Tag Archives: Review

May 2013 Useful, Amusing, or Odd Websites

DIY sites

http://www.diynetwork.com/topics/crafting/index.html:  The DIYNETWORK.COM site in general looks like a terrific place to spend some time (hours, days…lol).  There are sections on home improvement, made & remade, TV shows, experts and hosts and so on.  You can even search for projects that you see on TV, which is fantastic.  On the front page of the DIY section, you can easily find the editors picks, most popular, and videos, as well as repin of the week.  I highly recommend checking this one out; there are some great ideas and tips to be found.

http://www.sheknows.com/tags/diy-crafts:  Ok, I like SheKnows.com – I believe I may have already mentioned this site before.  It bears repeating.  This link goes to a list of crafts, as you can tell.  Currently chalkboards seem to be fairly popular, but there are homemade crafts for Mother’s Day, gifts using printable templates, giant fringe photo props, and an article on how to upcycle a dresser.  The website in general has the following categories to explore:

  • Entertainment
  • Beauty
  • Love
  • Parenting
  • Pets
  • Home
  • Living
  • And more

http://www.geeksugar.com/Geeky-DIY-Crafts-22651317:  Ok I am going to have to explore this site in general at some point, but this is a good article on “20 Fun and Geeky DIYs for Your Weekend.”  I am ALL about quick crafts, since I have two young children and a job.  The first is a paper iPhone stand, for the cost of a sturdy piece of card stock paper.  For the Star Wars geek in your life (or yourself, if that is YOU…lol), the second project described is a custom Star Wars poster.  I don’t know that this is up my alley, but it is a good idea!  The idea that I love MOST is the cross-stitch iPhone 4 Cover – though I’d have to adjust for my phone which isn’t an iPhone 4.  Still – this is fantastic.  The kit comes with a grid case, three colors of thread, a needle and a booklet of patterns to chose from.  And those are just the beginning…I can feel my crafty urge bubbling to the surface…

http://www.countryliving.com/crafts/projects/: I can tell that I could spend a LOT of time at this site.  First of all, I saw that there is an “Outdoor Makeover sweepstakes” that you can enter.  Also they have sections on home and decorating, food and entertaining, crafts and DIY projects, as well as outdoor living and more.    So many sections, so little time on my part. The crafts section currently shows how to stain furniture, a bloggers’ best furniture makeovers, as well as 37 Crafts Made with Recycled Materials.  In addition, there is “Crafty Christmas Gifts, “ “12 Great Gift-Wrapping Ideas”, and more.

Well-being Sites

http://livewellnetwork.com/index: This just looks like it would be such fun to explore.  Food, frying, buns in hair, videos on cooking, “Six Weeks to Sleeveless” in Mirror/Mirror.  Fashion and beauty also appear.  Fitness includes a playground workout that I may have to look at – I hate having to choose between exercising and taking my kids to the park.  There is even an article on Online Groceries – it could save you time and money.  Anyway, I found a LOT to look at here and a lot to think about as well.  Excellent site.

http://www.rainn.org/get-information/sexual-assault-recovery/self-care-for-survivors:  On a much more serious note, this is a fantastic article on self-care for survivors (of rape, sexual assault, incest, and sexual abuse).  Self-care can be a challenge for anyone, but for people in those situations it can be even more challenging – and an important part of the healing process.  I found this article thought out, and very good.  It even includes a warning to be wary of certain people who may not make recovery easier, as well as a suggestion to set limits.  Very, very important advice.  I have been through all of this and I need to absorb the advice here.

http://www.gaiam.com/self-care/10000515,default,sc.html:  Ok, I will be honest: this site sells things.  I haven’t tried anything from here yet. But, I do find it fun to look around.    They have home goods, clothing, wellness section, yoga, fitness and videos.  The link I’m sharing shares some examples for self-care: pure soap, organic cotton sheets, rainfall showerhead, and so on.

http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=847.  This is a good article for self-care and caregivers.  I have a special needs child and I find that if I don’t stop and take care of myself once in a while, I really don’t have it in me to deal calmly with issues that arise.  This describes why it is important, as well as why you should take responsibility for your own care, and how to identify personal barriers to your own self-care.  Then there are several tools suggested.  Good reading!

http://crisisclinic.org/find-help/crisis-line/self-care-strategies/.  From a crisis center come some very good suggestions for dealing with stress, trauma and crisis.  There is such an incredible strain on people these days that I thought this would be a good article to include.  This appears to be from WA State, but no doubt you can find one from your own state, along with the contact numbers, if you look on Google. (And of course, for your own area if you are out of the United States – I admit that I write with a US bias… )


On a lighter note:

http://www.sanitaryum.com/.  I was looking for some funny things and I found this.  Now, I get a kick out of some off-color humor as much as anyone, but sometimes it is nice to find something to share with just about anyone.  This site has cute comments, videos, and more.  There is a blog and a shop as well, but to be honest, I didn’t check those out.  I’m looking to browse, not buy!

http://www.laughdirectory.com/clean-humor – this is a link for a list of links to places to find clean humor.  I cannot vouch for all of them – I don’t have THAT much time to search, but this looks like a good place to start.  In addition, to the left of the list are folders for other types of humor, including practical jokes and pranks, science fiction and fantasy, job humor, and bizarre.



In case you didn’t already realize just how strange this world and its inhabitants are, I bring you:










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  • Rainy Day 2Rainy day activities

    • http://innerchildfun.com/2011/08/10-rainy-day-activities-for-kids.html – this has some great ideas, including painting, using a laundry basket as a boat, and more.  The site is great – there are other ideas, such as crafts, activities and tutorials.  I highly recommend checking it out.
    • http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Rainy-Day-Kids-Activity-List-Unique-Ideas-for-Indoor-Play – I really like Oprah’s website overall anyway; there are categories for spiritual, health, relationships, books and more, as well as videos, newsletters.  This particular list is really nice.  There are games like Binocular Scavenger Hunt and Paper Airplane Relay, as well as Family Fashion Show and greeting cards that you can plant.
    • http://www.lilsugar.com/Rainy-Day-Activities-Kids-23437274 – I’ve never checked out lilsugar.com before, but I’m going to now.  This is a great list – very creative.  One idea involves cutting a pool noodle lengthwise and racing marbles in the groove!  I know my seven-year-old loves to see how fast things go.  He’d love this.  Another idea that I love is creating an indoor herb garden; this is a bit more involved and requires some preparation but it is lovely and will eventually be very useful.
    • http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/organic-parenting/rainy-day-activities-47041904 – this site is wonderful, especially if you want to teach your children about environmental issues.  The list of rainy day activities is good as well.  It includes cooking (baking), beading with found objects, and dress-up (not the usual kind – take the opportunity to try on clothes the kids might be getting ready to grow into!).  Other ideas include wrapping up and going to jump in puddles (after all, you DO go play in the snow – why not splash a little?)
    • http://play-activities.com/25-rainy-day-activities-for-kids/ – this list also has some cute ideas, such as Racing Water drops, Playing in the Bath, Shaving Cream, Tracing Finger on a Track (developing fine motor skills), and Creating a Sensory Tub.
    • http://voices.yahoo.com/40-rainy-day-activities-3385168.html –  these are not all aimed at adults, but they certainly CAN be adult activities: movie marathon, have a craft day, sort photos, fix broken things, sort out cupboards, bake a batch of cookies or bread, take a long indulgent bath, or work on mending.  Other ideas away from home include going to an art gallery, go to the library, visit a shut-in, volunteer somewhere you can make a difference, learn a home improvement skill at a home center, or having your tires rotated.
    • http://trailstop.wordpress.com/tag/rainy-day-activities-adults/  –  this list has some nice ideas: take a walk in the rain, enjoy a cup of a warm beverage afterward, garden in the rain, fish, curl up with a good book and listen to the rain.
    • http://www.visitvirginiabeach.com/visitors/articles/rainy_day_activities.aspx  – Ok, I admit it – this one is aimed at my local friends or possibly visitors to my area.  What can I say – this one is for me…lol.   I have to say that the list is short.  Apparently we have a rock climbing facility here (that was news to me), as well as a lovely aquarium, a modern art museum, and several historical sites.  I will add that the Chrysler Museum (http://www.chrysler.org/ ) is closed for expansion and renovation.  I can’t wait to see it when it is finished.
    • http://www.buzzle.com/articles/rainy-day-activities-for-adults.html  – Buzzle seems to be an interesting site.  I saw fiction that you could read, featured articles, news, and poems, as well as other sections.  I’m going to have to go check the general site out as well, but this article has some good suggestions for rainy days: write letters, scrapbook, play board games, make up a circle with family members as you sit in a circle, do your hair, and look at childhood pictures, to start.
  • Freebies:

I did not create any of these pages but I found some of the links/apps/et cetera pretty useful.  I hope you will as well.

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Really Useful, Amusing, or Just Generally Interesting Links for April 2012

Here are a few that I stumbled upon in my computer time:

  1. http://www.timetoplaymag.com/holiday/easter/2012/.   This specific article had some good ideas and suggestions for items for an easter basket that are not candy, some for toys I haven’t even seen (not that that means much, I don’t go out shopping much these days.  Amazon is my friend!)  As for the rest of the site – there are video game reviews, toy reviews, movie reviews and so forth.  It has a staff of editors, web folks, and a sales group.  It is definitely worth taking a look at.
  2. http://blogs.babble.com/family-style/2012/03/22/10-candy-free-easter-basket-alternatives/.  This is a short list of non-candy ideas and even has a recipe for dough for kids to play with included (as a link).  You can make some of these items yourself, saving some money or at least adding a special touch to the gift.   One idea I loved was uploading personal pictures to a website that will make stickers out of them – then you can provide a sticker book to go with them.  I know my son loves stickers so this would be great for him.  I have to say, babble.com looks like a fun site overall for parents.  It has sections for various stages of parenthood/childhood, Mom, Dad, blogs and more.
  3. http://www.crafts-for-all-seasons.com/.  This looks like a fantastic site – it is fairly easy to guess what it is all about from the title.  However, there is more to it than the sections of crafts for various seasons/holidays.  There is a section of kids crafts, links to favorite sites, and a “crafts for all seasons” shop.  This is definitely worth browsing for ideas, inspiration, and even tips and techniques.
  4. http://www.craftsolutions.-com/index.asp.  This is another great site – great for ideas, patterns, news, and articles.  They are also on Facebook and Twitter, in case you need other ways to contact them or interact.  The pattern section in particular is a very nice gathering of craft patterns from many sources.  I love this site and will definitely be going back when I have more time.
  5. http://www.squidoo.com/Craft-Ideas-for-Adults-Arts-Crafts-Supplies.  This link is actually a list of links to project ideas from different authors on Squidoo.  It is a fantastic list and I definitely want to spend more time looking at each link in more detail.  I haven’t looked at Squidoo before (which may mean I don’t get out much, or online much, I’m not sure ) but it looks like an interesting community as well.  If a page on Squidoo does well, and they are each by an individual author, it earns royalties for the author or for a charity.  It is an interesting idea – enabling authors to organize their interests, their passions, online and share them with others.
  6. http://www.treehugger.com/.  This is fantastic and huge.  There are newsletters, videos, recipes, a blog, radio interviews, and so much more.  It is an incredible source of “green” news of all sorts, as well as so much more.  There are sections on design, technology, living, transportation, and energy, among others.  I read articles on America’s Best, an Indian man planting a forest by himself, and a recipe for sangria.   Definitely an interesting website.
  7. http://www.amoeba.com/ – very interesting site for music.  They list live shows, store locations (there are three, in California), and movies and news/contests, as well as Amoeba gear.  They also say that it is always free shipping on music and movies.  There is also a section on thinking green – they are doing their part by supporting various “green” groups and by raising funds.  There is a list of tips for living more environmentally aware.  Check it out – looks like an interesting site for music, a bit off of the beaten path.
  8. http://www.powells.com/.  Ok, ok.  I know that PLENTY of people are aware of Powells, so this link really does show my East Coast (of the US) bias I’m afraid.  I was originally told about Powells by a wonderful friend from Oregon who swears by them.  She has been on the East Coast for over a decade – possibly closer to two by now – and still swears this is the best place to go for books.  What more can I say?  They have a newsletter, a book club from the looks of it, and the normal sections to browse through.  I like the selection, and I like the fact that there is free shipping for orders over $50, though my wallet may not appreciate it.
  9. http://www.pandora.com/.  Pandora radio is also new to me.  It is a fascinating idea – you type the name of your favorite artist or your favorite genre of music into it, and it goes through its entire collection, putting together a collection of similar works/music for you, creating a “channel.”  You can have up to 100 channels.  I entered Queen as a trial.  “We Are the Champions” started playing and the lyrics appeared underneath an album cover.  There was a blurb of information about the group followed by a short list of similar groups.  I like it.
  10. http://www.fedspending.org/.  I was looking for sources of information on government spending, voting, candidates and the like and I found FedSpending.org and VoteSmart.  Another source of information listed by FedSpending is http://www.usaspending.gov/.  All three are worth taking a look at, if you want to make yourself more aware of how the government spends, as well as the candidates.
  11. http://www.votesmart.org/
  12. http://www.opencongress.org/.    This has a great deal of information and is  non-partisan.  Here is a link for “how to use Open Congress“.  I really think that more people need to take a closer look at how their politicians, of EITHER party, are behaving, voting, and so forth.  It really doesn’t take that much effort to find information, look through it, and try to make better decisions.
  13. http://www.scribd.com/.  This is a fantastic site and can lead to a LOT of time browsing and reading and getting off track/topic .  I looked at recipes, how-to guides, and more.  So many categories to browse through, so little time.  One that I looked at had a list of links for more by the author, a beautiful and colorful “cover”, ways to embed and copy the link, and ways to like on Facebook, Google+ and more.
  14. http://www.dipity.com/.    Dipity is an interesting site, though I know not everyone will agree.  You can create an online timeline.  There is a timeline, flip book, map, and list for each timeline, apparently.  I took a look at Thomas Kinkade’s timeline just as a sample, and the list consisted of links to articles concerning him, including recent ones regarding an autopsy  that will be performed.  The flip book showed pictures which also were linked to articles that mentioned Thomas Kinkade.
  15. http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/sharedcopy-lets-bookmark-annotate-websites-style/
  16. http://thisisphotobomb.memebase.com/
  17. http://www.tempe.gov/youthlibrary/preschool/preschweb.htm.  This is a fantastic list of websites for preschoolers from the Youth Library in Tempe, AZ.
  18. http://www.widgetbox.com/.  Widgets for websites – you can create your own or use others that are on the site.  Good for blogs, you can find things like weather widgets, virtual pets, games, and countdowns.  Just a fun site to look through!
  19. http://www.coolestgizmo.com/.  Great source for amusing gift ideas – like the self-stirring mug for those too busy (or lazy!) to stir their own coffee.  Another cute item: glow in the dark toilet paper…I never claimed these things were incredibly necessary for a full and happy life but they did make me smile.  But I MUST have the remote-controlled shark…wow!  Go check it out – the site is really great – one downside is that they don’t necessarily have links to the companies that actually sell these items (i.e., the remote-controlled shark…sigh.)
  20. http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/bored.htm.  Great list of boredom busters and rainy day activities.  Not huge, but worth a look, if you’re like me and run out of inspiration after a while!

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Really Useful Websites – November 2011

Rainy day ideas – since fall and winter can have plenty of days that are “inside days”…

Fall Holidays

  • http://www.kaboose.com/ is a family oriented website that has so much to offer.  They have Thanksgiving things up now (like http://holidays.kaboose.com/thanksgiving/) but there are also sections entitled Fall Family Fun 2011, Kaboose Games, and Kaboose Features.  There are also sections on Food, Health, and so forth.
  • www.holidays.net – this is a fantastic site.  There is a section for fun and wacky holidays, a holiday blog which contains blurbs on holidays as they come up, holiday travel, as well as one for holiday recipes.  There are also crafts for various holidays as well.  Very well done and enjoyable.
  • http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0909585.html.  This is a nice list of holidays around the world, with a blurb about the holiday and other links to related subjects.  The base site, however, is the real draw.  There is such a wide variety of things on the site.  There are sections on the fifty states, holidays in the US, people, science, math and money, and country profiles, among other things.  It is a wonderful resource.
  • http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving.  History.com is wonderful overall, but I really do like this section.  There are links to related people, events, and themes.  There is a nice history of Thanksgiving in the US, including links to article son the Pilgrims, Plymouth Colony, and so much more.  If you enjoy history and really want to know more about the background, this is the place to start.
  • http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Thanksgiving.shtml.  This site is brief but has good links to travel tips, food tips and safety, and so forth.
  • http://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/thanksgiving/index.html.  Where else to go for recipes?  Of course, there are many places to go, but this is very nice.  There is a section on Holidays and Parties that has a nice selection of articles on turkey recipes, various sides, wine-friendly meals, and more.  There is even a section on gifts.

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October 2010 – Interesting or Useful Websites

Ok this month, I can’t say the sites are exactly USEFUL or exciting, but hey, they are thematic!  That counts for something, doesn’t it.  Actually, they do provide some interesting alternatives to common issues: sweets for children, for example.  And if you like history, I found some interesting history-related sites.  So…here are this month’s websites:

  • October Celebrations
    • National Arts & Humanities Month – the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the United States.  It was established in 1993, to encourage Americans to explore arts and humanities.  Here is President Obama’s Presidential Proclamation.
    • Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  The Domestic Violence Awareness Project (DVAP) is now a diverse partnership of “local, tribal, state and national domestic violence organizations and networks.”  They work toward collecting, developing, and distributing resources necessary to continue educating the public and working toward prevention of domestic violence. This website is such a wonderful source of information; they have a section for campaigns, about the network/partnership, materials that are available, video resources, and links.  Of course the provide a number for people in trouble to call – as well as a way to contact them.  Please take a look at this site – it may help you or someone you know.
    • Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  There are a lot of sites with helpful information on breast cancer.  One important thing to remember – that frequently gets overlooked – is that men can have breast cancer too.  Everyone needs to pay attention to this disease; the best way to fight it is to detect it early.  The National Breast Cancer site above is a wonderful source of information and there is a lot to learn.  For example, I had no idea there were so many different types of breast cancer.  There are FAQs, a list of myths, and a description of stages and types.  In addition, they have pages on ways to help, communities, and a blog.  There is also a newsletter.  Please go take a look – I bet you’ll learn something like I did.
  • Historic Events
    • Smithsonian Magazine has a wonderful section on This Month In History but the whole site is interesting.  You can spend quite a bit of time perusing it.   It has sections like:
      • History and Archaeology
      • People and Places
      • Science and Nature
      • Videos
      • Games and Puzzles
    • Another good site is BrainyHistory.  It lists events that took place on this day in history, birthdays, events by year and by month!  Apparently you can also add “Today in History” or “Today’s Birthdays” to your own site, but I couldn’t actually do that since I don’t have a site at this point!
    • On This Day is an interesting site as well.   It has Famous Birthdays, Today in History, Today in Music History, as well as many other sections that are pretty specific:
      • TV History
      • Middle East
      • World War II
      • U.S. Civil War
      • Sports sections
      • There is also a section for recommended books.
  • Halloween
    • Costume ideas
      • Costume Idea Zone.  This looks like an interesting site.  There are some cute ideas right on the home page and then there are different sections: unique costume ideas, couples, groups, traditional, and quick and easy. There is a section for advice and inspiration and tips.  I will say I got a pop-up as soon as checked out the site.
      • What better place to start than Halloween.com?  They have it all – forums, chat, screensavers, crafts, masks, stories, and so on.  This also includes cute last-minute ideas.  I really enjoyed checking this site out.  There is even a section on Halloween News.  Lots to see!
    • Traditions
      • A good site is Religious Tolerance.  Their page on Halloween traditions include Celtic traditions, traditions developed since then, origins of Christian holy days, traditions in numerous countries.
      • History.com has a good Halloween section as well.  There are videos, a photo gallery, and some interactive things.  There are links to related articles like pumpkin facts, and Halloween Around the World, as well as Haunted Historic Places.  The rest of the site is excellent as well, for history buffs.
    • Alternatives – Here are some links that I found for alternatives to Halloween for those who choose not to participate in Halloween:
      • Christian Alternatives.
      • Thrifty Fun has some interesting ideas, particularly if you want to do something a little more educational.  Their Halloween Alternatives article is here.  The rest of the site is interesting as well.  There seem to be tips, pets, requests for help, contests and more!
      • Here is an interesting article on alternatives to all the sweets for Halloween.
      • Modern Mom has an article on party favors that are less sugary or not candy.
      • Family Education has a short article on 10 alternatives to candy that I know my 5-year-old would love.  I will say that I got an advertisement every two pages or so, just as a heads-up to anyone who goes to check out the site.

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Really Useful (or Interesting) Websites (January 2009)

The selection is shorter this month, I’m afraid – we’ve been recovering from the holidays and multiple illnesses in our household and I’m afraid my energy just gave out.  Still, I did find some sites that I thought were worth sharing!

  • Online Book Club for Readers – I was looking for a book club that I could take part in without set meetings, since I have a job and two young children.  I need something I can take part in whenever I have the time – and this fits.  I am now participating; we’ll see how it goes.
  • Dear Reader – this enables you to join online book clubs through libraries and also allows you to participate in forums.   There are publisher-sponsored clubs, recipes, and a blog.  I highly recommend taking a look!
  • Project Gutenberg – this is a fantastic site.  If you want to read a classic, but don’t have it in your home and don’t want to run to the library (or they don’t have it), check this site.  It could very well be online.  There are 0ver 27,000 books to read here, online, for free.  You can also look into helping add to the catalog.  Go check it out!
  • Presidential Trivia – this is a collection of links to other sites with information and tidbits about the presidents, including our current president.  Check it out; you are almost guaranteed to learn something surprising about at least one of the presidents.  Did you know that, despite Barak Obama being our 44th president, there have only been 43 presidents?  Grover Cleveland served two nonconsecutive terms and is counted as our 22nd and 24th president.
  • Headlinespot – I’ve been looking for a collection of links to news sites; I feel like I visit the same few sites over and over again and the variety of news articles and information hasn’t been what I would have hoped.  This is a great selection of links.  There are divisions such as Must-See Sites, Weather, Television, News Photos, and Sports.
  • Being Thrifty – This is a blog with some interesting links to freebies, as well as other blogs.  I found the freebies pretty interesting, and the commentary on “trashy garage sales” amusing.  I’m sure I’ll be going back – and I’m sure I’ll be checking out her other blogs; the author is hoping to write full time in the near future!
  • Tipnut – I started out looking at tips for saving money in the kitchen and moved on.  This is a fabulous site.  I love it and I’m subscribing!  There are DIY tips, crafts, cleaning tips and so much more.  I love it – and I love the story behind it (I really identify with having tips and needing a way to organize them!).  Go check it out!  There’s something there for everyone, I have no doubt!

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Good Reading: A Review (April 2008)

This month, I started two books that I felt would be worthwhile. First of all, I finally read “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt. This is a wonderful book, though I struggled with it. I’ve been depressed lately and parts of his story are hard to read in that state of mind. Three of his siblings died when he was a child and the description of his parents’ reaction was very difficult to read, but very well written. The story overall is excellent and well worth reading; it really gave me a new perspective on my own life and my own struggles. It also contains a great deal of humor, despite the struggles portrayed, which made me take a closer look at how I face problems in my own life. I highly recommend reading this book; it took me longer to read than I expected because I struggled through sadder portions of the book, but I was so rewarded with the language, the humor, the story as a whole.

The second book I picked up was “Words to Live By” by C.S. Lewis. Now, I made the mistake of thinking this was a book of his writing; I expected … well, a normal book to read straight through. This, however, is more a reference book. It might be very useful in that respect, but it definitely isn’t something I’d read straight through. It is arranged alphabetically and contains quotes from his works on various topics. Some quotes are from his letters – and I found those interesting – and others are from his books. Those I found less helpful, since many are out of context. I am going to read some of his other works and I think that I will see if I can find correspondence of his that has been published.

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