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.