Thursday, May 31, 2012

20 Years Ago Yesterday

Wednesday was a very busy day.

20 years ago Larry and I said I do, so the plan was for a night out. Which got complicated when Nate's 6pm to 8pm lacrosse practice shifted to that day. Coupled with a fancy hair cut I earned by doing a spot of photography for the salon's owners, my day was spent zipping around Richmond.

Something had to give, hence the lack of post on Wednesday.

And it was a good decision. We had a lovely time at our favorite fancy restaurant, Juleps. It was nice being able to linger over an exquisitely prepared meal. The service was discrete with the nice little touch of the menu saying "Happy Anniversary" across the top (Larry told them when making the reservation).

And the fancy haircut, well it's rather rock'n'roll with a side of aubergine.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

For the Police

plinth by Teckelcar
plinth, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
In addition to the memorial wall I featured yesterday, there is a large block of highly polished granite in the same park.The block is a memorial to the police officers that had been killed while on duty.

It'd a beautiful creation fits in well at its location. A place that a fair number of people don't known at its existence. q found it a few years ago and just now I'm starting to take pictures. I should try to find other little parks in te Richmond area. It would be a good summer project for me and the kids.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Birthday and Goodbye

Rebecca_and_Nanci by Teckelcar
Rebecca_and_Nanci, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Saturday was a good friend's 50th birthday. Saturday was also the day she lost her battle with ovarian cancer.

I don't have very many pictures of Nanci, but I have this one from almost 10 years ago with Rebecca.

This was before cancer came
and took her hair
and took her health
and took her life.

This was before her husband lost his friend.

This was before her son lost his mother, his biggest fan, and was robbed of the chance to bask in her pride at his high school graduation next month.

This was before her father's heart was broken.

This was before I lost a person that can't be replaced.

She lived her life to the fullest.

She was a doer and accomplished amazing things in her life.

When she was diagnosed three and half years ago with stage IIIc ovarian cancer she did not sit idly by. She rolled up her sleeves and fought it tooth and nail. She started a foundation, The Circle of Strength, to raise awareness, funds for research, and a place for support.

She fought so hard those three and a half years, but the cancer and the treatments took their toll and her body could take no more.

She celebrated her birthday a month early. Her friends came together and threw a huge party. She was wheelchair bound, but she had a wonderful time. Nanci was always in her element when she was at a party. That last party was the greatest gift.

I will miss my friend.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Project MCP: Motion Blur

Whee by Teckelcar
Whee, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This weeks challenge was to get moving, take a photo with motion blur.

I made sure to drag my camera to our last soccer game and I was completely unsuccessful in getting a blurred image in motion. I was only successful when I was at a pool party later that day and no longer trying to get any fancy dancy blurred shots.

Just as I pressed the shutter release this little blonde cutie flew by. I was initially irked, I was intent on getting a picture  of Rebecca with her teams in the pool. It was her teams end of season party that was graciously hosted by the family of one of the team members. However, after a moments reflection and checking the image in the camera I realized I had my blurred shot.

And the best part, this image is straight out of the camera. No editing, no cropping, just straight from the camera to the world.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I've got some big anniversaries coming up and one of them is my 25th college reunion.

I honestly can't believe it's been 25 years since I graduated from college. Yes I am the parent of two teenagers one of whom has a learners permit, but 25 years out? No way.

I kind of wish I could go, but the reunion weekend is at an impossible time- the first weekend in June. The kids are still in school and Nate has his first big lacrosse tourney that very same weekend. I know I'm not the only parent in my class that is stymied by the date, however we have no say in regards to the on campus festivities. It's the first weekend after graduation and it's before the campus gets handed over to various summer programs.

So I guess I have to wait until my little birdies have flow the nest (or at least a bit more self sufficient) before I can met up with the old gang.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Artist of the Week: Soloist

This year Jacob's band teacher decided to do things a bit differently for the end of the year concert. Normally she brings in a soloist from outside the school, but this year she decided to feature two seniors. One of them is a fellow trumpet player with Jacob. Cameron is a great guy and a wonderful trumpet player and was also this year's field marshal. He put up with a lot of shenanigans in the trumpet section.

I think he did an amazing job with a fairly complex piece. Jacob and I were impressed how Cam could play two notes at once. As Jacob noted, that's something the woodwinds can't do and that he finds very hard.

So I present Carnival of Venice.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Baking With Julia- Hungarian Shortbread

Hungarian Shortbread by Teckelcar
Hungarian Shortbread, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
So, here is the promised Hungarian Shortbread. It's only three weeks late, but at least I got it done in time for third Tuesday. The recipe was hosted lo those many weeks ago at 1smallkitchen and The not so exciting adventures of a dabbler.

 Like many of my fellow bakers I could not find fresh rhubarb. I ended up substituting strawberries in its stead. I had a ton of them and I needed to use them up before they all went bad. The jam smelt marvelous and I was able to cook it in advance and have it chill in the fridge for a few days.

The dough was a snap to make and with the addition of egg yolks quite different from the Scottish shortbread I know and love. It was also a bit odd to have to grate the dough, but it all made sense once I got a taste. By grating the dough the shortbread become almost fluffy and practically melted in the mouth. Rebecca, Jacob, and I loved the finished product.

This one is a keeper.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Max being extremely silly with jumbo sized cereal box on his head.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pool Party

Pool Party by Teckelcar
Pool Party, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Soccer season is over, for now. We had our last game Saturday and shortly afterwards we went to Rebecca's post season team party.

I say we, but it really was just Max, Rebecca, and I. Nate was at a lacrosse tourney with Larry and Jake, who's not a big fan of pool parties, declined to attend a party for a U(nder) 10 girls soccer team.

Gee I wonder why.

The weather was perfect, bright sunshine and temps in the low 80s. The girls spent the majority of their time in the water while the parents looked on. It was warm, bot not quiet warm enough to tempt me. It was a great party and a lovely way to end the soccer season.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Project MCP: Friend

brothers by Teckelcar
brothers, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's challenge at Project MCP was "friend." As in take a picture that demonstrates the word friend. I thought the best way to illustrate the word would be through the dogs.

Dell and John are best friends. On a daily basis they wrestle with each other, pile into the same crate, and lie side by side on the staircase. Which is remarkable since they did not grow up with each other and they are intact males. They even wait for each other before descending the deck's stairs to the backyard. It's pretty safe to say they are best friends.

So, when I saw them all curled together on the couch, I knew I had my picture. I wish I could have flipped Dell' ear down,  but I knew they would get up and move off the couch if I tried. Fortunately I had my camera close by and I was able to get some pictures before the dogs scattered.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ow, Ow, Ow

As of yesterday I have started biking again and my legs are none too happy. I'm being sensible and not pushing too hard since it's been about a year. I need to build my self back up before tackling the long rides I used to do. At least I have been walking regularly so I'm not completely out of shape.

Why I stopped... I don't know.

I got busy and then there was the infamous poop on the helmet incident. Nate borrowed my helmet one day and somehow managed to drop it in dog poop. He felt bad and wanted to clean it up, but I decided it was time to get a new helmet. I've had it for well over a decade and it was time. So yet another reason not to bike. A few weeks later I did get a nice new helmet. But it languished in the garage, slung over the handle bars by its straps.

I figure it'll take a week to get re-acclimated (oh my poor tush) and then I'll start stretching the ride out. The good news is that I felt pretty good today, no muscle strain. Just a slightly sore bottom from the seat. I really need to get a new seat.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Artist of the Week: Rebecca Spring 2012

Rebecca by Teckelcar
Rebecca, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is the very lovely Rebecca. She looks so grown-up in this picture. I snapped it while she was next to me at the recital. The key thing with the picture was that I waited until after she preformed. I'm not sure I would have gotten as nice a smile if I tried before hand.

As for the performance itself, it went well. Rebecca originally planned on playing with the sheet music before her. However, her teacher approached her before the start of the recital and urged Rebecca to at least considering trying with out the sheet music.

Apparently the gentle urging worked.

When it was Rebecca's turn to play she strode up to the piano sans book. She was a bit hesitant at first, but as she progressed through the piece she grew more and more confident.Rebecca did a nice job and as you can she in the picture she was a very happy girl.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Baking With Julia- Sticky buns Sans Pecans

sticky buns by Teckelcar
sticky buns, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's challenge on Baking with Julia was Pecan Sticky buns. To get the full recipe (What, you haven't gotten the book yet?) head on over to either Eat Drink Man Woman Dogs Cat or Cookies on Friday.

I felt kind of bad blowing off the last challenge, Hungarian Shortbread. I just plain forgot, that an the unavailability of rhubarb this time of year. I am going to make it sometime this week, but with strawberries instead of the elusive rhubarb. So I vowed to be sure to make the pecan sticky buns for this week.

Which I did, sort of.

Instead of the full on pecan sticky buns I ended up making just sticky buns. I knew the kids wouldn't like the nuts and since they would be eating the bulk of the buns I thought it would be best to just give the pecans a miss.

Despite the lack of pecan goodness, they were glorious.

I ended up freezing half of the batch, it is a very rich treat and I wanted us to be able to savor them and not be overloaded. I started the brioche Saturday night and baked the rolls Sunday morning as a nice Mother's day treat for myself.

My only major complaint was all of the time spent rising, re-rising, and rising yet again. I employed my favorite cheat and set the rising dough in a warm oven. I just set it at 150, allow to warm, and then turn off the oven. My dough ended up rising in just a quarter of the time. I learned this from growing up in a cold house in northern New England. It's a good technique and the dough was just dandy.

I think these were worth making, but just for special occasions, it was pretty labor and butter intensive.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The silence beneath the bark / le silence sous l'écorce

A lovely little animated short from France and was apparently shortlisted for an Oscar. Either way it is a delightful movie that pulls you right in.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

teal toes by Teckelcar
teal toes, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I hope all you hard working mamas out there got to put up your feet, at least for a little bit. We elected to celebrate Thursday with dinner ans a movie. We all went to our favorite restaurant, Weezie's Kitchen, and then on to the theatrical re-release of the "Yellow Submarine."

I've long maintained that Mother's Day is the worst night to go out, all the good places get booked out early and the remainder are almost zoos. Thursday was ever so much more civilized.

As for the teal toes, well they are in honor of my sister-in-law. Teal is the color of ovarian cancer and she has been fighting a good fight. We all love her and her family and simply put she is a terrific mom and a wonderful person.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Project MCP: Sunny Day

honeysuckle by Teckelcar
honeysuckle, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
After seemingly endless cloudy days filled with rain, wind, and thunderstorms; we are finally getting some sunny days. Which is a good thing too since this week's challenge is "sun-flare."

I originally intended to take pictures of our peonies, but after all the rain they were completely shot. A large number of petals strewn about the ground and the  few remaining blossoms were no longer vibrant with color. Just sad bedraggled blooms covered with brown crumpled petals. As I turned away I noticed the honeysuckle by the front door. It's blooms still reaching up towards the sun. All I had to do was crouch down and shoot towards the light.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Yellow Submarine

Sometime last week I noticed that a theater up in Richmond would have two screenings of "The Yellow Submarine." From what I gathered the film had been recently restored by hand and frame by frame. The plan by the studio is to have an extremely limited release of the film and then issue the remastered DVD.

I have heard nothing about this in any way shape or form. If I hadn't been checking on upcoming movies I never would have known. I don't think I ever got to see it on the big screen when I was little, instead I saw it on TV and fell in love with the movie. I'm not sure if I was a Beatles fan before hand, but at the very least it sealed the deal. Right now we have a very worn VHS copy that we all enjoy watching. I mentioned the movie to Larry and he was game to go. In fact he suggested that we got out to dinner before hand and have that as my mother's day treat.

Ooo Mother's day without all the fuss and bother in the restaurants that occurs on the official date.

I jumped on it with a big yes! I think Mother's day is one of the worst days to go out to eat. The crowds, the noise, and so on. By celebrating early I get to miss the worst day of the year to go out to eat. And enjoy it I did.

The only bad part was I got caught in an awful traffic jam before dinner so the meal was a bit rushed. And rush we did. We did miss the very opening of the movie, but that was not a problem. The kids know it well as do Larry and I. Nate wasn't too thrilled when Larry and I sang along in parts. I soften my voice and he got over it.

As to the movie... well most of the problems were from the theater. The first five or ten minutes where spent adjusting and readjusting the picture size along with the focus, then we lost the picture entirely. Luckily the staff at the theater was able to rectify the situation and we were able to lose ourselves in the movie.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Artist of the Week: Multiple Entries

storm by Teckelcar
storm, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Nate and he declined to be photographed, which just means I'll post more pictures of his artist achievement.

Every year our school district hosts a district wide art and science fair show. My kids have been featured pretty regularly for the past eight years. It is an honor to be selected since space is limited. Each school is allotted a small area and it is up to each school's art teacher to make the selections.  Nate scored two slots this year for two very different projects.

The first one featured here should look familiar, you can see it on the bottom of the display.

Yes it's the big version of the collage featured last month.
Singled Out by Teckelcar
Singled Out, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.

It turns out the smaller picture was his mock up in his art journal. I had no idea there was a larger and more finished version until I turned the corner and saw the picture on the display board. It was quite a surprise for me! I instantly recognized it and didn't have to read the name tag.

There are differences between the two pictures and I can't decide which I like better. I think it's a very good thing that the picture had changed from the original journal entry. To me it means that Nate thought about what he was doing and how he could better convey his ideas.

blue house by Teckelcar
blue house, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
As for Nate's second piece, he had described it to us so it was much easier to find. His class had made small clay houses and his was a bit different from the others. Most are a traditional boxy house, while Nate's has not just one wing but two. He wanted to make something a bit more like our house. He's a bit mistaken on the wings, but he did get the door right.

The color he glazed the house was in his opinion flat out wrong. He envisioned something very different, more grey than blue. However as he painted this little house and realized his mistake Nate decided it would work despite the addition of too much blue. I think he is right on both counts if I correctly understand what he intended.

blue house up close by Teckelcar
blue house up close, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Either way I find the house to be utterly charming. I love the details in the windows, he did a nice job in both placement and color. As to the window panes themselves it looks as though he punched out each pane of glass.Also Nate texturized the roof to create the illusion of shingles. It's lovely little house and certainly deserving in inclusion in the exhibit.

Nate did a bang up job on both of this pieces. Both are well deserving of inclusion in the school district wide art exhibition.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Super Bust

super moon by Teckelcar
super moon, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The whole super moon thing around here in central Virginia was a bust. It was a very wet and cloud covered evening last Saturday. The following evening was clear, but the moon itself really did not seem any closer.

I tried taking pictures, I even went so far as to drag out my tripod. However it was to no avail, my camera wasn't interested in cooperating with me. This picture was the best of the lot. I have taken far more detailed image, but alas that was my previous camera.

So for me the super moon was a super bust.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Candy Crime

It's like taking candy from a baby or maybe not.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Lax Man

blocking by Teckelcar
blocking, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Sorry about the lack of posts, I've been a bit busy.

Of the many things going on I finally went to watch Larry play lacrosse. He is part of a masters (essentially post college age and up) level lacrosse club. They play a pick-up game pretty much every Saturday morning. He's been going for quite sometime and is one of the very few goalies in the club.

Anyhoo it was my turn to drive the car pool to Sunday school, so after I dropped off the kids I headed on over. It was a bit damp, but that did not inhibit the guys one bit. It looked like they were all having a good time. I spent just about 45 minutes watching the action and taking pictures.

If you click on the picture here it'll take you to my photostream and you can see three more lacrosse pictures.

Going to the game was a fun way to spend the morning.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Artist of the Week: Kindness

Max by Teckelcar
Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
 This week's artist is the eternally building Max.

Larry took this picture of Max about a month ago and I think it is one of my favorites. For once Max does not have his rigid "picture smile" pasted across his face. The lighting is soft and brings out the warm tones and the relaxed and happy expression adds to the picture's overall warmth. In the picture Max is posing by a model of a catapult he had just created out of dominoes. As always, he requested a photograph and Larry was more than happy to oblige. The squarish platform in the upper right of the catapult is where the projectile would place. Obviously it's non-functional, but it was fun for him to create.

Anyhoodle, this week's art is a bit different. It's more about what Ma does, as in actions, opposed to what he did.

lunchbox by Teckelcar
lunchbox, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I have a picture of Max's lunchbox (bag really) to signify what he has been doing this school year. One of Max's classmates is a sweet girl who is deathly allergic to peanuts. We are talking instant anaphylactic shock if she encounters just the smallest bit of a peanut. She has lunch at a table separate from the  class that is peanut free with the other food allergy students.

Max decided that he would forgo peanut butter at breakfast and lunch so he would not be a danger to his friend. I was mystified at first, bag lunches had become very difficult and most of the time he would just barely nibble the sandwich.. Why did he stop eating peanut butter? Max didn't really care about all of our alternate non- peanut butter options.

Well into the school year I finally asked Max what was going on and his reply utterly amazed me. He was avoiding peanut butter before an after school so that he was not a danger to her.

What an incredibly kind and thoughtful thing that Max was doing and it was completely his very own idea.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Well I Tried It

And I think I turned out okay.

I saw this today and I just had to share it. A fair number of people out there are intimidated by science, which is ridiculous.  Science can hard, but it can also be fun. Just observing the world around you is science. Heck, when you really look closely cooking is chemistry.Baking is an art and a science, you have to follow the recipe to get the desired result just as you would follow protocols when doing an experiment.

To do science you only have to pay attention and stay curious. As a result the world is a far more interesting place.

So I hope more people try science and get hooked on it.