Books I’ve Read: 78-106

I have found a new vice.

I’ve read a bunch of stories in the last few days. Some were good; some weren’t good; a few made me laugh.

Dial D for Date was awful. In less than 24 hours, being together less than an hour, they know they’re in love.
Love Letters. A happy ending to a seven year old sad tale.
Wedding or Not.
Cafe Romeo. An interesting story, though it got tied up too quickly in the end.
Secret Wedding.
Single Minded
Catch of the Day. mermaids
Joe: Bachelor Brothers by Marie Ferrarella. Not as good as her normal stuff.
The Valentine Wedding Dress by Sherryl Woods. Not bad.
Hope in a Handbag. An interesting tale with lots of interesting purses.
A Perfect Match.
Game Plan of the Heart by Cara Colter– excellent, made by cry
The Spy Who Loved Her. Fun, but way too short a time again.
Girl Gone Solo.
The Bikini Switch- light but good. They have known each other for years.
Good Dog/Bad Dog by Samantha Connolly- cute, very cute
Judi and the Beast by Dianne Drake– fun

Books 1-7
Books 8-13
Books 14-17
Books 18-22
Books 23-29
Books 30-34
Books 35-45
Books 46-60
Books 61-77

Books I’ve Read:61-77

I’m keeping a list of books I’ve read this year. (See the links at the bottom for past book lists.) Unfortunately, I have started reading a lot more books in the store than I had been. Now I can’t remember all the names of all the books I’ve read. But, here’s my next set.

Wind Rider’s Oath by David Weber
Apocalypse Troll by David Weber
Worth Every Risk by Dianna Love Snell– an excellent story with one great scene at the end
Assignment: Twins by Leigh Michaels
Second-Chance Hero by Justine Davis– a great continuation of a series, Draven is the hero of this one.
Prescription: Love by Pamela Toth– good continuation
Their Miracle Baby by Lilian Darcy– a story about the romance that takes place after the sex, and the baby
Because a Husband is Forever by Marie Ferrarella, one of my favorite romance authors
A Father, Again–Mary J. Forbes
Forgotten Son by Linda Warren
The Spy Who Wore Red by Wendy Rosnau– This is a well-written book, but I did not like it. Too much bad stuff in it.
Explosive Alliance by Catherine Mann
Their Secret Son by Crystal Green
Truly, Madly, Dangerously by Linda Winstead Jones
Heart and Soul by Eva Rutland– Didn’t like this much.
The Chosen Child by Brenda Mott–This is about a couple who are married, but unable to have children.
Three Down the Aisle by Sherryl Woods– She can write some good books. I enjoyed this one.

Books 1-7
Books 8-13
Books 14-17
Books 18-22
Books 23-29
Books 30-34
Books 35-45
Books 46-60

Soldier Packages

Yesterday saw the 80th care package sent since November 15. Go to any soldier for a list of Soldiers and Marines who would like to hear from you.

One group said they’d like letters. So I’ve sent 75 personal two page letters since November just to them. I’ve slowed down in the last few weeks, but I’m still writing. And they got five boxes of books mailed out yesterday.

The homeschoolers have contributed to 60 of the boxes. They’ve put money in for 22 boxes and given at least something for each of those 60 boxes. At least ten have been sent only with things from the other homeschoolers.

Last November I sent huge boxes of books I’d bought at a book sale to Iraq. This year, the librarian volunteers donated five boxes of books. They probably would have donated more, but I was out of money to send them. (Then someone else donated money to send those. Drats. Should have trusted I’d get it somehow.)

Many people have gotten involved. My parents paid for 14 boxes to be mailed. They also contributed four boxes of magazines. My sister went shopping for hygiene items. A lady in line at the post office gave me $20 to mail boxes. I consider that the federal government has gotten involved, too, because we finally have flat rate boxes that only cost $7.70, instead of the $11 to $30 I was paying, to send stuff to the soldiers. My college students sent twenty letters over last semester, as part of an optional extra credit assignment.

I wish there had been something like this back during Nam, so that the soldiers would have known some of us cared. We didn’t have money back then, but we’d have sent something anyway.

Shotgun Seminars

This is a fabulous idea. I would love to go to a seminar like this every month. What new things I would learn!

“A Shotgun Seminar is a talk given by an Institute member to a volunteer audience. The subject of the talk is announced a week in advance, but the name of the speaker is not. Before the talk begins, the names of all people in the room are written on scraps of paper, the scraps are put into a box, the box is ceremoniously shaken and one name is picked out at random. The name picked out is the name of the speaker.”

Wow! Study for a topic, in this case in your own field at Princeton, but you could do it on almost anything people had an equal interest in… Then when everyone comes prepared, you all share ideas.

btw, the quote was from Infinite in All Directions by Freeman Dyson. It’s a wonderful series of lectures, now essays, from a physicist from Princeton.

I guess, in a way, that is what book clubs are doing. Only everyone reads one book and discusses it.

I am Grateful to God for…

my computer
Internet access
blogs to read and keep up with the world
a husband who knows what to do when the computer is messed up
telephones, so I can call people I care about
cars, so I can go see them easily, even if they live multiple miles away
blue skies
a bed to take a comfortable nap in
the dog, even when she eats two rolls of toilet paper
VCRs so I can tape shows to show my students, my kids, or my husband
classes I enjoy teaching
students who enjoy taking my class
having a picked up house
having the laundry done
that my husband cooks delicious meals
my kids’ health
my husband’s paycheck
his willingness to work for that paycheck
his job, which came after a layoff

Health: Good, Better, and Not Better

I’ve been on tons of medicine now since Dec. 18.

Good or Better:
My pregnancy mask is gone. So my face doesn’t have two very different colors on it.
My winter skin is much less dry, much less itchy, than it was.
My acne is better, but not all gone.
I don’t usually have to take a nap, although I still get tired somewhere between 6 and 8 pm. However, two days this week I have taken naps, even after taking cortisol.
My brain fog is better.
I am still losing words, sometimes more than 5 a day, but not up to the 20 that I was losing before.
I am sleeping better. I get up less in the night. Recently that has gotten worse again, so I might up my melatonin and see if that helps.
My average temp has gone up from 96.8 to 98. That’s supposed to indicate that my thyroid rates are improving.
I’m not having cold hands and feet as much. Still have them sometimes, but not all the time.
I had lost all sugar cravings; now I’m having them but not as badly.

Not Better:
I’m on day 87 of 109 days of having a period. That’s not too good. The dr. says that next time they won’t let the breakthrough start. But it’s happened twice, since that 68 day period was over. So I’m not sure I believe them or that it will work, even if they do try it.
I’m still not having much libido, though it is better than never wanting any. I had two days where I wanted sex.
Joint pain was better. I was having it once a week. Now, however, my body is acting like it did when I was getting too many allergic foods. I’m waking up with pain in my hands, feet, and even my legs. However, I am not eating any of my allergic foods– not a single one. The pain is getting worse, but sometimes is a bit better and then gets even worse.
I still have fluid retention, bad cramps, heavy periods.

Carbs: Truth

According to Reuter’s, a study shows that it isn’t carbs, but what kind of carbs you eat that matters.

“People who are overweight do not appear to eat more carbohydrates overall than people who weigh less, the researchers report in the American Journal of Epidemiology. However, they found that overweight people tend to eat more refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pasta, which cause a rapid spike in blood sugar.”

…”In contrast, whole grains, fruits and vegetables have carbohydrates that don’t have such high glycemic index, Ma said.”


Time’s articles keep saying that money doesn’t buy happiness. They say it over and over again in this Jan. 17 edition.

But then they have a graph which says the opposite.

Just how happy are we? it asks. And then it says, based on income. And the numbers go up for money and % of happiness.

Happy all or most of the time?
income under $35K = 68%
$35-50K = 81%
$50-100K = 85%
$100K+ = 88%

Happy not very often?
under $35K = 7%
$35-50K = 5%
$50-100K= 2%
$100K+ = 1%

8 Happiness Increasers

According to Time magazine, there are eight steps to a more satisfying life.

1. Count your blessings. (Just got to twenty today. Add a new set tomorrow. That’s my advice.)
2. Practice acts of kindness, both random and systematic.
3. Savor life’s joys.
4. Thank a mentor.
5. Learn to forgive.
6. Invest time and energy in friends and family.
7. Take care of your body.
8. Develop strategies for dealing with stress and hardship.

I am Grateful to God for…

R, who is a passionate, compassionate, intelligent man, who loves me and lives with me.
E, my eldest, a thinking, growing boy, whose love of art has impacted my life in many ways.
M, my youngest, a dramatic child, who encourages me to be better every day.
my house
my bedroom
the art in my house
my blue glass collection
my great-grandmother’s rocking chair
all the furniture my family has handed down to us
the fact that my yard is mowed
the deep red roses that I got for Valentine’s day
the fact that I felt up to walking
that I did walk
that I heard birds and watched a squirrel scurry through the tops of bushes and vines
M’s history today, that we did together.


I’ve been listening to Tony Robbins. He says gratitude is the opposite of fear. While I don’t think that’s true, I do think gratitude is important. The January 17, 2005 Time magazine has a whole bunch of stuff on happiness and the science of happiness. They’ve found that keeping a weekly list of 3-5 things for which you are happy, and varying the list each week, increases happiness.

So what if you kept a gratitude journal daily? Wouldn’t that help your positive focus?

Marriage and Happiness

Another study, from Reuter’s, says that personality is the key to marital bliss.

“Shared moral values are less important than compatible personalities as a recipe for a good marriage, according to a study released on Sunday.

Married couples often share the same attitudes about faith and other values, researchers from the University of Iowa found. But those with personalities similar to their spouses were the happiest.”

The study used self-description of marriage, five months into the marriage, by couples who dated an average of 3.5 years.

Low Cholesterol Problems

According to Reuter’s, I’d be even more of a genius, if my cholesterol weren’t so low. 😉

“Naturally low cholesterol levels are associated with poorer performance on a variety of cognitive measures, according to a new study….

Individuals in the lowest total cholesterol group (less than 200 units) performed more poorly than patients with higher cholesterol levels on tests of similarities, word fluency, attention/concentration, and overall, the investigators report.

Participants in the lowest total cholesterol group were 49 percent more likely than were participants in the highest total cholesterol group (240-380) to perform poorly, and 80 percent more likely to perform very poorly, the results indicate.”

So, I should start eating high cholesterol foods?

A Short Story for Class

Today in Dinosaurs and Dragons, I gave the class a supposition as the starting point for a story. It was:

Suppose you are a group of city dwellers from Babel. Your language has been changed and you don’t want to hang around any of the other groups anymore. You start out for a new home, but don’t know where you are going or really how to get there. Where would you stop to make a home?

We got three suggestions: volcano, caves, or trees. The class voted and trees won.

Then suppose you ran into a dinosaur. What would you call it? What would it look like?

We came up with a five foot long, without its tail, flying black carnivore with red eyes which could spit flames. Pointy teeth. No horns, no plates, but snake type skin.

I told them it was a bit dangerous to have flying flame throwers attacking a group of people who lived in trees.

We discussed that.

I gave everyone a profession. Some of the kids did not like their professions. I tried to be fairly realistic, but we didn’t have a lot of choices that I was coming up with anyway.

Then we worked out a story plot. We had Bob, a small child, who ran into the first Monstrous Serpent. We had Trevor, the guard, kill it.

Then we discussed how the whole group would be attacked. We had a lot of ideas. One was that the MS would be hewn with a sword. I nixed that one. One was the MS would not be dead and would squeal and its parents would come. I thought the parents were okay, but didn’t like the squeal.

So I told the kids about a wasp and how when it is killed violently it releases a chemical into the air that other wasps can smell and they hone in on the scent and attack the killer. I thought the parents of the thing could do that.

But the kids suggested that rather than the parents, a whole swarm of the MS should show up, just as if they were wasps.

So we had our beginning conflict. And we kept going from there.

I was excited about the idea and I came home and worked on the story for two hours. It is ten pages long, each of the boys in the class, all thirteen, are named in the story at least seven times. I did change some of the action proposed.

Originally Trevor was going to die. He didn’t like that idea. So then he was going to be set on fire but stop, drop, and roll. However, since he’s the one who kills the first MS, I didn’t want too much of him. For example, even taking that part out and giving it to two other boys, Trevor is still mentioned in the story 17 times, because he’s the one who watches the kids, finds Bob, and rescues him, killing the first MS.

I split up the heroism of the fire by having Michael fire the first arrow at the swarm and Austin knock him out of the way of a flame. Austin gets caught and he stops, drops, and rolls.

I actually like the story. I titled it “The Lay of the Monstrous Serpent” but since a lay is a poem, that was a problem. I changed it to “The Chronicle of the Monstrous Serpent.” It’s old fashioned in its language, just a bit, but I think it’s pretty good. It wouldn’t work as a publishable story because one whole page is spent on the listing of the boys in the class and their made-up families. And if you didn’t have that, how would you know who the characters were? Although it might not matter for some of them.

Anyway, I think the boys will love it. I’m going to take it to class next week and read it to them and see what they think. I’m going to try to get some suggestions on improvements, but I don’t know if I will. Of course, I wouldn’t have thought of the swarm of the things, so that was one place where they improved on their own ideas even over what I would have done.

Oh yeah, I also put a class joke in the story. One of our kids loves Leviathan, so he talks about it in the story.

It’s a very personal story for the group, although their characters don’t necessarily match the professions they got. Maybe I could trade some of them around.

Human Cloning

We’re reading Frankenstein in school. I’m talking to my own children about Dolly and human cloning. Why? Because the UK gave a license to the Dolly scientist to do human cloning.

They’ve given him a license to create human beings who have no parents and destroy them or genetically alter them as he sees fit.

Chris Baker, on Houston’s 740 AM, says he thinks they won’t have souls. I doubt that. God lets in vitro babies have souls. Rapists’ children have souls. I expect cloned babies will have souls too. The question is whether they will live long enough to develop those souls.

This reminds me of the human brain cells being injected into mice. What are you going to do with sentient mice?

Books I’ve Read:46-60

I’m keeping a list of the books I’ve read this year.

Fantasy novels this last two weeks:
Oathblood by Mercedes Lackey
Brightly Burning by Mercedes Lackey

Protecting the Princess by Carla Cassidy
All He Ever Wanted by Allison Leigh
Explosive Alliance by Catherine Mann
Dangerous Games by Marie Ferrarella
A Question of Intent by Merline Lovelace
Warrior Without a Cause by Nancy Gideon
Her Good Fortune by Marie Ferrarella
Her Secret Valentine by Cathy Gillen Thacker- continuation of “The Brides of Holly Springs”
Archer’s Angels by Tina Leonard– continuation of “Cowboys by the Dozen”
Goddess of Spring by P.C. Cast
Goddess of the Sea by P. C. Cast– These are great books, but not in a series. However a new one in the Goddess of Spring universe is coming out soon.
Hot Target by Suzanne Brockmann–

I usually love Brockmann’s books and Hot Target was good, but Jules falls out of love with a user/manipulator and into love with a user/manipulator/alcoholic, with very little time spent together. I was very put out. I’d like to see Jules happy, but this is not the way for it to happen.

I think I read a few others in the bookstore, but didn’t purchase them.

I also reread Exile’s Valor this week.

Books 1-7
Books 8-13
Books 14-17
Books 18-22
Books 23-29
Books 30-34
Books 35-45

Gaining Weight

In the last four months I have gained 15 pounds.

Before that, back in 2003, it took me eight months to gain 11 pounds. But then the next eight months I gained about 30.

I am at a lower plateau than I have been before, but I am tired of being overweight.

I have been thinking about what I want to do to get off this fat expanding thing I am doing. Unfortunately, while I want to lose weight, I don’t know quite what I want to do as I get there.

BFL? I lost 42-45 pounds on it.

QWLC? Without the center. I lost 30 pounds on it.

I was skinnier on BFL, even though I weighed more.

So what am I going to do? Right now I am leaning towards BFL. I haven’t quite made the full decision yet.