Tuesday, December 18, 2007

OpOrder for Santa's Visit

To: ALL Marines
From: Goode, U. B., Commanding Officer

Ref: Operation Order 12-15-07 for: Official Visit of Lieutenant
General Santa Claus

1. An official staff visit by Lieutenant General Claus is expected at your house on 25 December. The following directives govern activities of all Marines during the visit.

a. Not a creature will stir without permission. This includes warrant officers and mice. Marines may obtain special stirring permits for necessary administrative action through the Battalion S-1. Officer stirring permits must be obtained through the Deputy, Post Plans and Policy Office.

b. All personnel will settle their brains for a long winter nap NLT 2200, 24 December. Uniform for the nap will be: Pajamas, Cotton, Light Weight, General Purpose, OG, and Cap, Utility woodland pattern, with ear flaps in the extended position. Equipment will be drawn from the supply room prior to 2130. While at supply, all personnel will review their personal hand receipts and sign a Cash Collection Voucher, DD Form 1131, for all missing items. Remember, this is the 'season of giving.'

c. Personnel will utilize standard 'MRE' ration sugar plums for visions to dance through their heads. Sugar plums are available in MRE ration sundry packs and should be eaten with egg loaf, chopped ham, and spice cake to ensure maximum visions are experienced.

d. Stockings, Wool, Cushion Sole, will be hung by the chimneys with care. Necessary safety precautions will be taken to avoid fires caused by carelessly hung stockings. First Sergeants will submit stocking handling plans to S-3, Training prior to 0800, 24 December. All Gunnery Sergeants will ensure their subordinate personnel are briefed on the safety aspects of stocking hanging.

e. At first sign of clatter, all personnel will spring from their racks to investigate and evaluate the cause. Immediate action will be taken to tear open the shutters and throw up the window sashes. On order OPLAN 7-2006 (North Pole), paragraph 6-8 (c) (3), dated 4 March, this office, takes effect to facilitate shutter tearing and sash throwing. Staff Noncommissioned Offices and Noncommissioned Officers will be familiar with procedures and are responsible for seeing that no shutters are torn or sashes thrown in house prior to the start of official clatter.

f. Prior to 0001, date of visit, all personnel possessing Standard Target Acquisition and Night Observation (STANO) equipment will be assigned 'wandering eyeball' stations. The Company Gunnery Sergeants will ensure that these stations are adequately manned even after shutters are torn and sashes are thrown.

g. The Battalion S-4, in coordination with the National Security Agency and the Motor Pool will assign on each Sleigh, Miniature, M-24 and eight reindeer, tiny, for use by Lieutenant General Claus. The assigned driver must have a current sleigh operator's license with roof top permit and evidence of attendance at the winter driving class stamped on his DA Form 348. Driver must also be able to clearly shout 'On Dancer, On Dasher, etc.'

2. Lieutenant General Claus will initially enter house through the Company Office.

a. All houses without chimneys will draw Chimney Simulator, M6A2 for use during the visit. Draw chimney simulator on DA Form 2765-1, which will be submitted in four copies to the S-4 prior to 23 December.

b. Personnel will ensure that chimneys are properly cleaned before turn-in at the conclusion of visit.

3. All Staff Noncommissioned Offices and Noncommissioned Officers will be rehearsed in the shouting of 'Merry Christmas and Happy New Year' or 'Merry Christmas to All and To All a Good Night.' This shout will be given upon termination of the visit. Uniformity of shouting is the responsibility of each Company Gunnery Sergeant.

Semper Fidelis,

Commanding Officer

Monday, December 17, 2007

Stormy Weather

Well we got some snow, but not quite as much as we expected.
This shot is for Gayle who wanted to know.

Looks like about 9" in the front yard.
And yes I did drag my 9 year old out into the snow at 7:00 this morning in order to take a picture.
Hey, she wore boots.
Look at all that snow we tracked in. Yikes.
One of my wreaths fell down. I thought it looked kind of sad and depressing so I took a picture of it. I didn't pick it up, though. That would have taken too much effort.The other one blew away or was stolen a few weeks ago. I still haven't gotten to A.C. Moore to get a new one. It's just a fake wreath but still I wonder what happened to my other one. If it blew away down the street, where is it now?

Now I thought I would fill a post with some Christmas pictures. They're not great, but then neither are my decorating skills.
And you can tell I took these before the snow came. How can you tell?
Because all you can see are pine needles on the ground. I hate those things.
My kids were PISSED this morning. And when I say PISSED, I mean PISSED, all in capital letters. They were soooo set for a snow day but didn't get one. All the schools on the other side of Rochester got one and all the Buffalo schools are closed, but from Batavia east to Rochester all the schools are open. Kind of a weird turn of events because we usually get more snow than they do on the other side, but you never can tell which way Mother Nature is going to throw the snow. She's a fickle woman (and remember, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature.").
Since we're not getting out of the 30s at all this week so I think it is safe to say that we'll have a Bing Crosby kind of Christmas.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tea, Glorious Tea

It's Christmas time.
Some of you may have heard that.
Subsequently many places have things on sale - deeply on sale.
What I hate is the marketing that leads you to believe something is on sale for the first and only time so you have to buy it.
I think I feed into that by my experiences living overseas.
In the military commissary or exchange, if you did not buy an item when you saw it you may never see it again. Or you may have to wait months to have it shipped over on a slow boat to China, or Okinawa, or wherever the place may be.
When we first moved to England we were in the commissary and I was looking for baking soda. Every good home should have at least one box, right?
The commissary had none.
For weeks.
Of course we could shop in the local grocery, which for us was Waitrose. I miss that store. I miss that country!
Anyway, I'm here to talk about tea.
Have you checked out Adagio Teas lately?
They have some great sales.
Truly amazing sales.
I bought the Ingenious Teapot for a gift but was interested in seeing what it looked like so I opened it up for myself and decided to give it a try. (A present! For me?!?! Aw, you shouldn't have!)

This thing is awesome!!
Wait, let me find another superlative.
Can't live without-able.
Yeah, that's it.
I looked at this piece of plastic and thought, how is it supposed to get the brewed tea from the pot to my cup, but it works!
I'm enjoying a cup right now.
I may have to get an extra one to take to work so I can enjoy some loose tea without any mess.
All you need is one teaspoon of tea and some hot water and Voila! you have a cuppa.
If you're going to buy one thing for yourself this Christmas, get thee to Adagio and get the starter set while it is on sale.
No, they're not paying me to say this - I'm doing it because I love it!
And I've only used it twice!
Alright, I'm stopping now because I'm using too many exclamation points and I need to go punish myself by cleaning the house.
Right after I finish my tea.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Late Night Things

It's 11:00 at night and guess where I am.
If you said buying groceries then you guessed correctly.
You win absolutely nothing except the satisfaction of being right. Tell me, how does that feel?
Anyway, I was in my pajamas and ready for bed when I started listening to the weather forecast.
Then I got scared.
These guys aren't kidding around.
They even threw out the big numbers - up to 24"?!?!
Holy cow, and here I am almost out of toilet paper.
We've got a lot of bathroom action going on with 6 people in the house, soon to be 7 (DN1's friend is coming to stay for a while) and you know I'll be needing my Charmin.
So I heard the forecast, got scared and got up out of bed and headed for the grocery store.
I know it is going to be packed tomorrow and we have to go to DN2's swim meet in the afternoon and DH's company holiday party at night and by the time we get back from that I fully expect to be snowed in by Monday.
Not a bad thing, actually, but people expect me to be at work.
Especially when I walk around bragging about how I can walk in and not have to clean a car.
When the inclement weather comes what do they expect? Me to be there.
Sheesh, what a big mouth I have, right?
Hopefully I'll get some knitting done this weekend. It is time to take stock of the UFOs and figure out what can become an FO and what can become unraveled.
I'll leave you with a picture of DN2 in a silly hat - hey, at 11:00 the store is empty except for the guys cleaning the floor. Next time we'll head in at 3:00 AM and see what they're up to.
Enjoy your weekend!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Looks like we will be getting some more snow.
We have an advisory from 0700 to 1900 (that's 7-7). Last year we had a brownish kind of Christmas, there was no snow, but this year I think we will have some white stuff on the ground, especially since our temperatures haven't risen above the 30s in 2 weeks.
But I'm still walking to work!
How about that, eh?
School is over for me for the semester and now I'm waiting on my final grade.
I'm also waiting to hear about the graduate program.
All of this is an exercise in patience while at the same time I'm going crazy because I have not finished all of my Christmas shopping!
I've barely put a dent in it.
And then I haven't talked with people I should be talking to, like my brother Ken.
By the way, Ken, Bill R. wants to know how you are doing.
And so do I.
All of you in the South think of us in the northeast who will be getting yet even more snow which will probably impact our ability to shop.
I may end up doing a lot of shopping at Wegmans - gift cards!!!
Have you finished all of your shopping?
Oh, almost forgot to tell you something.
Went to a parent-teacher conference for DN2 yesterday and found out that she has been tested as reading at above a fifth grade level.
She's in third grade.
I'm truly impressed.
See, these books in my house are good for something besides insulation, right?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I Haven't Disappeared

No, I'm still here.
Just uber-busy with work and finishing up my final paper for class. I spent a good part of the weekend getting that completed and turned in, now I'm just doing the waiting game to find out if it was FANTASTIC or a piece of crap.
I did take time out to see The Golden Compass -- I'll have to tell you what I thought of it later.
Until then here are pictures of some of my Christmas cacti that are blooming, remarkably, at Christmas!

Jennifer, recognize this one?

Oh, and I've been wasting time loading up my books into Library Thing. It is so much fun to just look at the covers of the books, I can't even begin to tell you.
Simple minds, simple pleasures, right?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sugar High

What a weekend!
It's close to Christmas so you know everyone is packing all sorts of activities into each and every weekend leading up until Christmas. Well it all seems to begin with Black Friday and then just accelerates from there.
Friday night DN2 and I went shopping at the historic mansion in town where they held the Candlelight Christmas sale. Always a crowded event.
Saturday we all went shopping at the mall for some Christmas presents but you know we only put a dent in what needs to be purchased.
Sounds like I have a lot of money, right?
Not so.
Debt is what I have.
DN2 and I spent 3 extra hours at church yesterday where they were having a Craft Sunday. It was actually a lot of fun. We decorated ornaments, made pinecones covered in peanut butter and bird seed, made cards and gingerbread houses and deocrated gingerbread men.
Then last night at 5:00 they had the village Christmas tree lighting followed by the candlelight walk. I kept telling DN2, Now we're not walking the entire route. Okay, okay, Mom, she said.
Guess who walked the entire route and didn't get home until after 6:00.
But we ended up walking with the same people from last year and knew a few more people this year around, so it was actually a bit more intimate.
Cold too, because the 2+ inches of snow that we had fall overnight added to the atmosphere.
This was followed by some great cookies at the Episcopal church and we even brought some home. So it was a true cookie weekend.
Now if only I could take Monday off to recover.
Or just hide under the covers like Benno here.

Friday, November 30, 2007

4 Kids Later...

Last night I came downstairs and walked through the living room to the kitchen.
As DH told me later, DN2 turned to him and said, "Mommy took off her bra."
He looked at her and asked, "How do you know?"
"Because her boobs are all droopy."
Thanks for noticing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How Your Friends Can Influence You

Caroline, Caroline, what have you done.
I was so happy having just 200 books loaded into my LibraryThing.
But no, your recent post about books prompted me to think, what the heck.
$25 for a lifetime membership is not a bad price to pay to catalog my books.
And to be able to swap what I don't want or need!
What a bad influence you are on me, and if DH asks I'm just going to blame you.
So live with the guilt.
I've now cataloged 336 books - up 136 from two days ago.
Don't you know I have enough other "real life" stuff to do??
But seriously, if you have books at home, check out LibraryThing.
The first 200 books you load are free and you can also post it to your blog.
Look down to the left right now.
Go ahead, I'll wait.
Do you see it?
Go down some more - down below that outdated HP ad.
Where it reads, "Random Books from My Library".
See it now?
You can click on "My Library" and check out some of my books if you'd like, but even better, go get your own account.
If you decide to upgrade to a paid membership it is $10 a year or $25 for lifetime. Better get in on the lifetime memberships now, I say, right Kat?
Loads of fun for all you bibliophiles out there, yes, I'm talking about you.
Caveat lector!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another November, another birthday

Someone else in my house is celebrating a November birthday.
SN1 turns 23 today.
No drinking tonight, though, because I have class and he has to work and that's why we celebrated yesterday.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

2nd Annual Christmas/Holiday CD Review

Here we are again, folks.
Last year I wrote about some Christmas CDs I had purchased and I thought I would do it again this year. Since I always make it a point to buy newly released Christmas CDs each year why not share whether I think they're good or not, right?
And of course if you disagree then by all means let me know.
I'm (sometimes) open to suggestions and won't (always) hold a grudge.
All ratings are based on a 4-star scale - I like to think of this as your Michelin guide to Christmas CDs.
And here we go!

The first one is by Marie Osmond. Might as well start with the most popular (but not most talented) dancer on Dancing with the Stars (DWTS). Not that I watch the show, mind you. Marie is riding a wave of popularity right now and I am just not sure what caused the resurgence. After all Wayne Newton was on DWTS and you don't see anyone running out to get his Christmas CD featuring "Danke Schoen" although we might be a bit inclined to watch "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" on a more regular basis. Marie's CD was a bargain at The Devil's Store - only $9.99. Isn't it sad that I consider the waste of $10 on a coaster in a plastic jewel case a bargain? Sad, sad commentary on our world but what's worse is QVC is selling this thing for $19.97!!! Plus shipping and handling! Wow. I'm in shock. Let me regroup for a sec.Okay, so this was the first CD I bought this year. Thought it would be good, after all I grew up as a Donny fan and used to watch Donny and Marie on Friday nights. Tells you a lot about my teenage years, right? So with hope in my heart I put Marie's CD into my Bose radio for a listen while I washed the dishes (or moved them around in the sink or something). Little did I know that saucy Brittany from the Chipettes had taken over Marie's voice. Now I was always under the impression that your voice is supposed to get deeper as you get older and I never expected Marie to have that whisky and soda-type voice like Suzanne Pleshette or Lauren Bacall, but she seriously sounds like she's coming down off of a helium high. DN2 wanted to listen to the Chipmunk sing but she didn't get it. I think she's caught up in Marie's beauty mark and thinks that is a sign of a good CD - how pretty the person looks on the cover. If that's the case then I don't know how Iggy Pop is still selling CDs. Oh wait, talent, that's what it is that sells CDs. Well Marie has it but it is just not evident here. The CD works best when Marie's son or her brothers are singing lead and Marie chirps out a harmony.
Number of stars: 1 1/2 (and I'm being generous)

Who doesn't like some Toby Keith? Well I know there are people out there who just don't get how awesome a big hunk of man he is (your loss), but I like him just fine. So I was ready to be overwhelmed by his CD A Classic Christmas.Now Toby comes as a double. Imagine that, double the TK. Not a bad deal really when QVC will sell Marie Osmond to any shill for twice the price for only one crappy CD. And Toby Keith's Classic Christmas is actually a very nicely done CD. If you like Toby Keith. I asked DN2, "So how did you like this?" She replied, "Not at all." Well she is kind of a purist (for a 9 year old) when it comes to "Go Tell it on the Mountain" - don't ask me why - so she doesn't like Toby's faster version of the song. I could not care less one way or the other (I'm obsessed with "O Holy Night") so it was just one song to get through. But you know Toby is normally an over-the-top, in-your-face performer and all about being loud and dogmatic. Surprisingly enough he is respectful of many of the songs on this album, playing them at the proper tempo and with a large amount of reverence. Even nicer is that there are two volumes, so if one CD (for me it's volume one) floats your boat more than the other you're not really missing out on anything. It was a good purchase for me. Well and also because I entered a contest on Toby's website and he's going to let me win a Ford truck (so don't even try). Yee haw!!
Number of stars: 3

Since I was feeling it Country style I also bought another Christmas CD. After all I do live in the West. Yeah, Western NY. Hey, it looks like the mid-west in some places here. Corn, cows, flat lands, and roads laid out in grid square patterns. I got Hear Something Country Christmas and certainly not because it has 2 American Idol contestants - please, I can't stand that show. Too much drama for me - I need something more believeable like NCIS or the Boob Whisperer. Because they're not make-believe, right? That's a joke. Do you get it? Oh forget it. The CD opens up with Carrie Underwood singing "Do You Hear What I Hear" because apparently we're all supposed to be overly infatuated with her now. Meh. Personally I have a lot of respect for Brad Paisley and he delivers in his normal folksy style. Kellie Pickler found it necessary to perform a Madonna imitation when singing "Santa Baby". Yeah, underwhelming. Personally no one has ever topped Earth Kitt's version (and Jennifer you can tell her I said that next time you run into her on the Post Road - but don't literally "run into" her please - I know how she is at that intersection). I bought this CD primarily for Johnny Cash's version of "Silent Night" which is very well done. My favorite JC song is NIN's "Hurt" but that's really not appropriate for the holiday (I know, right). Terri Clark subdues her belting alto voice and does an excellent rendition of "O Little Town of Bethlehem". This is an okay CD - about what you would expect for a compilation. Nothing out of the ordinary and relatively good background music for country music lovers.
Number of stars: 2 1/2

The next CD is Josh Groban's Noel.
This is the first CD of his I've ever bought and I picked it mostly because my favorite line in "O Holy Night" is when they sing "...down on your knees/Oh hear the angels voices/O night divine..." - you know that part? You're singing it now? Good stuff. Well there's so much passion in that line that if it's sung right it's amazing. If it's sung wrong, then forget it, I will hate the entire CD. Great song, right? Well it's not on here. Not to worry, though, Josh does a very nice job. He has Faith Hill on here and I'm kind of not all that crazy about her anymore - she was much better singing "Wild One" back in the mid-90s and not quite so arrogant, but if that's the only low point to the CD I suppose it is a passable one. He also sings "Ave Maria" which is a song I absolutely love (second to "O Holy Night") - and I'm not even Catholic (but if I look out my front window I can see a statue of the Virgin Mary on the old Catholic school across the street). Beautifully performed by a man with a voice to do the song justice. I had heard that Josh Groban is a very staunch Republican - not sure if this is true or not - but he does include messages from troops in Iraq in his version of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and the way the messages are interwoven into the song is very touching. Very. So Republican or not he's pro-troops which means he supports military personnel and keeps them separate from the Administration and doesn't group the two together. And that's all I ask. This is an excellent CD and definitely worth purchasing.
Number of stars 3 1/2

Finally I have to admit that I responded in true Pavlovian style to an email from Amazon. I can't recall why they thought I would enjoy this CD, but apparently based upon some shopping pattern I have exhibited in the past they thought I would. And dang it if Amazon wasn't right. Curse them. The
Think Global World Christmas CD is one of those "finds" - you know, one of the good ones that you find every few years that quickly becomes your favorite. Seriously, if you want to listen to music and not let on to everyone that you are listening to Christmas music, then most of the songs on here are for you. Sure people will listen to some of these songs and pick up the melody, but most of it is not in English, so they won't know what's going on. Unless you hang out with polyglots who can speak Spanish, Swedish, French, Italian, Bulgarian and Hungarian. Or they listen to The Cox Family sing "Go Tell it on the Mountain". (For the record I am a huge bluegrass fan and I miss listening to bluegrass gospel on the radio on Sunday mornings - we just don't have that here in New York.) And even when the song is in English, you might not be able to understand it anyway. Take Joseph Spence for example. His Bahamian version of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" is totally the best I have ever heard. Honestly. It cracks me up and I find myself singing out the chorus in imitation of his voice at random moments, like in the middle of Applebee's and at the mall. There are some unfortunate points here, Cherish the Ladies sing "O Holy Night" with their lovely crystalline voices, but not much passion. It's alright though because they use a penny whistle in the song and who doesn't love a penny whistle at Christmas time I ask you. So I'll overlook my previous rule because this deficit is quickly overcome by the song by Kitka "Zamuchi Se Bozha Majka" which is classified as USA/Bulgaria. It captures the Eastern flavor found in many Eastern European countries (let's not talk about Turkish invasions right now) but I listened to it several times and couldn't get enough. The first two songs are from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and of course as soon as the CD started DH walked into the kitchen and said, "Hey, what are you listening to?" That's the best thing about this CD, it has something for everyone. Plus it supports Oxfam charities - always a good thing. Definitely a "find" and worth the rating. Number of stars: 4

So that's it for this year, folks. If you have any other suggestions for new Christmas CDs I'd be glad to hear about them. Cheers!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Recycling Books and Building Bridges

So here's the deal.
We want to reach out and touch people.
Not physically - please keep your mind out of the gutter.
Caroline sent me a book earlier this year and we discussed the idea of sending books out into the great unknown, not like chain letters, but kind of building a larger connectivity with knitters.
So recently she sent me another book and put her name in there.
Because that is what we came up with - own it for a bit and then send it on.
I'm going to read the book, sign my name in it and then send it on to someone else.
It doesn't have to come back to Caroline and it doesn't have to come back to me, but it would be interesting to find out along the way who is reading the book and to whom they are sending it.
This is the book that will be on its way to the next knitter.

Read it and (hopefully) enjoy it - but please don't keep it.
You know, if you love something set it free, blah, blah, blah.
Well let's get this book out there into the world and see how connected we are to each other.
And see where this book travels.
Happy reading!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Someone is Legal!

Today someone turns 21.
She's legal now.
Eligible to drink legally in the state of New York.
So you know even though it is Black Friday (has that become a proper noun - should I be capitalizing?) she is going out to Party after work.
And Mom and Dad are coming too.
Because apparently for my kids the height of coolness is being able to drink in a bar with your parents.
What's up with that?
Is that a compliment or censure?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is the big day!
The day Tom Turkey must die.
No, that's not true, because poor old Tom died a while back.
Now he's just been defrosted and is stuffed and in my oven.
Hope you have a wonderful day - and look - we have snow!

How about that, eh?

I suppose it wouldn't have been quite so unexpected to me if I watched the news.
Oh well. In case you're bored here's a Turkey quiz for you.
Now I'm going off to listen to some Christmas music.

And watch my Simone nap.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

That purple thing on my head is a hat

This summer whilst sampling various pieces of literature I also spent a prodigious amount of time knitting.
Man does that sound snooty.
I didn't always finish things but I did made a felted bag for DN2 which promptly ended up on her floor and which I have since reclaimed and I also made and felted (or fulled) a purple hat.
The hat has been on the shelf unworn as I awaited the cooler weather.
Well it's cooler now, and I thought I'd pull it out and wear it.
Now it's a bit big so I think I need to go shrink it a bit more, but yesterday was a nice day so I decided to throw it on my bean and wear it to work.
At lunchtime DN1 called and asked if I wanted to meet her for lunch (Interpretation: Can we meet and you can buy me lunch?). I'm always happy to spend time with her so I agreed and I threw on my purple hat ready to head out the door.
My co-workers said, "I like your hat!"
I think they're pretty sincere so I thanked them and said in my best kindergarten voice, "I made it!"
I called DN1 when I was walking in the door to the building and said, "I'm here and I'll meet you by the front of Union Square." As I stood there waiting for her and reading the NY Times I didn't see her approach. From 30 feet away she called out, "Good God, Mom, what is that purple thing on your head?!?"
Was I offended?
Not really, because I knew she was jealous because I look better in hats than she does. (Ha!)
When we were standing in line so I could pay for our food her favorite professor was behind us so of course DN1 started making snarky comments to her about my hat. Her professor diplomatically avoided judgement but in my best fourth grade voice I said, "She's just jealous." Not once but twice.
I'm so mature, I know.
After lunch we headed to the bookstore to pick some things up for a co-worker (one of the sincere ones who likes my hat).
The manager was in there and I greeted her effusively, as always. Another professor came up and interrupted us. Manager politely said, "Professor G do you know J" and Professor G looked at me as if she'd never seen me before. Now she knows me, she's walked past my office innumerable times and we've spoken on the phone, but on this occasion I had to explain who I was.
She said to me, "Oh, I didn't recognize you in the hat."
Come on - is it that bad?
You tell me.

Because I wore it to work today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sanitizing My Past

Now this is something.
Here's a NY Times article that talks about how the old Sesame Street is just not safe viewing for today's preschoolers.
But what do I know, I buy my daughter candy cigarettes.
Just don't call CPS on me, okay?

Swap Packages

I have been totally remiss (aka extraordinarily lazy and bad) about letting you know what I got from my KTS4 swap partner, Peaches. And I should have posted about this immediately because it was an absolutely out of this world package.
Here's some pictures of the wonderful items in my package:

And here's a separate picture of the yarn:
Rowan Big Wool - to die for - in a wonderful shade of pink that I absolutely adore. Can I tell you I don't know how Peaches did it. You put down your favorite color on the swap information and of course what color did I choose? Blue. But somehow Peaches knew about my passion for pink and sent me this yarn. Well I am kind of a pinkaholic - and for the record I look good in pink. Well I think I do because (a) I wear it all the time and (b) people tell me, "You look good in pink." Either there is a conspiracy by EVERYONE to make me look like a fool or else perhaps pink is my color. Blue soothes me but pink suits my complexion. And if I don't look good in pink can someone help me unload about 7 pink sweaters/turtlenecks?
Anyway, this is the funniest thing - I had put on my info sheet that I never mix chocolate and liquor so Peaches picked up on that and sent me this great book called Yarn Cocktails. Okay that's the short title - click on the link to see the long title. The book has some really funky but outrageously cool patterns - and I love the jewelry. Gorgeous. I might pass on making the knickers, though, because there is just not enough yarn in the world to cover a butt the size of the Alps. Don't look too closely - you might see the Matterhorn!
And let me tell you something else about how intuitive Peaches is.
When we lived in Germany you couldn't walk through any store without hitting a Ritter Sport display. The factory is located just outside of Stuttgart and during our 3 years there we lived off of Ritter Sport. I'm sure there's a chunk or two stored in the fat that cushions my butt, but I digress. Anyway, what did Peaches include in my package? Two bars of Ritter Sport. Yum, Yum.
I had to share it with DN2 because she was hanging around when I was eating it.
And people wonder why I'm a closet chocolate eater (I hate to share).
She also put the yarn in this lovely green bag and DN2 looked at it and said, "Dibs on the green bag."
Wait up, hold on - I said to her, "You can't dibs on something that was sent to me!"
These kids, I swear. First the chocolate then the bag. What's next?
All-in-all it was a fantastic swap. Now I need to get over to the KTS4 page and post on there too so everyone will see how wonderful a swapper Peaches is.
Unlike some people who work in a hospital (Sheri) I will be taking the day off on Friday. So send good thoughts to hospital workers and dispatchers (Kristi) and all those who will be working on Thanksgiving and Black Friday as we attempt to rouse ourselves from a tryptophan-induced coma.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Busy, but not watching the Bee Movie

I put in a CD from 1981 this morning, Stevie Nicks Bella Donna, and it made me think of that year. Of course.
So I just wanted to send a big shout out to my friend Kristi.
Hey! Just thinking about you!
We had some times in 1981 - some good, some bad.
But here we are on the other side of 40 and still friends.
Now I just need to get in my car and drive to Corry and see you.
Did lots of knitting, movie watching and incubating this weekend.
I have a 15 page paper due and I'm going to write about Speak.
Ergo, lots of thinking.
Plus I finished reading Feed and had to watch Jimmy Caan (shirtless!) in Rollerball as research. That was tough.
Turned in my application for grad school.
That took some doing. Had to shrink a 15 page paper down to 10 pages. I've never had to edit like that before - usually I'm beefing something up. Some of it was easy - There goes that 2 page summary of the text! - but some of it was much more difficult. How to edit without degrading your original thesis. I think the paper needs to be rewritten and perhaps fleshed out a bit more, but for this instance it only had to be 10 pages. So it shrunk.
Had to also write a 2-3 page letter of intent/statement of objectives, call it what you will. Thought that would be easy. It wasn't. Took some time.
But it's all done.
Nothing is a for sure thing, so you know I'll be obsessively checking my status for the next few weeks (or however long it takes) to see if I have been accepted.
Kind of like checking my orders on Amazon.
Have to hurry off to work.
Short week - only Monday through Wednesday.
Yee haw.
Big birthday wishes go out to my brother Tom who turned 49 yesterday.
Damn, you're old bro.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Mystique of the Corps

This is what it is all about:
232 reasons to love your Corps

On Nov. 10, the Marine Corps turns 232 years old. Ever since
it was formed in a Philadelphia bar in 1775, the Corps has given
Marines countless reasons to take pride in the heritage of their

There is no shortage of instances in which Marine units and
individuals have distinguished themselves in battle, but the
bragging rights earned over the past 232 years weren't all born
on the battlefield.

The Corps' culture sets it apart from other branches of the
military in ways that those who have never earned the eagle,
globe and anchor find difficult to fully understand. But what is
obvious to even the most casual observer is that Marines
distinguish themselves through their unique appearance, spirit
and accomplishments.

To know the Corps is to love the Corps, which is why Marine
Corps Times compiled the following list of 232 reasons to stand
proudly at this year's birthday ball.

1. Cpl. Jason Dunham. First Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since Vietnam. If jumping on a grenade to save a buddy isn't worth the top of the list, nothing is.
2. Civilians have to find time to go to the gym. Marines get paid to go.
3. The National Museum of the Marine Corps. It's like a Smithsonian of leatherneck.
4. There's no such thing as an "ex" Marine.
5. Re-enlistment rates are higher IN the war zone.
6. Stink-proof socks. Well, almost. Systems Command is working on them.
7. JalapeƱo cheese.
8. "Every Marine Into the Fight."
9. Lump-sum re-enlistment bonuses up to $80,000. Many of you would consider doing it for free.
10. New uniforms #1. Pixel-pattern cammies? Yeah, the Corps came up with that.
11. "Doc."
12. Flexed arm hang is harder than it looks. We tried it.
13. Barracks parties on non-payday weekends.
14. Marine Gunners.
15. The Wounded Warrior Regiment.
16. MarAdmin 266/07: Letting 18-year-old Marines drink on base at this year's birthday ball.
17. No receipt necessary for travel claim expenses less than $75.
18. The lance corporal underground.
19. Fallujah II.
21. Archibald Henderson's couch, re-upholstered, is still in the commandant's living room.
22. "No better friend, no worse enemy."
23. Typhoons approaching Okinawa often spark islandwide beer runs.
24. Waivers.
25. Gen. James Jones, who followed his tour as commandant with appointment as "supreme intergalactic overlord" (OK, it was Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, but close).
26. 10 rounds from the 500-yard line.
27. Per diem.
28. To civilians, every Marine is recon.
29. Recruiting in Texas is like hunting at the zoo.
30. The "boat cloak." Because every super hero needs a cape.
31. You can re-enlist in the IRR.
32. The wallet in your sock.
33. Motivating television commercials.
34. The "horse shoe" haircut, gone but not forgotten.
35. The global address list. Find your buddies and send them links to Marine Corps Times.
36. Running cadences that mention napalm. And Eskimos.
37. Stories that begin with, "So there I was ..."
38. Modified parade rest.
39. The transformation. Who you are when you join is not nearly as important as who you become.
40. Lt. Gen. Jim Mattis getting a fourth star.
41. If you've been on liberty in Twentynine Palms, you've been on liberty in Yuma and Barstow, too.
42. Grooming standards. Not only can you not act like a thug, you cannot look like a thug.
43. It's not the Army.
44. Women in Manhattan have all seen the Fleet Week episode of "Sex and the City."
45. Combat shotguns.
46. Combat Action Ri bbons. IEDs count now, and should have counted all along. Duh.
47. The occasional free beer. Wear your blues into a bar and see what
48. After decades of debate, there remains no resolution on whether sand fleas trump "The Reaper."
49. The Corps' doesn't call its officers, commissioned or not, "petty."
50. Cpl. Gareth Hawkins, lying on a stretcher after an IED shattered his leg, demanded re-enlistment before medical evacuation. And got it.
51. Whereas Army, Navy and Air Force jokes are funny, Marine jokes are
potentially dangerous.
52. The occasional friendly debate. Refer to a Marine staff Noncommissioned officer simply as "sergeant," and see what happens.
53. That troublesome "10 percent," making good Marines look great since 1775.
54. Everyone at a high school reunion is obliged to justify his last 10
years, except the guy wearing alphas.
55. As if ranks that inclu de the words "master" and "gunnery" aren't
intimidating enough on their own, the Corps uses them both. At once.
56. Soldiers have Hooah Bars. Marines have Ka-Bars. The second will
generally get you the first.
57. The dress code. You can wear your cammies to meet the commandant or repair a tank.
58. From "Aliens" to "Doom," the future vision of warfare almost always includes Space Marines.
59. The Corps was formed in a bar.
60. Marines predicted the WWII campaigns in the Pacific years earlier and prepared for the inevitable. So when a Marine says, "Hey, I've been thinking." perhaps you should take notes.
61. Give a Marine some free time, and he'll rip down your dictator's statue.
62. If it ain't raining, we ain't training.
64. Duty station garden spots: Jacksonville, N.C.; Yuma, Ariz.; Bridgeport, Calif.; Twentynine Palms, Calif. (Yes, we're kidding.)
65. Making morning PT on time.
66. Recruiters who promise everything EXCEPT a rose garden.
67. Mustangs #1. It's easier to take crap from a CO who went to boot camp.
69. Gen. Peter Pace, the first Marine chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He left his four-star insignia with his fallen comrades at the Vietnam Wall when he retired. Nice move.
70. The people zapper. Using microwave energy to disperse a crowd sounds like fun. Semper fry, gunny.
71. Nothing says "Good morning" like a mouthful of Copenhagen and
freeze-dried coffee.
72. Nothing says "I love you" like a welcome home sheet hanging on a
chain-link fence.
73. Bill Barnes. In June, the former Marine beat the crap out of a 27-year-old pickpocket who tried to make off with his dough. Oh yeah, he's 72.
74. Leftwich Trophy. Heisman winners only think they know about leaving it all on the field.
75. EOD. If you don't know why this is on the list , defuse the next IED
76. Tax-free combat pay. Doing what you signed up for and not having to give Uncle Sam a dime back.
77. Montford Point Marines. The first African-American Marines know a little something about honor, courage and commitment.
78. Front toward enemy. It's not just a visual reference on a Claymore mine, it's a Marine Corps way of life.
79. Mustangs #2. You know at least three Marines who drive them. It's like a Ford dealership exploded on base.
80. Fred Smith, founder of FedEx. Only a former Marine could truly
appreciate the value of getting your mail on time.
81. CMC: The tallest member of the Joints Chiefs. OK, so we haven't actually measured, but he looks the tallest anyway.
82. No more spit shining boots.
83. Chuck Norris was in the Air Force. Steve McQueen was a Marine.
84. The Crucible.
85. 1/9, 2/9 and 3/9. Welcome back, fellas.
86. The FROG uniform. You are now sweat-wickin' AND flame-lickin'.
88. The M4. More rifles in the fight is generally a win-win.
89. MRAPs. Trucks straight out of Mad Max. We still love a good Humvee, but we loved jeeps, too. Things change.
90. Arty guys who do civil affairs. They blow it up, then they fix it.
Circle of life.
91. Service Charlies. They look so good, the Navy's copying 'em.
92. Fake Marines. No one eats 'em up faster than real Marines.
93. John Lovell. A 71-year-old former Marine is sitting in a Subway restaurant when two armed men try to rob the place. Lovell grabs his .45, kills one and wounds the other. No word on how Lovell's sandwich fared.
94. 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Six Navy Crosses so far. Six.
95. Staff Sgt. Lawrence Dean II, aka the "BadAss Marine." He recites a poem. He gets uploaded to YouTube. Thousands get motivated.
96. Gen. James Conway takes over as the new commandant. Among his demands: a new PT uniform, new tattoo regs, a plan to add dress blues to the seabag, a change-up in medals and 22,000 more Marines. Someone's been thinking about taking over for a while, huh?
97. Body-fat standards. Everyone hates them, until they see a fat Marine.
98. "Jarhead." Only a former Marine could write a war story about not fighting anyone and make it last for 200 pages, then get Jamie Foxx to star in the movie.
99. The Stumps. The Rock. The Sandbox. Oh, the places you'll serve.
101. Tattoos #2. Getting a fallen friend's name tattooed on your other forearm, and knowing the same.
102. The new PT running suit. Sure, the Army had them first, but the Army gets most things first.
103. Marine expeditionary units: The cheapest cruise you'll ever take.
104. Camp Lejeune: The closest interstate and the nearest good shopping mall are both at least an hour away.
105. Camp Pendleton: There are roads and malls, but try affording a house near the main gate.
106. Tattoos #3. Meat tags. Getting your blood type and other info inked on your ribcage isn't necessarily a bad idea.
107. The Marine Corps is getting bigger. The Navy is getting smaller.
109. 30 days' paid vacation, plus federal holidays off, is obscene by
civilian standards.
110. Maj. Gen. Marion E. Carl, the Corps' first fighter ace. First Marine to fly a helicopter. Two Navy Crosses, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, 14 air medals. In 1998, the 82-year-old was killed during a home break-in when he jumped in front of a shotgun blast aimed at his longtime wife, Edna.
111. Tattoos #4. Reaction to the new policy: Conway says sleeves are going away, Marines run for the chair. Tattoo parlors never saw so much business.
113. Guaranteed pay raises.
114. Marine Security Guard #1. Duty in the Bahamas.
115. Having a WWII Marine sa y he's proud of you
116. Drew Carey used to be in the Marine Corps Reserve. Now, he's the host of "The Price is Right."
117. Combatant diver pins. No more of that Navy crap.
118. A Red Stripe is a beer, mon. A Blood Stripe is a symbol of pride.
119. NMCI, if only they would remove the "MC."
120. You watched "300," and it reminded you of your unit.
121. The "Det One" .45 pistol. Designed by Marines, for Marines.
122. Combat marksmanship. You are creeping death. And you get graded on it.
123. Never lost six nukes on a plane.
124. CamelBaks. Water tastes like water again.
125. Give a Marine enough free time, and he'll marry your Bahraini princess.
126. Go to YouTube. Type in "bored Marines." Enjoy.
127. When the president gets on a helicopter, it's not called "Army One."
128. The opposite of the Peace Corps.
129. Camouflage. You can camouflage anything a nd make it cool.
130. No Fear #1. Marines aren't scared of anything. Except apricots. And Charms.
131. Combat optics on M16s. Leave the iron sights, just in case.
132. "Combat loss" amnesty for missing gear. It's like pleading the fifth.
133. Riding a chartered Continental Airlines flight home from the war zone with assault weapons stuffed in all the overhead compartments.
134. In combat, the division band becomes a heavy-machine-gun platoon.
135. What do headaches, broken bones, infectious diseases, missing limbs and hurt feelings all have in common? Motrin. Thanks, Doc.
137. Global instability equals job security.
138. When NMCI goes down, and it will, it's like having the day off.
139. The honor, privilege and responsibility of leading, mentoring and caring for junior Marines.
140. Gunnery sergeants. Don't know the answer? Ask the gunny. Need
something? Ask the gunny. In trouble? Avo id the gunny.
141. Because gunny said so.
142. The line to get "tazed" at a military gear expo. Marines will do
anything for a free T-shirt.
143. Deployment reunions. Like reliving your wedding night. Sweet!
144. Gig lines. Even in khakis and a polo shirt.
145. Eight-point covers. Even the uniform stands at attention.
146. Marine Security Guards #2. They're not cute and cuddly, but when they greet you at the door, it's like getting a great big hug from the United States of America, no matter where you are.
147. The Mameluke sword. Distinctive.
148. The NCO sword. Earned, never given.
149. The World Famous Mud Run. Thousands of people pay good money to run through 10 clicks of muck every year at Camp Pendleton.
150. John Philip Sousa. A Marine, the nation's March King and composer of "The Stars and Stripes Forever." Ooh-rah.
151. MRE crackers. Hard as Milk Bones but much tastier. You can almost feel your teeth getting cleaner as you eat 'em.
152. Jane Wayne Day. She'll never ask about work again.
153. Shirt stays. Or garters. Whatever you call them, they're a triple whammy, keeping your shirt tucked, your socks up and removing all that unwanted leg hair.
154. The slogans: "The Few, The Proud, The Marines." "We're Looking For a Few Good Men," "Once a Marine, always a Marine," "Tell that to the Marines." If they could only purchase the rights to Hallmark's "When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best."
155. Speaking of slogans, "The Few, The Proud, The Marines" beat out such notables as Nike's "Just Do It" and Burger King's "Have It Your Way" for a 2007 spot on the advertising Walk of Fame. Better luck next year, losers.
157. Real duty station garden spots you can go an entire career without being assigned to: Southern California; Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; Okinawa, Japan.
158. Rear-party Marines. God bless them. Whatever reason they stay behind, impending retirement or being volun-told - they are indispensable. They deserve medals for what they have to deal with while a unit is deployed.
159. While field-grade officers are at the company office, company-grade officers are in the field.
160. Colonels who can take a joke.
161. Free flu shots. And smallpox shots and anthrax shots .
162. Former Sgt. Chris Everhart. While camping with his three sons in June 2007, a bear snatched their cooler and made a play for his 6-year-old. Everhart threw an 18-inch log at the bear's head, cracking its skull before it could attack and killing it instantly. Then, the park ranger gave him a ticket for leaving the cooler where the bear could get it.
163. Standards. The Corps doesn't lower the bar when recruiting gets tough.
164. Jim Nabors. "Gomer Pyle" becomes an honorary Marine in 2001 and makes Lance Corporal. It takes him six years to pin on corporal. Talk about art imitating life.
165. Vincent D'Onofrio. The other "Private Pyle" is doing pretty well on "Law and Order: Criminal Intent." He's still weird, though.
166. If you ambush Capt. Brian Chontosh's boys, he's going to take off his Navy Cross and kill you. Then, he's going to pick up your rifle and kill your buddies. Then, he's going to pick up your buddy's rifle and kill your buddy's buddies. Then, he's going to pick up a rocket-propelled grenade launcher
167. Speaking of the Navy Cross, a combat award second only to the Medal of Honor, Marines have earned 15 so far in Iraq, plus one in Afghanistan. Of the six awarded to sailors for those combat zones, five went to SEALs, and one went to a corpsman who exposed himself repeatedly to enemy fire to evacuate and treat wounded Marines. Along with Chontosh, the other recipients include:
168. Gunnery Sgt. Justin D. Lehew.
169. Lance Cpl. Joseph B. Perez.
170. Sgt. Scott C. Montoya.
171. Cpl. Marco A. Martinez.
172. Sgt. Willie L. Copeland.
173. Capt. Brent Morel (posthumous).
174. Sgt. Anthony L. Viggiani.
175. 1st Sgt. Bradley A. Kasal.
176. Cpl. Robert J. Mitchell.
177. Cpl. Dominic Esquibel.
178. Sgt. Jarrett A. Kraft.
179. Cpl. Jeremiah W. Workman.
180. Cpl. Todd Corbin.
181. Sgt. Aubrey L. McDade Jr.
182. Pfc. Christopher Adlesperger (posthumous).
183. Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Louis E. Fonseca.
184. Iwo JIMA. Japan might have changed the name to Iwo To, but that doesn't mean you have to acknowledge it.
185. Col. John Ripley. Received the Navy Cross for the destruction of the Dong Ha bridge in Vietnam. The Corps takes care of its own. In 2002, with Ripley near death, doctors finally found a donated liver for his much-needed transplant. So the Marine Corps sent helicopters and Marines to Philadelphia to retrieve it, and they personally rushed it back to Washington in time to save his life.
186. Marine Corps Times isn't a version of Navy Times anymore. How many careers get their own newspaper?
188. Gatorade bottles wrapped in green, 100 mph tape so as not to offend the sailors in the room.
189. Camaraderie. Marines will hook you up with their sisters, then punch you in the mouth for doing what they knew would happen the whole time.
190. Ingenuity. MRE bombs, 101 uses for cleaning rods and iPods wired into field radio speakers.
191. Getting off the ship.
192. Getting back on the ship.
193. No beach? No problem. Marines inserted 400 miles into landlocked Afghanistan and created Camp Rhino using CH-53 Sea Stallions. Imagine what you can invade with the Osprey.
194. Cases and cases of bottled water mean never having to stand behind a water bull.
195. Race as a nonissue. It wasn't always the case, but three black sergeants major of the Marine Corps in a row show that the Corps has only one color: green.
196. Every day in the Corps is another reason to celebrate. That's why they call them working "parties."
197. Riddick Bowe had what it took to be boxing's undisputed heavyweight champ. He did not have what it took to be a Marine.
198. The U.S. Army Band is called "Pershing's Own." The U.S. Marine Corps Band is called "The President's Own."
199. "8th and I." Ten bucks says you have no idea where the Army chief of staff lives. Commandants don't hide.
200. MRE "rat boxes." How grunts trick-or-treat.
201. The poncho liner. It's a blanket, it's a tent, it's a keeper.
202. Combat fit-reps. People say they're equal to regular fit-reps. People lie.
203. The "E-tool lean." Sailors don't know how good they have it.
204. Navy Lt. Vincent Capodanno, Medal of Honor recipient. If Marines have a hot line to heaven, Father Capodanno - aka the Grunt Padre - would take the call. His body peppered by shrapnel, his right hand nearly severed, the Navy chaplain and priest crisscrossed a Vietnam battlefield Sept. 4, 1967, to render last rites to his fallen Marines and corpsmen with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, until 27 rounds from an enemy machine gun took his life. Last year, the Vatican declared him a "servant of God." Next step, sainthood?
206. Amphibious warfare means always being near the beach.
207. No Fear #2. Talk about the AV-8B Harrier's troubled past all you like, but brave jump jet pilots are flying missions in Iraq.
208. New Uniforms #2. Wash-and-wear combat uniforms mean no more starch, no more dry cleaning.
209. Marine air-ground task force. Nothing like controlling the air and the ground.
210. Slapping an eagle, globe and anchor on the back of your car and knowing it'll get you out of at least one speeding ticket.
211. The Navy wants to put Marines back on warships. It seems that Tomahawk cruise missiles can't do everything.
212. Liberty in Thailand.
213. Liberty in Australia.
214. Liberty, well, anywhere.
215. The Navy's mascot is a goat. The Corps' mascot is a bulldog. You don't need Michael Vick to tell you who wins that fight.
216. If you need another occupying land force, you can use the Marine Corps. If you need another rapidly deployable, sea-based, front-door-kicking, air-ground team, you can't use the Army.
217. 1775 Rum Punch. Four parts dark rum, two parts lime juice, one part pure maple syrup, grenadine to taste.
218. "It's fun to shoot some people," said Lt. Gen. Jim Mattis. He says what he thinks.
219. The Beirut Memorial Wall. If you ever forget what you're fighting for, pay a visit.
221. "Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to." Jack Nicholson, "A Few Good Men."
222. Maj. Meghan McClung, Marine public affairs officer, killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq while escorting media. The PAO is more than just a spokesman.
223. Sgt. Rafael Peralta. Like Dunham, he hugged a grenade to save his buddies in Iraq. No Medal of Honor . yet.
224. Hearing an accidental discharge into the clearing barrel, then waiting for the lieutenant to walk inside.
225. Call signs like "Spider" and "Assassin," and these guys were generals.
227. Buttered noodles for breakfast.
228. "Every Marine should look like a Marine. But a Marine looks like a Marine when he's got a bayonet stuck in the enemy's chest." Gen. Robert Magnus, assistant commandant, discussing body-fat standards.
229. "Infantry" is the easiest job for recruiters to sell.
230. Being the youngest Marine at the ball.
231. Being the oldest Marine at the ball.
232. Marine Corps Times appreciates all you do. Happy birthday, Marines!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Now it's snowing, there goes my gas bill

It's snowing now although it is not sticking.
Now they're really going to force me to turn the heat on.

Too Cold to Blog

Old King Cole may have been a merry old soul but he obviously didn't care about the cost of gas heat this winter.
It's too cold to blog.
And so much going on!
Swim meet over the weekend (both days), Christmas show rehearsal at church, class last night, a meeting tonight, and Girl Scouts tomorrow night.
I received my package from my KTS4 partner - and you'll love it.
And here's an idea of how busy (and cold) I've been - I got chocolate and I haven't eaten it yet because I haven't taken a picture of it! So it sits on the chair taunting me.
Wait til you see everything Peaches sent to me! It's amazing!
So I'm sorry for the gap - I'm still here and I'll get back with you hopefully tonight!
And for the record we still haven't turned our heat on yet.
It's supposed to be 39 tomorrow.
How long can we go?
If it were me we would wait until December, but my family apparently doesn't like to suffer so it may go on tonight.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween Knitting

Last night I sat outside in my chair waiting for the trick or treaters to come by.
I was all set. I had my knitting, a relatively comfortable chair, my iPod, some tea...

...the warm smell of colitas rising up through the air...wait, that's the wrong song. Sorry. I was comfy though and all set for the kids but I think I had more college students than younger kids. I think people believe that mostly college students live on my street, and while this is primarily true there are families here as well.

My little vampire made out like a champ and she wasn't even gone that long. She said some houses were giving her two and three handfuls of candy. Lovely.

Now we just have to make sure she brushes or she'll end up with teeth like this permanently.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!

P.S. No, that's not me on the right, that's my mother and the short one is my aunt. The punk in the middle...well, we picked him up off the street. He goes by the name Aladdin.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Can I Tell You...

...how much I love Ravelry.
I haven't even taken the time yet to do 1/4th of the options available to users.
But I did buy this yarn yesterday at Spirit Work mostly because it was 50% off and I like the color.Of course I had no idea what I would do with 2 small skeins.
Then I went onto Ravelry and found someone who had used it to make Odessa.
What a great pool of information for ignorant knitters like me.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I got my invite to Ravelry yesterday.
It didn't really take that long, just a few weeks.
Now I have got to find time to play around in there.
(I couldn't do it last night because I was busy killing DN2's fish -- don't ask, it's a painful subject -- and it was unintentional!!!)
I made my first friend! Hi Micky.
Well, she's always been my friend, but she was the first person I sought out in Ravelry because I remembered how to find her.
So if you're on there look for me - JewelTomes.
I figured I would keep it simple.
'Cause I'm stupid like that.
If you're on there too let me know how to find you!
And a big shout out to Sheri and Jean because I've been missing them. Life here on the west side keeps me busy, but you're not out of my thoughts!
And another shout out to Peaches, my KTS4 swap partner who is living in Southern California and thankfully safe from the fires, although she can see an orange glow in the sky. Stay safe please!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Socialism Lite

Last night in class we broke up into groups to discuss the music in the novel A Room with a View.
Somehow I had mentioned that the Emerson's were considered to be "bad people" because George hadn't been baptized and he and his father were Socialists.
The girl sitting next to me said, "Yeah, Socialists. What's that?"
I tried to explain and gave her a brief two sentence description of Socialism. (Note of snark: this is a 400/500 level class -- wtf???)
Oddly enough, last night I wore my The Communist Party shirt to class - I should have used it as a visual aid.
She looked at me and said without guile, "So Socialists are what Paris Hilton is."
And then I did something horrible.
I laughed in her face.
I forced myself to stop and told her, "No honey, she's a socialite."

Friday, October 19, 2007

I Need to Stop Walking Around Town in my Nightgown

I had another crazy dream last night.
Well I always have crazy dreams.
But last night I dreamed that I was shopping for groceries and driving around in my nightgown and fortunately I hadn't run into anyone. I saw a girl I knew from work and I thought she hadn't seen me but then she said hi as she was passing.
SOOOO embarassing.
And in my dream I said to myself, "I have to stop walking around town in my nightgown."
Then I thought, "Well here's my next blog post."
Somehow real life and the imaginary one are slowly melding together.
So even though this event never actually happened, I'm still recreating it here for you.
Strange stuff. Strange mind. Be glad you can't see what I see.
Well DH got corralled into being a Marshal at the swim meet being hosted by our swim club in November. He thought it was for one day and it is for both Saturday and Sunday!! Of course when you're sent emails you can ignore them but when they corner you at a swim practice, you really can't run away.
And all a Marshal does is make sure the kids aren't running the halls or hitting someone in the head with a ball while they're waiting for their time to swim.
For about 5 hours each day. Yikes.
Glad he spoke up first.
Ha! (I know he'll read this and say something.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wear a Sweatshirt

It's getting colder and I'm not turning my heat on.
Not yet anyway.
My next meter reading is on 5 November and then after that on 5 December. If we can make it past 5 December without turning the heat on we'll save ourselves a huge gas bill for December.
January and February are another story.
In the meantime everyone is just going to have to dress a little warmer than they have been.
It is hard on the visiting company.
You know who I mean - that pack of teenage boys who show up here in the middle of the night and camp out on every available sleeping surface.
Suck it up.
That's what I say.
So DN2 has a swim meet this weekend.
She has to swim the third leg in a relay, 25 m freestyle and 25 m backstroke.
This swimming thing is all so new to me - none of us has ever done it before.
But I do know that if she doesn't improve on her dive into the water she's going to lose seconds every single time. She just can't dive to save her life. She falls into the water right on her belly. I don't know what the issue is but I do feel like walking over and trying to straighten her out. I should have my cousin come and teach her - she taught me how to dive when I was 5 and then she was actually my diving coach in high school. I won't win any awards for diving - after all that was 25 years ago (gasp), but I do get the concept of a smooth entry. I guess the swimming coaches are working on swim strokes and perhaps diving isn't as important. Who knows. I may have to send my cousin an email - after all she is DN2's PE teacher now.
I was a little irritated yesterday about this swimming thing.
There is a lady there who handles the registration and payment and when I wrote out my large check to her she said I could post-date it, which I did for the 17th (payday). Yesterday was the 17th last I checked. Which means my check should have been deposited only yesterday. Well it cleared on Tuesday evening. Which means she completely ignored my request to cash it on or after the 17th and deposited it on Monday.
It did clear but I did get an insufficient funds fee.
She is also a realtor, so I have my suspicisions about her "faux friendliness".
I may have to say something to her and I certainly won't trust her in the future and I'll be keeping my eye on her that's for sure.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Weekend Plans

Unfortunately my weekend plans do not involve going to Rhinebeck.
Sad to say.
But I've come to terms with it.
I have much more important family matters to which I need to attend.
First, we have our annual cousins lunch on Saturday. I didn't make it last year and I cannot recall why. Class? No. Soccer? Could be. It was something I know. I'd look but it's early and I'm still waking up.
Then we have to take DN2 to her first swim meet! We still don't have the location or the time of the meet but I've been assured it is in the afternoon. It had better be. She should do well with the swimming portion - but she hasn't mastered diving into the pool yet.
I was talking to my cousin Janet yesterday and I will see her on Saturday and I can't wait.
I love my cousin - actually many of my female cousins are all like older sisters.
And I'm the baby of the family.
Always and forever, and I don't let people forget it.
(Fortunately I have moved past spoiled brat to bossy, opinionated loudmouth but I consider it my birthright.)
Anyway after the swim meet we are taking DN1 to the mall so she can buy some new clothes for her birthday and for a conference she has to attend in DC sometime this month. Don't ask me specific days.
That takes care of Saturday - and it's pretty jam-packed.
Sunday I have been asked to teach Sunday School (yes, young impressionable minds to mold in my own fashion) and then I have to spend the rest of the day baking for work on Monday. We have monthly birthdays and we all rotate who will bring in the food each month. This month it is my turn.
So I will sit on the couch knitting and watching tv as my quick breads bake and think of my blogger friends down in Rhinebeck buying yarn for me to covet.
What is everyone else doing this weekend?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

All Tori, All the Time

Saturday was the day Tori Amos was performing in Syracuse.
And lucky (and now broke) us got to go see her.
It's been 10 years since we've seen her live and she only continues to improve.
(I won't throw out that "like fine wine" analogy because it is sooo overused.)
We got to the theatre before our appointed 4:30 showtime. We paid extra for our tickets so we could watch her soundcheck - some people paid extra for the soundcheck and the meet and greet. I don't make that much money.
From this picture the marquee and the theatre look a little skeevy, eh.

But inside it was gorgeous.
Parking was great - and cheap!
Only $6 for all day.
We could see Tori's tour bus and trucks parked in the street behind the theatre. Of course I had to have a picture.
Of course.
Apparently it was homecoming weekend for SU and since the theatre is so close to the Carrier Dome we saw lots and lots of Orange going by. With coolers.
At 4:30 we were welcomed to the Crazy World of Rock and Roll! (thanks to Kelly the semi-bitchy tour rep) and told to come back at 5:00.
After a pint of Guiness at the pub next door (served at 52 degrees exactly)...

...we went back and were welcomed once again to that Crazy World and told to come back in another half hour.
This time we spent our time in CVS just down the street buying gum, a sharpie and paper.
Our goal? Besides writing down all the things crazy people say ("Oh my God, I'm such a bad person!" "I'll have a white Zinfandel on the rocks") we wanted to make sure we wrote down her set list.
Back to the theatre and finally we were in!
And these two guys were in line with us and in my usual style I completely embarrassed DN1 and made her take a picture with them.

Always on the lookout for a potential son-in-law.
Or just to be annoying.
Yeah, that's it.
They gave us our special VIPosse bags, we got our tickets, spent an enormous amount of money at the t-shirt table and then finally were able to go in to the soundcheck. Now while we were standing in the lobby we could hear her playing and see the lights and it was AWFUL having to wait to go in!
But then in we went -- only to stay for 2 songs. That was our limit.
They were, however, an amazing 2 songs.
Two of my favorites - "Concertina" and "Taxi Ride". (For the record "Taxi Ride" is the ringtone I have on my cell for when SN2 calls me - cause he's always looking for a ride. DN1 has "A Sorta Fairytale". DH has the Beach Boys "God Only Knows". I don't know why I'm sharing this, just thought you might want to know.)
It was actually quite emotional believe it or not.
After the 2 songs we had to exit the theatre and were told to wait with the other common folk for the concert to start at 8:00.
So we went to eat at a pub (a different one) and had to share a table -- it was that crowded.
Who did we sit with? People from Rochester.
Damn it's a small world.
Finally we got into the concert and it was even more amazing than we expected.
It was complete perfection.
Here is some of what we saw:

It was truly a perfect concert. Tori played for almost 2 1/2 hours and sang many of my favorites ("Tear in Your Hand" "Yes, Anastasia" - even "Northern Lad"! -- and our family song "Spark" -- it's 6:58 are you sure where my spark is)
She's playing in Buffalo on the 24th.
Who knows, maybe we'll go again!
In the meantime, "maybe it's time...to wave good-bye now."