Sunday, December 28, 2008

We've Got Mail!

We have received some correspondence and notifications that our stockings have been delivered and I wanted to share this with you. In receiving the letters and emails, I am reminded why we spend so much time and love on Operation Holiday Stockings.
My step dad wanted me to let you know they got the stockings. He said he was really surprised and they enjoyed everything. He said something about really enjoying packages of Taco Bell??? I'm not sure if that's something you sent with the stockings or something he dreamed up. LOL! Anyways, thanks so much for doing that. Things are rough over there for them and I know that receiving those stockings brought much needed cheer and comfort and a reminder that people are thinking of them. Thanks again!!!! : )
Matt said his group at the outpost (25 or so guys) got their stockings. There are so appreciative!

When he was home I asked him what he wanted for Christmas. He said "The fact that you did all those stockings for the guys is all the present I want." What a sweetie.
Sending our Thanks from Iraq. Thank you for your support and the box of goodies. We hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season & New Year. Soldier Overseas.
We received the box of stockings your group sent to us recently and we would like to thank you from the bottom of our heart. We will use the stockings to decorate the clinic and keep them with us when we leave as a reminder of the support we get from our friends at home. We hope that this holiday season will be a blessing to you and your family. We have much more to be thankful for than we can fully comprehend. When I am placed in situtations like these it reminds me of just how lucky we as Americans are. Take care, God Bless you, and Thanks again.
I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you and all of the volunteers for your thoughts, prayers and generosity. It is due to the dedication of people like yourself and those you work with that many deployed service members get a reminder of exactly how important the job they do is to those at home. The box of stockings was a big hit and every member was a proud recipient of a stocking during our small Christmas party. On behalf of the men and women that I have the great pleasure of leading and serving, I want to thank you again for your thoughtful gifts.
Please pass our thanks on to all that made the wonderful Christmas stockings. Everyone in the unit thought they were fantastic. Thank you again.
Thank you so very much for the wonderful holiday stockings for the guys. There were so darling and so much love and care was put into them. We put them by their doors on Christmas Eve and it was like being Santa's helpers. They just loved them. Thank you a million times over for thinking of us.
A big thanks to all of you who contributed to this project.
And yes, Virginia, there will be an Operation Holiday Stockings 2009. In fact, we've already received some stockings...

Sue B. sent these and we are now on our way for next Christmas.

And we got these from Sue P. (Many Sues, I know!!!).

You can send stockings anytime you want, and remember to collect those hotel samples when you travel.



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to Those So Far Away

A soldier dear to my heart asked that I post this. He also asked that we remember all of the soldiers in our prayers. Christmas is hard for them being so far away when everyone at home is getting together. Well, my dear soldier, it is also hard for the families at home. They may be getting together, but part of their hearts are in the war zones with their soldier. God speed to all of you men and women in harm's way, and may your angel stay tight on your shoulder.

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give
And to see just who in this home did live.I
looked all about a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kind
A sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, so dark and dreary,
I knew I had found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
I heard stories about them, I had to see more
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping silent alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one bedroom home.
His face so gentle, his room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured a United States soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?
His head was clean shaven, his weathered face tan,
I soon understood this was more then a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night
Owed their lives to these men who were willing to fight.
Soon ‘round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the day,
Because of soldiers like this one lying here.
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone
On a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.J
ust the very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The solder awakened and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa don’t cry, this life is my choice;
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more,
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”
With that he rolled over and drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still,
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
And I covered this Soldier from his toes to his head.
And I put on his T-shirt of gray and black,
With an eagle and an Army patch embroidered on back.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
And for a shining moment, I was United States Army deep inside.
I didn’t want to leave him on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, whispered with a voice so clean and pure,
“Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas day, all is secure.
”One look at my watch, and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice In all It's Glory

Yesterday was the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Personally, I like the 22nd better. It's the first day the daylight hours start getting longer.

Since Thursday we have had a total of 13 inches of snow pack dump down on us. By Saturday morning we had 6.5 inches and a break in the storm. David and I were able to run some errands, get some groceries, and do a little bit of Christmas shopping. By the time we got home at 1:30 it started snowing again. The snow on the table had packed down to 4.5 inches. The snow stopped around 7:00 this morning leaving us with 11 inches. Now that's a lot of snow for the Puget Sound area.
The dogs love the snow. Edgar is the only one, however, you can really see in this deep snow. The fluffs are up to their little necks in snow, which means their little bottoms are hitting snow when they need to poo. Early this morning I put on David's big boots while still in nightgown and robe, and stomped down a path for the fluffs to go down under the deck to do their business.
The roof project has been put on hold until we get decent weather. Hard to do roof work with 13 inches on snow on it. The final part are the new gutters. Consequently, as the snow melts a bit, it is dripping, and freezing, making icicles.
Reminds me of the frozen palace in Dr. Zivago.
Yesterday David shoveled the snow off of the deck to remove the weight. Good thing considering we got 4 inches yesterday.
There's plenty on the deck as it is. It did warm up a bit this afternoon so some of the snow has started to melt. Tonight, it's cold again, and we have ice all over the place. "Who knows what tomorrow will bring."



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow and a Cold

'Twas a dark Thursday morning, when all through the house; nothing was stirring, not even the house.

While me in my flannel, and David in his sweats, we were sleeping soundly with no regrets.

When over the house there arose such a clatter, I got out of bed (too old to "spring" out of bed) to see what was the matter.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but thunder and lighting, and a blizzard so near.

Yep, at 5:30 this morning the infamous convergence zone settled over our house and the snow storm hit. It's been a steady snow since then and we now have over 6". It is beautiful and so we might as well stay inside and enjoy it.

David and I decided to put up the Christmas tree (now that the roof, thank God, is done) and put the house in order for Christmas. Edgar helped.
Each year we wrap our ornaments in tissue, so I was piling it on the loveseat not realizing Edgar was napping.
I looked around and asked David where Edgar was and there he was all nice and cozy under tissue. You can't see it in this picture, but the pile of tissue is moving with Edgar's tail.
He finally pulled his head up to look at me and promptly went back to sleep.

The snow is beautiful, and does make everything seem serene and clean.

Last weekend David and I went to Edgar's Acres and moved into our new house. We love it. The dogs love it. It was so good to be back home.
This is the family room. All of the old furniture looks good. Mind you, all of this furniture is hand me downs, cast offs, and finds at a second hand store. When we moved in five years ago, we cleaned out storage units, basements and garages, of all of the "stuff" from Mom, Mother and Marguerite. Amazing how it all came together.
Note Edgar is right at home. His couch is back!
We even put up a little Christmas tree!
The living room will need a few more pieces, but that will come later.
And here is my kitchen. This is an 8 butt kitchen. The kitchen in the old house was a one butt kitchen, and the kitchen in our Bellevue house is a two butt kitchen. I LOVE this kitchen.
It's bright and has lots and lots of counter space.
And the house is warm. None of the snow melted off of the roof on this house.

Well, I'm going to go knit. I can't post what I'm working on right now. Too close to Christmas.



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why we have four dogs and only ONE cat

Sandra sent this to me and I think it is one of the more candid descriptions of taking care of a cat. Note: If you don't have a cat, you won't get it.


1. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding Pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm, holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler to mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered Figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow pill down drinking straw.

9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink 1 beer to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10. Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard, and close door onto neck, to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot, drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect.Toss back another shot. Throw Tee shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12. Call fire department to retrieve the damn cat from across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

13. Tie the little bastard's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy-duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of filet steak. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Consume remainder of scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.

15. Arrange for ASPCA to collect mutant cat from hell and call local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

How To Give A Dog A Pill

1. Wrap it in bacon.

2. Toss it in the air.



Sunday, December 7, 2008

... and the stockings were packed by the chimney with care.

I'm sorry for not posting earlier this week the final report on this year's Operation Holiday Stocking project. Work was a nightmare this past week, and my allergies are driving me crazy. I can't quit sneezing. It's damp here, and warm, so the mold spores are busting out all over. When you are allergic to molds, it becomes an issue. Bear with me on this. Benadryl is the only medication that helps and makes me groggy (trust me on this, I just proof read this posting and oops!).

We had our big stocking stuffing party on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We started out with this table full of stockings. We had a good crowd come to help and we had the usual production line going.
A.J. took his appropriate spot to supervise the whole thing.
Lt. Frank was delighted with a stocking that was decorated by a 17 year old who is planning to join the Army next year. I promised the young man's mother I wouldn't provide any additional detail other than that.
Here's Katie, one of the original committee of five when we started this project. She's a dear friend and always there to help.
Susan and Chiya were there as well again.
This is a nice picture of Benny the Beaver, Mascot of Oregon State University.
Cynthia again provided us with a lovely dinner and it was a good day. On Sunday David and I started the process of sorting, counting, and packing up the boxes for shipment. I included a letter to the recipient, a write up on the story behind this project of love and support, and a full list of contributors and supporters. I checked, and double checked the number of stockings going to each group, and the addresses. David completed the Customs forms and sealed up the boxes for shipment.
David got them off on Monday and Tuesday. Our local post office loves this and have been really helpful each year.
We sent out stockings to 1050 soldiers in 19 units. We gathered together over 1300 stockings, so we will have some for next year (and yes, I'm afraid, there will be OHS 2009). We collected $1700.00. $675 was used for stocking stuffers, and $780 was used for postage. I'm checking on another unit to see if they need stockings since we still have postage money.

There truly isn't an appropriate way to say THANKS to everyone who pitched in to help on this project. Sandra and Deb, thanks for organizing everything at work. You two are awesome. Katie, thanks again for coordinating and collecting from your co-workers and friends. Thanks to the service groups, sororities and Girl Scout troops. Thanks to every individual knitter, crocheter, sewstress, and decorator for getting the stockings done and to us. Thanks to Susan B and Susan M and the entire Eastside Knitting Guild for WOW. A special thanks to David, Frank and John. I love you three with all my heart, and your overwhelming support on this project is so appreciated. Thanks again to Cynthia for feeding the stocking stuffers, and thanks to all of you who again gathered to stuff stockings, both at work and at our home. What started out as a bit of a discouraging project this summer, became one of true miracles and love. Thank you all on behalf of each and every soldier who will be receiving a stocking.

Here is the list of contributors and donors this year.


Sharon of Seattle, Washington
Angela and Soraya of Tacoma, Washington
Eric of Seattle, Washington
Jenn of North Bend, Washington
Marchand of Seattle, Washington
Marina of Bremerton, Washington
Susan B. of Bellevue, Washington
Bob of Seattle, Washington
Glenna of San Antonio, Texas
Linda and Jim of Seattle, Washington
Cynthia of Bellevue, Washington
Bethany of Seattle, Washington
Heather of Molalla, Oregon
Eastside Knitting Guild of Bellevue, Washington
Priscilla of Redmond, Washington
Elaine of Seattle, Washington
Deb of Seattle, Washington
Girl Scout Troop 8411 of Seattle, Washington
Sam of Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Maryann of South Milwaukie, Wisconsin
Nancy of Corvallis, Oregon
Kristie of Seattle, Washington
Jason of Seattle, Washington
Cassy of Shoreline, Washington
Devon of Shoreline, Washington
Sandra of Shoreline, Washington
Dr. Johnson of Bellevue, Washington
Kim of Seattle, Washington
Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Iota Chapter of Tacoma, Washington
Kari & Mike of Bellevue, Washington
Lindalea of Bellevue, Washington
Steve of Seattle, Washington
Barbara of Bothell, Washington
Marlys of Seattle, Washington
Linda of Edmonds, Washington
Diana of Lyle, Washington
Sue M. of Lakewood, Colorado
Bonnie of Sequim, Washington
Susan M. of Bellevue, Washington
Gordon and Carolyn of Seattle, Washington
Melinda of Grass Valley, California
Arlayne of Seattle, Washington
Emily of Seattle, Washington
Lisa of Seattle, Washington
Deb of Shoreline, Washington
Kathy of Seattle, Washington
Sue P. of Seattle, Washington
Mel of Federal Way, Washington
Dana of Woodinville, Washington
Lake Union Hair Salon of Seattle, Washington
Preceptor Alpha Nu of Beta Sigma Phi of The Dalles, Oregon
Rosemary of Kirkland, Washington
Dave of Portland, Oregon
John of Portland, Oregon
David of Bellevue, Washington
Sue R. of Bellevue, Washington
Red Apple Market of Bellevue, Washington
Bartell’s Drug of Bellevue, Washington
Nadine of Seattle, Washington
Ricardo’s Family Restaurant of Bellevue, Washington
Ginny of Hazelhurst, Wisconsin
Katie of Seattle, Washington
Rene of Seattle, Washington
Cathi of Seattle, Washington
Peggy of Des Moines, Washington
LouAnn of The Dalles, Oregon
Sue and Jim of Sherwood, Oregon
Nancy of Seattle, Washington
Ann of Seattle, Washington
Diana of Medina, Washington
Honora of Seattle, Washington
Chiya of Clyde Hill, Washington
Becki of Tacoma, Washington
Deb W. of Bellevue, Washington
Lindsey of Seattle, Washington
Gillian of Edmonds, Washington
Beth of Edmonds, Washington
Melange’s of Seattle, Washington
Kona Bay Yarns of Seattle, Washington

Well, off to have another sneezing fit, and then help get ready for the next project.
Thanks to all of you!!!!! I really am a blessed woman.