Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Artist of the Week: Salsa!

This week's artist is Jacob's trumpet teacher, or rather one of his many bands. Bio Ritmo, the band, has been around for a while and Mark is one of the horn players. His main instrument is the cornet, but he plays trumpet just as well. As for the video, it was shot around Richmond including the restaurant Cuba Cuba.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014


SprungSpring is at full throttle around here. The wisteria has exploded out of the azaleas, yellow tree pollen is everywhere, and the dogwoods are in full bloom. I love autumn for the crisp nights, but really spring is where it is at in the south.

We broke out the mowers this weekend, our lawn was a shaggy mess and desperately needed attention. There wasn't too much drama starting the tractor, it had one tire in need of air and the battery needed a boost. the one tricky bit was when Larry was almost done mowing and the mower deck quit working. Luckily it as just a cotter pin working loose and I knew all about it from last year. Technically it wasn't a cotter pin as I had used a heavy duty paper clip, but the end result was the same. This time I used a heavy duty key ring (sans keys) to hold the bits together. I am the queen of ad hoc tractor repair.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Writer's Block

A gang of convicts attempt to make a break from the prison for criminally poor writers.
Writers' Block from W├ľNKY Films on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Defender of the Home

Defender of the HomeWe acquired a plastic sword last year, it had been left in our yard during Halloween and since no one came looking for it so it has become part of our arsenal. Which means it spends a fair amount of time on the floor.

Today we looked down and saw John stretched out next to it, peacefully snoozing away. I took a few pictures and decided to go one better, I slid the sword over a bit and draped John's paw over the grip. He briefly looked up to see what was going on and went right back to sleep. He looks like such a valiant defender of the home. A job he takes very seriously in regards to deer, squirrels, birds. and the occasional rabbit. It just has to fit in his nap schedule.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Passover Ends with an Earth Day

Sunset today marks the end of another Passover. It was very nice that this year Passover coincided with the school's spring break. I only had to deal with packing school lunches for two days that were in line with Passover.It's not easy coming up with a palatable school lunch that is Passover friendly. Max today had the old peanut butter and matzoh sandwich and Rebecca opted for tomato soup on Monday.

So it is hard to live without regular bread and it's amazing how many things you have in your pantry that are off limits. However it is not all bread of affliction , we also get to have some amazing desserts like this chocolate tort. Ground almonds, butter, chocolate, eggs, sugar, and a smidgen of matzoh cake meal result in a delicious treat that gets topped with whipped cream.

 Dell and JohnMeanwhile today was Earth Day. I normally pay little heed to this particular celebration, but this year NASA was having a Global Selfie Day. I decided the red boys could join in the fun. I printed out a sign and plopped them on a bench for their photo session. They honestly didn't care about the whole thing, but they did like being outside during some gorgeous spring weather.

I think they would rather be celebrating Earth Day in a proper dachshund fashion like this guy being featured on Dream Dachshund rescue's Facebook page. Another good picture can be found over here. Earth Day done as only how an earth dag can do it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Amanda Shires - Bulletproof (Live from Rhythm N' Blooms 2013)

I like to listen to the relatively local radio station WNRN, it is based in Charlottesville and plays a wide variety of music. The station is a sort of semi-professional college rado station. As a result i get to hear a fair amount of music before it becomes big. Case in point is this lovely song by Amanda Shires. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy Passover!

Getting ReadyToday was the first day of Passover and tonight was our congregation's Second night Community Seder. It is a small congregation, but it has a solid can do attitude and we self cater this big event. We make the whole thing, from matzoh ball soup, to two kinds of meat, taters and so on in the synagogue's kitchen while various desserts brought in (I made a rather decadent dark chocolate torte that was inhaled).

So this was the sight that greeted me when I arrived. Salads were being set up in the area next to the main hall. When it was time to settle down for the meal a couple of people from each table would bring them in. I thought it was a beautiful sight and promptly dug out my camera. I think there were 90 salads made and all but three were eaten. As always it was a great meal and a wonderful service. A nice way to start passover.

Monday, April 14, 2014

AKC National Obedience Championship: Man's Bond with His Dog

Such an amazing bond between man and dog. It is particularly remarkable since bull terriers are not known as an "obedience breed," they do not live to please. You have to convince them that it is a good idea. That said, the two work together and have done amazing things such as garnering an invite to the AKC obedience championship.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Diary of Clouds

April 10, 20014Since I have been unable to find a regular photo challenge to my liking I have set up a tumblr called A Diary of Clouds. In it I am going to post a daily picture of clouds. This turned out to be quite a challenge yesterday since the sky was pretty much cloudless until sunset and that was a close thing since I don't have a clear view of the horizon near my home. Luckily I knew a nice wide open spot near soccer practice and I was able to scoot on over at the last moment.

There will be no words, just pictures. I like having a regular challenge and I like how this makes me look up and around.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

We Interupt the Soccer

Lacrosse For a bit of Lacrosse.

I'm the soccer parent, I shuttle Max and Rebecca all over the place for their practices and games, when there is a conflict Larry pitches in. Nate, on the other hand, plays lacrosse. Larry loves the sport as well and was instrumental in getting Nate's school approved to field an actual lacrosse team next year. 

In the mean time Nate is on yet another team, but at least some of his current teammates are potential player's for his school's team next year. They are doing all right, they have won a couple of games so far and have lost some as well. It is a young team and it shows great promise. In a few years I think they will be a force to reckon. I saw my first game yesterday, for once it didn't conflict with my other duties. Nate had earlier asked if I would ever go and I realized that this was my big opportunity. It was fun, even with my extremely limited knowledge of the sport. Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in a few more games.

Oh and just so you know, Nate is the one in red socks. With the helmets and pads on they all look the same so I really appreciated his choice of socks.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Artist of the Week: Of Wizards and Weavings

This week's artist is Rebecca.

Her artwork was once again included in this year's school district art show. Two of her pieces were included,  one being the weaving behind her head and the other being a clay sculpture.

Rebecca told me that her weaving was a depiction of the seasons. Winter is at the top, all white and very stark. Then there is a transition into spring with the addition of green, then followed by a few more colors for summer.  I like he colors she used and how she varied the weaving so that the warp yarn was at times visible. It works well in breaking up the white of the weft and the overall effect is that of snow melting. A nice little piece of weaving indeed

Now on to the clays culture.

The students were asked by the art teacher to create a wizard. In their journals the wizard was described and given various powers.  This is what Rebecca wrote:

My fox wizard can be invisible any time of day. She can not be seen on camera while invisible. And she can run super fast. And she can shoot lighting balls.

Her weakness is being tickled.

(Her journal had been set out for all to see.)

I like her little fox wizard. The cloak enveloping it w\has a lovely pattern of flowers and leaves. I think Rebecca is quite proud of her creation since she deliberately wore her fox t-shirt to the show.

Well done my darling daughter, you should be proud.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Rifle drillYou know you live in the South and or a rural area when an integral component of a field trip involves the students learning how to handle civil was era guns.

That said, it was an educational field trip. Max's class went to Pamplin Park and we learned a great deal about life during the civil war. They have a huge collection of artifacts and a great audio tour of the museum. The guides were knowledgeable about the subject and were great at keeping us moving along while engaging the kids. This was not the first time for Max, but it was for me and I'm so glad I elected to chaperone. I learned quite a bit on this trip and would recommend Pamplin Park to any one visiting the area.

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Finish Line 2

A very moving short about one team's response to their beloved coach's diagnoses with ALS.

The Finish Line 2 - Short Feature from Evolve Digital Cinema | IMG on Vimeo.

Friday, April 04, 2014


Pillow Tunnel I was in bed reading when I noticed this little tunnel in the pillows next to me. It is not the most exciting of subject matter, but I like it.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

The Return of My Nemesis

nemesisI think it is really and truly spring now.

My beloved crab apple tree is leafing out which means its flower buds should be shortly  coming along. This also heralds the return of my nemesis, the tent caterpillar.

This morning as I was hustling Nate off to his ride i espied this tent in my tree. I didn't have time to deal with, what with three other kids having to be pushed out the door. But this afternoon I made time to deal with it and literally nip it in the bud. The offending tent was cut off alon with it's branch. I trimmed away the excess branch and triple bagged the whole mess with the final bag an old, but serviceable resealable plastic baggie. i tossed the lot into the trash and was happy to move.

Unfortunately I saw another tent higher up in the tree. It looks like I'll be vacuuming the tree in the near future.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Morning Undulatus

Normally I would do Artist of the week, but this week it's all about clouds.

Today during the morning dog walk I noticed the sky was filled with the most amazing clouds. Shyly peeking out were all sorts of striated patterns. I think this is called Altostratus Undulatus, but I could be wrong. It is not very easy to get a clear cut description of cloud types. Wrong or right I was just happy I had my cell phone in my pocket. I happily snapped pictures along the walk whenever the dogs stopped to read their p-mail.

And it was a good thing that I did. By mid-morning the clouds were all gone. We had a brilliantly sunny day with a cloudless sky. A nice change of pace from the endless cycles of rain/snow/slush with gloomy clouds. It was starting to feel like Spring and it's attendant warmer weather would never come.

So here are a few of the pictures I took this morning.

The top picture was just after I turned out of our driveway and first noticed the sky. It looks all dramatic with the darker clouds lower down on the horizon. As I walked along the clouds thinned out and you could see more and more of the wavy pattern.

In the middle picture, taken just ten minutes later you can see the sky has brightened quiet a bit. I think the three parallel lines in the lower left are old contrails. Maybe.

The last picture is my favorite.The sun is higher up and is providing some wonderful light that really shows off the pattern. I'm so glad I had grabbed my phone on the way out this morning.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014