18. May 2008 · 6 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

Hi friends,

I happened across this story on Foxnews.com this morning. While I’m sympathetic with the family for their tragedy, what will sueing the baseball bat manufacturer, the sporting goods store AND Little League accomplish? I understand they might need some financial assistance for the medical needs the young man has now.

But to sue Little League Baseball? They’re a non-profit organization! And they don’t seem happy about the move afoot to ban “non-wood bats” from play.

I haven’t seen the details of what terms the family will sue for, I guess the family could simply sue for Little League to ban non-wood bats from play?

The parents could have chosen to not allow their son to play Little League if they didn’t feel metal bats are safe. But since they let their son shoot arrows in their basement (see news story linked above), I’m sure a metal bat’s safety didn’t cross their minds preemptively.

While I don’t have a baseball background (neither does Dave, except that he’s a Yankees fan), I try to keep aware of these issues, for I’m sure one day Jake will come home from school and ask, “Mommy and Daddy, may I play [insert name of organized sport here]?” At least, we’re hoping he’ll want to try out something. He’s expressed an interest in ice hockey when we get to Nebraska, and this summer I’ve enrolled him in an ice skating lessons 1-week camp in Cary. We’ll see how he feels about the ice hockey once he’s developed confidence on ice skates.

Caution: Patricia’s opinion follows.

As parents, it is our responsibility to maintain that delicate balance between keeping our kids happy (by letting them do things they want to do) and keeping them safe/well-disciplined/out of trouble (by making those tough decisions on their behalf that might not make the kid happy). So, if you feel a particular organized sport may not be in your child’s best interest, make the decision not to allow for it.

Note: I haven’t had to make a colossally unpopular decision yet, my kids are still young, and I’m not looking forward to the fallout when I might have to tell my kids things like:

“No, you may NOT stay out all night at age 14.” or

“No, I’m NOT buying you a car for your 16th birthday!” or

“No, I’m NOT buying a keg for your 18th birthday party!”

I spend a lot of time pondering whether I’m a good mother or not. Especially with my youngest one, who has a much more “spirited” and “rebellious” personality than his older brother. I think overall they’re pretty good kids, but they’re no angels! I see parenting situations in the news, on Supernanny, and among other parents at parks/malls/grocery stores and I have to admit I’m always gauging: “At least my kids aren’t that bad…” or “Why can’t my kids be that good?”

So, there’s my controversial topic for the day. Go forth and tell me how right/wrong/out in left field you think I am, it’s okay, really.

17. May 2008 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

So one of the things I was looking forward to with my new iPhone was plugging it into our car’s auxiliary port and letting the tunes fly through our car’s stereo speakers.

We had issues with our Motorola Rokrs before because our aux cables were for 3.5 mm jacks, Rokrs needed 2.5 mm jacks. Of course.

I was told iPhones use 3.5mm headphone jacks and there should be no problem plugging it into my vehicle. Yay!

But when I tried to plug in our cable, it turned out the port on the top of the iPhone was “recessed” and the cable wouldn’t plug in all the way.

Isn’t that the way it always goes? You think you’ve got it covered, and then Apple pulls some sort of proprietary trick to make you have to run out and buy a “special” product.

Well I wasn’t going to let Apple get the better of me on this one!

I was at Radio Shack, where I was able to find the iPhone’s iGo tip I needed for my car charger (yay!) and I explained my frustration with the recessed audio-out port. The gentlemen pondered whether I might like to “whittle down” the rubber casing on one end of one of the cables I already have. Heck, what do I have to lose, right?

So last night I gave it a go, and it worked!




15. May 2008 · 3 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

Thanks to the 13 respondents who bravely took my Bikini Line Hair Removal poll.

An overwhelming majority (5 out of 13!) shave. Lucky you!

The rest of the responses had an even spread between plucking and waxing.

PS: See that razor up there? That’s the Gilette Sensor Excel for Women, my favorite since I was in college. I could put in the mens’ Sensor Excel blades, meaning I could buy a 25-pack of blades at my favorite Warehouse Membership Club store for Dave and me to share. I recently left my Sensor Excel at my lodging room at Shaw AFB on a drill weekend and apparently Gilette doesn’t make these anymore for women…just the @#$% Venus if I wanted a semi-permanent razor. So I’m back to Daisy razors from my high school days. Not be confused with the Razor Daisy!

15. May 2008 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

I’m sure that’s what Dave’s going to be calling me for the next few days.

First of all, I want to share this hilarious blog entry that Dave showed me. I’ve felt this mother’s pain, hm, EIGHT times and counting! And we’ll be going through it again in June in Strasburg, PA.


I GOT MY iPHONE! I’m SO excited! Our economic stimulus money is scheduled to deposit on the 16th, but I just received a reserve drill weekend paycheck so I figured I’d do some money magic and get the phone a bit ahead of time. Despite reports that Apple is planning a shortage of iPhones this month in anticipation of some new released, our local AT&T Wireless retailer had plenty of both the 8 GB and 16 GB models in stock.

So, as advertised, it was very simple to bring it home, break it out of the package, and plug it into the computer once you have the latest version of iTunes up and running on your desktop/laptop. It’s pretty straight-forward.

I have only two concerns:

1.) Since I don’t use Outlook to manage my contact information, I wasn’t able to smoothly migrate contacts. I had to manually input phone numbers, e-mail addresses and even several physical addresses into the phone.
2.) I bought a super-fancy iGo car phone charger, which allows you to change out tips only for much less than buying a whole new charger. The iPhone tips are pretty hard to find, so I’ll have to find it online.

As Wendy, Julie, Gloria and Rick will all tell you this afternoon at the park, I was glued to the thing all afternoon while the kids played. Mainly I was showing it off to friends, but I was also feverishly transfering the contacts from my old phone to the new phone.

I got that done tonight. Phew!

So this contact list, once transfered, turned out pretty cool! You can put under one name the cell phone, home phone, work phone, home and work e-mail addresses, physical addresses and even homepages! All in one place. Here’s a demo for you, I’ll pay homage to the guy who provided me the money this week to buy my new toy!

Touch the phone number and you place a call:

Touch the e-mail address and start drafting an e-mail:

Touch the homepage address, and the web browser appears with the web site:

And get this:

Touch the address and Google Maps comes up with the location of the address.

How about a satellite shot?

Then, “Would you like directions here from your current location?”


(For those who don’t know me, I’m such a map geek!).

I was able to upload almost my entire iTunes music library without putting hardly a dent in the phone storage capacity.

Time to reply to some e-mails…not with the iPhone, though. It’s cool, but I still need to practice typing with that little thing.

I don’t consider myself an extremely proud person. I’m proud of my boys, my husband, even my well-behaved puppy dog, but I don’t often get too proud of myself.

A couple weeks ago, I know, I was proud of my clean house (which isn’t that clean anymore)!

Here’s something else I’m pretty proud of: Maryann’s Birthday Cake! Click on the photo for the step-by-step in how I did this.

What Maryann probably didn’t realize was all the brainstorms her husband and I went through: a cemetary, the USS Enterprise, flowers, and a red velvet Darth Vader cake had crossed our minds.

From 2008 05 10 Ma…

I guess it was after spending $35 for Timmy’s “Thomas the Tank Engine” 1st birthday cake that I felt that I could decorate my own cakes for a fraction of the cost, all the while doing something special for my boys and for friends. So for my birthday in 2006 I asked for cake decorating lessons at the local A.C. Moore craft store.

The class was fun and I learned SO MUCH! See more of my hand-decorated cakes here.

Chef Duff Goldman I am not, but I still have fun!

12. May 2008 · 6 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Nothing says Mother’s Day like a good old “Beer Butt Chicken”!

Dave kindly offered to cook dinner for the family tonight. He wanted to make something nice, so he asked me what was on hand in the Vollmer kitchen. The only good meat that was defrosted (i.e., not hot dogs or 1/2 a package of bacon) was a whole roaster chicken.

“So, what can I do with it?”

“You have many choices, you can roast it whole, or cut it up into pieces and bake/sautee up 1/2 of the chicken. Or….

I’ve wanted to try a Beer Butt Chicken for years!”

“Hey! Anything with ‘Beer’ in the name of the recipe is all right by me!”

(At least it wasn’t “Anything with ‘Butt’ in the name of the recipe….”)

A colleague/friend from when Dave and I were stationed in Ohio and in Florida, named Ben Kowash, was the first to introduce me to the concept of stuffing a can of beer up a chicken’s backside and grilling it to perfection. I remember him and I discussing cooking on several occasions, and he was quite the chef. He made pad thai sauce from scratch! I don’t even do that!

Since today was a pretty stormy day, we checked online for oven-roasted options, and found several. This is the one we adhered to the most. We sprinkled Old Bay seasoning on the skin, with the little kids, we didn’t want to go for anything too spicy. (Who said Old Bay was just for seafood?) So instead of grilling the chicken, we put it upright in our oven (rack at the lowest setting) for about 1 1/2 hours at 375 degrees F.

Oh my goodness, the chicken was GOOD! I don’t think I’d ever experienced a juicier, more tender chicken breast in my life!

So Ben, if you happen across this posting, thanks for putting the idea in my head, although it was about 6 years ago!

11. May 2008 · Comments Off on FotoMom Turned Forty! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Enjoy some photos of Maryann’s Surprise Birthday Party!

11. May 2008 · Comments Off on Happy Mother’s Day · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
From 2008 05 06 Fl…

For Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share this clip about a fellow Air Force “Major Mom” and her family featured on Saturday’s CBS “The Early Show”.

Dave and I watched this together yesterday. I’m being considered for a deployment to Al Udeid, Qatar in 2009 (don’t fret, this is a good thing) and Dave is hoping that maybe if I’m gone next Mother’s Day, CBS will present him and the boys with a trip to NYC, tickets to a Broadway show, and iPods for everyone.

You HAVE to see the look on the oldest daughter’s face when the CBS lady says that the USO donated iPods to each of the family members!

To all the Military Moms out there, I salute you!

11. May 2008 · Comments Off on The Scoop on the House · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

We signed a contract Monday night.

We’ll close on the North Carolina house on 21 July, and Dave is flying out to Omaha on 19 May to investigate military housing/rental options for us and perhaps get us into a lease ahead of time, which would be great so we could have an address with which to register Jacob for Kindergarten out there.

The contract we’re in here is for less than our asking price but appropriate for the price-per-square-footage in this area. The other contract, which we turned down, was offering $3100 MORE than our asking price…

“WHAT? Are you out of your #$%^@# minds?????”

We felt badly for doing this, but the higher offer was coming with a VA (Veteran’s Administration) loan that would finance 100% of the sale price and had a very very small “earnest money” check.

What many don’t realize about a VA loan is that the VA provides the appraiser and if the appraisal comes in lower than the contract price, the buyer can walk from the contract, or else come up with the difference between the appraisal and contract price. The difference cannot be in the form of another loan (i.e. it more or less needs to be cash). So in reality, the buyer could put any number he/she wanted on the offer. They are only obliged to cover the appraised value…which we may not know for 30 days, considering the VA’s backlog.

I know, I know, we’re Veterans and should have more sympathy. Unfortunately, the market isn’t what it used to be, and the VA has been appraising to the low end of the average costs-per-sq.-ft. around here. So a house in contract for $3100 more than the asking price, could appraise for $8000 less than our asking price. Throw in all the other seller’s obligations with a VA loan (many of the closing costs, termite inspection, etc.) and that lower offer was actually looking more attractive.

So…we wanted an indication of whether the buyer would be willing to provide the difference if the appraisal would come in significantly lower. Our realtor asked for more earnest money in the counter-offer…asked for another $1500. When the buyer asked if they could provide the first $500 in a post dated check, and the remaining $1000 at their next payday, all sorts of alarm bells went off in our minds. There’s a chance they may not be able to get the mortgage at all.

The other offer, although lower, was a conventional loan, the earnest money was appropriate for the transaction, and they were flexible on the closing date. Dave and I, with our realtors, weighed both options very heavily all day Monday and our realtors spent over 3 hours here over dinnertime running numbers, options and placing phone calls on our behalf with the two buyers’ agents.

So there you have it — we finally signed something at about 10:15pm on May 5th. We’re coming out about $124 per square foot, right now most houses in our development are closing for $123-124 per square foot.

We commend our realtors, Gloria and Robert, for their hard work and late nights working with us.

09. May 2008 · 7 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Grey’s Anatomy is my favorite show. Now it’s going to have to struggle to keep my loyalty.

Let’s start here.

I was very very shocked to see them put one of the gay lovers in a no-kidding Army uniform, complete with 2nd Infantry Division unit patch and combat patch (by the way, since there’s a brigade of the 2d ID assigned at Ft. Lewis up the road from the fictitious “Seattle Grace Hospital”).

The other soldier is a patient preparing to undergo a radical brain tumor treatment, and he isn’t in uniform during the episode.

The two share a steamy kiss, which has received all sorts of press already. Let me honest here, homosexual situations in movies, on television, in my life, really truly don’t bug me. One of my favorite shows, Six Feet Under on HBO, had one of the best gay characters on television and it was fascinating to see the character develop. I have several friends/colleagues in my personal and (civilian) professional life who are homosexual and it’s fine.

I don’t judge what’s out there, whether I agree with it or not. We’ll leave it at that.

But to have that guy in a real-looking Army uniform performing homosexual acts gives a very awkward perception to viewers. I don’t agree with that and I was not pleased with seeing that on TV. Homosexual conduct is deemed incompatible with military service. It’s the law. ABC should not have put it’s spin on their opinions of the matter when we’re a nation at war. I don’t know whether it’s really happening in the military now, and if it was happening in my unit/workspace I’d have to take appropriate actions on it. ABC should have left the uniform out of it. Really.

And I’m not the only one with reactions to this. Yes, even an hour after it happened!

I hope AFCYBER don’t come after me for saying these things. I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.