Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year by Teckelcar
Happy New Year, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Our New Years Eve treat is baked brie with fresh baguettes.

The bread was hugely successful while the cheese only appealed to the older half of the family. Jacob had to run back upstairs to stop himself from eating all the brie. Meanwhile, Larry and I keep going back for one more piece. It's a nice change from the usual desserty type thing. The crusty bread, still warm from the oven, is lovely with the honey drizzled and baked brie.

Monday, December 30, 2013

La Maison en Petits Cubes

A lovely animated feature about, life, love, and diving into the past.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Kitty Cat Ice Cream

Kitty Cat Ice Cream by Teckelcar
Kitty Cat Ice Cream, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I got a bit of a surprise when I opened up a new carton of ice cream and found a kitty cat inside. You can even see it on the underside of the top. The kids were very much impressed and Rebecca said I should take a picture.

So far this has been the biggest excitement around here during winter break. Mind you we had had some lovely meals, the highlight being the roast beef I made last week. Meryl wanted to celebrate and picked up a lovely bit of beef from Costco. It was nicely marbled with a good sized fat cap. It roasted to perfection and yielded tasty drippings for the traditional Yorkshire pudding.

We have been mostly slobbing around the house and reveling in our not having to be anywhere in particular. Just the occasional movie, trip to the library, and going to services.

I miss not being up north with my Mom, but I don't miss the horrific drive it usually is to get there this time of year.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

The picture 2013 by Teckelcar
The picture 2013, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
To those that celebrate, we wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dancing in the Rain, Dec 2013

And here is proof on how warm it is here in Virginia.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Run! by Teckelcar
Run!, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I have not much to say other than I am so very glad that it's officially winter break and that we aren't driving up north.

Rebecca took this picture of Nate and Max running around in the yard on Thanksgiving. I had herded the kids outside for our annual picture and was busy setting up the hammock. My hands were full so I gave Rebecca the camera. She took quite a few pictures of her brothers messing around.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Life on the Farm

Farm by Teckelcar
Farm, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
For the past month this has been our kitchen table. Nate has been working on a science project involving plants and magnetic fields. There are 90 plants in this picture, three per pot and ten pots per variable. The pots in the foreground have battery powered electromagnets, the next section has permanent magnets, and at the far end the plants have neither electro nor permanent magnets.

Monday was the end of the whole thing and I was very happy to see the plants grow. Theoretically I could have kept a few going over the winter and planted them next spring.


The plants were already starting to lean and wrapped themselves around each other. It was quite a challenge for Nate to tease them apart for the final data collections. It was easier for him to cut each plant flush with the soil and then take all of the measurements. I could see differences between the two groups, but Nate hasn't crunched all the data yet. My guess is the the electromagnets stimulated the most growth.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Artist of the Week: Jingle Bells

Max by Teckelcar
Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Max and his middle school beginning band are this week's artists. The picture I have here is Max at one of his final regular season games.

He is not the best player on the team, but he has a lot of heart and loves soccer. He understands that practice is something you have to do to get better. His first year of travel soccer has been very challenging, but has remained undaunted. Hopefully this same perseverance will carry through in his other endeavors.

Case in point band. This is not the best rendition of Jingle Bells you'll ever hear, but it is remarkable considering way back in the beginning of September the students were picking out their instruments. It is hard enough to learn to play an instrument and read music, adding in learning how to play in a band makes it even harder. A sort of musical sink or swim situation. so I'm very proud how the band was able to make it's way through Jingle Bells, squeaky clarinets and all. Oh and Max, he is playing the glockenspiel off in the back.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Enough with the Rain

Wet by Teckelcar
Wet, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This has been an all too common sight this past few months. Thankfully I did not have to go out and fetch someone in the rain tonight, but that's only because we are nearing winter break. The winter part being an abstract idea since around these parts there has been precious little winter weather. We did get some ice on the trees and the temperatures have dipped down for a little bit, but no snow.

Right now it's pouring outside and the temperature is at a solid 42 and has not budged. I wish it was snow instead. This rainy weather is a bore.

Monday, December 16, 2013

PROXiMITY (A Short Film by Ryan Connolly)

PROXiMITY is an interesting and suspenseful short film, an action movie boiled down to the basics. there is not a whole lot of story, nor character development, and even less dialogue, but the intensity is phenomenal. I found this via Short Film of the Week.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Bubbly by Teckelcar
Bubbly, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I was making waffles this morning and I was struck by how the egg looked half submerged in the batter. The light was just right, begging for me to break out the camera. A decidedly odd choice for a photograph, but I think worthwhile.

I had just put in all the wet ingredients, buttermilk, oil. and eggs. The final whisking was the next step. Normally I don't use oil in my cooking, but the oil makes the waffles light and crispy. And it turns out, it also makes for an interesting picture.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights by Teckelcar
Friday Night Lights, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The High school football season is coming to a close this weekend and it has been overall a good one. I finally hied myself to two games to see what it was like in person.

My high school had a terrible football team, I think they never had a winning season while I was there. The big athletic stars were the soccer team, state champions at least every other year. Also we never had a marching band, so this whole high school football/marching band thing is very alien to me. Dartmouth (our local college) has a football team, but I never went and their marching band is a "scatter band," wasn't much of a point of reference either.

What I have learned the past four seasons is that the game is important, but a huge part of the experience is the socialization. kids get to wander around, eat junk food, talk, goof off, and watch their team in action. I kind of understand the appeal of going to the games. I still don't "get" football, but I can see how being at the game is fun.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Frosty by Teckelcar
Frosty, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
We haven't had any of the severe weather that has been sweeping up the coast. The most we have had is some icing on the trees. Mind you there were power outages, but it wasn't nearly as bad as predicted.

Heck we haven't had any snow days or even a two hour delay.

This picture was from Monday. The upper branches have a thin coating of ice while the roads remain clear. Pretty much the ideal ice storm, pretty trees without dangerous road conditions. However I would have enjoyed to sleep in even more.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Artist of the Week: Best Team Ever

Group hug by Teckelcar
Group hug, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This past weekend I was in Virginia Beach with Rebecca for her last soccer tournament of the season. It was miserable weather, cold and rainy with the threat of an ice storm for the ride home. Not exactly beach weather and just barely soccer weather.

The first game was brutal. It was at 8:00 am with a cold, driving rain and the temperature at about 38 F. The fields were soaked, puddles and squelchy turf being the order of the day. Our team was on one of the better, if not the best, fields. The one next to us quickly turned into a vast mud pit. I was grateful for my duck boots and having the foresight to bring our boot dryer for Rebecca's cleats. The game was a struggle with the other team dominating us and ultimately beating us 2 to 8.

We came back in the afternoon to no more rain and the temps hovering at about 40. So it was marginally better, if you ignore the stiff wind. The girls played very well. Unfortunately the game ended in a tie. So the girls were cold, wet, tired, and happy for the good effort they put in the the second game. While at dinner we discussed the change in format for the next day. With the threat of an icestorm to the west the tournament organizers decided to speed things up so that people could go home and beat the storm. The remaing games would be penalty kick shootouts.

Sunday dawned grey and very wet. The temperature hadn't changed much and it was still raining. The team warmed up on the field as we waited for the shootout to begin. We have an excellent goalie on the team  giving us a bit of hope for a win. Sadly it didn't happen and we lost 3 to 1. Our goalie was devastated, tears running down her face, she felt that she had let the team down,

Then something wonderful to watch happened. Unprompted,  the girls started to give the goalie hugs. Soon it was one huge group hug. Tears were soon dried when the goalie realized that nobody blamed her for the loss. What a terrific bunch of girls. They want to win, but they also care about each other. This is the best team ever.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Operation Cookie Drop 2013

Cookies by Teckelcar
Cookies, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Every year, round about now, I go on a huge chocolate chip cookie baking binge. I like to give my children's teachers a little something for the holidays and I settled on making them my homemade chocolate chip cookies. They are always well received and very much appreciated.  Particularly with the high school teachers.Most parents are burnt out with teacher gifts by the time their  children leave elementary school.

At first I got small cookie tins, since it was only a few teachers. But over the years, as the number of teachers increased, I had to switch over to gift bags. Thus the focus is on the cookies and not the container.

Each bag has a dozen and a half freshly baked cookies. Each child has six to eight teachers. Throw in a few extras like trumpet teachers, bus drivers, and clinic staff (Max has to stop by daily for medications during the school day) and you have a boatload of cookies. Pictured here were the eighteen bags I made up for today. There was originally 19, but I had already given one to Jacob's trumpet teacher who was here for Jacob's lesson. Anyhoodle, I make up the bags and put them into a grocery bag and it's up to the child to distribute the cookies.We had a successful operation cookie drop today, none were forgotten or misplaced.

Meanwhile when the kids were at school I started  making another twelve  for the remaining teachers plus another for our garbage collectors. So that's 32 bags or 48 dozen cookies.

Whew, that's a whole lotta baking going on.

Monday, December 09, 2013

The Wikidrummer

A demonstration of how environment affects the acoustical properties of drums. No reverberation is added, the differences are all from where the drumming is being done. I saw this over at Colossal: Art and Visual Culture, No Reverb Added:An Acoustical Experiment in Drumming.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Dogs In Elk

This story has been floating around on the nets for years. I first read it back in 1999 and it is just as funny now as it was then. It is not for the squeamish, being a rather extreme example of life with dogs. And the best part is that it is true.

I present to you: Dogs in Elk.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Eighth Night

Eighth Night by Teckelcar
Eighth Night, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Tonight is the last night of Hanukkah and was the last night for the turkey.

I made a matzoh ball soup using the carcass and leeks. It was fairly easy and tasted great, everybody enjoyed it. Accompanying the soup I made potato latkes. The kids had been pestering me about them all week. Apparently the ones we ate at our congregation's Hanukkah party were not enough. I just needed a night without soccer practice to pull it off. The two worked well together and made for a very yummy meal.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Seventh Night and a Birthday

Seventh Night by Teckelcar
Seventh Night, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today is my husband's birthday. We celebrated with flank steak and chocolate cheesecake, I even got us a nice bottle of wine for the occasion. The dinner prep was a bit rushed, Rebecca had soccer practice at 7. Unfortunately I was a bit slow and for the first time ever her ride was early. So no steak for the girl. The rest of us got to enjoy the steak and she had a nice bowl of her favorite soup when she got home.

Then we broke out the menorahs and lit the candles for the seventh night of Hanukkah.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Ari Lesser - Give Thanks - Hanukkah - Thanksgiving

Sixth Night by Teckelcar
Sixth Night, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Tonight is the sixth night and once again I barely eek out a picture. At this point the candles put out quite a bit iof light and heat, I love how the metal of the taller menorah glows from the reflected light.

since it's movie Monday I found this song that was recorded in the very rare confluence of Hanukkah and the US Thanksgiving. It is a nice upbeat song of thanks for this this very unique time.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Fifth Night

Fifth Night by Teckelcar
Fifth Night, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Missed the past couple of nights due to Shabbat and being crazy busy. That said we did light candles om Saturday night. Since I didn't get home Friday until well after sunset we gave the third night a miss.

Today, however, was our congregation's Hanukkah party and latke fest. The Rabbi pulled out a few of the temple menorahs and lit them. This one, a Vietnam era helicopter , is my favorite. he rotor can be spun around, though that is not recommended when the candles are lit.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Second Night With Some Turkey

turkey by Teckelcar
turkey, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today we celebrated our traditionally very relaxed Thanksgiving with the added bonus of the second night of Hanukkah once all the dishes were cleared away.

With the predicted bad weather for the week I was especially thankful we weren't traveling anywhere farther than the dining room. It turned out the storm only dumped rain on us and today was sunny and clear, but I'm still glad that I didn't do any driving. Instead we had Meryl over. She brought wine and chocolate while we proved the rest.

The turkey was brined this year and was scrumptious. Don't let the dark skin fool you, it was moist and flavorful. Well worth the extra steps and the sharp words I had with the bird on Tuesday. The turkey wasn't thawing on schedule, so I had to speed things along with cold water on Tuesady so I could mess around with it on Wednesday. The cold water worked and it was perfect by Wednesday evening.

Second Night by Teckelcar
Second Night, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I plopped the thawed and rinsed  turkey into a bag with the brine mix which was then put in a large pot with ice. The whole works out then went into the garage that was at about 45 degrees. Todat at about 11am I rinsed the bird and soaked it about half an hour to clear out the excess salt. The turkey went in at 2 and by 5:15 or so was done. A little earlier than I planned, so I had a bit of a scramble to get the biscuits, taters, and such done on time. It all hit the table at about the same time and was very good.

After the main course we had our chocolate course, Meryl's big contribution to the dinner. it made a nice transition between dinner and dessert. And oh yes we did have dessert, pumpkin pie and apple tarte tatin aka apple tarty thingy.

 Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

First Night

First Night by Teckelcar
First Night, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I almost forgot to take a picture, the candles are burnt down to just a pool of wax. But they are still lit.

Today has been a flurry of preparation for turkey day. The obligatory pumpkin pie is tucked away in the fridge along with the cranberry sauce. The turkey is fully thawed, the result of my having words with it yesterday and speeding it along with cold water. Now the bird is brining in a bag and is stashed in the garage (it's about 45 in there) nestled in ice to maintain a safe temperature.

So happy Hanukkah and may your Thanksgiving be peaceful and full of good food.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pomelo Head

Pomelo head by Teckelcar
Pomelo head, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
John is a very patient dog.

He was less than thrilled with my instance of a pomelo rind hat, but he tolerated it long enough for a few pictures. Which was far better than than his brother.

Dell, who believes that things are divided into two categories: food and potential food, was far more interested in eating the rind than wearing it. I should have recorded his attempts at grabbing the rind with his jaws every time I brought it near his head, it was hilarious.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Travel the world via Instragram. Thomas Jullien combined 852 images fro Instagram to create a sort of stop motion trip. It's quite fun and the sound track from the Black Keys was a big plus for me.

An Instagram short film from Thomas Jullien on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I'm Only Human

Bluffin by Teckelcar
Bluffin, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
You see this muffin, doesn't it look delicious? All chocolatey and poofy. You just want to tear into it with a nice glass of milk.

Well it's not.

It is the blandest thing I have ever baked. It was supposed to be a chocolate muffin, Rebecca wanted to make chocolate muffins with me and we had a lovely time. Right up until we tried out the muffins.

They were such a disappointment. I added the upper end of the called for chocolate, but it tasted like I waved a stale bit of chocolate at the batter. Nate came up with the term bluffin, a contraction of bland muffin.

I tried one with some cream cheese frosting and all it did was ruin the frosting. I would have been better off just licking the frosting off the knife. I ended up tossing the last bluffin because nobody, and do mean nobody, wants a second one.

So not everything I bake is good, I'm only human.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Crimson Permanent Assurance

This is one of my all time favorite short features, from the fine folks of Monty Python. Originally slated to be a Terry Gilliam animation during "The Meaning of Life," its scope grew such that Gilliam requested it become live action and a stand alone short at the beginning of the movie. A brilliant satire of the go-go 80's of London.

Friday, November 15, 2013

All Too True

Jacob sent me this image on FaceBook with the note "I think you will find this relevant."

Which is a very accurate description of how I play Skyrim. I have been playing the game for a while ad I entertain my children with my all too frequent announcement "Now I'm going to do something stupid, it's time to do a save." My son totally understands me and I love his dry delivery.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Frosty Morning

Frosty Morning by Teckelcar
Frosty Morning, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
We have had some very frosty mornings the past couple of days, as evidenced by the traceries of frost on the glass tabletop out on the deck. The sudden and rather early plunge in the temperature has caught out a few people in the neighborhood.

The backflow piping for sprinkler systems jut up into the cold air and those that hadn't winterized their systems yet swaddle them up at night to prevent freezing. Then they are forced into running their sprinklers in the predawn hours to keep the water moving. My neighbor was one such vicyom, which surprisd me since he is very handy about the house and fixes his own cars. It turned out he called his guy to winterize their system four weeks ago and they just got around to blowing out all the water today. i wouldn't be surprised if they hire someone else next year.

Meanwhile I'm happy that I never did fire up the lawn sprinklers this year. It was such a wet spring and summer I did not see the point of wasting water and money. As a result,I was already winterized. Being cheap sometimes pays off.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Artist of the Week: What Goes Up

Jacob by Teckelcar
Jacob, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I've been slacking off on the whole Artist of the Week thing Mostly because I have been wanting to feature Jacob and his band, but also due to the intense competition for my computer between yself, Max, and Rebecca. Silly middle schoolers with all their computer based homework.

Anyhoodle, this week's artist is Jacob in his final year of high school marching band.

I took this picture of him at the start of the football team's penultimate regular season game. His grandparents were visiting just to see him march and I was in attendance for my first ever high school football game. It was a beautiful night for football, the weather was clear and mild, much nicer than you would expect for November. We had a grand time and left after the halftime show since we were only there for the band.

Recruitment by Teckelcar
Recruitment, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The previous day I had gone out with the band for a recruitment drive. The idea was to visit several feeder schools, one elementary and two middle, and drum up some excitement for band. All of the students we met were polite, but the elementary kids pictured here were the most receptive. They asked plenty of questions and begged for the band to play a few more songs. Hopefully a few more kids will get turned on to music.

And now for the music, I never did get a proper video of this year's show "What Goes Up." The best I have is of a semi dress rehearsal (they have the be-plumed hats on) with the addition of a pickup truck that was not moved in time. The music was a bit flat, it was pretty darn cold with a wicked wind, but they did do a good job coping with the rogue vehicle.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Winter is Coming

First Snow by Teckelcar
First Snow, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today we got our first snowfall of the season. It didn't stick and it didn't last for very long, but we did get a sustained snow flurry for about an hour.

I was on the phone with my husband when I glanced out the window are saw the first flakes come down. I blurted out with unrestrained glee "It's SNOWING!" Then proceeded to do a happy dance. Hopefully I didn't damage his hearing, I think not since he did sound genuinely happy for me. I'm a northern girl at heart and the first snowfall is always my favorite.

cozy by Teckelcar
cozy, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I know winter won't officially start for quite some time, but I'm ready for it. Our home has a new roof plus skylights and autumn has reached that dreary stage when everything seems dead. The lone holdout is my parsley, which still retains its vibrant shade of green. The weather is cold and our dogs have the right idea of getting all cozy under their blankets.

Monday, November 11, 2013

15 Years of Excitement

Copy of tumble_Nate by Teckelcar
Copy of tumble_Nate, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This is Nate from well over a decade ago and he is still the same silly boy that is almost always in motion. He is almost my height now, it looks like he is just 2 inches shorter than me. that difference, however is not going to last. I swear he has grown a few inches in the past few weeks.

As for his birthday, he didn't get the day off even though it is Veterans' Day. He did, however, get to have a couple of his favorite foods. His request for his birthday treat was cinnamon rolls. He is not a big fan of cake, coffee cake is more his speed.

cinnamon roll by Teckelcar
cinnamon roll, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
He was willing to have me buy him a coffee cake, but I wouldn't hear of it. Dang it, I have made them before and I can certainly make them for my son's birthday. It just meant I had to have them all set to go in the oven before I went to bed and set the oven's time to preheat it so I could pop the rolls in a 5:30 am.

Nate was very pleased with his birthday treat and I think the smell of the cinnamon rolls made everyone wake up a little easier this morning.

Thursday, November 07, 2013


old by Teckelcar
old, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
We have had some big doings over here. As of today we officially have a new roof on our home. For the past three and a half days there has been a crew of guys ripping off the old, starting to leak shingles and replacing with lovely new ones. It's been very loud and I have been blocked from our garage and driveway from the assorted roofing materials and truck filling up the driveway. Plus there is the added joy of schlepping across the front yard to get to our vehicles.

I know, first world problems. However, I did have to drag a 40 bag of dog kibble across the lawn to replace the empty one.

Anyway, part of the whole re-roofing was the replacement of our seven (!) skylight, one in each of the upstairs bathrooms and the remaining five in the ceiling above the rear portion of the house. The top picture is on of the downstairs skylights with the old window. It's almost opaque, there is no view and the light is fairly dim.

new by Teckelcar
new, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Here is the adjacent skylight with the new crystal clear window.

I was shocked by the difference. I knew the previous skylights were not particularly good, but I didn't know how bad they were until now.

My eyes are continuously drawn to the new view. I just can't get over how much better the new skylights are. And the improvements don't stop there, the windows are far more energy efficient. The glass is insulated and sealed which could potentially lead to lower fuel bills in the winter and the summer.

In the meantime I'm going to enjoy the new view.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013


Done by Teckelcar
Done, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I voted today, sometime around 10:30 am. I like to avoid the morning rush, but still have the rest of my day. After I fed my ballot into the scanner I found out I was voter # 819 for my district, a pretty good turnout for fairly early in the day. The best part was as I walked out of polling place with the knowledge I was done with this very ugly election cycle. The two major candidates were awful, as I explained to a friend it was as though the barrel was emptied. And they were scraped out from the bottom. In fact The Richmond Times Dispatch refused to endorse any of the candidates, a pretty shocking state of affairs.

 I'm just glad it's over along with all the political phone calls that have been tying up our phones.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Handspring Puppet Co

 Saturday I got to see the stage version of War Horse courtesy of Meryl. I wanted to see the movie, but missed it so I was thrilled when Meryl invited me to go with her. I knew going in that puppets were used instead of horses and I had a vague idea of what they looked like, however I was blow away by the creations in action. The construction and the manipulation of the puppets resulted in a very life like horse. The mannerisms and movement are spot on.

I found this video about the manufacture, Handspring Puppet Co. Based in Cape Town South Africa, they build the puppets almost entirely by hand.

Sunday, November 03, 2013


Meimei by Teckelcar
Meimei, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Meryl has gotten a new kitten and I have had the pleasure of being amongst the first to meet her.She a former feral and is a bit skittish, but Meimei is warming up to me.

She has a gloriously loud purr, I call it thunder purr. I can clearly hear her when I'm playing with her with the laser pointer. It is so much fun watching her zoom about with such obvious joy.

And a bit of joy is always something to be appreciated.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Friday Night Lights

Under the Lights by Teckelcar
Under the Lights, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
For the first time ever I went to a high school football game. Though in reality I was just there for the band.

it's Jacob's senior year and I realized that if I was ever going to go to a game I should get off my duff and actually go to one. It was the penultimate regular season game with nothing particularly special about it. My in-laws were in town and we decided it would be fun to go to the game. We would watch the first half of the game, the band's halftime show, and then head on back home.

It was a beautiful night for football, the weather mild with the rain holding off until after halftime and even then it was just a fine mist. I had fun chatting with Larry's mom and not watching the game (It was expected to be a rout and our high school did not disappoint, only one touch down by the visitors). I alsogot a kick out of the warm reception I got from the band members as I walked past. They are a nice bunch of kids and I'm glad my son is one of their number.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

It's Alive! by Teckelcar
It's Alive!, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
and "It's Alive!"

Since  I already showed you Rebecca's costume, here is Max. He wanted to be Dr. Horrible this year so I ordered a child-sized lab coat and had Max look for Jacob's old safety glasses. With his maniacal laughter and messy blond hair, Max pretty much nailed it.

As for the pumpkin portion of the evening, I held it down to just six this year. The pumpkins were outrageously expensive and never had the price drop like previous years. I did, however, get a spontaneous discount at the checkout. The cashier knew they were selling two different sizes of pumpkins, the $8 jumbo and the $5. She didn't feel like sorting through my mess and sold the whole lot at the $5 price with statement that the "The store needs to sell these off."


So anyhoodle, click on this link and it will take you to my 2013 Halloween photo set.
Rebecca's pumpkin by Teckelcar
Rebecca's pumpkin, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First Frost

First Frost by Teckelcar
First Frost, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This weekend we had our first frost and it was a killing one for the tomato plants and the basil. Which, considering how weedy they all looked, was not a bit surprising. The parsley, on the other hand, shook off the cold weather and is as green and vibrant as ever.

Interestingly the second of our two black swallowtail caterpillars has yet to form a chrysalis/pupa and I thought it was a goner from the cold. It warmed up enough today that the caterpillar was once again moving, just very slowly. I wonder if it will ever move on to the next stage or did it wait too long.

Monday, October 28, 2013


A beautiful science fiction love story that moves through time and space, found over at Short of the Week.

RECORD/PLAY from jesse atlas on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Little Witch

little witch by Teckelcar
little witch, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This weekend Rebecca was invited to attend a "Trunk or Treat" with a friend in the neighborhood. It was a first time for anybody in our family. I've been aware of such things for years, but never bothered since our kids got plenty of candy in our neighborhood.

I don't know when Rebecca got invited, but the first I heard of it was Friday afternoon right before we headed out for services.  Rebecca did apologize for the late noticed and then wanted to know if she could get a new costume.

Ah... no.

She had one from last year that still fit and since this was most likely her last year I wasn't willing to spring for a new one. Plus add in a busy day Saturday, there wasn't any time. She would have to make do with an old costume or cobble one together with all the stuff we already have.

And this is what she put together: a feathery witches hat she picked up for a couple of dollars last year, a long dress, a cape we had knocking about, a decorative broom (the lone survivor when I made a Harry Potter brooms for all four), a stuffed cat as her familiar in her candy bucket, silver shoes a la Wizard of Oz, and my stripey witch socks. I think it came out rather well and as a finishing touch I painted her finger nails dark (almost black) blue.

Rebecca was very pleased and had a devilishly good time.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Just 19 Days Later

October Beach by Teckelcar
October Beach, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I can't believe a mere 19 days ago I was at he beach and happily frolicking in the waves. It was a perfect day for the beach and we were able to go out and enjoy the last day of summer weather.

Now it is sock weather and I'm wearing a sweater as I write this post. I can't imagine willingly stepping into the ocean now. Yesterday the upstairs' heating system kicked on for the first time with the annual burning off of the dust on the heater coil and thus setting off the smoke detectors. The summer weather is clearly over here in central Virginia.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Semi-Dress Rehearsal

band by Teckelcar
band, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today was the last rehearsal before the big high school marching band state assessment. The band director had the kids wear hats, gloves, and marching shoes for this last run through. Parents were invited to attend to give it more of a feel as a performance than just another afternoon marching around in the parking lot.

The band has come a long way since the preview show I got to see way back in August. They know the music and their marks, hopefully it will a bit warmer Saturday than the 55 degrees today. I wish I could see them, but alas with two soccer games and a lacrosse game, I have to be home shuttling kids with larry.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Chrysalis by Teckelcar
Chrysalis, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Not so long ago I shared a picture of a black swallowtail caterpillar in my parsley. Another one showed up the next day and I have been keeping tabs on them for the past week and a half. One of them went missing and I discovered what happened to it. According to this site, the chrysalis resembles a stick and I must agree. It blended in so well with the tomato stake I had in the pot that I almost missed it.

Supposedly it will emerge as a butterfly in about ten days, unless it is in diapause. If it is in diapause, it will over winter in the chrysalis form and emerge in springtime. With the brisk weather we have had the past few days, my money is on spring. I'll try to protect it until then.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Two Chips

A short animation film by Adam Patch using a joke his wife told him after a bottle of wine.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Raspberry Drop

Raspberry by Teckelcar
Raspberry, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Last week Jacob was having a little late nigt snack of raspberries when he noticed the water drop on top of the one he was about to eat. He marveled at how the surface tension of the water held it in domed shape. Thenhe showed me the berry with it's water drop and asked me to take a picture.

I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. II took three shots and this one (the third) was the best. I used the microwave's door as a backdrop, I knew the black surface would show off the droplet perfectly. A little tweaking of the color and crop that tightened up the photo was all that I did.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy 12th Birthday to Rebecca and Max

Rebecca and Max by Teckelcar
Rebecca and Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today marked the 12th birthday of my favorite set of Twins. They didn't get to go to the beach today, but they did not so long ago. We had just the two of them and they had a great time. They did separate things, building sand castles for Max and goofing off in the waves for Rebecca, and came together to bury each other in the sand. It'd max's turn here and a short while later Rebecca was buried by Max.

It's nice to see them play so well together. They bicker and argue, but that's what siblings do. The main thing is that deep down they do care for each other and get along fairly well. They are separate individuals and they make that clear on a regular basis.

Pumpkin pie by Teckelcar
Pumpkin pie, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Take for instance their birthday treats. We have a long standing tradition that on your birthday you get some sort of treat for breakfast. It can be cookies, cake, what ever you want within reason. Max was easy to guess, he loves pumpkin pie and that's all I needed to know.

Rebecca was a bit trickier. I knew chocolate would be involved, but what form? She spent a day mulling it over and came back to me with a request for a chocolate eclair pie.

Ooo a new challenge!

chocolate eclair pie by Teckelcar
chocolate eclair pie, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I spent some time searching, it was hard because most recipes call for instant vanilla pudding and graham crackers. Which, for me, is a big no. I knew there had to be at least one from scratch recipe and after some careful searching I found it over at Food.com, Delicious Chocolate Eclair Pie.

It was pretty easy to make, just time consuming. I got a little taste of it while assembling and it is well worth the extra time, it tastes just lke an eclair.

unfortunately it wasn't quite what Rebecca wanted. The dessert she had in mind was more of a double crusted custard pie with chocolate drizzled on top. She at first rejected it, but after a bit of pressure from to at least try it before condemning it, she gave it a shot. Turns out she liked the pie despite it not being quite right.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Story of the Poplars

A story about an Italian man's 40 years of building an incredible kinetic carnival that all started with a restaurant under the poplars. From an article I read over at Colossal.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Suburban Deer

Suburban Deer by Teckelcar
Suburban Deer, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Friday I stepped out on the deck and saw our deer were out in the backyard. I say our deer because this is the family grouping we regularly see, a couple of does with their fawns and, most recently, a buck or two.  And amazingly enough the deer did not spook, nor did the dogs wake up. I was able to slide back inside and grab my camera.

I was able to spend a good chunk of time taking pictures and moving about on the deck. The trick was to move slowly and quietly and have the camera on quite mode.

A quick aside here, the quite mode is my default. I really dislike all the bloops. beeps, and bleats digital cameras make. All I want to the simple sound of the shutter release and nothing more.

My Backyard by Teckelcar
My Backyard, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Anyhoodle, we have a lot of deer. I still think they are beautiful, but they are a nuisance. We can't have much in the way of flowering plants, they are a road hazard in the neighborhood, and they drive the dogs crazy. At this point I call them the tall rats. Even when they nicely line up for a group photo. Well except for the little guy, but kids are like that.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Handsome Fellow

Handsome Fellow by Teckelcar
Handsome Fellow, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Rebecca announced today that there was another large caterpillar out on the deck. This one, however, wasn't as large or as gross as the previous denizen of our deck garden and was in the parsley, not the tomatoes.

Intrigued, I grabbed my camera and followed Rebecca out to the deck. It took her a moment, but she was able to find the caterpillar in question.

About an inch and a half long, it was a substantial sized critter. After a little bit of research I found out that it is the caterpillar form of the  Black Swallowtail butterfly. Interestingly enough it is also known as the parsley worm and that is exactly where Rebecca found it.

I hope it survives the upcoming winter because it's a bit late for butterflies around here and this is one of my favorites.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Artist of the Week: Even More Sand

Max by Teckelcar
Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
A very cheerful and wet Max is the Artist of the week.

I was only able to get this picture of him not building a sand castle by snagging him while he was tearing about. As you can see he was more than happy to oblige me and my camera, then he was off running about, in and out of the water. He and his brother Nate are both studies in motion. they need to go, go. go and get very fidgety when forced to keep still. Mind you if they are involved in a book or a project they can settle right down, but if their mind isn't engaged they can not throttle down the activity levels.

Building by Teckelcar
Building, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Case in point, when we went to the beach on Sunday Max spent most of his time building his sand castle/city. He was very upfront bout his plans when we were packing to go, I had him pick out which boogie board he would like to take. He pointed at one and said he didn't really need it since he was planning on building in the sand and would not be using the board very much.

And that was exactly what went down. He spend a brief time in the water, but most of his time was spent digging, shaping, and moving sand. Max is very passionate about his sand creations and will happily spend hours mucking about on a beach.

And passion is what you need to create art.