Ideas for sending to the Soldiers

Here is an updated list of items that we are asking for: Campbell’s chicken noodle soup in the easy open cans (due to lack of can openers), twinkies, Chef Boyardee ravioli, chocolate bars, Lever 2000 pure rain body wash, C batteries, vienna sausage, swiss miss hot chocolate, coffee cream and sugar, beef jerky, ritz crackers, chewy granola bars, triple blade razors, baked goods-brownies and cookies, cherry almond shampoo & conditioner, sleep medicine, multivitamins, powerbars, candles, and powdered Gatorade

(NOTE TO ALL: Those easy-open cans have a tendency to burst in transit, so either send them in 2 sealed plactic bags and/or send ‘real’ cans and a can opener (better idea) -Marty)

Oops. Just sent two cans of these. Hope they don’t burst. From now on I’ll double bag them.

For example, the following items are a huge hit: magazines (those of interest to 20-30 year old men and women), snacks of any kind (especially chocolate), music CDs (again, geared for younger generation), slippers, etc. I recently received one, for example that had some Burt’s Bees specialty soaps and face wash, etc. That was awesome. Also, the specialty coffees and creamers are a big hit.

They are always in need of decent greeting cards to send to loved ones. The ones that are most needed are the “I love you”, “I miss you”, “I’m thinking of you” type. I’m sure we will all be making homemade ones for Valentine’s day, as we have no way to buy them here. Several months ago I received a package of them from a friend who sent me a variety that were “happy birthday”, “I love you”, “I miss you” type and I have been so grateful for them. I really loved receiving a package of “Happy Birthday” balloons. Now, every time someone has a birthday, I blow one up and brighten their day!

Earlier post on the same topic

Books I’ve Read:23-29

Romance books, all of them. Although I may quit. The last two days I’ve read two bad ones.

His Best Friend. Fun, but not light hearted.

Undercover Babies. A good book if you like the “life isn’t always good” scenario. I don’t read romance for realism. So I didn’t like it at all.

Gone Too Far by Suzanne Brockmann. The last, that I know of, in her Team Sixteen series. Wonderful book. I’m going to check at the bookstore to see what else she has.

The Substitute Fiancee by Rebecca Russell. One twin takes her sister’s place for a wedding dress fitting. Then the real fiancee doesn’t come home and the other twin has to keep pretending to be her. The guy knows, but there are social situations where it is important that she show up. They fall in love. Which is a mess. But a good book.

The Dating Resolution by Hannah Bernard. A book about a woman who says she’s not going to date for a year. So she moves to Alaska for the last four months because she’s “just a girl who can’t say no.” But then she lies and says she’s married, to try and stave off any unwanted attention. She falls in love with the only person who knows the truth… It’s a fun tale, with some painful twists.

The Boss, the Baby, and Me by Raye Morgan was a good book, too. Two feuding families have changed their positions. The poor family is now rich and vice versa. The main characters don’t share enough about what is going on, though, and so there are many misunderstandings. I didn’t like that part. But I did like the book.

Daddy by Choice by Marin Thomas is a good book too. It’s about a dad taking care of a five-year old son he didn’t know existed eight months ago. It’s about a wealthy woman coming to do her dad’s bidding and get custody of the boy. It’s about the two falling in love and, eventually, the three of them making a family. I liked it. I bought it.

Books 1-7
Books 8-13
Books 14-17
Books 18-22

Books I’ve Read: 18-22

A Millionaire and a Baby by Marie Ferrarella, one of my favorite romance writers.

Cowboy Courage by Judy Duarte, who is rapidly joining my favorite list. (Which brings it to three.)

Daddy Patrol by Sharon De Vita, a fun entertaining romance that looks at family impact on relationships.

The Boss’ Baby Bargain by Karen Sandler.

Playing by the Rules by Beverly Bird. I didn’t like this one much.

Dancing Naked

The book is on my book reading list, 14-17. It’s a fun book, but in a way it’s clearly fiction. I don’t think it is intended to be fiction and I think, for some people, it might be fact, but I think that overall it’s just not so.

It says that being married and having a family takes away from who you are. It may, in a way, but it also adds to who you are. Could you be as compassionate if you had never felt the fear for your child? Would you know what another was going through if you hadn’t gone through something, if not similar, at least as difficult?

Who am I? I am S. I am a wife. I am a mom. I like my house to be clutter free but don’t like to clean. I like blue glass and wood furniture. I like art. I love my husband. I love my kids.

This book was about a woman who always looked at other people’s needs and never her own. Her husband found her to be a strong woman, but she had never seen herself as strong. But just because she hadn’t seen it, didn’t make it so. She lived “other people’s lives.” But, something the book does not touch on, that was her choice. It might not have been the best choice, but it was her choice.

My choice is to write a story I love, and not send it out. My choice is to homeschool, not as well as I could. My choice is to read blogs, write this one, and not aim for a niche market and a wide readership. My choice is to dye my hair and wear pink. My choice to keep my hair long. My choice not to take the Christmas tree down, even though it’s dwarfing the living room. All those things are my choice. Yeah, they may impact someone else, but they’re my life, not “other people’s lives.”

I could have not homeschooled, but I decided that was more important to me than being comfortable and making money. Homeschooling is not easy. And it is certainly not easy for me. It is hard. But it is something that needs doing and I can do it and I want to do it because I think it is important.

I could have not finished my PhD, but I decided I wanted to and I got it done, right at the end of the time limit. It’s finished. No one can take it away from me. There are lots of people who wanted me to do it, but in reality I was the one who chose.

That’s what the book misses. It sees her going along, making limiting choices because of her past. But they were still her choices, her limits. Those other people did not choose them for her. She chose them for herself.

Then she chose to change. She changed in a big way. She left her philandering husband and her empty house and her “always gone” kids. She went in search of her past and found a new present, but not one I would have liked. She got a beautiful apartment and a funky backyard and took up a new profession.

Those changes were also her choice. But the book made her first choices seem to have been someone else’s. They weren’t. She chose the way her life was. Then she chose another way.

I wish I knew wild and crazy friends like Elizabeth and Bianna. But then again I don’t know if I would choose women like those characters to be my friends.

It’s still an interesting read.

Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn by Kris Radish.

Books I’ve Read: 14-17

Running on Empty, a romance novel, about a cop and a woman who has lost her memory. No one knows who she is. Or do they?

Codename:Fiancee, another romance. Not as good. About terrorists and murderers and brothers.

Conflict of Honors by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn by Kris Radish. It’s not something I would normally read, but I liked the title and the woman in the one piece jumpring around with balloons encouraged me to turn it over while I was standing in line to get information on a book for school. It’s about a woman who walks in on her husband having sex with someone else in their bed and she just wants to watch. Then you watch as her life changes. Fascinating. Interesting read. I’d almost say fun. But it’s hard to say that about divorce.

Books 1-7
Books 8-13

Whistle Language: Reprecussions

In the book Karen, the author/mother tells of whistling to her premature infant because her singing was so bad. When the infant whistled back, everyone said it wasn’t happening. Until they saw it. Because of that story I’ve always been interested in language/whistling connections.

Here’s an article on a language that is whistled. They compared Spanish speakers and Spanish and Silbo Gomero speakers when they listened to sentences in both. Both groups had bilateral activation of the brain for Spanish. But only native speakers had the same bilateral activation for Silbo Gomero.

Ah Hah! The answer to an age old question on why those who were raised by wolves could or could not learn English.

At some point several toddlers were lost in the woods. Not all the same place or time. These were all apparently taken in by wolves and raised like cubs. Those who were found before they were around 6 were able to learn English and adapt. Those who were found when they were older, were never able to re-enter society. I have always thought it was because their brains were no longer able to process the human language as language because it didn’t match wolf language.

Here’s some tantalizing hint that such a theory might be true.

via Mirabilis

Update: Note on Silbo being required at school to save it

Who is Hipparchus?

He was from Rhodes, born in Nicea, somewhere around 180 BC.

Why is Hipparchus important?

He was one of the earliest recorded astronomers. And supposedly a sculpture shows his long-lost star chart. But I don’t see why the person couldn’t have just looked at the stars as they were.

According to this site the Farnese Atlas is a Roman copy from 150 AD of the Greek original, circa 200 BC. In that case, the sculptor could have just looked out the window.

Is there something else I’m missing here?

This site is on Hipparchus, ancient astronomer. It notes: “While the North Celestial Pole today is near the star Polaris, in 3000 B.C., it was near the star Thuban in the constellation Draco…”

Ode to America

According to Snopes this is actually a real article, written just after September 11th. It was written by Cornel Nisterescu and published in Romania on September 24, 2001.

“Why are Americans so united? They don’t resemble one another even if you paint them! They speak all the languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations. Some of them are nearly extinct, others are incompatible with one another, and in matters of religious beliefs, not even God can count how many they are. Still, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand put on the heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the army, the secret services that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed on the streets nearby to gape about. The Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand. After the first moments of panic, they raised the flag on the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colours of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a minister or the president was passing. On every occasion they started singing their traditional song: “God Bless America!”….

What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their galloping history? Their economic power? Money? I tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases which risk of sounding like commonplaces. I thought things over, but I reached only one conclusion.

Only freedom can work such miracles!”

Thank God for freedom.

Bless the children

“Iraqi Boy Helps Lead Troops to Roadside Bomb

Mosul, Iraq — Multi-National Forces from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), were able to defuse a roadside bomb after an Iraqi boy provided them with information about it in northern Iraq on Jan. 10.

Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, were on patrol in Mosul when an Iraqi child informed them of a roadside bomb in the area. The tip led to the diffusion and destruction of the bomb.

No injuries were reported, and the child was compensated for his service.”

A Multi-National Task Force Release via Blackfive.


I called my sister to wish her a happy 34th bday. She said thanks. She also said her husband forgot. I tried to find his work number without going through anyone we know, but I couldn’t spell it correctly. I finally gave up and called my dad. He gave me the number but asked if I “really wanted to get in the middle of it.” They’re arguing about buying a house.

I called Ron and asked him what he thought. He said if M did forget, he’d be glad for the heads up.

So I called. I left a message on his machine, which was fine. As long as he got the info I was okay with it.

He called back while I was gone and left a message for me. He had forgotten. I’m glad I called.

(My dad forgot my mom’s 47th birthday. I called him from Switzerland to remind him.)

Woman of Achievement

I’ve been selected as the Woman of Achievement for a foundation in my area. There are several, for different areas. I was nominated and won for education. At the time I was nominated I was teaching in four different ways and age groups. (College, high school classroom, middle school coop class, homeschooling.)

My dean won for the Arts. She’s an artist. In fact, one of her paintings hangs in the English office and I would love to own it. (I asked. It’s not for sale.)

It’s hard to know how excited you should be about things like that. But today I went somewhere and someone who barely knows me said, “So you have a PhD?” I said I did. Then we talked about it for a bit. And I think I asked how he knew. He said that he saw that I had won Woman of Achievement for Education. That was cool. He goes every year.

About half an hour later someone else was talking to my son and said, “Did you know your mom won the Woman of Achievement award for Education?”

We both thought it was more cool after other people knew about it.

My husband nominated me. He can be very persuasive. I guess he was on this.

Christmas Spending

According to the BBC today, the Brits recorded their worst Christmas spending of the last ten years. The BBC solicited comments on how reader’s money was spent.

I spent $10 for presents for my parents.
$40 for presents for both my sons. (They received another $250 each from their grandparents, aunts, and uncles.)
$160 for family requested gifts for the Christmas Eve bingo at my sisters.
$120 for R’s present.
$140 for mine.
$100 for soldiers overseas.

So I spent a total of $560. I’m not sure, but I would expect that to be about what I’ve spent the last three years, since our income increased a lot.