pollen levels drop, but the temperature goes up. I do not tolerate heat at all. I get flushed and overheated if I spend too much time out in the sun. One of my biggest requirements when we moved to Virginia was that our house must have central air. Summer’s saving grace is the beach. I enjoy going to the beach year round, but the summer time is the best. I guess I like spring the least, because I hate pollen.

3)Daylight savings is evil. I detest the twice yearly disruption of my schedule. I think the whole stupid thing should be abolished.

So send me some snow and stop messing around with the clocks.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Artist of the Week: Jingle What?

Like most kids my crew knows the traditional lyrics to “Jingle Bells” and a few variations. In fact, I taught them the one I remember from my childhood:

Jingle Bells,
Batman smells,
Robin laid an egg.
The Batmobile lost a wheel
And the Joker got away-hey!

Jake and Nate have their own version that starts with Batman smells and then it becomes indecipherable. Rebecca, of course, has her own version too. She happily sits and sways as she belts out:

Batman smells
Batman smells
Batman smells
Ad infinitum

Good thing she is very cute, because her song writing skills are a bit weak. So here is my little songbird Rebecca, this week’s artist.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

She is not actually singing in this picture, but she is a boppin’ and a rockin’ in her new dress.