January 27, 2008 ~ 5th Floor

Windchimes in the treesJust Hangin’ Out

Running a few minutes late I arrived at Deb’s in time to join her for leftover ziti and a big salad for lunch Saturday.  We started preparing for our Sunday luncheon with the grocery shopping trip that afternoon.  Deb and I grabbed our two carts and headed into Costco with The List, printed on card stock ‘cause I’m out of printer paper.  My printer says I’m out of printer ink, too, but I think it lies… been printing with it for a month now since the lights have been blinking.

The List is divided into sections:

  • Menu: the menu and everything I can think of needed for that;
  • Paper Supplies – we had to restock those, the plastic silverware, the plates, bowls, napkins, and smoothie cups; and
  • Pantry Items – drinks, popcorn, instant oatmeal, ramen noodles, snack crackers, hot chocolate, microwaveable meals, stuff like that… mmm… yeah – sounds almost like a care package, doesn’t it?
  • Oh, and the “Do Not Forget” list is on there, too – blender, t-shirts, decorations.

Plans were to make cold cut subs so there we were – standing in the aisle at Costco, counting how many pieces of ham in a package, doing the math, same with the salami, the turkey, and the cheese. Sub rolls or croissants? Ehhh… both, and we’ll cut them half.

Off to the cold room to buy the lettuce – oops wait, hold up a sec… there’s some shrimp salad samples we must try… mmm purty good.

Okay – decisions, decisions – romaine lettuce (easier) or Boston lettuce (cheaper)? Feelin’ frugal, decided on the Boston.

Off to the drink section – Coke (for the Coke and Pepsi people – sorry, can’t do both so we get whichever is cheaper that day), Diet Coke (for the those who only drink diet), Mountain Dew (for those who must have their caffeine), and Tropicana assorted fruit juices (cause we’re MOMS and soda will rot your teeth (she types as she take a sip of her Coke) and also for a break from the sodas – or pop, depending which neck of the woods you’re from.) Yepper rooney, we try to take care of everybody. (Hmmm I think I forgot to put the Sprite on the list for the non-caffeine people. Sorry guys!)

Headin’ ‘round the corner, Deb pops a wheelie and ooo… someone’s mixing up a bowl of pasta with some kind of mustardy bottled sauce, sliced almonds, and… something else I can’t remember, chicken, I think, pretty good – I liked it, she didn’t.

Over to the fresh fruit – needed some for the smoothies – bananas too green, circled it on The List with arrows pointing at it (that CRS thang) to remember to pick them up at the grocery store; strawberries looked great, nope – the smoothie expert says the frozen are the best, so we headed off to find those.

Ooo lookeeeee…. cheesecake samples…. long line though… so down another aisle. Ok, do they have the rectangle plates (which we wanted) here or at Sam’s? Rats, they must be at Sam’s. Hmmph… the good smoothie cups are there too. Oh well, no biggie.

So that’s just a little idea of how the shopping goes… all over the store, adding prices up with paper and pencil, (I’m too dangerous with a calculator), as we go sose not to go over-budget, and yep, we did stop and get some cheesecake… delectably mouth-watering, scrumptiously delicious chocolate truffle cheesecake, out of our budget though – maybe next time.

Checking out now and we find out that OOPS, I added wrong somewhere along the line – by $100.00 – could have bought that cheesecake for the luncheon after all. Checked the clock – gotta get – bummer – maybe next time.

Then off to the regular grocery store to pick up the things we didn’t want to buy in bulk like the mustard, mayo, and straws. Oh, and bananas, OH and the yogurt. Thank goodness for The List.

Back to Deb’s, unloaded what we needed for the morning and what needed to be refrigerated, left the rest in the back of the car, and hung out for awhile.

Janelle and Jean came over and we all went out to dinner in Bal’mer. Nothing like the big city at night. We ended up in Fells Point – cobble stone streets, on the water, shops galore, a place to come back to again fer shure. The seafood restaurant we ate at (dutch treat), was reasonably priced and the food was delicious with generous portions. By the time we got home, it was lights out. We zonked.

Up early the next morning, Jean came over with coffee, Janelle arrived a few minutes later, and we all pitched in and got it all together and headed out for the hospital after double checking the Do Not Forget List first. Mmm hmmm… learned the hard way to do that.

Someone who was at the luncheon wrote this:

The luncheon is wonderful. The Marine moms are like a well oiled machine – poetry in motion. The theme is football, and these ladies have every detail nailed down.

They are making fruit smoothies for the vets and people are popping in (both the vets and the hospital staff) asking about them. Obviously the word has gotten out that the smoothies are the shnizzle.

The families are visibly touched that anyone cares enough to do this for them. I am humbled by the amount of love and care these ladies put into these luncheons.

Every vet and family got a personalized gift bag and T-shirt. There were even some cosmetic goodies for the wives. One very young wife, whose husband couldn’t walk down to get a plate, just kept saying “I can’t believe you all are doing this – thanks”.

I would have driven twice the distance, just for that. These ladies are absolutely awesome – definitely the high point of my weekend.”

Sometimes it’s just hard for me to find the words to describe a luncheon, so it’s nice having her do it for us.  Thank you.
I totally forgot to take pictures of the table this time. Well, you’ve seen “before” pics. Here’s an “after” pic:

The buffett ableafter the luncheon,

And below are the subs and gift bags while I was waiting for the cart to come back downstairs for the second load when we first got there. The tub you see under the subs has the paper products in it and lives in my car in between luncheons. Sandwiches and gift bags

OH! HaPpY DaNcInG!!! We have a Vita-mix now! We don’t have to use Deb’s! 

Thank you, thank you Operation Santa!!!! It is to share with other projects at Bethesda and Walter Reed like Operation Fresh Air.
Embroidery Friends sent us matching shirts… mmm hmmm… they mumbled something to me about “Marine Elves”. Thank you.

Nice quality shirts and a very nice embroidery job. I was just surfing their site and for designs for computerized embroidery machines, stitch files, they are the place to go. They have lots of military designs, biker ones, POW, red work, freebies – makes me want to buy an embroidery machine.
Once again, thank you to our donors who helped to make the January luncheon happen and to the Marine Liaison office staff who helps us with what we do.

As always, continued prayers for our servicemen and women who have sacrificed so much defending our freedoms.

Until next time,




Jan 27, 2008 Luncheon crew