Thursday, December 24, 2009

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Artist of the Week: Gingerbread

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This Way Madness Lies

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

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

This set, however, is the real deal.

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 21, 2009

Seven and a Half Inches

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

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

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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal

In honor of our recent snowpocalypse.

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

Thanks Doug!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Eighth Night

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

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

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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Seventh Night

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

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

Sixth Night

sixth night
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar

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

So here it is, day six.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fifth Night

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

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

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

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fourth Night

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

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

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

And yet it appealed to me.

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

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

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

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Third Night

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

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

Friday, December 11, 2009

First Night

first night
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Happy Chanukah!

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

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

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh Dell

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Artist of the Week: Happy Birthday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 07, 2009

Birthday Song

Because dang it, it is my birthday.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Whoever thinks weekends are relaxing does not have children.

We had this weekend the following events:

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


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

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

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

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

Friday, December 04, 2009

Birthday Girl

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

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

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

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Happy Birthday to the One I Love

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

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

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

What is the world coming to?

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

Happy Birthday Larry!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Artist of the Week: Lunar Loveliness

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

moon halo
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Get Happy

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

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

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