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.