Friday, December 23, 2011

MCP Project 52: Festive Cheer

Festive Cheer by Teckelcar
Festive Cheer, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
A little festive cheer from my synagogue's Chanukah party.

There were balloons, latkes, and children all over the place. We all had a very good time and I think Rebecca's smiling face nicely shows this week's theme of "Festive Cheer."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Very Calvin & Hobbes Christmas

A wonderful tribute to my favorite strip. Let's hear it for snow goons!

Friday, December 16, 2011

MCP Project 52: Festive Colors

Festive Colors by Teckelcar
Festive Colors, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Festive Colors was this weeks theme and I decided to go all "festival of lights" versus the overwhelming Christmas tone that I figured the majority of submissions would be.

My biggest issue was getting enough light, I wanted to shoot outside and not have to light the candles. I hit the jackpot yesterday morning and got a beautiful, bright sunny morning. I set up outside on the deck using a sheet, a table runner, a menorah, and Chanukah candles.

I was very happy how I could get the shadow along with the bright gleam of light along the arms of the menorah. It's not a terribly complicated composition, but that's what I like. Give me a clean and uncluttered image and I'm a happy camper. I think the light flare nicely balances out the colorful candles without overwhelming.. The emphasis is on the menorah with the candles adding a punch of color. I'm also very pleased that the candles not in the menorah seem almost dull in comparison.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Old City Hall

Old City Hall by Teckelcar
Old City Hall, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
While trying to come up with a post I was combing through my picture files when this one of Richmond's Old City Hall popped up.

I snapped it from the observation deck of the new, or rather current city hall. It's a different perspective and lets you see the building's Gothic glory. I like how it looks like a something straight out of Hogwarts.

All it needs is a few owls wheeling in and out of the building yo complete the picture..

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Artist of the Week: Winter Concert

Tuxedo Jake by Teckelcar
Tuxedo Jake, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Jacob along with the high school band and I must state he looks incredibly handsome in his tuxedo. The shaggy hair adds to the whole musician esthetic, he definitely looks like his brother Nate in this particular photo.

Last week was the winter concert and as always, holiday themed music was on the program. In the following video the first and last songs performed by the band are showcased.

The first one is "Jingle Bells Fantasy" by James D. Ployhur, the same fellow that wrote "Pomp and Circumstance." I think the band did a great job playing this song, I just wish my filming skills were a bit better to do the performance justice.

The next song in the clip below is "Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Anderson. In addition to Jacobs band, the school's symphony  orchestra are preforming as well. There wasn't close to enough room onstage so the strings had to play off the stage and down in the orchestra pit. The combined pseudo symphony orchestra did a bang up job. This was the first time the Orchestra and band had ever been combined and I think they did a bang up job.

So sit back and listen to a little holiday music.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


cookies! by Teckelcar
cookies!, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week has been cookie-palooza and related post, my annual chocolate chip cookie baking marathon when I endeavor to give all of my children's teachers a gift bag of cookies. Way back when I just had Jacob and Nate in elementary school the teachers got tins, but when the elder boys started hitting middle school and beyond I switched to bags. When it's one teacher per child, no big deal. At 8 per kid, we are talking a serious expense in gift tins.

So bags it is.

Each bag contains a dozen and a half of my prize winning chocolate chip cookies (this years variant had regular chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and caramel balls) and our holiday card. I figure it's a pretty good bribe to keep the teachers happy with my children for another year. So far everybody has been very happy, if fact I got another rave review from Max and Rebecca's bus driver (the bus drivers get cookies as well). 

This year it was 30 bags and seven batches of cookie dough (three double batches and one single). This covered all 18 teachers, two bus drivers and three music teachers. All I have left to do are our mail carrier (which is done and ready to go), the kennel where our dogs go to when we travel, and one more person. One more batch of cookie dough should take care of it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Gift

Stunning visuals with the added bonus of the Moscow metro, the stations really do look like that. It was one of the biggest surprises when I visited back in 1986.
The Gift from BLR_VFX on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Season's End

Season's end by Teckelcar
Season's end, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I took this picture while I was rattling around my subdivision looking for inspiration for MCP Project 52. I was attracted to how forlorn the whole pool area looks now that it has been closed up for the season. I jammed my lens through the chain link fence surrounding the pool and hoped for the best. I like to get in close, but it wasn't an option this time around.

When I got home and downloaded my pictures I was very pleased with this particular shot. I love how the reflections of the trees continue the strong vertical lines and the shadows create a soft counterpoint. I think the picture nicely captures the end of season emptiness of the pool.

Friday, December 09, 2011

MCP Project 52: Traditions

The picture 2011 by Teckelcar
The picture 2011, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's theme was all about traditions and fittingly enough it was time for own annual photo of the kids and dogs.

My children are never particularly thrilled with this annual , but they are good sports about it. This year they got to choose the location, which probably helped their mood. They have also learned that the more cooperative they are the sooner we are done.

For me , however, it's a fun tradition. I get an annual picture of them all together and I can see how they have grown over the years. The picture then gets incorporated into our holiday card and the photo calendar I make each year. As I go back over years through our holiday cards it's quite a trip down memory lane.

It's not the most exciting of traditions, but this is what I have to offer and it's a good one to me.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A Pound of Love

A Pound of Love by Teckelcar
A Pound of Love, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I requested no presents this year, but I husband decided he was going to get me my favorite chocolate regardless.

They are chocolate (both milk and dark) covered caramels with a bit of salt. I think they are sublime, combining salt and sweet in every bite. The first time I tried any sort of salted chocolate I was a bit wary. I love the combination of buttered popcorn and Milk Duds, but...

Salt? On chocolate?

I was an immediate convert. I settled on the salted chocolate caramels as my go to treat. Smooth caramel enrobed in quality chocolate with just a sprinkle of salt. Heaven.

Thank you Larry for the pound of love.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Super Mouse

super mouse by Teckelcar
super mouse, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
So... today's my birthday and I'm going to celebrate with my favorite piece of graffiti.

We call it Super Mouse and it's located in Richmond's fan district, just a block down from Sunday school. We first noticed it about a year ago and were pleased to see that it was still in place this past September. It took another two months for me to finally photograph it.

For the most part Richmond graffiti is composed of boring "tagging" and is devoid of any artistic merit. But this series of little mice is absolutely wonderful and it brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Not Moose and Squirrel

Moose by Teckelcar
Moose, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Moose and fish instead, with a little bit of artistry.

This past weekend I ended up at a student teacher art exhibition up at VCU. What I mean by student teacher, is that it was an exhibit for art created in the classrooms of the VCU students that are in the teaching program. The VCU student teachers are sent out to public schools in the metro Richmond area where they teach class along side the regular teachers to get hands on experience in the classroom. And they are not just limited to elementary school, they do the full range of elementary, middle and high school. Max and Rebecca's school was among the elementary schools that had participated and that was how I learned about the show.

Fish by Teckelcar
Fish, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
It was a bit tricky finding the building and there was the added bonus of the door being locked, but it all got sorted out. The first that that I saw were these stunning cardboard sculptures. The moose was flanked by a dinosaur (the picture was very blurry and thus not featured here) on the left and a fish on the left. All three are rather large with the rather angry looking moose about 3 feet across.

I thought all three were wonderful and would have happily taken them home. They were made by small groups (I think three kids apiece) of high school students. They are made entirely out of cardboard with glue and are beautifully crafted. This is almost an early Artist of the Week. Which works for me since tomorrow is my birthday.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Address Is Approximate

Beautiful stop motion film utilizing Google street view.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

How Horses Rule the World

Or nobody wants to change.

I'm not exactly sure how I got to the following blog and post. I think it was from a totally unrelated image search (Google the rabbit hole of teh interwebs), but find it I did.

Bureaucracy at it's Finest by Us Girls... Our Views is a simply wonderful essay about the origins of 4 feet 8 1/2 inches being the measurement of the US standard railway gauge.You really should go read it.

Friday, December 02, 2011

MCP Project 52: Twinkle Twinkle

Twinkle by Teckelcar
Twinkle, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's theme is twinkle twinkle and it looks like the majority of the submissions this week involve Christmas lights. I decided, early on, not to do lights. Instead I thought the twinkling of my ring would be a good idea. Particularly since the man who gave it to me is having a birthday tomorrow.

This my engagement ring that I have been the proud owner/steward of for the past 20 years. My husband inherited it from his maternal grandmother and it has a lovely history. His grandparents were married for over 50 years and were devoted to each other to the very end.

I'm very lucky to have such a special ring twinkling on my finger. Thank you Larry and happy birthday!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Hollywood Comes To Richmond

Lincoln tents capitol by Teckelcar
Lincoln tents capitol, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Spielberg is in town filming the movie "Lincoln"and it just so happens that a chunk of the filming is occurring near my husband's office. He brought in our camera to work today so he could take a better class of picture than he can with his cell phone. This shot came out particularly well and shows some of the tents pitched on the capitol grounds and addition built onto the capitol itself. 

It is a big deal up in Richmond with the production crew snarling traffic as they take over the city. The extras are dining in Larry's building and stretches of cobblestones around the capitol square have been covered with dirt. 

I would love to go see the filming, but then again I'm very glad I don't have to be up there.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Artist of the Week: Dragon!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Change in the Weather

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

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

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

Monday, November 28, 2011

'Brinicle' Ice Finger of Death

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

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

Hat tip to Ellen over at

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Deer Track

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

Anyhoo, I like the picture so here it is.

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

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

Friday, November 25, 2011

MCP Project 52: Water

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

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

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

Thursday, November 24, 2011


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

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

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Artist of the Week: Quiet Hero

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

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

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

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


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

I was floored.

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

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Occupy Walmart

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

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

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

Who knew my community was on the cutting edge.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tiny Food

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

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Party Wagon

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

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

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

MCP Project 52: Over the Top

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 17, 2011


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

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Artist of the Week: Bar Mitzvah

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Friday Morning

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

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

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

Monday, November 14, 2011

Veterans Day 2011

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

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

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

Sunday, November 13, 2011

MCP Project 52: Book Title

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dang, I'm pretty well chuffed!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Morning Visitor

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

Why yes it is darling.

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Artist of the Week: Penguin

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

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

Anyway, Max had a good time.

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Morning on the Pitch

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 07, 2011


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

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Little Bunny

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

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

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

Saturday, November 05, 2011

MCP Project 52: Muted Tones

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 03, 2011

New Reflections

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Artist of the Week: Lone Pumpkin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Trick or Treat !

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Vincent - Tim.Burton

A little something for a dreary and wet Halloween.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Old On The New

Old on the new by Teckelcar
Old on the new, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Here is another picture from my architecture photography foray in Richmond.

It was just happenstance that I noticed the Old City Hall being reflected in the modern structure across the street. I had stepped out of the New City Hall on a cross street and was confronted by this building. As I strolled around the corner I realized what a neat image I had found, the old reflected on the new.

I had a lot of fun with my time being a photographer in Richmond. I looked at things (and for them) in a very different way.

Friday, October 28, 2011

MCP Project 52: Shadows

morning stripes by Teckelcar
morning stripes, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's theme, shadows, was another one I got done right off the bat. I love the interplay of light and shadows and I naturally notice it and am attracted to such. So all I had to do was to keep my eyes open and my camera handy.

I was initially attracted to the mosaic of color and shadow in the picture of leaves from Tuesday's post, but it didn't fully fit the theme of shadows. Shortly after I took that picture I headed back indoors and up to my room.

As I walked into my bedroom I saw my picture.

The angle of the sun was just right and the light spilled through the opened blinds. Stripes of shadows covered the table lamp and adjoining wall. It was a perfect representation of shadows. Even better was the fact I literally had my camera in hand.

Snap, snap, snap and this week's assignment was done. All before breakfast on a Monday morning. And a good thing too, since today was a grey, wet, and altogether dreary day devoid of any clear shadows.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New City Hall, Reflective

New City Hall, Reflective by Teckelcar
New City Hall, Reflective, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
It is well known that I love Richmond's old city hall. The new one, however, is a different story.

It' was an ugly, modern structure that was plagued for years with a very serious design flaw. The decorative marble cladding on the outside had the disconcerting habit of dropping off the building. The solution for quite some time was to literally strap the panels in place.

So a big ugly building was made even more hideous with bright yellow straps.

Fortunately it was only temporary and the exterior got a major overhaul. All the marble panels were removed along with some non structural columns. Granite was used on the lower levels and aluminum on the rest.

The final result is actually quite striking and, dare I say, attractive.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Artist of the Week: Last Call

This week's artist, or rather artists are the Velvet Marias. Sadly they will be playing their last gig together this Saturday.

They have been together, oh about five years and Larry and I have been to many of their shows around Richmond. Originally we went because Larry is friends with the bassist, but we kept going because they are/were a fun band. Since then we have become friends with the female singer and the drummer. In fact two of the drummer's sons are teaching Max drums, Nate guitar, and Larry bass.

The video below is of the Velvets playing at a local BBQ joint. They are doing a splendid cover of "These Boots Are Made For Walking." An all time favorite on their set list.

I'm sad to see them go as a band, but we'll still see them individually around town. They had introduced us to Richmond's vibrant live music scene and got us to go out as a couple again.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


mosaic by Teckelcar
mosaic, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Yesterday morning when I was walking back from the bus stop I was struck by the beauty of the leaves illuminated by the morning light. I was passing beneath a dogwood tree and the light is shining through the leaves. Quickly, I went inside to grab my camera before the light shifted.

I am standing under the tree's canopy and shooting towards the sun. I love the interplay of light and shadow on the leaves' surfaces. The leaves are just starting to turn and that adds a nice bit of color to the composition. It was one of those moments when I just happened to be looking at the right place at the right time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

War Horse

I love these puppets, they completely nailed the motions of a horse. I would love to see this show.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mummy's Girl

Rebecca's cupcakes by Teckelcar
Rebecca's cupcakes, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today was our neighborhood's Fall Festival. It's a cute little get together that features fun games for the kids, a hay ride ride, and a chilli competition. This year they even had a cupcake/cookie competition.

The cupcake thing alone was enough to get Rebecca interested. So Sunday morning I whipped up a batch of cupcakes for us to decorate. I wasn't sure if it was a decorating contest or a tasting one, either way I knew Rebecca would want to do her own thing.When I was out getting supplies I picked up an assortment of Gummi Halloween shapes that I knew she would like. It was a good call, Rebecca loved them and happily used them all, including the spider which is pretty major since she can't stand arachnids.

My cupcakes by Teckelcar
My cupcakes, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
As for my cupcakes, I stuck with simple shapes and sprinkles. Not very exciting, but I was pretty happy with the end results.  The pumpkin (which is upside down in the photo) was a lot of fun to make. I utilized the ridges left from the decorating tip to simulate the lines. I had actually made an even better one, but I forgot to photograph it (I had picked that cupcake for the judging).

And hey, I don't mind not having it, because I got second place! Woot!

Not bad for an impulsive last minute entry.

Mummy girl by Teckelcar
Mummy girl, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
As for the rest of the afternoon, Rebecca and I had a good time together. Her brothers declined to accompany us ( a decision Max regretted later), so we got to have a girl's afternoon out. I watched her run around and try her hand at all the games. We did the cake walk together and Rebecca won a plate of cupcakes. Then we did the tp mummy wrapping. I wasn't the fastest wrapper, but dang it we had the best (and neatest) tp mummy. Good enough to garner to snow cones. Then we ended the whole thing with a hay ride.

It was an excellent way to spend a fall afternoon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

MCP Project 52: True Beauty

Beautiful Bounty by Teckelcar
Beautiful Bounty, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
And here's this week's MCP Project 52 submission.

Whew, I'm back on track.

This week's theme was true beauty and I thought there would be no better way to picture true beauty than the lovely organic veggies I picked up yesterday from our favorite grower Amy of Amy's Garden.

She is a small scale organic farmer that has some of the best produce around. Her stuff is fresh, flavorful, and very healthy. I get the sampler bag, so it's always an adventure. I never quite know what will be inside.

Which is good, it forces me to try new things. I certainly would have never bought Swiss chard, bok choy, and broccoli rabe on my own.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

MCP Project 52: Architecture

Old City Hall, Interior by Teckelcar
Old City Hall, Interior, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Between upcoming an upcoming Bar Mitzvah and the dynamic duo's birthday I completely forgot to post about last week's MCP Project 52. I hadn't forgotten to take the picture and add it to the group, I just never took the next step to share it here.


Anyhoo, Richmond Virginia has some of the most diverse architecture and is practically in my backyard. So it was a no brainer for me to drive into the city and spend an hour taking pictures. I got a boatload of great shots and it was hard to pick just one. In the end I selected this interior shot of the Old Richmond City Hall. It's a gorgeous stone building with Gothic architecture that would fit right in with Hogwarts.

But the interior, oh the interior! It is utterly fabulous. The first time I stepped inside my jaw dropped. This is hands down my favorite building in Richmond.

It had been a dreary wet week until Friday and I was glad that It was a sunny day. The skylight above filters the light in the most beautiful way and I was glad I could capture it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Artist of the Week: Tank

Nate by Teckelcar
Nate, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is my happy guy, Nate.

I took this picture of him for our congregation's bulletin. His Bar Mitzvah is fast approaching and our Rabbi likes to feature the up coming Bar and Bat Mitzvahs the month before hand. I have a feeling he is not entirely thrilled with Nate's long hair and is hoping he'll get shorn  before the big day.

Unless Nate wants that, it's not going to happen. I want Nate to be himself and if that means long curly locks, so be it. All I require is that it stays out of his eyes and he keeps it clean and brushed (which he does grudgingly).

tank by Teckelcar
tank, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Long hair aside, Nate has an enduring fascination of all things military. Probably not enough to inspire a buzz cut and signing up, but enough to endlessly play war games and watch war movies. An off shoot of this interest is reflected in his Lego builds.

Nate's latest creation is this rather well designed tank. The turret freely rotates around and the gun can be raised and lowered. He also made a ramp that opens up beneath the turret. We don't have any viable tank treads, so it left it at with plain wheels. The whole thing is very well thought out and executed. Well done Mr. Nate.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ask And You Shall Receive

Battle turtle cake by Teckelcar
Battle turtle cake, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
A battle turtle cake.

When  I asked Max what kind of cake he wanted he said "a battlefield in the shape of a turtle with soldiers fighting on it."

Okaaay, this was clearly a job for my cake corps and my half-of-a-ball cake pan. Max had also wanted tanks, but persuaded him to let that particular idea go.With the army men there will be enough going on the cake.

It came out rather well considering the hurry I was in to get the cake completed Friday night. The only flaw was that it turned out Max wanted an orange flavored cake (a surprise for me). Otherwise everybody was impressed with the final result.

Oh and at least one of Max's guest wanted to take one or two members of the Cake Corps home, but I nixed that idea and explained these were my army men and not party favors.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Birthday Twins

piano twins by Teckelcar
piano twins, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Yesterday Max and Rebecca hit the big one-oh. They are now in the double digits. This picture is from just before the big oh one. They still smiling today, just a whole lot bigger and more mobile.

This year the dynamic duo elected to have separate parties. Due to various scheduling conflicts Rebecca's party will be held later, but we did get Max's party in this weekend.

Max had a couple of friends over Friday night for a sleep over. Larry took them, along with Rebecca, out for a couple games of laser tag and then it was back home for cake. One friend didn't make it through the night, fortunately his home is just the next subdivision over.

Then on Saturday it was off to the soccer games and I'm happy to report both of their teams were victorious.

Happy birthday to my two smiling twins!