Friday, September 30, 2011

MCP Project 52: Man vs Nature

digging for cable by Teckelcar
digging for cable, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This weeks MCP Project 52's theme is Man vs Nature. I figure the guy doing battle with the concrete like soil in my front lawn counted as such a contest.

This week it has been our turn to have fiber optic cable laid in our cul-de-sac. Which meant pick up trucks, spools of wire, and some of the hardest working guys I have ever seen filling our street.

Each man dug, with a plain old shovel, a four foot deep by 4-5 foot long trench.

In less than one day.

I've tried digging in our lawn and found it to be well nigh impossible. My vision of flowers around our mailbox was quickly scrapped. So, yeah, I'm really impressed by all the digging the crew has done.

As an added bonus I got to watch them bail out the holes with a spare helmet. The ground is so saturated around here from all the rain that the holes were filling with ground water. But that didn't stop them. They gamely plugged along until the holes were dug to their satisfaction and the cable was carefully laid in place.

It really was a battle of man versus nature out on my front lawn.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Artist of the Week: Cupcakes

Mmmm frosting by Teckelcar
Mmmm frosting, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Rebecca is this weeks artist with a little bit of help from me and Charm City Cupcakes.

On Saturday I took Rebecca to a cupcake decorating event by Charm City Cupcakes over in Richmond Marriott. Earlier in the week a Groupon popped offering this event at almost half off. After a quick call to Larry to see if it was possible, I snagged a ticket for the Mommy/Daddy and Me session. When I told Rebecca what we would be doing she was absolutely thrilled.

Rebecca and I had a great time. We ran into a friend of hers from school who was also attending our session. The two girls were delighted to find each other and happily they could sit next to each other.  Then we got down to business.

Each team had three mugs filled with excellent butter-cream icing, three mixing spoons and a decorating kit with for decorating tips and a 1/2 disposable pastry bags. On the table for all to share were assorted concentrated food coloring. The head chef directed us what to do with the tips and bags. Then the staff went around to demonstrate up close the techniques the head chef was showing us. Each team was issued 6 cupcakes and were allowed three types of sprinkles and three inedible objects to place on the  cupcakes. Once we had the basics we were set loose.
Cupcakes by Teckelcar
Cupcakes, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.

We had four chocolate cupcakes and two vanilla.Rebecca decided to use the filling tip on two of the chocolate ones. She had a lot of fun squeezing in frosting into the cupcakes. Then it was time to frost. I did the basics of the three in the upper left hand corner, the sprinkles and plastic picks were by Rebecca as were the three in the lower right. The session flew by and then it was time to pack up our creations and head home. The box they gave us was pretty nifty, it had individual holes for cupcakes to be nestled in. No crashing about and being upturned.

I think the cupcakes turned out beautifully and we had a wonderful time together.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Meet Dave

Dave and Nate by Teckelcar
Dave and Nate, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This is Dave, the latest addition to our menagerie.

Last week Nate asked if he could have a gecko, they are quiet, clean, and virtually no scent. These are all wonderful qualities, but I said no.

Literally the next day I got an IM from a friend in the neighborhood. She was wondering if we would like to have a gecko. Her middle child had gone off to college and her youngest had no interest.

When I read her initial question I burst out laughing. Apparently we were meant to have a gecko. After a quick call to Larry to clear it with him, I told my friend yes. We will take the gecko.

Sunday afternoon we stopped by to collect our new pet. His full name is Dave Matthews, but we'll stick with just Dave.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Avalokiteshwara Performance - Buddha of Compassion

An amazing performance, however it moves on to jaw dropping when you learn that the performers are deaf. Admittedly they can feel the vibrations of the music through the floor, but to attain the level of coordinated precision without music is incredible.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

MCP Project 52: The Eyes Have It

Keepin' a eye out by Teckelcar
Keepin' a eye out, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I swear this is the last pirate themed picture until at least Halloween.

The theme this past week for MCP Project 52 was "The Eyes Have It" and the red boys have such expressive eyes in this picture. John has a wary eye and Dell seems to be looking towards John for support, a fairly accurate portrayal of the two.

I had not particular ideas in mind for this week's theme, I basically fell into it. I was going through the pictures I took of the dogs in honor of "Talk Like a Pirate Day" when I realized I had a good picture for MCP Project 52.

As a result I submitted early on in the week. Of course, as though to balance things out, I forgot to write up the picture on Friday. Either way this was the selected picture and I think it's a hoot.

Friday, September 23, 2011

One Last Scallywag

pirate Rebecca by Teckelcar
pirate Rebecca, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
When Rebecca found on Monday it was Talk Like a Pirate Day she wanted to be part of the fun. She felt the dogs shouldn't be the only ones wearing the pirate hats.

So she relieved Dell of his hat, jammed it on her head, and struck a pose. Who was I to deny her the photo. I must say she wears the hat well, Rebecca is just brimming with confidence. She looks well suited to manning the helm of her own frigate.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Queen - Somebody To Love

I'm in a Queen frame of mind and this is the song stuck in my head.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Artist of the Week: Up and Coming

Jacob by Teckelcar
Jacob, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is the very affable Jacob.

This was taken at the county fair. I'm not exactly sure who he is waving to, I do know that he was chatting with Max. It could be a sort of  Mom-has-the-camera-let's-wave-and-make-her-happy sort of thing. I'll never know, teenagers are mysterious creatures.


That is a scary word and I still can't get over the fact that I'm the mother to one and soon to be two. Even scarier is that Jacob is taking driver's ed at school. I think I need to stop with the scary thoughts and move onto happier things, like Artist of the Week.

marching band by Teckelcar
marching band, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Which brings us to marching band. This past week Jacob's band got to perform at a local University during a football game. It was very exciting, however... Jacob was a bit disappointed that the band could only play music when the ball was dead or halftime. As he put it, "It was hard to get pumped up when you can't play." So his solution was to dance.

He turned out to be quite a dancer. Another band member joined in and color guarded cheered him on by chanting "Go Jacob! Go Jacob!" So not only does he play the trumpet, Jacob is an up and coming dance sensation. I wish I could have been there, this was all reported to me after the fact by Jacob and his father. It sounded like a good time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Argh, Just Take My Picture Already

Argh by Teckelcar
Argh, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
John is such a patient and cooperative dog. That is why he got stuck with the eye patch. It was just challenge enough getting a hat on Delly. John would sit there waiting 5, almost 10 minutes with the eye patch before he would rub it off. With Dell...

Well this is how the photo shoot went.

Find hats, eye patch, and camera. Take all of that outside along with the dogs.

Place John on the deck box, place eye patch and hat on his head, then tell him to wait.

Try to pick up Dell. Dell flops over for a tummy rub.

Man handle Dell onto deck box and stop him from leaping off.

Try to place hat on Dell's head, he flops over for a tummy rub. Haul Dell into an upright position. Repeat a half dozen or so times until Dell figures out that a tummy is not going to happen and decides to sit.

Jam hat on Dell's head. Adjust John's eye patch take pictures while periodically repositioning Dell's hat and stopping Dell from leaping down.

Release dogs, download pictures discovered the best pose is blurry.

Round up dogs, get smart and show them I have treats. Dell no longer wants a belly rub, now he is all OMG SHE HAS FOOD, I LOVE FOOD! GIMME FOOD!!!!

After a minute Dell settles down, John sighs, and I take more pictures.

End of shoot dogs get treats.

That's one way to spend a Monday morning.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ahoy There!

Ahoy there! by Teckelcar
Ahoy there!, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Those two old sea dogs, Capt. Dell and Capt. John, be all dressed up for "Talk Like a Pirate Day." They be keepin' an eye out for booty and their arch nemesis, t' evil squirrels.

We hope you have fair weather, a steady breeze, and your grog be not watered down!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Farmville by Teckelcar
Farmville, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Not the game, the actual town.

I've been amused by the whole Farmville thing over on Facebook. Mind you I don't play the game, instead I keep thinking about how there is a very real place in Virginia called Farmville.

I had been by there years and years ago, long before the game ever existed. It wasn't terribly significant to me back then, other than the rather odd name. Fast forward back to the present, the town's name has had a whole new dimension added. The funny part is that Farmville is relatively built up. It had far more to offer than the quiet county of Cumberland where Bear Creek Lake State Park is located.

So when I went there this summer I just had to take a picture of the "Welcome to Farmville" sign.

Friday, September 16, 2011

MCP Project 52: Momentous Moment

above the clouds by Teckelcar
above the clouds, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Yes I know I already posted this particular picture earlier this week, but I hadn't decided to make it my MCP Project 52 entry until yesterday.

Until yesterday I was stumped and a bit annoyed with myself. The wedding we attended would have been perfect subject matter for the theme "Momentous Moment," but I screwed up. We were halfway to the airport when I realized I had left my camera at home.


I tried taking pictures with my cell phone, but honestly they all stunk. No amount of photoshoppery would bring them to a level I would deem fit for public viewing. So I stewed and racked my brains.Then I realized I had gotten some lovely cloud pictures on flight back home. Which got me to thinking about our flight and then it hit me, this would be my take on a momentous moment.

This doesn't seem momentous, but it is. I took this picture on Sept 11th while flying from Chicago to Richmond. It was a full flight and it seemed like another day. Everything that day at the two airports was utterly normal, from the slog through security, overbooked announcements, the jockeying for luggage space, and the perfectly ordinary wait for checked bags. That to me is momentous.

So sometimes a perfectly ordinary trip on a not so ordinary day can be a something utterly amazing.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


John by Teckelcar
John, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The dreaded end of summer cold drags on and all I want to do is sleep. However a parent's work is never done and I have to soldier on. At least everybody is back in school.

Thus ends a less than scintillating post, punctuated by two sneezes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Artist of the Week: Book

Jail in the Desert by Teckelcar
Jail in the Desert, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is my Uncle Hector. I've featured him before when he had a show way back in June of 2006. This time, however I'm focusing on this older body of work.

Last Christmas I was told by my mother a book was in the works concerning Hector's oeuvre. She had been requested to take photographs of any piece she had by Hector. Since they had been friends since college, my mother had some of his earliest works. My job was to take these photos and send them in. I happily did my mother's biding. I ended up taking down most of the pictures and moving them to a sunny room. I had no tripod, insufficient light, and a camera not quite up to snuff for the sort of precision in color I needed. So pictures weren't the best, but they were good enough for Hector to get an idea of what my mother has, though I was slow in sending them off.

Anyhoo, I got word this week on which paintings were wanted for the book. All that was left to do was find a photographer experienced in taking accurate pictures of paintings. It was suggested that I look towards local colleges and work from there.

And that is what has been keeping me busy this week. Dartmouth is near my mother and it has a decent art department. However they seem more focused on sculpture and painting and not so much on photography. I then got the great idea to check out the Hood Museum of Art. The college has been collecting art since 1772 and I figured that they most know of a photographer tat would fill the bill.

It turns out that was a good idea and I just may have found the right person for the job.

As for the selected paintings, the orange one featured here made the cut. It is my mother's favorite and was named by my parents " the Desert."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cloudy With a Chance of Cough

above the clouds by Teckelcar
above the clouds, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This is how my head feels.

It's not completely stuffed, but it is cloudy in there.

I went to Chicago this weekend with Larry for a wedding. The Groom was a friend of Larry's from Grad school and Larry was in the wedding party. Which meant we got fabulously fed all weekend long. We also met up a college friend and his family (they too have four kids that we finally got to meet in person) and a friend of mine from high school. The only meal we paid for was a quick bite to eat at the airport while we experienced a presidential delay.

Air Force One by Teckelcar
Air Force One, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The President was in Richmond and the airport got locked down before our flight was scheduled to appear. While the commander in chief was being driven to the airport, boarding Air Force One (which I might state is huge in person. I know it's a 747, but dang all that for one man), and jetting away; no planes were allowed to land or takeoff. As a result our poor plane had to refuel in Norfolk before landing in Richmond. So we had a one hour delay because of the whole presidential visit. We had a direct flight, but quite a few peopled missed their connections. Unfortunately I forgot to bring a camera, but I was able to get a few pictures with my cell phone.

So except for that (and my stupid cold from traveling in airplanes), we had a wonderful time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Jazz for Cows

This clip was featured over at Fetch My Flying Monkeys in the sidebar and I just had to share it with y'all. I never thought of cows being at all musically inclined, but apparently they are intrigued by Jazz. A delightful clip of some very lucky French cows listening to The New Hot 5.

I Remember

I remember that 10 years ago I was heavily (a mean heavily) pregnant with Max and Rebecca. That morning I had gotten Jake off to kindergarten on the bus and was coming back from dropping off Nate at preschool and had decided to listen to the radio on the way home. I was confused about the breaking news story, I somehow thought they were referencing an earlier incident with a small plane. It wasn't until I got home and turned on the tv that the enormity of what was happening hit.

I was stunned.

My husband, a state worker soon came home and we sat there watching it all unfold. When it was time to pick up Nate and meet Jake at the bus we tried to keep things as normal as possible for our young sons. At five and nearly three it was all too much for them.

Since then I've participated in Project 2996 by  contributing three profiles:

Robert Garvin McCarthy
Martin Boryczewski
William Christopher Sugra

I was out of town this weekend and was unable to do another (the list was still being updated before I left), but I will try to do another.

Friday, September 09, 2011

MCP Project 52: Thirst for Knowledge

back to school by Teckelcar
back to school, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
In honor of the start of the school year, this week's theme was "Thirst for Knowledge."

I decided that something to do with homework would be the way to go. When I saw my two eldest sons' homework spread out on the kitchen table I knew that was the shot. I particularly like the algebra text books, having both 1 and 2 conveys aptly the theme.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Looking Forward to the Weekend

Dell & John by Teckelcar
Dell & John, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Lots of big doings going on around here this weekend. We have grandparents visiting, a football game, and the start of Hebrew school to name a few. Even the red boys have something happening.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Artist of the week: Decorated

bumper car baby by Teckelcar
bumper car baby, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is my very own bumper car baby, Rebecca

The last hurrah for summer around here is the county fair. Held the last week of summer vacation before school starts, nothing and I mean nothing is going to cancel it. This year we had an earthquake before it opened and a hurricane during the first weekend. The fair did close down for a day and a half, but in the end  the show must go on.

We ended up going last Friday and met up with Meryl and her niece. Meryl's niece, S, is a delightful young woman who is a few years older than Jake. The two of them hit it off with their mutual love of all things geeky and a similar sense of humor. As for Rebecca, she loved had another girl around. The two girls had fun on rides like the scrambler and bumper cars (Max had fun with S as well, but this isn't about him).

third place by Teckelcar
third place, a photo by Teckelcr
Anyhoo we met up with Meryl and her niece at the arts and crafts building. Rebecca had decided to put in and entry this year in decorated cakes. Last spring she had taken a short cake decorating class after school and she was hot to try her luck at the county fair. And it turned out her cake had garnered third place.

The only criticism has they use of plastic decorations. Rebecca would have in all likelihood placed higher if frosting had been used to make the fish and ducks. The kind lady manning the table when we picked up our entries and winnings told us that the cake was gorgeous and hoped that Rebecca would try again next year.

And I think it's pretty sake to say Rebecca will try her hand at decorating a cake next year. She did a great job this year and was able to do the whole thing herself. My only contribution was to mix up the frosting with  food coloring and find the styrofoam cake form.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

First Day of School

And I failed.

Everybody made it school on time with coats and lunches for those browning bagging, but I completely and utterly failed to take the first day of school pictures. In my defense it was utterly pouring outside and I was more interested in making sure they all had raincoats then taking pictures. Pictures that would be meh at best due to the wet weather and dark skies.

As for the actual first day of school, well all four had a very good first day.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Tir Nan Og

Another sort of crow themed short animation. This one is of a very different style from last week's short feature.Directed by Fursy Teyssier who was primarily an ilustrator that has since branched out into animation, music and painting.

Sunday, September 04, 2011


shiny by Teckelcar
shiny, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Most of my pictures are the result of something catching my eye. When it happens and I have the time, I'm all over the subject. Sometimes I'm stuck with just my cell's far less than ideal camera, but I've learned how best to use it. Other times, like with this picture, I have a proper camera in hand.

A week and a half ago I was walking towards the shady area by the parking lot where band camp takes place. Along the edge of the lot were two tubas, carefully laid out on beach towels. I felt a bit like a magpie the way the shiny brass bells just pulled me in. The warm golden tones with the battered surface begged to be photographed.

And so I did.

Friday, September 02, 2011

MCP Project 52: Lazy

hound by Teckelcar
hound, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's theme was lazy and lazy is what I want to be after this past week and a half.

Between earthquakes, hurricanes, and a house guest (who got moved over to Meryl because 1-she never lost power and 2-she's awesome that way) I haven't had a whole lot of time to sit around.

And that is what I plan to do this Tuesday after I drop kick the kids onto the bus for their first day of school.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Police Lineup

Police lineup by Teckelcar
Police lineup, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Last week, can it really be just last week, I was sitting outside during band camp. My job was to keep an eye out for kids suffering from heat exhaustion and to help them out. Which considering the mild weather was a pretty easy task.

Anyhoo, at about 10:30 am a couple of police cruisers pulled up in front of the school in the drive between the parking lot where we were stationed on and the high school. A curious event considering that school wasn't due to be in session until after Labor day. The mystery deepened when more cruisers pulled into the drive. It was a bit disconcerting to see such a strong police presence.

However our concern turned to amusement when the cars started to number in the double digits. At one point I counted 17 police cars. The whole situation was so absurd I had to take a picture. I couldn't get all of the cars in the frame, but what I did get was pretty impressive.

As to why they were there, the police department had scheduled some sort of drill at the high school. We got to see all the cops file into the building and come out a short while later.

But I like to think it was a show of force to help keep the marching and in line.