Thursday, June 30, 2011

Disappearing Car Prank

This is easily my most favorite prank. I love the reactions from all the victims.
Courtesy of the lovely Laura from Fetch My Flying Monkeys.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mister Toad Wishes a Happy Birthday to Jake

Mister Toad by Teckelcar
Mister Toad, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today I didn't take any pictures or drive anywhere with my children.

Instead I let my newly minted 15 year old laze about the house and watch too much TV. Meanwhile, I made his favorite dinner, beef ribs with the added bonus of hand cut french fries. As for his birthday cake, it was a decadent cheesecake I had whipped up Monday night.

It wasn't terribly exciting, but it was a nice way to spend the day.

As for the toad, Jake and I agreed he needed a hat and cane. Thus for my very silly boy, who has grown and matured so much this year, I made it so.

Happy birthday Jake!

(I did try posting this Wednesday night, but Blogger went a little crazy and I decided to try again in the morning)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Butternut Racer

butternut racer by Teckelcar
butternut racer, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
When Jake was making his edible race car he started out with a butternut squash. It was heavy and carvable, a good candidate for the project.

I suggested that we cut into the bottom end of the squash and create two wheel wells. The narrower top would serve as the other end of the vehicle and have only one wheel. Hard candy sticks would act as the axles and rutabaga slices would be the wheels.

The final design was pretty cool. The vehicle had a very organic look to it. Sadly it did not roll very well. Forwards or backwards the wheels would rub and the vehicle would careen about.

Rutabaga wheels by Teckelcar
Rutabaga wheels, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Also we discovered that the candy sticks would melt after prolonged contact with the squash. There was just too much moisture in the squash and the sugar would start to dissolve, creating a sticky mes and a broken axle. So in the end Jake decided it was a dead end and moved onto his far more successful parsnip racer with cinnamon stick axles.

Monday, June 27, 2011

THE UNSPOKEN - Tropfest 2011 Finalist

A quietly powerful movie about what is unspoken between parents and children. A very well deserved finalist in this year's Tropfest.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Little Cupcake

Rebecca by Teckelcar
Rebecca, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
We had services! dog shows! fly fishing clinic! movies! and music lessons!

A lot was going on and somehow we pulled it off. We are at that sweet spot in parenting when some of the kids are old enough to be left in charge and the younger ones are not too young to be left with their siblings. So I was able to to make my 8:00 am ring times without having to schlep my entourage. Rebecca was initially interesting in tagging along, but my 7:00 am departure squashed that idea right quick.

Mind you I grumbled mightily over the injustice of having to be at the dog show at 8 for both days, but then again I would be back home before 10:00 am. Thus enabling a little movie going Saturday afternoon. I missed services (everybody else in the family went), but then again I did go Friday night and help make the minyan.

Sunday morning was another early start with Larry going off with Jake to learn a bit more about fly fishing. This left the rest of the crew at home. Nate, Max and Rebecca were still essentially asleep, but I did rouse them enough to remind them I would be back before 10 am. Sunday afternoon was a bit easier with music lessons at home for Nate (guitar), Max (drums, and Larry (bass).

As for my little cupcake pictured, she's just little bit of cuteness at the end of a busy weekend.

Friday, June 24, 2011

MCP Project 52: Crave

sun gold by Teckelcar
sun gold, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's theme was Crave, which was easy since both Rebecca and I crave sun gold tomatoes and fortuitously our first plants produced their first ripe tomatoes this week.

This week our plants have been producing ripe tomatoes like mad. Every day we have been able pluck a few from the vine, sun warmed and oh so sweet.

The sun gold is hands down our favorite variety. The three plants we have will steadily produce all summer. The bounty only coming to an end late fall with the first serious frost.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Today was spent at home. Which really, I don't mind except it wasn't totally by choice. My van is in the shop for some much needed repairs, so it was planned. But...

It does chaff a bit when you can just run out and pick up something.

Fortunately the kids are happy to be at home. They spend hours playing elaborate Lego based games and sometimes even read. To celebrate the mild weather I even ran the sprinklers in the backyard. I have no pictures, Rebecca politely requested none to be taken. So instead I watched them run and play. Chasing each other through the arcing sprays of water and down into the woods.

It was a good day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Artist of the Week: Parsnip Racer

Awards by Teckelcar
Awards, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Or alternatively: Pimp My Parsnip.

This week's artist is Jacob and what a busy final three weeks of school it has been.

During the first week of June the high school had its various awards functions. Freshmen and Sophomore awards were combined while the Juniors and Senior each had their own ceremony. We had gotten notification from the school that Jacob would be receiving some sort of award, but for what was not mentioned. We all went to the ceremony and found out that Jacob is now a member of the Junior Honor Society. He also got recognized for his participation in the robotics club.

The following week was the big band dinner and awards and Jacob was recognized for being among the most improved freshmen. His playing has really progressed this year from the combined efforts of his band teacher and trumpet teacher.
Parsnip racer by Teckelcar
Parsnip racer, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.

Which then brings us to the last week of school.

The last week is dedicated to finals for the underclassmen. Jacob, by getting perfect scores on his two SOLs (one of the more unfortunate acronyms) was exempted out of two of this finials, World History and Geometry, and band was a combination of performing for graduation and returning his tuxedo dry cleaned.

The rest were mainly written exams with one notable exception. In one class, Honors Engineering Foundamentals, he had to design and build a car that was completely edible. The car also had to travel down a ramp with a slight incline and have a Lego person passenger/driver (the lego was the only inedible part).

After a couple of false starts with a butternut squash (looked great, but didn't roll) and cucumbers, he settled on a parsnip. I helped him with the electric drill, but the rest was his doing. The large wheels were cut from rutabagas, the small wheels from turnips, and the axils were cinnamon sticks (technically edible, but I certainly wouldn't want to munch on a whole stick). Interestingly enough we discovered that we have a drill bit that is the exact diameter of spaghetti.

In the above picture we have caramels holding things in place, but in the final entry Jacob switched to some rather large gumdrops. A bit of fruit roll-up stripes were added and a flag composed of spaghetti with a goldfish cracker. The resulting creation was quite jaunty and performed quite well. I wish I had snagged a photo before he took it to school, but at six in the morning I'm not thinking about my camera. At least I took a few photos of his first parsnip.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Moss and Fungus Took a Lichen

lichen by Teckelcar
lichen, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
We have a couple of downed trees on our property from a big blow a few years back, hurricane Isabel to be precise. Most of the trees (and there were many) were cut up, but a few were left.

One in particular I requested to stay intact because our kids had fun clambering over it as it was near their play sets. Since it was off the lawn, along the edge of the woods we let it lie.

The bark is wearing off and rot is setting in. It is beautiful in its decay. I like in particular the cluster of fungus and moss on an old boll that has a smattering of lichen in between.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Thru Jerusalem

A wonderful video of the sound of Jerusalem. This isn't made from clips culled from YouTube. Instead, Kutiman wandered through Jerusalem and m and recorded the musical artists found along the way.

A very different way to tour the city.

Found by my lovely friend Alissa.

Friday, June 17, 2011

MCP Project 52: Make It Tasty

Tasty Heart by Teckelcar
Tasty Heart, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's theme was "Make It Tasty" and normally this would be an easy theme.

But that would be supposing I could actually read. For some strange reason I read it as "Make It Trashy."


Fortunately I take food pictures as a matter of course and Jake saved the day.

Jake (or rather Jacob as he prefers to be called) was noshing on some left overs from his edible car project. He was about to eat a caramel cream when he noticed the heart shape of the cream center. He showed it to me and we agreed it was worthy of a photo.

So this week's picture is a tasty heart.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Won't Know What Hit Him

Sleepy pup by Teckelcar
Sleepy pup, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Just one more day of school left, after which the dogs' peaceful days spent snoozing will be over.

No more sacking out on whatever got left on the floor after the morning rush. The house will be much livelier and far louder for the next few months.

I know Dell will be happy with the increased activity, but I think John will miss the quiet.

I know I will.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Artist of the Week: Name

Nate by Teckelcar
Nate, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week the honor goes to Nate.

I took this picture of him a few weeks ago at his request. He needed pictures of himself for a project he was doing in school. I was happy to oblige and dutifully followed him about as he did an assortment of poses with his lacrosse stick and his skateboard. I certainly was not going to complain, for once we wants me to take is picture. Lately I have had to use my photo-ninja stealth skills to get any sort of pictures of him that did not involve him deliberately shaking his head. An era to be known as the blurry mop top years.

Anyhoodle I like this picture and it pretty much shows what Nate would rather be doing now. According to him this last week of school has been sheer torture. The days drag on and on with the end of the week stretching away. The end is near, but not near enough for Nate.

Nate art by Teckelcar
Nate art, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
And of course the end of school brings with it all manner of objects that hadn't quite made it home until now or have been unearthered from the depths of his backpacks (And yes, he does have multiple backpacks. The middle school operates on an even odd day schedule. Therefore, Nate has an odd day pack and the even day pack.

This particular piece had come home a while ago, but got lost amongst Nate's papers. It had just recently resurfaced and I thought I better photograph it before it disappears again or gets accidentally destroyed.

The design is rather kaleidoscopic and has four axes, all fairly obvious. However how he created the design is a bit of a surprise. If you look closely in the corners you'll see an N and it's mirror image. As the eye travels along the axis that goes from corner to corner you'll see an A, a T and then an E. All of which are reflected below the axis. It turns out the design is made from Nate's name. I rather clever idea that worked out very well for Nate.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pulling on the lead

On the Go by Teckelcar
On the Go, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
We are all so very ready for the school year to end. Nate in particular is straining on the lead ready to let slip the bonds of school and run full force into summer vacation.

But we have three days left.

Nate's not sure if he can last much longer, even though two of those days are early dismissal. For this particular 12 year old time has ground to a halt. I, however, am fully confident that Nate will survive the rest of the week

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Confession

I have seen this quite some time ago and had since forgotten it until stumbling upon it today. It made me laugh then and it made me laugh now.

It's just a silly little movie with some very believable characters.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

If You Have a Dachshund

stump digging by Teckelcar
stump digging, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Then you're going to have holes.

A few weeks ago John would not come inside. It was pitch dark and way past my bed time. He had been outside for hours and I was getting a bit concerned. I tried my standard method to summon errant dogs, a very small handful of kibble being rattled in a steel food dish, but John never appeared.

So I pulled on my boots, grabbed a flashlight, a leash, and summoned Dell to come along with me into the woods. I wasn't sure if Dell could find John, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to have him along.

Turns out I was right about Dell.

He didn't find John, he was too happy to be bouncing around in the dark with me. However John came to us when he decided that Dell might be encroaching on his little project.

I turned out John had been industriously digging out a stump in pursuit of whatever creature had decided to make its den beneath the stump. The hole was quite impressive and it looked as though John was starting to break through the roots and into the den. I hate stopping a dog doing what it is bred to do, but I decided I had to haul him inside. If I left him outside it could get ugly when the trapped creature starts to defend itself. I was confident that John would win out, but I also knew that a trip to the vet would be likely. Particularly if it turned out to be a venemous snake. I really didn't want a $500 emergency vet bill (the after hours vet service charges roughly $200 when you walk in the door and from there it can only go up).

So my poor dog was leashed and forcibly dragged into the house.

The next day I decided to get a good look at John's handy work in the light of day. The stump was far less interesting to John. He gamely sniffed it out when I sent him in, but clearly last night's occupants had moved on.

Friday, June 10, 2011

MCP Project 52: Enchantment

Enchantment by Teckelcar
Enchantment, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's theme is Enchantment and I could have gone all girlie and princess like with Rebecca, but I have already been there.

Instead I decided to photograph Max being enchanted with a book. And it doesn't hurt that the book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," has a fair amount of enchantment inside.

He has been chugging through the whole Harry Potter series, every night he reads before dropping off to sleep. Occasionally he'll put the books aside for a day or two when the storyline gets to be too scary. But soon he''l pick them back up again. As he has told me "I want to read the books so I know what parts got left out of the movies."

I'm enchanted with the fact that my boy that wasn't at all interested in books has become a reader.

Thursday, June 09, 2011


Grrr by Teckelcar
Grrr, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Cooking vegetables for certain members of my family can be a rather thankless task. I try to be positive about the whole thing and only require that the picky eaters at the very least try just a small bite of everything on the dinner table.

But some days I feel like even the vegetable itself resents the anti- green things stance.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Artist of the week: Vase

Max by Teckelcar
Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Max. Which was essentially his idea since he pretty much asked to be artist of the week.

I got so many great pictures of him during his last soccer game, so we have one more of him in action on the pitch. This spring Max had a terrific season. His coach put a great deal of effort into learning the game and developing interesting drills. It was nice having a coach that put as much in as Larry does when he is the coach.

And the extra effort paid off on the field. After a very rough start the kids learned about playing their positions, moving the ball in a controlled fashion, and passing the ball as they move up the field. No more mob ball, instead they were playing soccer.

Max's vase by Teckelcar
Max's vase, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
As for this week's artist post, Max showed me this vase he made in art class. He wanted me to take a picture of his pitcher.He was very pleased with how it turned out and I think this was his way of asking me to share his creation.

I know they have been studying ancient Greece and the art teacher helps reenforce the lessons in the classroom with projects pertaining to the current study unit. My first thought upon seeing the vase was that it looks Etruscan. Which in turn was very similar in style with the then current Greek style of pottery.

I think it is a lovely little pinch pot that will be just right for some of the flowers Max picks for me.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Another Day, Another Banquet

Tonight was number four in our end of school and end of sports banquet-a-thon. So far we have had two soccer banquets (one each for Max and Rebecca), a robotics potluck (Jake), and the big end of the year band banquet with awards (Jake again). Sunday will be Nate's lacrosse banquet and we should be done.

Theoretically there could be one for show choir, but we haven't heard a peep from the director and I'm not sure if the show choir band would be invited. Anyway, Jake has already had two and really doesn't need a third banquet. The five total we do have are far in a way plenty for us. There are so many potlucks I'm interested in attending. I can usually find something to eat, but it is a bit challenging for some of the pickier members of our family. Mind you they have all been fun, the kids have been with some particularly nice teams/ groups. Band in particular has a very warm, family like feel to it.

So one more to go and then we are done until the next round in the fall.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Pitch by Nash Edgerton

As regular readers know I have a fondness for Tropfest. I love short movies and this particular contest/celebration of all movies short never fails to deliver interesting and quirky movies. This particular movie is a bit different, it is more of a promotion for Tropfest, but none the less it entertains the viewer.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Mother Son Bonding

Portals! by Teckelcar
Portals!, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Hooray! Flickr and Blogger are now on speaking terms!

Now I get to post pictures, again, with just a few clicks. They would have had a falling out just when I wanted to post a boatload of pictures.

Anywho, this is Max and me modeling our favorite t-shirts. I am a fan of Portal (here's a flash version if you are interested) and when this shirt showed up on Shirt Woot I had to get it for myself, Jake and Nate (who are also fans of the game). I love the little mouse and its companion cheese cube. It's cute without cutesy. Having the portal on the back just put the design over the top. When we got the shirts Max and Rebecca desperately wanted to have it as well. They don't play the game, but they love the mouse on the shirt.

Nate was a bit miffed when his younger siblings got the shirt. He does not like coordinating with his siblings in any way, shape, or form. Jake and I were tolerable, Nate could avoid matching us and still get to wear the shirt fairly often. But with Max and Rebecca on board it has become a little harder for him to be "unique." Fortunately he got over it and doesn't worry too much about the matchy thing.

Max, however, loves wearing the same shirt as me. It makes him so very happy when we are dressed the same. He has never gotten to do this before, I have only done mother-daughter dresses with Rebecca. It just never entered my head that Max would want to wear the same thing as me. So now when we both wear our Portals shirt he is so very happy.

Friday, June 03, 2011

MCP Project 52: Reflection

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Well Flickr still stubbornly refuses to admit I have a blog, but I promised pictures and by gum I'll post my pictures even if I have to go through the tedious task of cutting and pasting all of the stupid HTML code.

So as you probably can guess this week's theme was reflection. I decided to go with the straight forward interpretation and not go all introspective. It was a far sight easier and we had the beautiful weather with clear blue skies to pull it off.

Yesterday was lovely, the horrible heat and humidity had broken leaving behind cooler temperatures and cloudless skies.
I figured my best bet for reflections would be the pond in my subdivision. At the boat dock I took a fairly standard shoreline picture. It was pretty enough, but essentially boring.

which way
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I briefly considered not rotating the picture and submitting that version instead. The picture was certainly far more interesting, but there was a good chance no one would get the idea that not rotating the picture was a deliberate choice. So instead I'm sharing it here on my blog.

I like it, I think it is far more interesting to look at with its skewed perspective. Then again Meryl will tell you that I would like because I have a skewed perspective on life in general. The cloudless sky really makes the picture and I'm glad I went out yesterday. Today I would have had a sky streaked with cirrus clouds, pretty but would not have reflected very well.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Another funky picture I took was of leaves reflected on the water. The surface is marred by ripples, distorting the leaves' reflection, giving the picture a lovely dreamy quality. At the time I was trying to photograph one of the dragonflies buzzing over the lake. It would have been a neat image of the dragonfly and its refection, but the insects were far too fast and erratic. The few I were able to capture just were not quite good enough to make me happy. I think the ripple picture has a lot more going for it than any of the insect pictures. Yet I still didn't have the what I was looking for. I didn't know what I wanted, but nothing had really clicked.

Since it was such a lovely day I kept on shooting pictures. Time was not an issue and with 4 gig card I didn't have to worry about how many pictures I was taking.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I turned my focus to the dock itself. These pictures were far more interesting than the shoreline and far more successful than the dragonflies. The one I have included here I think is the best of the lot. The silvery wood reflected well and I like all the diagonals. This picture was a serious contender for the MCP Project 52.

As I sat on the boat ramp I noticed a fishing line flying out behind a small island. A boat quietly came into view (only paddles and electric motors are allowed on the pond) and pulled up to the dock. Initially I was annoyed with the boat, it's ripples spread far and wide, but then I noticed something else was behind the boat.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
A swan was gliding behind the boat. It was following along, hoping for a handout.

Well this changed everything. A hawk had flown by earlier and I was disappointed that I hadn't gotten my camera up in time. It was not at all afraid of people, which is not a good thing, but worked for me.

I like this picture I took of it gliding along with the sunlight almost making the feathers glow. It is a artifact of the distance and lighting. I mess about with this picture and considered sending in this to MCP Project 52, but the focus wasn't up to snuff and I had better ones.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar

This picture was the one I ended up submitting. When I took it I knew right then and there I had the picture I wanted.

It's crisp, clear, and the colors are just right. The water is murky, as you can see in the previous photo, but here it's reflecting the clear blue sky. I like how the bird's head is slightly turned away as it heads out on the water. The wake of the swan distort its reflection with out destroying the image.

swan profile
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As for yesterday, this was the picture I wanted to post. It is literally straight out of the camera. I was shocked at how well it came out when I downloaded it from the camera. I think I was about 4 feet from the swan and was just merrily snapping away.

It doesn't have enough reflection (in my opinion) to qualify for the photo group, but it is too good not to share.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Aw Man!

I had a lovely post all planned out with pictures and everything and then Flickr decided to have a hissy fit and not recognize Blogger.

I could force the issue and code by hand, but honestly I don't want to. At least I can take a small bit of solace in knowing I'm not the only one blocked out. Hopefully the problem will be resolved tomorrow. Even if it isn't fixed I'll make sure to get something up one way or another.

Stupid computers making me have to think and figure things out.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Artist of the Week: Science

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Rebecca.

I really like this picture I took of her last week. For once she isn't mugging for the camera with her strained smile. We had gone into the woods next to the house to photograph the rather massive stump excavation by John the previous night. I snapped a quick photo of Rebecca while she was perched on the stump.

She was actually very mad at me to dare take a picture of her without warning. Afterwards I offered not to take any more pictures of her which resulted in a rush of nos and a few poses with her canned smile. But the first one, with her flashing eyes, is the keeper.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Anyhoodle, the setting of the photo is rather appropriate for this week's project.

In Rebecca's class each student has made a sort of visual study sheet for various subjects. The one pictured here is for science, a subject near and dear to my heart. I love the little illustrations she made foe each concept, from the rotting stump, the little wheelbarrow for erosion, and so on to the mooing cow and howling wolf. I think the little bear for hibernation is utterly adorable. I think this was a very fun assignment and useful too boot.