This page has moved to a new address.

You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom

You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom: 1/27/08 - 2/3/08

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sumter on a Payday -- Laundry Poll Results, too -- Like Mother, Like Son

Greetings from Sumter, SC! I'm drilling this weekend, but I have wireless in the lodging room on base (so long as I'm near the window, and not at the desk). That's me, the "Moody AFB, GA" hit on the applet on the right. The open internet access routes via Moody AFB, I guess.

What else is there to do in ever-so-rockin' Sumter on a PAYDAY Friday night??? Paul and I tried to go to four different restaurants this evening before settling on a Japanese diner-type joint, the first one we tried was a place Dave and I got to try last month called Red Bone Alley. I had the most delectable "Low Country Shrimp and Grits" and the kids' play area was pretty cool.

So we went there, and it was closed. Not just closed...CLOSED. Another party was standing in front of the darkened glass windows, gawking at the white paper signs taped up, reading "Red Bone Alley is Closed for Business", "Thank you Sumter", and "Please Visit our Florence Location". As of this writing, I don't know the circumstances. I'll keep you posted.

We got back into Paul's rental car (a Cruisin' Lightning McQueen red PT Cruiser) and attempted Logan's Roadhouse (steaks), since there were no parking spaces, we didn't even park the car there. Then Chili's, where we saw people standing outside in the chill waiting, and finally Outback Steakhouse. Paul found a parking spot right up front -- several, in fact. That gave us hope, but when we asked the matire 'd, she said it was a 55 minute wait. This was at 8pm.

So off to Osaka Japanese Steakhouse we went. This wasn't a tepanaki-type restaurant we were expecting, but more like Hibachi-Xpress in Cary/Apex. You can order the hibachi-type meals, but they were cooked in the back (minus the showiness and fanfare, I'm sure, so it was much quicker) and brought out to us. I enjoyed chicken and shrimp with broccoli over rice. It was pretty good, but the carrots served on the side seemed, well, soul-food-ish. They were glazed carrots, unusual for Japanese cuisine.

I remember growing up in Norfolk and from my 2nd lieutenant days in rural Louisiana how payday in a military town would transform a community into a frenzy of eating out, going to movies, and hitting bowling alleys, pool halls and dance clubs. I don't see it as much in the NC Triangle, but around here, on payday weekend, get ready for crowds!

I have the results of the "laundry poll". Since I only had 13 responders, it's not like it's a Rand Corporation or Brookings Institute authoritative study or anything, but here goes:

13 responders
3 do laundry daily (23%)
6 do laundry somewhere between daily and weekly (46%)
4 do laundry weekly (30%)

Does that add up to 100%? I think so...I got a lot of positive feedback from friends who said "Hey -- I've been wondering the same thing, thanks for asking the question!" Maybe I can continue my polls, putting those topics out there that you maybe discuss with your friends during playgroup, at the park, or while sitting in the carpool lines at preschool. Let me know if there's one that you're interested in me posting -- I'm open to suggestions!

I'm currently going through my Picasaweb album, cleaning out some of the older albums to make way for new stuff coming in this year. I've been using Picasaweb since March 2007 (Maryann, you clued me in to this, if I remember correctly) and you get 1 GB of space for free. I'll be trying to keep it that way. I could pay more for more space, but I have good backup at home.

I almost deleted the pictures from this album, but I think I'll keep it on for a bit longer to give you guys a chance to smile. Jacob went through a hands-on-his-hips photo posing phase last spring, when he was about 4 1/2. Found out from my Mom that I did the same thing, at the SAME age! And she found PROOF:

From 2007 05 13 Ha...

Jacob: Spencer, NC in March 2007

From 2007 05 13 Ha...

Patricia: Somewhere on the Big Island of Hawaii, June 1978

(This came from a scrapbook my Mom made for me, explaining the word balloon. YES, that's a dress. NO, I'm NOT wearing pants even though I really should be. YES, that little tote bag reads "Patty"...I had that bag for years!)


Labels: , ,

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Moon Sand Mayhem...Mitigated!

Timmy received a Moon Sand set for his birthday from our friends, Julie and Doug and their kids Evan and Kate. Julie recently had her kids over to play and we broke out the Moon Sand -- as we saw the 7% fall to the floor (read more about my estimated 5-7% Moon Sand loss rate here), we had a discussion about the inflatable tray I was interested in. Bless her heart, she remembered and Timmy got to unwrap a set with the tray on his birthday. Yay! It's quite nifty, with a velcro top -- so after Timmy finished, it was really simple to pop on the lid and put the tray away. Probably cut my cleanup time by over 50%!

(All you Air Force-types reading this -- how's that for some action/impact statements!)

So here's Timmy enjoying his Sand Castle kit in the inflatable tray. What a difference! The loss rate is now down to ~1%, at most! That's a phenomenal 6% reduction in Floor Moon Sand! More fun and creative productivity for the kids! Whoo hoo!

From 2008 01 26 Ti...

Tangent: Paul sent me this funny story today, and there's a part of the story about the purchaser having to page through all these web sites that ask you to add more stuff to your shopping cart before you can ever check out (he fell for it and bought an accessory). That reminded me of what I encountered at when I was trying to look for an inflatable Moon Sand play tray earlier this month. I know you're curious -- go ahead, hit the link, note how the page is laid out to try to canoodle you into buying more and more and more Moon Sand.

Labels: , ,

If you build it, they will come...

About a week ago I rearranged my bird feeders. I also changed the type of bird feed I offered, from a general small seed mix to only black oil sunflower seeds. In addition, I took down my windowside hummingbird feeder and replaced it with a windowside standard feeder, filled with sunflower seed. I also switched one of the feeders into a nijer seed feeder, hoping to bring back my goldfinches.

From that point up till this weekend, there was very little bird activity. The new arrangement and feeding options probably spooked everyone for a while, but starting this weekend, our friends started to return.

Today I was able to photograph both Mr. AND Mrs. Hairy Woodpecker, a red finch, a tufted titmouse, a Carolina wren, a Carolina chickadee, and Mr. Bluebird. The cardinals were around, too, but I didn't get any pictures of them. The goldfinches have been around, but I didn't see any of them today.

I was crouched towards the floor of my kitchen, camera in hand, all the while trying out different settings in an attempt to get the best closeup shots. Here are some of the best ones I got this afternoon. This was at about 3pm.

From 2008 01 30 Bi...

Mr. Bluebird on the gutters along our back porch. If this were a cloudy day he'd probably appear much more vibrantly colored.

From 2008 01 30 Bi...

This is Mr. Woodpecker chowing down on suet. This is typically how he'll remain for up to 10 minutes. After he finishes, Mrs. Woodpecker will come by.

From 2008 01 15 Ha...

Here's a shot of him from Jan. 15th, you can see the red patch on the back of his head better.

From 2008 01 30 Bi...

Mr. Housefinch looking right at me!

From 2008 01 30 Bi...

This is the first picture I've been able to take of a bird at the window feeder. ANY motion usually scares birds off. This is a Carolina chickadee.

From 2008 01 30 Bi...

Here's chickadee's cousin, the tufted titmouse. They're in the same family.

From 2008 01 30 Bi...

So here's MRS. Hairy Woodpecker for her meal. How subservient -- she typically waits for the man to finish his meal, then she takes whatever's remaining. Not that Mr. W has taken everything. That's the squirrels' job!

Enjoy! Click here if you'd like to see more of the pictures. I've uploaded 36 of them, out of the 65 that I took.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

PW's Buttery Thyme Bread

I'd read about the Pioneer Woman's Buttery Thyme Bread on earlier blog posts and it sounded pretty good. When she posted the recipe earlier this week I was really interested to see how it tasted. So tonight we had the leftover Jack Daniel's roast, this bread, and some glazed carrots.

You can check out her pictures, and then check out mine and laugh.

For starters, I couldn't find that Wonder Frenchef stuff she showed on her blog, and our local Kroger's freezer cases are full of pre-buttered, pre-garlicked bread. That was okay... I picked up some Pillsbury French Bread in the dairy case instead. Baked it up, let it rest for about 5 minutes before I sliced it in half lengthwise.

From 2008 01 29 PW...

I couldn't bring myself to put 1 whole stick of butter on EACH side of the loaf -- I COULD NOT DO THAT! So I put about 3 TBSP of butter on each side. It was all I could muster. Since the bread was still hot from baking in the oven, it didn't need to spend long melting the butter in the oven at 350 F, as her recipe suggests.

Meanwhile, I went outside to pick my fresh thyme (I know, you might have remembered that I said my only surviving herb plant right now is my rosemary. I lied. I found some scraggly sprigs of thyme on my otherwise-dead-looking plant). Enough to do one side of the bread, but not that other. That's okay, my kids probably would have freaked if I served THEM bread with herbs. Chopped up.

From 2008 01 29 PW...

So then I cranked up the broiler and let 'er rip. It took about 4 minutes and the chirping of my smoke alarm...then it was most perfect.

Sprinkled on the herbs and served it up.

From 2008 01 29 PW...

The verdict -- my near-dead thyme was good, but I think some larger, fresher leaves might have been better. Otherwise, the buttery goodness was a hit at the dinner table, with or without the herbs. Enjoy!


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Night...I mean, Afternoon at the Museum

I don't need to repeat what's already been told quite nicely. Click forth and enjoy. Thanks Maryann!

Labels: , ,

What a World We Live in Now...

Have you ever received one of those forwarded e-mails about how "back in the day", you could go outside to play and absolutely take off around the neighborhood and Mom and Dad trusted you to be safe, play nicely and be home by dinnertime?

We received this flyer for a fund raiser today at of the youth groups is selling Joe Corbi's pizza and cookie kits. I was browsing through the catalog this morning and saw this:

How many of you did fundraisers as a kid? For a sports team? School? Boy Scouts? Girl Scouts? Were your parents like mine? Were you cast out the door with your catalogs and order forms...having to go door-to-door around the neighborhood? Hoping you'd get one or two sales in a 3 hour trudge-a-thon?

It was great when my Dad would take my Girl Scout Cookie order form to work, or to his ship...he said he could just sit the form on his desk, or post it on the wall outside his office door on the ships on which he was stationed...and by the end of one day, the form would be filled.

But that worked well when Dad wasn't out to sea. For some reason, I seemed to do a lot of fund raising when my Dad was out to sea. Which meant I was back to door-to-door...ugh. I really truly hated doing that. I'm not great about asking things of others (babysitting while I drill in South Carolina not-withstanding), especially their money.

I guess I was shocked, but understanding, when I saw printed on the form that the parents and adults should be doing the fund raising legwork. I think I caught a glimpse of my future: Jacob and Timmy...for whatever activity they choose to do in the future, will have plenty of fundraising for me to do. And guidance will be for me (and Dave, hopefully) to do the legwork.

Hated fund raising then, I will hate it in 4-5 years when the boys start getting involved in it.

Labels: ,


'Nuf Said. Age 17. Love the glasses. And the bangs. If only you could see the shirt I had on -- I remember enormous PSU tank top, must have hung down to my knees. Probably from Family Clothesline, one of those $1.99 bargains?