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: 11/2/08 - 11/9/08

Saturday, November 8, 2008

If It's Going to be THIS Cold...

It's friggin' cold here. Highs in the 30s, lows in the 20s...winds 15-20 knots, gusting into the 30s.

It's been like this since Thursday. It's going to be like this for a while.

Okay okay okay...I'm a wuss.

I grew up on the coast. When you live near water, cold temperature spells are pretty short-lived. Even in the coldest part of winter, your below-freezing spells are only 48 hours or so.

I went to college in central Pennsylvania, and that was my first time in my memory spending a long time in cold weather. And I didn't hear the end of it about what a wuss I was from the native Pennsylvanians and New Englanders who were used to blizzard conditions and weeks-at-a-time of overcast skies.

And in the 14 years since college, only 3 1/2 of those years were spent in cold climates: Seoul, Korea and Dayton, Ohio. The rest of the time was in the sunny South.

Until now. So here we are in Nebraska. Cold.

Long range forecasts are telling of the true arrival of winter. I brought in my plants, noticed all those little black bugs that crawled through my window screens are no longer and it's time to bring in the porch furniture. Organized the hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, balaclavas and snow pants in our makeshift "mudroom".

So we're ready for the snow. If it's going ot be this cold, at least make it fun with some snow.

PS: I love Calvin and Hobbes, especially the snow-related cartoons. I found this site which has a bunch (but not all) of the snow-series.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 3, 2008

Let the Cookie Extravaganza Begin!

It's that time of year.

"Election Season?"

Well, yeah, but that's not what I'm talking about...

"Autumn? Leaves falling? Raking? I didn't know there were leaves to rake in Nebraska..."

Yes, that too...but keep with me here...


"So soon?"

In the Vollmer house, yes. Actually, this year is going to be extra early because I'll be in Florida for most of December for some Air Force training.

But I typically do the cookie thing a little early anyway...

In 1997, I spent Christmas in Tuzla, Bosnia. It was surreal, the amount of kindness that gets showered upon servicemembers from all over the country! We had stacks of care packages taller than me in one corner of our weather office, filled with sweets, treats and books/magazines! And the "any servicemember" mail we received was so touching. Wasn't I cute back then? I guess I was about 24 years old.

Note: This picture was part of a media photo shoot, a story was written up for the base paper about me and the work I was doing on the base.  One of those "in case there's nothing better to report" kinds of things, but I don't think it ever ran.  The hard copy print of this picture is one of the first digital photo printouts I'd ever seen, incidentally.

I've tried to send cookies to deployed folks every Christmas season since.

So this is the 11th year, and even after 9/11, when the military shut down "any servicemember" mail, I've known people in the hostile file zones every year...with a definitive address to send cookies.

That being said, I want to get the cookies sent out by the US Postal Service deadlines. One of the recipients this year is in an "093" zip code (within Iraq) so I need to get them mailed by December 4th.

I've typically done the cookies over Thanksgiving weekend, giving me the last week of November to get them mailed out. But this year Thanksgiving is late -- so I expect to do the baking the weekend prior to Thanksgiving.

I have a repertoire of cookies that have proven reliable for shipment to the Balkans and the Middle East over the years, from biscotti to oatmeal cookies with Hershey kisses inside.

I will make a full recipe of Neiman Marcus cookies. Honestly, I don't care whether the legend is true or not, the cookies are fantastic and a big hit no matter where they're sent. I make them nice and small so they don't fall apart in transit.

For the past couple years, I've attempted to get the boys involved...last year Jake wanted to break all the eggs, and then they both enjoy rolling the oatmeal cookies in the colored sugars. Hopefully this year they can do a little more, like measuring flour and adding ingredients to the bowl.

I'll go ingredient shopping next weekend - I even joined Costco today, in part because of the outstanding deals on bulk sugar, flour and eggs.

I'll keep you posted with pictures later this month!

Labels: , , , ,