Go Gators! myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics 2007 National Champs x 2

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"I'll have a number one, a number seven and a number nine, please."

"Will that be for here or to go?"

Heidi and friends share lunch on the road.


The Meal, Ready-To-Eat (MRE) is designed to sustain an individual engaged in heavy activity such as military training or during actual military operations when normal food service facilities are not available. The MRE is a totally self-contained operational ration consisting of a full meal packed in a flexible meal bag. The full bag is lightweight and fits easily into military field clothing pockets. Each meal bag contains an entree and a variety of other components as may be seen in the table of Menus.

Take a look here at the available dinners. MRE Menus


The twenty-four different varieties of meals can be seen in the menu table. Components are selected to complement each entrée as well as provide necessary nutrition. The components vary among menus and include both Mexican and white rice, fruits, bakery items, crackers, spreads, beverages, snacks, candy, hot sauce, and chow mein noodles for the pork chow mein entrée. The fruits may be applesauce, pears, peaches, pineapple, or strawberry. The bakery items include a fudge brownie, cookies, fruit bars, a toaster pastry, and pound cake in flavors of lemon, vanilla, orange, pineapple, and chocolate mint. Each meal also contains an accessory packet. The contents of one MRE meal bag provides an average of 1250 kilocalories (13 % protein, 36 % fat, and 51 % carbohydrates). It also provides 1/3 of the Military Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals determined essential by the Surgeon General of the United States.

Except for the beverages, the entire meal is ready to eat. While the entree may be eaten cold when operationally necessary, it can also be heated in a variety of ways, including submersion in hot water while still sealed in its individual entree package. Since mid 1992, a flameless ration heating device has also been packed into each meal bag to heat the entree.

The shelf life of the MRE is three (3) years at 80 degrees F. However, the shelf life can be extended through the use of cold storage facilities prior to distribution.

MREs are also available for civilians.

Monday, February 26, 2007

"If you wanna call me that, smile" ~ The Virginian, 1929.

It may be true that I do my best work on Mondays. Today, I have something new for my blog and I'm so excited I just about can't stand it.

After much ado ~ downloading, uploading, cross referencing, cutting and pasting, aiding and abetting ~ it's highly possible I may be able to post videos on the blog. Probably, many of you smart people have been doing this for eons, but some of us have taken a little longer to move into the 21st century.

This is Heidi and some of her Afghan boys, video taken last summer. As you can see and hear, they are quite interested in her and her name.

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

Saturday, February 24, 2007

When the snow melts, have a got a project for you!

Back in 630 AD, a Chinese pilgrim, Xuan Zang, wrote in his diary about a visit he made to Bamiyan in central Afghanistan:

"There is a stone image of a standing Buddha carved into the mountainside northeast of the palace. Shining in gold, and adorned with jewelry, the statue stands about 45 metres tall. To the east of the temple, stands another statue of a 30-metre-tall Buddha made with brass."

Photo taken of Buddhas, 1835, long after Xuan Zang saw them. He had neglected to take pictures.

Xuan Zang was describing the Bamiyan Buddhas which had been carved directly from the surrounding sandstone cliffs. They were actually 55 and 38 metres tall, but we're gonna let that slide. The Bamiyan Buddhas were among the most impressive Buddhist monuments in western Asia before their demolition by the Taliban in March 2001.

The Buddhas before the Taliban blew them up.

No one knows exactly when they were constructed, but it was likely they were erected sometime in the 4th or 5th century AD. For many centuries they stood sentinel to groups of wandering monks and merchants along the famous "silk road" from Rome to China. Alongside the Buddhas, monasteries once existed here as places of sanctuary, but were abandoned in the 9th century as Islam displaced Buddhism in Afghanistan.

What is more interesting to me about this, since we can’t go back and erase what the stupid Taliban have done, is that there may be one more Bamiyan Buddha they didn’t get their grubby hands on.

Xuan Zang wrote:

"Inside a Buddhist temple located about 10 kilometres from the palace, there is a statue of Buddha in a state of passing into nirvana. The image of the supine Buddha is as long as 300 metres."

In case your metrics are as shaky as mine are, that's about 1,000 feet long. Reclining Buddhas remain a common feature of Buddhist temples around the world but this one would have been extraordinarily long, the equivalent of the Eiffel Tower placed on its side. It's shoulder would have been about 25 metres high.

To put things into perspective.

So how could you misplace such a monumental structure? How did the Buddha disappear underground and could it be salvageable if it still exists?

Professor Zemaryalai Tarzi says the statue may have been deliberately buried by devotees centuries ago to protect it from invading Muslim armies or it could have been covered after a major earthquake.

The largest reclining Buddha is 418 meters long and resides in China.

A somewhat better view.

Impressive and a little larger than our missing Buddha, this Buddha is only a few years old.

So should you find yourself with a little extra time on your hands, you might want to get out your excavation tools and get to work. Too bad Daron can't help you in your quest. That child can find anything, a necessary talent for one so disorganized.

A prime example of this amazing phenomenon is the recent ‘Mystery of the Disappearing Volleyball Uniform Top”, seen in this picture.

After months of asking Daron about the whereabouts of one of her two school volleyball uniform tops and getting the answers, “I don’t know”, “I have no idea”, and my personal favorite, “It’s somewhere in my room….”, we received an emergency email from the HEAD COACH at her school. Desperate measures were in order.

“It’s truly a miracle,” Daron said, “I reached my hand into the back of my closet, behind all of the clothes, felt around along the floor……and there it was”. Surprise, surprise.

This was after Mom’s statement, “You will go to your room, you will find the jersey, you will not leave the room until it is found, you will not eat another meal until it is found”.

You get my drift.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I also dreamed my laundry was caught up, but that wasn't a real dream, it was an illusion.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"Liberty's too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I'm free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn't, I can, and my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that" ~ Jefferson Smith, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 1939.

Nothing, and I do mean nothing, is more fun than an expedition to Washington, D.C., in the dead of winter with one hundred eighth graders. Especially Florida eighth graders not used to sub freezing temperatures, snow and ice on the ground. The Potomac River froze over and we were there to see it. Does it get any better than this?

From the halls of the Capitol....

......to the stacks at the Library of Congress, from the feet of ‘Honest Abe’......

....to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial (modeled after the Pantheon of Rome), we traversed the streets of this great city soaking in the sights and sounds.

What could go wrong, did go wrong, and went wrong more than once. Buses breaking down, buses stuck in the snow, reservations lost, appointments missed, engagements cancelled, activities rescheduled, fevers, vomiting, fainting in the White House.

Through it all our fearless leader, Miss Chessum, history teacher extraordinaire, sallied forth and carried on. It was through her courage and perseverance we survived the week, intact.

Miss Chessum and some of her boys

Not to say giving up didn’t cross our minds, it did. On the day we visited Arlington Cemetery and participated in the wreath ceremony, there were moments I felt I could not go on. The water in my water bottle turned to slush and my feet ceased to exist. My fingers tingled and my face was raw, but still we pressed on. Our doggedness was honored by our group being able to witness a special wreath laying ceremony, complete with cannon fire, military honor guard and band. What a wonderful experience!

The Army puts on a good show.

Am I happy I went? You bet. The journey was an amazing, challenging, thought provoking experience. Once again I was reminded of how much I love this great country, its history, its achievements, its faults, its failures. I am reminded our forefathers were people just like you and me – human beings with feet of clay who made mistakes, but carried on, never giving up and never giving in.

My girls at Iwo Jima, the first day of snow.

Daron sees her reflection in the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial.

My dear Heidi, since Daron and I made hundreds of pictures, this could go on and on, but I won't bore you, only leave you with one final thought. From the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial, which never ceases to amaze me, the words of a soldier imploring us to never forget the sacrifices it took to make this country what it is today, flaws and all. Not just the brave soldiers who lost their lives in Vietnam, but all soldiers, men and women, from all wars, who have gone on before us.

"If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.

Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own.

And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind. "

Major Michael Davis O'Donnell
January 1, 1970
Dak To, Vietnam
Listed as KIA February 7, 1978

Come home soon, Heidi, we miss you.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Happy President's Day!

Dear Heidi:

Had a wonderful time in D.C.

The monuments are actually much smaller than they look on tv.

Will write more when my fingers thaw out.



Sunday, February 11, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day, Heidi!

A dozen roses from our garden, each one wrapped in love.

All our love,

Mom, Dad, Marsh and Daron

Click here for Valentine Coloring Sheet

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Dear Heidi:

Please check out ABC News, Person of the Week: Bert Brady. I love this man!

Veteran Makes Soldier Homecomings a Daily Ritual

Feb. 2, 2007 — - Just about every morning for the past year, Bert Brady has been getting up, having a cup of coffee and heading over to the Dallas Fort Worth Airport. But this ritual has nothing to do with travel. He's at the terminal to welcome home American troops as they return from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I went 300 days last year," Brady said. "They are glad to see us, and we are tickled to death to see them because they are our heroes."

See the video here....

Brady, a 69-year-old veteran, is a member of the Welcome Home a Hero program at his local airport. He makes sure every soldier that comes through Dallas gets a special homecoming.

And he has reached out to almost anyone who will join him.

"We have people who only come on weekends. We have people who come during the week," Brady said. "We have a lot of support from the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts."

Brady shows up each day with the goal of making soldiers feel appreciated and proud of their service. He's often joined by veterans of the Vietnam and Korean wars who did not get a warm reception when they returned from battle.

"We are not going to forget them like a lot of Vietnam soldiers have been forgotten," Brady said. "We are not going to forget the soldiers of today."

One Korean War vet working with Brady added, "We owe it to them. They're doing a good job for us. When I came home in 1954, there was nobody, no nothing."

And for Brady, it's simply "rewarding" to greet the soldiers.

"You can't make 200 people happy and not feel that. Ninety-five percent of them are smiling, and you never can tell if one of their buddies has just died in their arms yesterday," he said. "So you get all kinds of emotion coming through."

And the soldiers appreciate the efforts. "It's great. … They took the time out of their day to be here," one soldier said.

"It's incredible to see the support," said one soldier's wife, who was in tears. "Everybody cheering him on … it's a little embarrassing, but we appreciate it."

When asked why he is so dedicated to this effort, Brady pointed to a moment he shared with one soldier.

"He said, 'Mister, I will never forget you,' and my heart was almost pounding like it was going to burst out of my chest," Brady said. "He said, 'It's the greatest thing that ever happened to me.'"

Friday, February 02, 2007

WOW, Heidi, look at this. Just when I think I am out here all alone and you are out there all alone, someone or many someones, restore my faith and give me something to hold onto.


Faith in troops, but not politicians
Mark P. Wylie

February 1, 2007

I read Kerri Drylie's "My Word" column on Tuesday -- "Bring Daughter Home from Afghanistan" -- with a great deal of sympathy, pride in her daughter's service and a personal understanding of her concerns.

Our son Nathaniel is a first lieutenant with the 82nd Airborne Division brigade sent last month to replace her daughter's 10th Mountain Division brigade in Afghanistan. My wife and I went to Fort Bragg, N.C., to see him off, as we did in 2005 when he departed for Iraq.

I could not have been prouder of him and the men in his unit. They are all multiple volunteers. They volunteered to join the Army, volunteered for a combat-arms branch and volunteered for airborne service.

Most of the men in his unit (they are all men, as it is a front-line combat unit in which women are not yet allowed to serve) are under 40 and most (like our son) are under 30 years old. They have seen combat in Iraq or Afghanistan at least once, and several have been overseas many times.

They don't like the long separations from their families, but it's their job. They are America's professional soldiers.

Our son's unit trained for months to take over operations from 10th Mountain. A few weeks ago, they packed their gear and equipment, said their goodbyes and boarded a jet for the remote forward-operating base that was to be their home for the next 12 months.

Within hours of the 82nd's planned arrival, the new secretary of defense met with U.S. generals in the country and announced plans to extend her daughter's unit's mission in Afghanistan. So, like Drylie's daughter, his plans changed.

I know that while he is there "in harm's way," he will be with American soldiers in the finest military unit in the history of mankind. Since the days of recorded conflict, there has been no fighting machine that has had more training, more firepower, more technology and more motivation to see a war through to its one and only desired conclusion: defeating the enemy.

Military strategist Carl von Clausewitz astutely said that war is an extension of politics, and it will be a decision of the politicians, not the warriors, as to when our son and her daughter return home. Until that decision is made, I hope President Bush and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as our congressmen and senators, remain focused on the mission of our soldiers, and provide them with the resources and policies necessary to defeat the enemy wherever it is found.

This war against global terrorism is not one of America's choosing and will not be easily concluded. It is different in size and scope than any war ever fought. As American politicians respond to our restless society, I am increasingly less confident in our political leadership and its ability to plan to bring this war to a swift and sure end.

Until they return, I am full of confidence that Drylie's daughter and our son are up for the challenge that any enemy can throw at them, or any changes to their planning brought on by their military or political leadership. They are, after all, American professional soldiers.

Mark P. Wylie lives in Winter Park. He is the president of the Central Florida chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors.

Comments on Mr. Wylie's My Word:

We also thank Drylie's son, your daughter, and all of the brave men and women who are deployed to protect us. We will be forever grateful.

God Bless Our Troops.

Diane Pursley
Chief Security Officer


I humbly thank you and your family for your sacrifices. I cannot thank Drylie's daughter and your son enough for serving our country. They make us proud!

God Bless Our Troops!

J. Hoyt
Deltona, FL