Saturday, May 31, 2008

Three Cups of Tea

When I was home in Michigan my friend recommended the book Three Cups of Tea. She said I would love it. I bought it at the Borders in the Detroit airport and poured through it. This is an amazing story of a man overcoming adversity and using a failure to help others.
Do you know anyone who would be willing to sell everything they own and live in their car just so they could save every dollar for someone else? Greg Mortenson, a great American hero, did just that when he followed through on his promise to an impoverished Pakistani village to build a school for its children, and in the process has found himself playing a major role in one of the most historically and culturally pivotal areas in the world today.

In THREE CUPS OF TEA: One Man’s Mission to Promote . . . One School at a Time (Viking/On-sale date: March 6, 2006) Greg Mortenson, and acclaimed journalist David Oliver Relin, recount the unlikely journey that led Mortenson from a failed attempt to climb Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second highest mountain, to successfully building schools in some of the most remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. By replacing guns with pencils, rhetoric with reading, Mortenson combines his unique background with his intimate knowledge of the third-world to fight terrorism with books, not bombs, and successfully bring education and hope to remote villages in central Asia. THREE CUPS OF TEA is at once an unforgettable adventure and the inspiring true story of how one man really is changing the world—one school at a time.

In 1993 Mortenson was descending from his failed attempt to reach the peak of K2. Exhausted and disoriented, he wandered away from his group into the most desolate reaches of northern Pakistan. Alone, without food, water, or shelter he eventually stumbled into an impoverished Pakistani village where he was nursed back to health.

While recovering he observed the village’s 84 children sitting outdoors, scratching their lessons in the dirt with sticks. The village was so poor that it could not afford the $1-a-day salary to hire a teacher. When he left the village, he promised that he would return to build them a school.

From that rash, heartfelt promise grew one of the most incredible humanitarian campaigns of our time: Greg Mortenson’s one-man mission to counteract extremism and terrorism by building schools—especially for girls—throughout the breeding ground of the Taliban.

Mortenson had no reason to believe he could fulfill his promise. In an early effort to raise money he wrote letters to 580 celebrities, businessmen, and other prominent Americans. His only reply was a $100 check from NBC’s Tom Brokaw. Selling everything he owned, he still only raised $2,000. But his luck began to change when a group of elementary school children in River Falls, Wisconsin, donated $623 in pennies, thereby inspiring adults to take his cause more seriously. Twelve years later he’s built fifty-five schools.

Mortenson and award-winning journalist David Oliver Relin have written a spellbinding account of his incredible accomplishments in a region where Americans are feared and hated. In pursuit of his goal, Mortenson has survived an armed kidnapping, fatwas issued by enraged mullahs, repeated death threats, and wrenching separations from his wife and children. Yet his success speaks for itself. This year the schools will educate 24,000 children.

Book tour, reviews and media on

Central Asia Institute website

Pennies For Peace website

Friday, May 30, 2008

catch up weekend

Make a tentative plan:

Work on area near driveway and finish landscaping.
Plant additional vegetables.
Rake more of the back yard.
Trip to commissary.
Fix headlight.
church. need to drop off items for food pantry.
clean. need to sort more things goodwill.


I had brought this flashlight on my trip to Baku and it was in bag. I let Abby play with it in Michigan and she loved it. Just a reminder it can be the simple things that they have the most fun with.

What kind of mom am I?

The kind that goes to the movies at 1130 to wait for the first viewing of Sex and the City with her daughter and friends. We got home a 2:45!
The movie is wonderful.
Loved it, Loved it.
I cried a few times, but it was great.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

5 foods cheap to grow...

I read this article this morning.
My garden will be lighter than normal at the house, but I am participating in a community gardening project.

Fruit trees. If you really want a return on your garden investment, plant fruit trees. Alexander planted one $14 peach tree, and it gives him more than 200 pounds of peaches every year. Yes, he sprays it every year with about $3 worth of fungicide and pesticides. (The sprayer cost $30.) In the Hudson Valley, he doesn't have to water fruit trees. At $1 per pound for the peaches, in the first year that he got a full crop, he had a 1,400% return (or a mere 339% if you throw in the cost of the sprayer and a few years' worth of spray). Try getting a return like that on Wall Street. It took Alexander five years to get a full crop, so it does require patience.

Lettuce. Can't wait five years for results? Try lettuce. You'll be eating the thinnings in two or three weeks. From a $2 package of mixed lettuce seed, you can have lettuce for months. A bag of spring greens costs about $3 at a store, so you recoup your investment with the first picking. Lettuce bolts -- goes to seed -- during the summer heat, so plant again in the fall.

Herbs. These can give you the fastest payback of all. Buy a pot of parsley or mint and you can nibble on leaves on the way home. A parsley plant costs about the same amount as a bunch of cut parsley from the produce department. Parsley in a pot, kept out of reach of slugs, will provide fresh herbs all summer and can be brought inside in the fall. Thyme, rosemary, sage and other herbs come back on their own year after year in moderate climates.

Vine vegetables. These are the most prolific crop producers by far. Zucchini and cucumbers are notorious. Put an 88-cent zucchini plant in your garden and, if cutworms don't get it, it will try to take over the neighborhood. In most parts of the country, you can grow more zucchini from one plant than you'll ever eat. The Alexanders grow a couple of cucumber plants, from which they make a dozen jars of pickles. They never buy pickles.

Bell peppers. You can pay $1.50 for one pepper, or you can use your $1.50 to buy one pepper plant that can produce six peppers or more. But first make sure peppers will grow in your part of the country.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

relaunch of

No longer is just another portal to Amazon—it now operates once again as one of Amazon's competitors.

Borders Relaunches Online Bookstore
By Caitlin Moriarity, ChannelWeb 5:28 PM EDT Tue. May. 27, 2008 -->
Bookstore retail chain Borders relaunched Tuesday its own online bookstore, after seven years of conducting its e-commerce through a partnership with Borders originally left the e-commerce industry in 2001 after the first was unprofitable due to the dot-com bust.
But now Borders has decided to try the e-commerce market again, Reuters reported. The relaunch of is the latest in a series of e-commerce moves by Borders. In December of 2007, Borders teamed up with Sony to offer over 25,000 e-books online to customers for digital download.
As part of the new, Borders is hyping the personalized "Magic Shelf" feature, which displays book titles customized to each user on a virtual bookshelf that looks much like a shelf in a brick-and-mortar bookstore. Borders is also incorporating its "Staff Picks" into the online store, and allowing Borders Rewards members to earn points through online purchases.
In addition to an extensive inventory of 2 million new books, 100,000 movies, and 400,000 CDs, Borders is also offering second-hand and rare books through its "Borders Marketplace" in a partnership with
The relaunch of is part of broader restructuring announced in March by Borders, to make it more attractive to potential buyers, such as rival bookstore chain Barnes & Noble, which also runs its own online bookstore.

AS a side note the comment..... Borders originally left the e-commerce industry in 2001 after the first was unprofitable due to the dot-com bust.

Yeah - that was the old team - we are all dispersed across the US in different industries and jobs. I hope they do great!


Blog reading from this morning:

Monday, May 26, 2008

simplicity at best

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Saturday, May 24, 2008


My daughter stayed with him until they gave him the medicine.
He had cancer and his muscles were almost fully eroded.
He is resting now.


On Mother's Day I found my cat dead in our basement.
The following Friday I found out that my Papaw had passed away and I traveled to Michigan for the week.
Yesterday, my daughter put down my 15 year old lab DJ.
This morning I found a dead mouse in my kitchen...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

a real working dairy farm...

Calder dairy

I love cows and they are so sweet!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Visit, Reunion and Funeral

I flew to Michigan on Saturday.
I am staying at Abby's house.
Please pray that grace and peace would fall. IN memory

He was a World War II vet they will have full honors tomorrow.
Sadly it takes a funeral to gather all, but very nice.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

photo op for the potato

SO, we know it is year of the potato.
The IYP World Photography Contest, Focus on a global food, supports two key objectives of the International Year of the Potato: to increase awareness of the importance of potato as a food in developing nations, and to promote research and development of potato-based systems as a means of contributing to achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

The contest is an invitation to reflect on the potato's key role in agriculture, the economy and world food security, to offer new insights into potato biodiversity, cultivation, processing, trade, marketing and consumption, and to contribute to a free and international exchange of information on this globally important food crop.

The following is a brief outline of the photography contest. Be sure to print and read carefully the contest rules before submitting entries. Entries close on 1 September 2008.

“Potato is the world’s number four food crop, after rice, wheat and maize, with annual production of more than 300 million tonnes,” said FAO’s NeBambi Lutaladio, the IYP coordinator. “It is grown in more than 100 countries, from the Andes and China's Yunnan plateau to the subtropical lowlands of India, on the plains of northern Europe and the steppes of the Ukraine.
Photographers who explore the world of the potato will find plenty of subject matter.”

Sponsored by Nikon, the IYP photography contest is an opportunity for photographers to showcase previous work or to capture new images that depict the many activities related to this vital crop. The contest has separate categories for professional and amateur photographers, and will accept single digital images or “photo stories” of four to eight related images, in either black-and-white or colour.
Participants can submit their digital files by uploading them directly via internet or sending them by normal post on a CD-ROM.
The winning photographs will be chosen by a selection panel that includes some of the world’s leading professionals in the field of photography. Winners in the professional and amateur categories will be awarded cash prizes totalling some US$11 000 as well as Nikon cameras.

The deadline for entries is 1 September 2008.

3.2 - The digital files of the entries may be uploaded directly via the internet, using an online account. Entrants can may create an online account at the following URL:
3.3 - Alternatively, digital files of images may be sent on CD-ROM, accompanied by the signed entry form, by registered mail or pre-paid courier to:
IYP World Photography ContestRoom B-743 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 00153 Rome, Italy

ok skip the rice and drink more tea...

Tea consumption must be boosted to match supply, UN says

14 May 2008 – Boosting demand for tea is crucial to ensure price stability and returns to developing country producers, according to new report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“Expanding consumption in producing countries could ease supply pressure at the world level and improve tea prices in the long run,” said the study, prepared for the Intergovernmental Group on Tea whose three-day meeting kicks off today in Hangzhou, China.

Global tea production has continued to surge, rising 3 per cent in 2006, mainly due to record crops in China, Viet Nam and India.

Meanwhile, demand has not matched supply, with consumption only increasing 1 per cent, marking a slowdown from the 2.7 per cent growth rate from the previous decade.
Despite the vigourous economic growth in major tea producing countries, their per capita consumption lags behind. While Russians consume 1.26 kg and the British 2.2 kg annually, Indians take in 0.65 kg and Chinese only 0.53 kg per year.

The FAO report also stressed that enforcing minimum quality standards for tea – though reaching agreement on such benchmarks is complicated – will spur demand.

International Day of Families

New York, 15 May 2008 - Secretary-General's message on the International Day of Families

The theme for this year's International Day of Families, “Fathers and Families: Responsibilities and Challenges”, focuses on the important role fathers play in the lives of families and children around the world.

Traditionally in many societies, fathers have been moral teachers, disciplinarians and breadwinners. In many countries, there is now an increased emphasis on the father's role as a co-parent, fully engaged in the emotional and practical day-to-day aspects of raising children. Recent research has affirmed the positive impact of active involvement by fathers in the development of their children.

Yet challenges persist for fathers – and for society and social policy. Too many men have difficulty assuming the responsibilities of fatherhood, often with damaging consequences to families and inevitably society at large. Some fathers inflict domestic violence or even sexual abuse, devastating families and creating profound physical and emotional scars in children. Others abandon their families outright and fail to provide support. Researchers continue to explore how the presence or absence of fathers can affect children, in areas such as school achievement and crime.

At the international level, migration forces many fathers to often face separation from their families. Migrant fathers may encounter a starkly different concept of fatherhood in their country of destination than what they knew in their home country – and may even be rejected by their children as they grow up in a new society. The HIV/AIDS crisis challenges fathers worldwide as it demonstrates the critical importance of sexual responsibility for fathers and all men. The crisis also challenges men to become father figures to children who have been left orphaned by the disease.

These challenges all highlight the deep and universal need for positive father figures in families. As our understanding of fatherhood grows, there is an opportunity for men to re-envision imaginatively what it means to be a father and to see opportunities to make a difference in communities. On this International Day of Families, I call on fathers to honour their families. I call on families to honour fathers for their important contributions to family life. And I call on all of us to commit ourselves to building a social environment that encourages and sustains a positive vision of fatherhood.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

much to do about rice

Our local news announced a few weeks ago that there was going to be a rice shortage and places like Costco and Sams Club were going to limit two bags per person. I am very perplexed about this entire situation, rice... shortage?
This weekend I went to the commissary and the I saw the same thing. THey had no 5, 10 or 20 pound bags of rice and there was a limit disclaimer. Now, I have this need to buy rice. I am going to see if I can some from the co-op and go back to the commissary this week.
rice article


I am stumped... you think that Myanmar would take all of the help they can at this point. Generations have literally ended because of it.

link to UN focus site=

On the death toll, Mr. Holmes said it could be between 63,000 and 100,000, or even higher, adding that the 63,000 figure had been arrived at by adding the official figures for the dead and missing. The higher figure came from the strong impression of those on the ground that the 63,000 might be an underestimate.
The United Nations did not have the information or the complete universal coverage about that figure, but it looked reasonable to those on the ground that the 63,000 was an underestimate.

Continuing, he said the rhythm of aid delivery in Myanmar was picking up, though not as much as the United Nations would like. The challenge was not just to get the aid to the airport in Yangon, but to get it onwards into the Irrawaddy delta and to the people in need. One of the problems was that a lot of the transport in the delta relied on local networks of boats, 80 per cent of which had been destroyed or washed away in the cyclone.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

June Cleaver voted favorite TV mom

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - June Cleaver, the mother in the popular 1950's television show "Leave it to Beaver" topped the list of Americans' favorite mothers.

She was voted the mom that Americans would like to have had when they were growing up, according to a new poll.

More than 2,500 Americans questioned in an online poll voted Cleaver their first choice, followed by Claire Huxtable of "The Cosby Show" and Carol Brady of "The Brady Bunch".

"She stayed at home and was there when the kids got home and had cookies and milk," Regina Corso, director of Harris Interactive which conducted the survey, said in an interview.
Yesterday was good.
We went to the MS Walk and pushed Baby Michael three miles in the stroller. He loved it. There was plenty of people and dogs to keep an eye on and the morning air was warmer than had predicted, so it was nice. Our team was spirited and raised a good deal of money for MS. Later we went up to Woodland Park for a graduation party and it was perfect. I love spending time with that family and I cannot believe Rachel has graduated!. She is a bit younger than my daughter, but since she was home schooled she was able to complete her requirements early. I will have a senior in high school in two weeks...
Yesterday was good.
We went to the MS Walk and pushed Baby Michael three miles in the stroller. He loved it. There was plenty of people and dogs to keep an eye on and the morning air was warmer than had predicted, so it was nice. Our team was spirited and raised a good deal of money for MS. Later we went up to Woodland Park for a graduation party and it was perfect. I love spending time with that family and I cannot believe Rachel has graduated!. She is a bit younger than my daughter, but since she was home schooled she was able to complete her requirements early. I will have a senior in high school in two weeks...

Thursday, May 08, 2008


I visited the Co-op this week. I liked it. I picked up bulk rice and oatmeal. My husband is going to try the buffalo and my daughter and devoured delicious locally grown greenhouse tomatoes.
I think this really good be a good thing. Eating locally and helping out local farmers. The bulk products will also help our budget longer term and I can share with family and neighbors. Bulk items to investigate: raw sugar, corn meal, flour and beans.
We have a shower of rain yesterday and frequent visit from warm sunshine. My garden is popping up :) I have seven yellow squash plants developing into strong seedlings on the kitchen counter. I am going to wait another few weeks before I transplant them outside. I found a few traces of seeds left over from last year and spotted sun flowers, lettuce and of course plenty of mint popping up. Of course the weeds are here too!
My daughter has applied to the summer program at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA and has been accepted. This will be exciting for her.

We did get sad news about two dear people. Our neighbors sister in Akron, Oh has been diagnosed with bone and blood cancer. Another family friends wife has been diagnosed with liver and kidney cancer. Both prognosis is extremely grave. Damn ugly cancer.

Last week I took two grocery sacks of paperbacks and set them in our break room and wrote enjoy for my co-workers.. All of them disappeared. Woo Hoo... I just need to do that about 20 more times with books and magazines and I will be thrilled. I am trying desperately to make progress and organize things at my house. De clutter!

Yesterday I received an amazing note from my old team. It was the 10 year anniversary of launching wow.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Lots of Poop

I just finished Farm Sanctuary - website
You have to read this book - It is very interesting. I try to learn something every day and this
Animal agriculture plays the leading role in methane emissions, according to the United Nations report. It is responsible for 35-40% of all methane generated by human activity. Animal agriculture produces more than 100,000,000 tons of methane a year, and the figure is rising. As global demand for meat increases, so does the supply. From 1950-2002, world meat production went from 44,000,000 to 242,000,000 tons a year. Not only is the higher population driving the demand, people are consuming more meat individually. In the past 50 years alone, per capita consumption of meat has increased from 17 to 39 kilograms per person. As countries such as China and India adopt a more Western diet, demand for meat is rising rapidly, driving predictions that global meat consumption will double again by 2020.
To compare which animal foods are the worst offenders, Eschel and Martin estimated that 56% of all non-C[O.sub.2] greenhouse gas emissions come from beef, 29% from dairy, and 15% from pork. This includes enteric fermentation, manure management, and nitrous oxide manure management. Most of the methane that is produced in animal agriculture comes from the digestive process of livestock, and most of that does not originate from the rear end of the animal, as one might expect, but rather from the front end during the benign act of exhalation. The amount of methane emanating from one cow may seem negligible, but when you consider that a single cow can exhale 634 quarts of methane per day and then multiply that by the 1,300,000,000 cows that are in the world today, it is not hard to see why this matter should be taken seriously.
Cess-pits of animal waste
The initial production of methane that comes from digestion (85%) is followed by an additional emission (15%) from massive "lagoons," a euphemism for cess-pits of untreated farm animal waste. To get a sense of exactly how much waste we are talking about, consider that farm animals produce 500,000,000 tons of manure annually. That is three times more raw waste than is made by U.S. citizens, according to USDA figures. Waste disposal becomes problematic when the manure in the lagoons leaches into ground and surface water or spills directly into lakes, streams, and rivers. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that chicken, hog, and cattle excrement has polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states.

Friday, May 02, 2008

next weekend MS Walk

If you are interested in donating or helping our team visit our Team Link

I've registered for the MS Walk because I want to do something for the people who have been diagnosed - and because I want to do everything to prevent more people from learning what it means to live with this disease. Today, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, and with a diagnosis occurring most frequently between the ages of 20 and 50, many individuals face a lifetime filled with unpredictability.

Alexa was in her mid 30's when diagnosed. She has a young son and AF husband (now retired). She has a great attitude, but this has been a strain on ther lives.

I will leave this up at the top for the next week as reminder. THanks :)



Allen Zadoff spent years reasoning that a big, healthy man should have a big, healthy appetite and that his rapidly increasing girth was no more than a regular guy thing. At 350 pounds, however, it became clear that what had started as a little weight problem was destroying his life. Desperate to find a new way of living that would carry him into thin and beyond, Zadoff began to focus less on what he ate, and more on the physical and emotional underpinnings of what he came to understand as a disease. The pounds melted away, and so began the adventure of a lifetime. Following Zadoff’s incredible journey both up and down the scale, Hungry blends his personal story with surprising strategies for weight loss success; it is as laugh-out-loud funny as it is inspirational.

My thoughts:
I definitely eat with a bit of dysfunction.
I eat when I am stressed or bored.
Sometimes health choices, sometimes not.
Moderation with things like blueberries and strawberries is blurry.
I will eat raw cookie dough and grab horrible donuts from the vending machine at work.
I love to grow my own food and when I stick to that things are ok.
I have ate 7 soft almost ripe peaches at once.
I have food I should avoid, because I do not have the discipline to eat just 10 doritos or 10 salt and vinegar chips.