Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Blooms?

snow girl by Teckelcar
snow girl, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
It's nigh on February and I feel that I should be taking and posting pictures like this one of Rebecca. You know something seasonally appropriate. This picture was from our grand trip up north. Admittedly there wasn't a whole heck of a lot of snow up there, but we were able to find some in sufficient quantities to go sledding.

Since then my mother has gotten a bit more snow. Nothing epic, but a goodly amount. There is a nice layer of snow and the temperatures have been fairly close normal.

January blooms by Teckelcar
January blooms, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Around here, however, we have daffodils in bloom an temps soaring into the 70s.

Seriously? 70s?

I joke about how lame Virginia winters are and that we have to go up north for real cold weather, but really this is too much. On the bright side I have been enjoying the impact on my heating bill.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Champis - The Herding Rabbit

I think I found this little gem in the comments of... something.

I love the song "Run, Rabbit, Run" and the video itself is delightful.

The language in the description is Swedish and roughly translates to:
Who needs a dog when there are ... rabbits!

If you like to learn more about Champis, see:

The rabbit is a beloved pet that really does herd sheep. If you are willing to check the blog referenced and translate it all from Swedish you will learn quite a bit more.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Troubled Skies

troubled skies by Teckelcar
troubled skies, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
We have had an incredibly mild winter so far, temperatures from the 50s and up. However as this warm weather has been fairly wet. Moody skies like this have been the norm.

I snapped this one just after I parked my car at the library. As I stepped out I glanced up and saw this wonderful cloudscape. For whatever reason I had my camera in the car, so I ducked back in and fished out my camera. The picture only needed a little tweaking of the contrast, the sky really was this dramatic. Interestingly directly overhead was blue skies, this was all south of me.

Friday, January 27, 2012

MCP Project 12: Raindrop Resolution

Daffodil by Teckelcar
Daffodil, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
So far it has been an unbelievably mild winter in Virginia. It has been 50s and 60s all week long and I think it hit 70 today. Last week, during the morning walk I take with a few other people in the neighborhood, we noticed that there were quite a few daffodils in bloom. I resolved (ha! there's that theme word again) to take a few pictures before the temperature started to drop.

It took a few days for the weather to cooperate and for me to remember my camera. I finally got my moment after a rain shower this morning. I really like the details I captured of the raindrops on the flower's petals and the bright crisp light. I went back a few hours later and the blooms were all cloaked in shadow. It really behooves you to move quickly with the variability of natural lighting, when you see the "shot" you must not dawdle.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Growing Up

Nate by Teckelcar
Nate, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Our middle boy is growing up.

He had his big Bar Mitzvah a little over two months ago and yesterday he and I went to the bank and opened up a savings account. I'm proud of the fact that the bulk of his money went to the bank and wasn't just frittered away. He bought a few games, Minecraft being one, and a basic iTouch.

Next up will be a cell phone, which will be very interesting considering how social he is. We are only going to get him the most basic of phones, he only needs to be able to be able to call home. We'll see how that works out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Artist of the Week: Dreaming of Doughnuts

Dreaming Rebecca by Teckelcar
Dreaming Rebecca, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Rebecca from way back in December of 2011. Remember that post I did, Not Moose and Squirrel? Well the whole reason I was at this art opening was because our dear little Miss Rebecca had a piece on exhibit. We got an invitation from her student teacher with all the details of when and where.

I was going to post about this earlier, but life (and the holidays) intervened. Honestly last December was a bit of a blur to me. I thought that after Nate's Bar Mitzvah everything would calm down, but instead it was holiday madness with a desperate catch-up from all the things I had neglected.

Anyhoo better late then never.
Doughnut dreams by Teckelcar
Doughnut dreams, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The art work that was exhibited  was a sort of mobile. The students illustrated a dream on a paper plate and dangling from the plate was a brief description of the dream, hence the odd angle of Rebecca's portrait. I wanted to have the piece (which was hanging from the ceiling) to be like a dream bubble above Rebecca's head.

The quote from Rebecca that describes her dream is as follows:
I have dreamed of thousands of doughnuts and dollars.
I have dreamed of flying.
I have dreamed of never ending fun.

Which is entirely believable for Rebecca.

I love how the little figure representing herself looks like a little fairy, wings and all, in the land of giant doughnuts. A fitting dream for a child whose first words were doughnut and chocolate.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Purple by Teckelcar
Purple, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
So for the second time in my life I've embraced my inner punk and dyed my hair purple.

There is no flying under the radar with my vibrantly hued locks. Strangers and friends ask me why and I say because brown is boring. I'm 70% grey and it's not a flattering grey like it is for some people I look tired and old, far older than my years. So I have being coloring my hair for the past 15 years. Brown, auburn, the odd red, I have done them all. I'm fortunate that my hair takes color well and is fairly resilient. My hair keeps growing and I keep coloring.

I guess in a way it's my super cheap mid-life crisis. It's non-permanent,which is annoying since all the purple dyes in the US are only semi-permanent. I get a lot of malarkey about purple isn't available in a permanent form because it is an "unnatural" color and the hair won't take it in. Really!? Any hair dye is unnatural, this is a very weak argument. It turns out there is one available, but it's in the UK and not worth the expense of shipping it to here.

Anyhoodle, it's fun and inspires all sorts of conversations wherever I go. And really it's a much better form of rebellion than tattoos and piercings, both of which are painful and can be devilishly hard to get rid of.

Update: Ha!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Piano

A short animation by Aidan Gibbons, Music by Yann Tiersen. A piano player reflects on his life while playing the piano. One of those little gems that YuoTube recommends to me that are definitely worth watching.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Moments of Hilarity

For the most part our crew gets along. There is of course the endless sniping and requests to go away that Larry and I as parents have learned to tune out. We want our children to not rely on us to settle their differences, they need to learn to figure it out on their own. Mind you we do have some ground rules, no cruelty and no hitting, but for the most part they are able to deal with their differences. It might get a bit loud (hello four loud kids, hence the blog's name), but it's generally fairly mundane.

However once in a while we overhear a real gem. Today Rebecca loudly declared "You're the weirdest brother I ever had!" I'm not sure who it was directed towards, but the capper was the immediate objection by one of the non-accused that he was the weird one.

Around here there is never a dull moment.

Friday, January 20, 2012

MCP Project 12: Resolution to Coats

Resolution to Coats by Teckelcar
Resolution to Coats, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
My children have the awful habit of shedding their coats and leaving them all throughout the house. I tired of tripping over coats and dealing with the last minute scramble in the morning to find said coats.

I have decided to take action and find a solution.

My resolution to the problem? I toss the offending jackets out onto the deck. So if you don't want a a frost covered coat you have to put it away on one of the many coat pegs/hooks out in the garage.

Of course if the jacket isn't put away and oh lets say it rains, the owner of the jacket has to put it in the dryer and hope that it will be ready in time for school. A certain member of the family was less then pleased when this happened two days ago.

Consequences baby, consequences.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sunrise with the Moon and Stars

This morning as I let the dogs I gazed out at the lightening sky. The sun wasn't quite up, but it's glow could be seen through the trees that surround us. The I noticed the moon hanging low in the sky. The lighting was such that it seemed you could see the dark side along with the brightly shining crescent. Three morning stars lay to the right right adding to the magic.

I had to take a picture.

I went back inside to hunt down my tripod. It took a bit of doing as it hadn't been returned to the closet, but was instead languishing in the dining room. Why there, I have no idea other than in all likelihood it was my own fault. I first set up the camera and tripod indoors since it was a bitter 25 degrees outside. Once my camera was ready I went out and took pictures.

The lighting was challenging. It was hard to get what I wanted, but I came very close. I think I might just submit this one to MCP Project 12, I just have to figure how it relates to Resolutions.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012


A lovely little animated film from Ireland.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chocolate Covered Oreo Truffles

oreo truffles by Teckelcar
oreo truffles, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Last week Rebecca had checked out from the school library The " Paula Deen's Cookbook for the Lunch-box Set." Inside were numerous recipes that Rebecca wanted to give a try, one of which was Oreo Truffles. I had just done a fair amount of baking and told her we would do it on Thursday and bring them over to the neighbor's house if we all got together the next day. Rebecca tought it was a good idea and was pretty patient all the way to last Wednesday, but I held firm.

I knew to would be too hard to hold off eating them if we made them before Thursday. I did, however, got the ingredients ahead of time to mollify Rebecca.

Thursday after school Rebecca was ready to roll. We had a brief snit over the cream cheese (she got impatient over how long it took to warm up), but that was our only problem. The Oreo truffles are ridiculously easy to make.

One 15 -18 oz bag of Oreos
8 oz of room temperature cream cheese
about a pound of melted dipping chocolate

Either crush the oreos in a plastic bag using a rolling pin or use a food processor, mix in the cream cheese, chill the dough for about an hour, make small (about and inch or less in diameter) balls of the chilled dough and dip them in the meted dipping chocolate. Plate on wax paper and chill until the coating hardens.

Rebecca was able to do most of the work, all I did was scrape out the food processor for her and dip the balls in the chocolate. I forgot the wax paper, but I was able to gently warm the bottom of the plates I put them on and that loosen the truffles enough so that I could remove them from the plate. The truffles themselves are delicious! They were a big hit with the neighbors and our family. We will definitely make these again.

Friday, January 13, 2012

MCP Project 12: Resolution

Laughter by Teckelcar
Laughter, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
 So it's a new year and a new photo assignment group. This year it is title MCP Project 12 and will be on a monthly format. I think the weekly themes overwhelmed the mods and they are dialing it back this year. It is possible to still do a weekly submission (and I will try to!), but the relentless pace of a new theme each week has slowed down to one per month.

This month's theme is resolution, which is something I'm not that into. Oh I do believe in bettering oneself, but making New Year's resolutions is not what I do.

That said I had to come up with something and decided that to laugh more and have fun would be good ones to work with for this theme. I ended up submitting a series of pictures showing Nate starting to laugh. He was watching Captain Sparklez YouTube and I was nearby with my camera at hand. (And yes I already used the second photo for a post on Wednesday, but you have to admit it is too good to not use.)

I don't know how it'll fly over at MCP Project 12, but I really like the resultant linked sequence.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Livin' Large

livin' large by Teckelcar
livin' large, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Honestly what can I say. My daughter is practically doing something straight out of "15 Things White Girls Do on Facebook."

This was part of the silliness that happens on New Year's day. The hat and glasses are Nate's, but the rest is all Rebecca. She put them on and immediately struck a pose and asked for the camera.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Artist of the Week: Skyrim!

Nate by Teckelcar
Nate, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Nate. I got this picture of him while he was busy watching a rather silly video by Captain Sparklez (Seriously that's the guy's online name). I love it when I can photograph my children when they are completely unaware of what I am doing. Thus I have silenced all the beeps and boops my camera makes. I don't need a chime when my camera is turned on or off, it bugs me and inevitably distracts my subject. You know you take too many pictures of your dog when they come to you when they hear the camera go on.

Anyhoo, it's a great picture of Nate with a natural and relaxed expression.

Skyrim by Teckelcar
Skyrim, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
 Skyrim, however, is not relaxed. It's a game that Nate is very excited about, to the point that he drew this picture. He's a bit disappointed with the dragon and wishes he did a better job, but I think it is still a good effort. We were up north at my mother's house when he drew the picture. He had been pestering me for hours for a pencil, forcing me to go out to the car to fetch one (we couldn't find my mom's stash- just her pens and the crayons she has on hand for our visits). Paper was procured and the boy was then off happily drawing for an hour or so.

It was fascinating to see how agitated he was when the inspiration to draw hit. He paced about and would not settle until he had his drawing materials. There is a lot of drive in that boy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Circle Dogs with Bad Kitty

Circle Dogs with Bad Kitty by Teckelcar
Circle Dogs with Bad Kitty, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Remember that picture I took titled "Circle Dogs"? You know the one with the dogs in virtually the same pose, but with a different book?

Well Larry noticed they were up to the same, but this time with "Bad Kitty." He thought it was an excellent photo op, and dang it he's right! I think it's just so very funny to have that book with the dogs clearly turned away.

Bad kitty indeed.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Urban Skiing

We haven't yet gotten any snow, but that wouldn't stop this skier.

My understanding is that this is just a short segment of a much longer film "All.I.Can." by Sherpas Cinema, either way it's a fun shhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifort to watch. I think I found this over on the sidebar of Fetch My Flying Monkeys.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Dell, by Nate

Dell, by Nate by Teckelcar
Dell, by Nate, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I've been sitting on this picture for awhile. I just didn't have anything to post with it and then things got busy and we then were off on vacation.

It's a wonderful picture of Dell taken by Nate. I love how most of the picture is in shadow, all that is visible is a bit of rug and half of Dell's face. The focus is dead on, which is remarkable considering the low light levels. Both Nate and Dell were rock steady for that brief moment in time.

Friday, January 06, 2012

New Jersey Sky

New Jersey sky by Teckelcar
New Jersey sky, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I never quite got to the MCP Project 12 this week, which really isn't a big deal now that it's a monthly theme. So instead I'm featuring a quirky picture from our drive home from up north.

Larry was at the wheel as we drove through New Jersey. It was not the nicest of days, the sky was still overcast from the previous days weather. The clouds, however, had the strangest almost luminescent quality about them.

I was struck by the clouds' strange beauty and fished out my camera. I have done nothing to this picture, except a bit of cropping. The clouds really and truly looked just like the picture. It was as though the sky was painted in watercolors.

It is not the *best* picture, but considering we were bombing along at highway speeds I am happy enough with the shot I got. It was sometime after 11 am and I have no idea what caused that interesting atmospheric effect.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

MCP Project 52: What Life Is All About

Max by Teckelcar
Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This picture was my finial submission to MCP Project 52. The theme was "what life is all about" and I thought Max running down the hill with a sled was a good selection. It's going full tilt and living in the moment.

I'm sad that it's over, I had a lot of fun working on the weekly theme format. This year it will be a monthly theme. You have the option of doing weekly, but the theme will remain static through the month. I'll give it a try, but already I'm challenged by the first theme.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Artist of the Week: Even More Dominos

Max tower by Teckelcar
Max tower, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is the hugging machine known as Max. Nobody, and I mean nobody, leaves this house without a hug. Max is one of the biggest huggers I know and takes his self appointed job as chief hugger very seriously. Fortunately he does ask before hugging and will back off, much to the relief of his hugged out siblings.

Anyhoo, we dramatically increased our domino collection when we brought back from Nana's (my mom) a 55 piece piece set complete with storage tin! Max was positively thrilled and has pretty much built something with them every day. I don't think they will ever be used for the original purpose, but I fine with that. How could I deny such a sweet boy his favorite building blocks? Of course many of his creations must be documented with a picture as per his request, a request I'm more than happy to fulfill.

complex by Teckelcar
complex, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
In addition to the tower Max made this complex of buildings. There is a walled compound with five buildings and a large out building separate from the compound. The much larger assortment of dominoes is very much to Max's liking. He immediately asked me to photograph both structures and, wonder of wonders, asked to be included in at least one of pictures. He is positively beaming in the picture.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Winter Album

winter afternoon by Teckelcar
winter afternoon, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I have a lot of pictures to share so this post is going to be more of a photo album of a few of my favorite pictures from our trip up north.

Every year we slog up north during the school system's winter break. It usually runs about two weeks which gives us more than enough time to travel, visit family, and recover. My mom thinks we are a bit crazy to do all that traveling during the winter time. However, winter in Virginia is for the most part lame and this gives our children a taste of what real winter is like.

This year there wasn't much snow on the ground when we first showed up at my mother's house in VT, but that night we got a dusting of snow. I love the clean white of the snow contrasting with the dark trees and their shadows.

snow bunny by Teckelcar
snow bunny, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I also like this little statue of a bunny that is on my mother's deck. I thought it looked so cute partially surrounded with the little patches of drifted snow. As I recall I wasn't wearing proper footwear (slippers perhaps?) and I didn't want to step down into the snow. So I squatted down and stuck my camera in front of the bunny and snapped a picture. I think it came out rather well! I did not do a thing to the picture except titling it and that really doesn't count.

Of course we didn't spend all our time at my mom's house. She did have some snow, but it wasn't enough to go sledding on.

looking east by Teckelcar
looking east, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Instead of going to the park down the street with it's snowless hill, we went to my cousin's house. His house is about 20 minutes north of my mother's home and he got a bit more snow. He also has a rather epic sledding hill in the fields adjacent to the house. We wee invited up to go sledding and we gladly accepted the offer.

The drive was a bit more exciting than I would have liked. I did a half-assed job tying the toboggan down and guess what happened. The dang thing flipped off the van and skidded across the road. Fortunately no other cars were behind us and the the oncoming traffic was sparse enough that they avoided the sled. I quickly pulled over and hustled down the road to collect our wayward toboggan.

Larry by Teckelcar
Larry, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Remarkably it was unharmed by it's misadventure. I was able to stuff the other sleds in the rocket box on top of the van, but the toboggan was too long. In the end we stuffed it inside the van with us. It was a tight fit, particularly for Nate (he was such a trooper), but we made it work. The rest of the drive was far less exciting and we finished it in due time.

The view from the hill was spectacular and I got some great shots of the mountains to the east. It was a crisp bright day and the snow was loose powder. The sledding wasn't perfect, but we all had a great time.

Are we high enough by Teckelcar
Are we high enough, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
We never made quite to the tippy top of the hill. The field wasn't as well mown up there and as a result there was a fair amount of dried out plants poking through the snow cover. You can see it in this picture. Larry and Max ventured up into it on the broad path where the snow was a bit smoother. I think it was about 4/5ths the way up the hill. plenty far enough for a good long run.

Another of my cousins showed up to visit and she expressed a little concern about how far up were going. I told her that the kids were fairly experienced and had enough sense to know when to bail. There were a few fence posts to avoid, but not roads to worry about. I was perfectly happy to send them up the hill.

winter field by Teckelcar
winter field, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
And speaking of fence posts, they are featured in one of my favorite shots. This particular line ran parallel to where we were sledding. I noticed them as I was trudging along and loved how the fence line mirrored the slope of the distant hills. I had a lot of fun composing the shot in the viewfinder and I proud to say it, along with the rest of the pictures in this post, is straight out of the camera. No tweaking of adjusting was necessary. Just download to my computer and post.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Vivian Maier, Street Photographer

I found this very interesting piece on Vivian Maier. She was a nanny that would do street photography during her time off. She had an incredible eye and took absolutely wonderful pictures that she never shared. It took the auctioning off of her storage locker to bring her work to life.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Sledding into the New Year

Sledding Hill by Teckelcar
Sledding Hill, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Happy New Year!

I figure I'll make a return with the New Year. We had a wonderful vacation, visiting friends and family.

It was a bittersweet trip this year as my mom will be moving and it will be the last Christmas/winter break at her house. The new place will be smaller and much easier for her to manage. We will be able to still visit, my cousin has a house not too far away. There is an epic sledding hill there that enabled us to have one good afternoon of sledding before we headed south. The snow was pretty much nonexistent at my mother's home, just a dusting across here yard and nothing on the hill down the street at the park.

As for New Year's eve, we spent it at home with some good friends that came down from DC for the evening. We ate far too much food- flank steak, roasted potatoes, cheese, more cheese, and two desserts (one after dinner and one before midnight) and drank lots of lovely wine. We never did get to the bubbly, we had switched to coffee so our guests could drive home safely. It was a perfect way to spend the evening.

I hope all are well and that you all had a good winter's break!