Thursday, September 30, 2010

OK Go - White Knuckles

The latest OK Go video and, as always, it's a keeper.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Artist of the Week: Summer Project Update

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist Nate in an update from a post way back in August. This picture of him is also from back then. Well actually it was a couple of weeks later, but it was still August. I had taken this photo at the county fair when I took Nate and his best friend. One of the rides, or rather attraction, involved a big slide at the end. I watch the two of them wade through the ball pit and cross back and forth on the walkways that led up to the slide. Both of the boys had huge smiles on their faces as they zipped down.

As for the project, Nate did indeed finish it just in time. He did cut it very close in the end, but he was able to write a decent paper and create a bibliography. He handed the completed project on time and he was fairly pleased with the end product. The hardest part was finding brads or a suitable folder with the brads built in. The project was due during the second week of school and there were no brads to be found on the shelves after the big push to get back-to-school supplies. So in the end we settled on a folder.

Nate's cover
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Part of the requirement for the project was an illustrated cover for the report and Nate did a lovely job. He created the text using our computer, printed it our, decorated all around the edges with a leaf and vine motif. Then scattered around the words Nate drew pictures of various Blackfoot artifacts.

I thought the whole project turned out very well as did the teacher who granted Nate a 100%.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rain, Rain Come Again

Well we got some rain, just not a whole lot. According to the bucket on my deck we got maybe an inch of rain. The good news was that it was just enough to bring back my basil. I have been letting it go so it will self seed for next year. It was looking fairly dried out on Sunday, but now it looks halfway decent. So I'll get a few more weeks of fresh home grown basil.

We should be getting even more rain over the next few days. Hopefully the county will be able to soon lift the rather draconian water restrictions that went into effect this week.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Plan

Everybody has a plan, but are they brave enough to carry through?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Break In The Weather

After weeks of hot, dry weather we are finally getting some rain. Not a whole lot tonight, but the next few days should be very wet.

Which makes it fairly ironic that Tuesday will be the start of emergency water restrictions, no more watering the lawn or washing the car.

I snuck in one more watering before the ban to open up the soil before the rain. I had stopped watering about a month ago. We have mostly Bermuda grass and it was coping well until last week had the extreme temps.

Hopefully we'll get the forecasted rain. It won't end the drought, but it should alleviate the dry conditions.

Friday, September 24, 2010

No Smoking

Somehow I think a sign like this would never fly where I live in the heart of tobacco country.

The funny part is I've been to Zion Illinois and it is far more built up now than it was way back in 1915.

It's amazing what you can find on the internet, courtesy of Black and WTF.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life of a Suburban Mom

Having four kids in three schools and three different grade levels is turning out to be quite a challenge. Between the disparate schedules, homework, and activities I'm one busy band/soccer/baseball mom.

I knew things would not be easy, Jake leaves for school before 7 am with Nate following a half hour later and Max and Rebecca at 8:45. Then it gets tricky on Jake's non band days I have to collect him at 1:45 (the bus is a nightmare, he's out of district so he has to take two buses each way at, get this, 5:45 am and back home around 3:30 or so). Then Nate appears at 3:30 and the dynamic duo at around 4. Add in a morning walk, this leaves 9:30 to 1:30 to get things done. Four piddling child free hours.

And once they are home there is homework to do (or whine about), music to play and sports to practice. Admittedly the sports are self inflicted, but my kids need the physical outlet and it gets them outside and moving.

Then there is band.

I had absolutely no idea what we were getting into. Mind you I think it is completely worth it, the kids are great and I think it is a great activity for Jake. But oy! It is not an activity for the faint of heart. With three day a week after school practices, football games and competitions I don't foresee much in the way of spare time.

So yeah, I'm just a wee bit busy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Artist of the Week: Marching

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Jake and his high school marching band.

When Jake decided to keep on with his trumpet and join the marching band, little did I know what we were getting into. It turns out his high school's marching band is very hardcore. They have amassed a staggering amount of awards and honors over the past years. There is practice after school three times a week and the director does not brook any nonsense.

This past weekend was their first "competition" of the season. I put competition in quotation marks because it was actually a critique and not a head to head competition. Either way the band has to perform to the best of their ability. The beauty of the critique is that the band gets evaluated and after their performance the judge gives a fairly detailed analysis of their performance with suggestions on how to improve.

Which is a very nice thing at the start of marching season.

Jake's band did very well and the suggestions were more tweaks than overhauls. They should be very competitive this season.

Below is my rather shaky video of the performance.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Little Sofia is growing up. This picture is from the latest batch.

She is as cute as a button and I so wish we lived closer to her. Ah well, we'll just have to wait until we can see her in person. Until then I'll just have to settle for pictures.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Brutal, uplifting, shocking, surprising, and some many, many other words. Watch it to the very end, it's worth the time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ahoy Maties!

pirate Nate
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
It be Talk Like a Pirate Day and this be one of the many swabbies that are aboard ship.

Pancakes here hope ye have a good day or at least avoid walking the plank or being clapped in irons and thrown below decks.

Remember, it be fine to befriend a bilge rat, but ye don't want to be one.

So argh! And swab the deck!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yom Kippur

Tsom Kal, I wish you an easy fast.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Box of Fun

box of penguins
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I've been trying, rather unsuccessfully, to get kids a bit more organized in their bedrooms. It would be nice if their rooms looked a bit less post apocalypse. I'm not asking for a completely sterile environment, just one where you can see the floor.

I think they basically like the concept, it's just lacking in execution. Max, however, did wholeheartedly embrace the idea of everything in it's place. He loves putting things into boxes and pictured here is his penguin box.

Last year for valentine's day his mailbox was wrapped with various wrapping papers we had around the house. The box it self was covered with a metallic undersea themed paper that was not terribly appropriate for the date, but was very colorful. For the lid Max selected some penguin themed holiday wrap that had a red, ( fortunately considering this was for Valentine's day) back ground. This has since become his penguin box. It doesn't quite hold all of them, the largest one would fill the box. However, it does hold the bulk of his collection and it's a start.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Artist of the Week: Doing the Flamingo

This week's artist is an unnamed (at least as far as I know) dancer at the Metro Richmond Zoo.

We noticed him (or her) while we were still inside the aviary. I can safely say that all three of us (Jake, Rebecca and myself) were all greatly amused by his antics. Rebecca declared he was dancing and I quickly agreed that it really looked like some sort of dance. So when we passed by the flamingo enclosure we waited to see if he would do it again.

And as you can see in the film above, he did not disappoint.

I know the flamingo is not really dancing, just churning the mud to release any insects hiding within the mud to feed upon. But, the bird did his mud stomping with such panache that it really seemed like a little dance.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Full Speed Ahead

Today was one of those crazy "you have four kids that do sports and music" kind of days.

Between waiting for piano to end, dropping off kids for practice, rounding up boy from marching band (took two tries and I'm eternally thankful for the fact he goes to the high school 8 minutes away as opposed to one 45 minutes away) I had to feed said children, sternly remind them to do homework while I was out (I disabled the TV to prevent "accidental" viewings) and go to a Marching Band Boosters meeting.

My life is full of the crazy.

The amazing thing was that we all got to where we needed to be when we needed to be there. Well except for picking up Jake the second time, but then again he was off schedule and I had to shoe horn him in after sports drop off.

Thus is the life of a marching band, soccer, and baseball mom. Now with drums, piano, trumpet, and starting this weekend-guitar.

Monday, September 13, 2010

CARAVAN PALACE - "Jolie Coquine"

My latest addiction- Caravan Palace from France. Their music is categorized as, get this, Electro Swing.

It's got a good beat and you can dance to it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

William Christopher Sugra

Bill Sugra
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
William Christopher Sugra had turned 30 just 36 days before his untimely death on September 11th, 2001.

He was working on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center as a network administrator for Cantor Fitzgerald's eSpeed division. He had spoken with his family just the day before to tell them he had survived a round of layoffs and that he still had his job at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Then he was gone.

He left behind his mother El, his father Bill, his sister Tracy and his girlfriend Suzanne.

From what I have gather he was a kind and loving man that also liked to have a good time. He was hardworking and lived life to the fullest. Friends and family could always count on him.

He was originally from Pennsylvania and graduated from Allentown Central Catholic High School. He then went on to Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He joined Theta Chi Fraternity, which has since Bill's death established a merit based memorial scholarship fund in Bill's honor.

He graduated in 1993 with a bachelor in finance and moved back to Allentown. He worked for Productivity Point, Inc. (PPI) until 1999. Bill then had an opportunity to work for Cantor Fitzgerald and he moved to New York City. Bill lived in South Seaport and loved taking advantage of all that New York had to offer.

A memorial fund has been established in Bill's name and its mission from the website is as follows:
Our Mission

The purpose of this fund is to encourage, support and assist the needy and disadvantaged to improve their lives during times of difficulty, regardless of location, race, religion, or gender.
The fund has flourished over the past eight years and has done a great deal of good to the community.

Note: for more tributes head on over to Project 2,996. I also did this in 2006 and profiled Robert Garvin McCarthy and again 2009 when I profiled Martin Boryczewski

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Protect your chicken

I can't stand Norton, but this ad makes me laugh every time. And for those interested in the alternate ending check this out.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Sweet New Year

swedish sugar cake
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu .

Tonight marks the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. We celebrated by going to services and I brought my tried and true Swedish Sugar Cake with Lingon berries (now with pictures!).

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Back to School

new shoes
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
A new school year always means new shoes. And here they all are, neatly lined up after the first day of school.

Rebecca, upon observing Max's stark white shoes, announced that his new shoes make his feet look big. Max cheerful rejoined, that's because I have big blocky feet. Oh, well I have petite flower feet was my darling daughters reply (and yes, she got two pairs because she's a girl).

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Ever see a turtle stretch?

I have and here's a picture to prove it.

We saw this little guy on Saturday at the zoo, we had glorious weather, low 80's and sunny. Jake has been wanting to go to the zoo all summer. It wasn't until this weekend that it wasn't hotter than all get out, that we were not too busy and the zoo was open (it's closed on Sundays). As the the critters, as usual for us it was a toss up between the official exhibits and the incidental creatures for which ones we liked the most.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Bumper Cars

bumper cars
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
One more shot from Nate and his friend's visit to the county fair.

It's not as sharp as I would like, but I love the quality of light in the picture. In real life it looked nothing like that.

The shafts of light are from two bright lights above the rules. I was very pleased how the picture came out. It is never a waste of time to just give it a shot. Sometimes you might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Tricked Out Chicken

tricked out chicken
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Of the many fine and wondrous things you can see at the County Fair is the chicken tent. Every year we go and see all the different varieties of chickens that are being raised in the area.

Most are fairly normal looking, a few have bizarre dandelion poufs of white feathers on their heads, and then there was the "tricked out chicken."

He is a handsome little rooster with a classic cock's comb and tail feathers. What made him all tricked out to my kids was the extravagant cascade of feathers on his feet. They begged me to take his picture and so I did.

It's not the greatest picture from my cell phone, but it came out fairly well considering the twin challenges of a moving target and low light levels.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Artist of the Week: More Sea Turtles

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Max. This is a rare picture of him not mugging for the camera. I think he is one of the hardest of my four children to photograph. He is even harder than Jake, who doesn't even want to be photographed. After the initial silly picture of him brandishing his balloon sword, I got this shot of him calming contemplating his upcoming barrel train ride.

The barrel train is a County Fair staple. For years the kids have looked forward to riding it. Sadly, however, Jake and Nate have gotten to be too big and too old to ride on it any more. I think the dynamic duo will be riding it for a few more years. Until they get too old I'll be taking pictures of them on the train.

AS for the pictures, it was a good thing I took them this year. About halfway through the ride Max's balloon sword popped. He had the most tragic expression when the train came back in view. He wasn't completely mollified when I told I had taken pictures, but the knowledge did lessen the sting a bit.

Sea turtles and fish
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As for this week's picture it is one of Max's tiny detailed drawings. It is just 4 inches by 8 inches. It get a better look I recommend that you click on the picture. When Max was drawing it he started with the sea turtle slightly rearing out of the water as it swims. He then added the smaller baby sea turtle swimming just in front. There are also fish leaping from the water, a couple of sharks (the triangle fins in the water), and a boat.

Max was inspired by a picture I found for him of a sea turtle paddling in the water in that half raised position. The rest all came from his own imagination. What I like about this picture is that even though it is very tiny with teeny tiny figures it beautifully conveys the vastness of the ocean. Not a bad trick.