08. November 2008 · Comments Off on If It’s Going to be THIS Cold… · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

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.

03. November 2008 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

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!

01. November 2008 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

Hello friends…enjoy some pictures from our fun Halloween today. It was a nice balance of fun and not being overwhelmed! Too bad it was in the mid-70s this afternoon and I had purposefully designed all of our costumes for temperatures about 15-25 degrees cooler!

After Jake went off to school, Timmy and I went to the Bellevue Early Childhood Center for a trick or treating experience at their building. Timmy made his debut in his R2D2 costume and it was a big hit…not just with the folks who admired it, but also with Timmy. He seemed comfortable and happy wearing it. Unfortunately, he can’t sit down, but at least it was easy for him to put on and take off…so if he wanted to sit, it wasn’t traumatic for him. Check out Yoda — Yoda’s Mom and I made sure to try to pose the boys together for a cute photo!

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

Timmy and I went to lunch, then the BX and commissary after the trick or treat event…Timmy looked fine in his white sweats, but I still had on my costume and got quite a few comments.

After errands, Timmy went to Alissa’s for about 1 1/2 hours while I went to Jake’s school to see the Halloween parade and help with his class Halloween party. I’m very glad Jake’s school recognizes Halloween and allows the kids to express themselves through their costumes. It was awesome to see the sea of children in their costumes…

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

Jake is Mace Windu, from Star Wars Episodes I-III (Samuel L. Jackson). Since Mace is bald, Jake and I discussed how to be bald. Our choices: shave his head or come up with a pretend way to be bald, such as a headpiece from a costume store, or else some pantyhose. Jake chose to shave his head…I didn’t shave it all the way, but it was pretty close:

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

Jake had a good time at his party, and after school, since it was officially the start of the weekend, I set up the Wii again (it had been put away for a while) and Jake and I knocked out 3 Lego Star Wars chapters this afternoon before dinner! Whoo hoo!

After Dave came home and we had a quick dinner, it was time to suit up again for trick or treating in our neighborhood. It was Dave’s turn to take the boys…and this year, no stroller or wagon! I put my costume back on and stayed home to hand out the candy! I really enjoyed seeing how creative the kids can be…we had so many children come by!

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

From 2008 10 31 Halloween2008

Enjoy our pictures and Happy Halloween!