Part 1 – Neil Trivia:
Meet Neil Armstrong! He was born in my hometown of Wapakoneta. His claim to fame – he was the first man to set foot on the moon. That was over 50 years ago, and I still can’t believe that someone from Wapakoneta could do something so history-making. Here are two trivia questions about Neil when he was16. Would you believe he was a school year away from graduation?!
1. Which license did Neil Armstrong earn first?
Driver’s license Pilot’s license
2. What did he start building a month later?
A Wind Tunnel A Generator
The answers . . .
1. Neil earned his pilot’s license first. He started taking lessons at age 15, and he paid for them himself! Neil worked at the local drug store, stocking and sweeping. He earned 40 cents an hour. When he turned 16 on August 5, 1946, Neil took his solo flight, and he earned his pilot’s license. He didn’t get his driver’s license until the following spring, just in time to drive to prom.
2. Neil built a wind tunnel. He had dreamed about it for years. He’d studied them in aeronautic magazines, taken notes on how they were put together and how they worked. Neil modeled his wind tunnel after the Wright Brothers, the ones who were the first in flight. BTW – Neil build his generator when he was in Boy Scouts in Upper Sandusky. He was probably in middle school, but it was definitely before he moved to Wapakoneta in 1944.
Sources of Information:
Neil Armstrong - Wikipedia
Neil A. Armstrong - Ohio History Central
Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream
By Me, Rinda Beach
Part 2 – Wind Tunnels – What are They? What do They Do? Why are They Important?
This is one of NASA’s wind tunnels. It’s 12 feet or 12 floor tiles long. It has a model of a D-11 airplane inside. It was made to scale so it’s a miniature version of the real plane. I think this picture of the wind tunnel was taken in January of 1996.
Why is it a wind tunnel? 1. It’s a large tube. 2. Large fans blow air through it. 3. The tube is used to test how a plane that’s anchored in the tunnel, reacts when wind moves around it. It’s the same reaction the plane would have when it’s flying through the sky.
Why are wind tunnels important? It’s easier and cheaper to test a model and correct the design before the real plane is built. Some tunnels are model-size, but there are some big enough for real planes and cars to fit inside.
This is one of the earliest wind tunnels. It helped Wilbur and Orville Wright design and fly the first airplane. Obviously the Wrights never put the real plane inside. But testing a scale model of the Wright Flyer in that wind tunnel, helped them get the real one off the ground.
The Wright Flyer was the first heavier-than-air powered plane to take flight. Wilbur and Orville flew it four times on December 17, 1903. They picked the sand dunes near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina so they’d have a softer landing pad. They hoped there’d be less damage to the plane, and fewer repairs.
The first flight took the plane 105 feet in 3.5 seconds. That’s 35 yards down a football field. Their best flight was the last one that day. It took the plane 852 feet in 59 seconds. That’s 284 yards or almost 3 football fields they flew over, and they stayed in the air for almost a minute. If you’d like to see the Wright Flyer, go to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.
Take a look at this wind tunnel. The photo was taken in 1935 when it was part of a German aviation lab. I couldn’t find anything else about this wind tunnel, but I wanted to share it so you can see how big they can be. I’d love to walk inside, and take a look around.
This is a photo from 1990. It shows fan blades from a 16-foot transonic wind tunnel. Transonic means the plane reached or broke the sound barrier. Those flights used to get bumpy, but transonic wind tunnels helped make them smoother.
Look at the dark bar in the middle. Shift your eyes to the right. Then look for a person who’s walking around inside the tunnel. Can you imagine a fan blade that’s taller than you? I can’t!
Sorry, you can’t walk inside this tunnel any more. It was retired in 2004 from NASA’s Langley Research Center. I wonder what they have now.
Tomorrow - How I made a wind tunnel, and how you can make one too!
- Replica of the Wright brothers' wind tunnel: By The original uploader was Axda0002 at English Wikipedia. - Photographed by uploader, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3780674
- German Aviation Laboratory in 1935: By Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-17158 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5415574
When I saw this cover, I had to ask who in the heck was Arbella Stuart, and why should I care? I’m amazed how much I learned from a little research.
The real Arbella was a heavy favorite to succeed her cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I. But the Cecils, father and son, favored James VI (Mary, Queen of Scots’ son). I wonder if they preferred working with kings, instead of queens.
In November of 1603, plotters tried to overthrow King James and make Arbella queen. She reported the plot to the King, but ended her days in the Tower. Why? She married Kathryn Grey’s son without the king’s permission. Kathryn suffered the same fate, for the same reason . . . marrying without Elizabeth’s permission.
In Book 3, Perdita and Piper are chasing down Arbella’s letters and her secret husband, which are both historically accurate. Over 100 letters survived, and some of them were published in 1993. Arbella married secretly, and Alexandra used that history to craft this story. What a great idea!
Get ready to challenge everything you thought you knew about British royal history… Derbyshire, England, 1603
Elizabeth I is dead and the Tudor reign is over. As the men in power decide to pass the throne to the Scottish King James, one woman debates changing the course of history.
Two Tudor heirs have been covered up for decades, and with a foreign king threatening the stability of England it could be time to bring the truth to the fore. But there are reasons the Tudor children were put into hiding and exposing them would put not only their lives in danger, but the lives of many others as well…
Marquess House, Pembrokeshire, 2019
Dr Perdita Rivers and her sister Piper have returned to their ancestral home. But the ancient walls still contain riddles which the twins need to solve. Perdita and Piper have already discovered earth-shattering secrets which will change the course of English history forever. But they are missing one vital piece of the puzzle.
Two Tudor rings have led them to cover-ups at the Tudor court, but now they must track down a missing silver locket to slot the final parts of the mystery together. And just when it seems they could be ready to expose the centuries-old conspiracy, old enemies resurface to put their very lives at risk…
Get ready for Book 2! Perdita and Piper find themselves on a new search, for the twins of Catherine Howard. They’ve been hidden for centuries, and their enemies are determined to preserve the secret, by any means necessary.
Elizabeth I is your guide to this mystery. Follow her through the twists and turns of history to the roots of this secret. Buckle your seatbelt . . . you’re in for an incredible adventure!
Was Elizabeth I really the last Tudor princess…?
Nonsuch Palace, England, 1586
Elizabeth I has been queen for 28 years. She has survived hundreds of plots against her but now she faces the revelation of a secret she thought would remain hidden forever…
Elizabeth is not the last of the Tudor line — there are two more legitimate heirs to her crown. Her sworn enemy, Philip II, King of Spain, has discovered the secret and thinks he can control the missing princess as his puppet queen. Can Elizabeth maintain control over her throne? And what happened to the lost Tudor heirs?
Castle Jerusalem, Andorra, 2018
Dr Perdita Rivers and her twin sister Piper are safely hidden in Andorra. Despite their narrow escape from those pursuing them, Perdita is determined to continue her grandmother’s legacy by uncovering her ground-breaking research into the English royal bloodline.
But she soon realizes that nothing about the Tudor era was as it seemed. And now the national identity of Great Britain must be called into question. With their enemies still tracking them and the lives of those they love at deadly risk, Perdita and Piper must succeed in exposing the secrets of history or there is no hope of them escaping alive...
Me as a Reader – I’ve always been a reader, even back when. Now I’m writing books and blogging about them too. I almost started rereading my last book from August, Enchanted Ever After, but then I read the author’s note. Shanna Swendson said she was taking a break from the Enchanted Inc Series, and I thought I would too.
I won’t read the whole series again, just book 9. I hope Shanna returns to the series too! I started imagining what Katie and Owen’s kids might be like, part wizard/part immune. Who knows?! For now, I want to read something different.
I found another of my favorite series. I have a lot of them, and this one’s only 3 books long. It’s mostly historical fiction, with a little fantasy. One of my favorite kind of books! This one has an interesting premise . . .
Started 9/2 Finished 9/13
Imagine – Catherine Howard lived! She was secreted away and delivered twins. Her family covers up her disappearance with the beheading we all know about. That’s one-half of this story.
The other half takes place in Wales with Dr. Perdita Rivers. She’s in the UK exploring an old shipwreck. It’ll take three books to connect the two parts of this story, but don’t worry. The author takes you back and forth between centuries, but won’t let you get lost. You’ll know whose story and which century you’re in. Enjoy!
What secrets were covered up at the court of Henry VIII…?
Whitehall Palace, England, 1539
When Catherine Howard arrives at the court of King Henry VIII to be a maid of honour in the household of the new queen, Anne of Cleves, she has no idea of the fate that awaits her.
Catching the king’s fancy, she finds herself caught up in her uncle’s ambition to get a Howard heir to the throne. Terrified by the ageing king after the fate that befell her cousin, Anne Boleyn, Catherine begins to fear for her life…
2018Dr Perdita Rivers receives news of the death of her estranged grandmother, renowned Tudor historian Mary Fitzroy. Mary inexplicably cut all contact with Perdita and her twin sister, Piper, but she has left them Marquess House, her vast estate in Pembrokeshire.
Perdita sets out to unravel their grandmother’s motives for abandoning them, and is drawn into the mystery of an ancient document in the archives of Marquess House, a collection of letters and diaries claiming the records of
Have you heard, “If you can be anything, be kind?” I have, and right now it feels like everyone could use a heaping helping of kindness. Here are three quotes from three famous people about kindness.
Quote #1 – No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
Who said it? Aesop! You know the one from the fables? This quote came from the moral to “The Lion and the Mouse.” Here’s a recording with information I didn’t include. It’s about a minute long.
Link: Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
Aesop was a Greek storyteller who was known for his tales. Someone gathered them together to make Aesop’s Fables. He was born around 620 BC, before Christ. He died around 564 BC or BCE (before the common era). That’s almost 2500 years ago.
Details get lost over time, but Aristotle, Herodotus, and Plutarch wrote about him in their histories, so some details are still known. Aesop started life as a slave, but he was clever enough to win his freedom. He became an adviser to Greek kings and city-states.
No one is quite sure what Aesop looked like. This is a Greek statue of him. It’s in a collection in Rome, but I’m not sure how old it is. There’s another image of him from a woodcut that was done 1489. It’s below, with my list of sources.
Do you know the story of “The Lion and the Mouse?” It’s #150 on the Perry Index. I’ve never heard of it before, but I like to learn new things. There are 584 fables on the regular list; more on the extended one.
The fable – A mouse wakes up a sleeping lion. Mouse doesn’t want to be a snack so he asks lion to let him go. Lion does, but later he’s caught in a net. Mouse hears his cries and sets him free by chewing through the rope. Lion’s kindness is repaid.
That’s the first version of the story. Later ones, in English have the mouse asking for freedom, saying he’ll pay lion back someday. Lion of course is tickled that such a tiny creature can help him.
Aesop - Wikipedia
Aesop's Fables - Wikipedia
The Lion and the Mouse - Wikipedia
Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
- Greek Statue - By user:shakko - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5545991
- Lion and Mouse Sculpture - By Celeste Hutchins from The Hague, Netherlands - statue 2, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2186911
- Woodcut to the left - By File created by me; art by Francis Barlow (died 1704) - The 1687 edition of Aesop's Fables with His Life: in English, French and Latin, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9510028
Quote #2 – More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.
Who said it? Charlie Chaplin. Have you heard of him? He was a famous actor who starred on stage and screen from the time he was a kid until 1976. That was a year before he died. Sorry, I couldn’t find a recording this time, but if you click this link, you can read their information.
Link: Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
If you read the information from Daily Inspiration, it’s about this photo from Charlie’s movie The Great Dictator. Charlie wrote the script. The quote about kindness and gentleness is at the end of the movie. Charlie wanted it said in 1940 because of Hitler and World War II. I think it still needs to be said today.
Charlie may have become a famous movie star, but he didn’t start out that way. He was born in 1889 in London, England to a pair of music hall performers. His parents separated when he was two, and his dad left the family behind. His mom struggled with money. Charlie was sent to a workhouse twice before he was nine. That’s where you went when you were penniless. They’d give you a place to stay, and work to do.
By the time he was 14, his mom was hospitalized for mental health issues, but a young Charlie was already taking care of himself – He was performing onstage in music halls. By age 19 he signed to do stage work with the Fred Karno Repertoire Company. The famous producer even took him to America.
Charlie soon found his way into silent movies, and by 1918 he was a world-wide star. He was only 29. A year later he went in with three friends to found United Artists. It gave him the freedom to make movies the way he wanted – to write, direct, produce, edit, star in, even compose the music. His movies were known for their slapstick comedy, with a little tragedy/sorrow on the side.
Charlie has a website. The link: Charlie Chaplin : Official Website
Charlie Chaplin - Wikipedia
Charlie Chaplin : Official Website
- Charlie starred as Adolf Hitler in The Great Dictator, 1940 – By United Artists - Cropped from File:The Great Dictator publicity still.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29507472
- Charlie in City Lights, one of his best movies, 1931 – By United Artists - www.creativelydifferentblinds.com/TVStageandFilm/CharlieChaplin/CityLights, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19983420
- Charlie as The Tramp – his iconic role, 1915 – By Essanay Studios - British Film Institute, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24496648
Quote #3 – The point is not to pay back kindness, but to pass it on.
Who said it? Julia Alvarez. She has published 17 books so far. Most of them are both in English and Spanish. She writes everything – poetry, nonfiction, novels, and picture books. Sorry, I couldn’t find a recording this time either, but if you click this link, you can read the information from Inspiring Quotes.
Link: Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
This quote came from her essay an Aha Moment. Julia wrote about a horrible plane ride and the acts of kindness she saw during it. She also noticed how kindness inspires more kindness. Sometimes when life is at its worst, people rise to be their best.
Julia was born in New York City in 1950, but she moved back to the Dominican Republic when she was 3 months old. Her family lived there for the next 10 years. Julia thrived! Maybe because Domincans value story-telling, and they nurture it too.
In 1960 Julia’s dad helped with a plot to overthrow the dictator. The plot failed, and her family fled to the US. Can you imagine leaving everything behind?
That night Julia lost her home, her language, family and friends, everything she knew. She was homesick in the country she’d been born in, but it wasn’t home. She felt out of place, and people didn’t accept her because she was different.
At school she was discriminated against because she was from Latin America and spoke differently, with an accent. How did Julia cope? She turned to books and literature. She had teachers who liked her writing and encouraged her to keep going.
At age 13 her parents sent her to boarding school. They wanted her to have a better education than the local schools could offer. She also spent every summer visiting the Dominican Republic. Her parents wanted to make sure she kept her heritage and grew up properly.
Those experiences with immigration, new schools, and living in two different worlds found their way into Julia’s books from the Garcia Girls to her Tia books.
There’s gold at rindabeach.com . . . not the shiny metal kind. Mine is in the posts and reviews I’ve written. How many gold nuggets could you find on my web site? I just checked my spreadsheet . . . I have written 357, sorry, 358 posts now, across science, social studies, and language arts. I’ve reviewed 264 books altogether – 83 chapter books and 181 picture books. Sorry, 265 now.
Pinterest used to be the easiest way to find my content. Now I’ve found a better way . . . a spreadsheet! The pieces for each blog post are listed across one line for me, AND they’re searchable.
I wish I could put it online for you, but I can’t lock the content to make it safe and tamper-proof. But, if you need something, message me, and I can look it up!
Part 1 – Posts in ABC Order – This is a screenshot of my spreadsheet. It won’t fit in one line on this screen so I took 2 shots of it. I’ve been working on it all summer. I typed in all my blogs. Look at the photo below, and you’ll see the first 4 categories – Post titles, Pinterest boards, Links/location, and Hashtags. Can you tell which one has the least entries. . . Hashtags. I’m just learning how to use them so I’ve only done them for my newer posts. The old ones will have to wait.
The 2nd screenshot is the other half of the spreadsheet. It has a list of the book reviews I’ve done. I write one for each post. I pick a book that fits the post. The spreadsheet lists the Book, Link/location, and Pinterest Board. I thought it would be easy to find each book on Pinterest. But not always! Sometimes I look in 2 or 3 places before I find it. That’s why I’m so happy to put this spreadsheet together . . . for me . . . and for you!
Part 2 – My Videos, Interviews, and Podcasts – I have a spreadsheet for each of these. I wish I could share it with you, but I need to keep it secure.
My Videos – If you look below, you’ll see the screenshot of all the videos I’ve taped. It tells me the title of the post it came from and its link, where you can find it (, anything extra I’ve shared with you), and the link for the video on Facebook. I’m up to 15 videos that I can share with you!
PS – If you look up at the screenshot from yesterday of the Posts in ABC Order, I note the ones with live videos in red. It’s nice to have it saved twice on the spreadsheet. The whole spreadsheet is saved on my Google drive. It’s good to know that I can find the things I need for you and for me.
Interviews – The sheet below lists the interviews I’ve done so far. I have eight I can share. Six of them are in print. The other two are podcasts. I have two more yet to find, but it’s great to gather my resources in one place. I have interviews for each of my three books – Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream, Lake Fun for You and Me, and Zoe’s Scavenger Hunt Fun. They’ll give you some behind the scenes information, plus photos. If you’re looking for information, just message me. I’ll look it up and send you the answers either the same day or the next one.
Podcasts – The final screenshot lists two of the podcasts I’ve taped. They both support Zoe’s Scavenger Hunt Fun, but I have 3 to find from Connie B. Dow. I talked to her about all 3 of my books.
Tomorrow – Beach Girl’s Treasure Trove of posts, videos, interviews, and podcasts
And how you can find them.
In June of 2019 I found out I was going to be a grandma. Images danced through my head; of the things we’d do together. I pasted pictures of a few of them below.
This baby-to-be found a place in my heart. Boy or girl, it didn’t matter. I loved that baby in a way I still can’t explain. An idea for a story started flitting through my head. A story for Baby Beach.
Part 1 – Time to be Born – My first grandchild arrived in 2019. I live 18 hours away so I imagined stories of what we’d do together. I wrote this one down and sent it into Vivian Kirkfield’s #50 Precious Words Contest in 2020.
Time to be Born
Baby, can’t sleep?
Here’s a story –
You were tucked in your mama’s belly.
You twisted and turned.
“It’s time, baby!”
But hours passed,
Then a day. Was it two?
You twisted, tried turning.
“Need a little more room?”
You nodded and decided it was time to be born.
I tried revising it for #50 Precious Words in 2021, but I like this version better. Maybe because I wrote it for my grandchild.
But something’s missing in both versions, something I haven’t captured. There’s something special about the night you’re born. I hope if I let it sit, that I’ll find the spark this story needs.
I have a new grandchild, and a new idea. It’s something I did with my second graders when I was expecting. Each month I’d tell them about our baby and how it was growing. Maybe I can take that old idea, and make it new again!
Part 2 – Teaching Grandma – But this time, I won’t be the one doing the teaching. My grandkids will!
They both live in Texas. That’s 18 hours away from Ohio. I won’t be the granny who sees them all the time, who knows them in-and-out. I’ll be the one they meet on a computer screen.
My grandkids are so little. They’re at an age where I’m a stranger. The last time I saw them, we were there for a weekend, long enough to get acquainted. The next time I see them, I’ll be a stranger again.
I never had a grandma, and my two grandpas lived hours away. They paid more attention to the adults. Maybe they didn’t know how to talk, or to play with me.
But I spent a lifetime teaching 2nd grade. OK, it was only 33 years. 😊 But I do know how to talk, or to play with kids. Whenever I had a shy kid, I waited for them to warm-up to me. I was there. I was supportive, but I let them set the relationship where they needed it to be.
When my kids came in for a class visit, they were preschoolers. I asked my 2nds to give them space, to let them warm up to them. I did the same when pets visited the classroom. Too much stimulation is scary, for kids and pets!
So when I visit my grands, in-person or virtually, I let them set the pace and decide what we do. That’s what I did when we were there in July. I watched them, but my husband copied what they were doing. (OOPS! I forgot!)
But it worked! Smart man! They played with him first. They even let him pick them up – all because they controlled the situation.
The best part – when things got diaper or meltdown tricky – you passed them back to their parents. I’ve heard being a grandparent is great, AND, it’s true!
That visit gave me the idea for the next baby book, for my grandchildren and yours. We aren’t the only grandparents who live a computer screen away, and I’d love to help the little ones. The old ones too.
I haven’t started it yet. I’m letting the idea sit at the back of my head. When it’s time, I’ll know, and I’ll start writing . . . Soon . . . I hope . . . Fingers crossed!
I’m dying to know – will Katie and Owen live enchanted ever after? I finished the first chapter . . . A sample designer wedding dress sale . . . with magical fights over the perfect gown. I’m can’t wait to read more!
Book 9 . . . Wedding Bells or Magic Spells?
Katie Chandler’s wedding day is coming soon, and she and Owen Palmer have a lot to do to make sure the event is magical. That makes this a very bad time for rumors about magic to be hitting the general public, even the television news.
The secret about magic has been safe for centuries, but can it survive an era of cell phone cameras and the Internet? As Katie delves deeper into an online anti-magic underground movement, she starts to suspect that there’s something more going on. Someone in the magical world is trying to expose magic to ordinary people. The fallout for the magical world could be devastating, and without the restrictions to keep magic out of the public eye, unscrupulous wizards might run amok. Worst of all, the culprit is trying to pin it all on Owen, who makes a handy scapegoat.
Katie’s got to track down and stop the plot—and fast. Otherwise, society will be forever altered, and Katie’s wedding may be missing a groom.
Started 8/21 Finished 8/26
Last time I wrote how the Enchanted Inc books were all memorable. Well, all except for this one. When I read the Author’s Note and chapter 1, I thought I hadn’t cracked open the cover. Nothing rang a bell.
But as I kept reading, it all came back. There’s a new, I mean old villain in town. The one behind Idris, and the people who backed him. They ARE called the Collegium, and THEY want to hire Katie.
I just read one of the best chapters – how they interviewed Katie for a job. There’s nothing like a writer who thinks outside of the box! Thanks, Shanna, for another great read! (I can’t wait to finish – I’m only 1/3 of the way through the book.)
Book 8 . . . The weather is getting cold, but the frog population in New York is on the rise, thanks to a magical mafia that has a unique method for getting their enemies out of the way. When wizard Owen Palmer at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., gets a cryptic threat that the secretive organization called the Collegium is gunning for them, Katie Chandler puts their wedding on hold and goes undercover as a compromised magical immune to infiltrate the enemy.
It’s not easy pretending to work for a psycho who not only wants to take over MSI but also pull a coup in his own organization. It’s even more difficult having to pretend to cut all ties with MSI. But with prominent magical citizens disappearing and anyone who crosses the magical mafioso landing on a lily pad, Katie knows she doesn’t have a choice. It becomes personal when her friends become targets. It becomes an urgent crusade when Owen disappears.
When the final showdown comes, Katie’s going to have to kiss a lot of frogs to have the allies she needs to save MSI – and if she ever wants to see her fiancé again.
Started 8/14 Finished 8/20
It’s interesting – with a well written series and characters – each one is memorable, even Book 7.
What I remember most is how Owen and Katie were working to solve a mystery in one chapter, but in a coffee shop in the next. It threw me again, for a moment, till I remembered Katie had been enchanted. Owen too.
The Elf Lord was clever – Shanna Swendson too! He set his prison to look like New York City, and he gave his prisoners their fantasies to live out. I’m glad Katie and Owen figured it all out, again!
Book 7 . . . With great power comes great danger…
When a freak accident leaves Katie Chandler with magical powers, it seems like a wish come true for the former magical immune. But it also means she’s vulnerable to magic, just when the dangerous Elf Lord is cooking up another scheme in his bid for power. Anyone who gets in his way disappears—including Katie and her wizard boyfriend, Owen Palmer.
Now Katie’s under a spell that obscures her true identity, living a life right out of a romantic comedy movie in a Hollywood set version of New York. Will she be able to find her true Mr. Right in time to break the spell with a kiss and warn everyone, or will she be trapped forever, unaware of the doom facing her world?
Started 8/9 Finished 8/14
Are you ready for a quest? I am! Owen and Katie are searching for an enchanted sapphire – whoever holds it, controls the world. Elves, gnomes, gargoyles , and wizards – all in a magical fantasy! This is my kind of quest!
A Questing We Will Go - Now that the Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc. team has defeated the nefarious Spellworks, the only “competition” in town, Katie Chandler doesn’t have much to do as director of marketing, and she’s starting to question her role at MSI. Her boyfriend Owen Palmer, on the other hand, is in hog heaven, translating an ancient and powerful magical manuscript.
But then he finds that the cryptic text describing the location of an enchanted gem known as the Eye of the Moon has radically changed. This deadly stone gives its holder enhanced power over others and a craving for more power. It once caused a terrible war before it was safely hidden and then lost – and now it seems to be in New York and set in an elven brooch that renders its wearer invulnerable. Whoever has this brooch could take over the world.
Katie and Owen must find it before anyone else does, and they’re not the only ones searching. They’ll need all the help they can get, including Katie’s visiting grandmother. But who can they trust when their allies fall under its spell? Not to mention the new enemies who are deadlier than anything they’ve faced before.
Started 8/5 Finished 8/8
Is there much ado about magic in Book 5? Oh, yes! Katie and Owen need spells, marketing, and common sense to save the world from a mystery villain who’s determined to take down Magic Inc, and Owen too.
To Do: Manage Magical Mayhem, Save the Company, Save the World
Katie Chandler is back in New York and at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc. – and just in time. The city’s in the grip of a magical crime wave from spells that wizarding whiz Owen Palmer thinks look awfully familiar, and the rogue firm Spellworks is raising its profile in the magical world by selling protective amulets. It’s Katie’s job as the new director of marketing for MSI to fight this battle of public perception while Owen and the other wizards try to uncover what’s really going on.
What Katie doesn’t realize is that her idea to stage a showcase for MSI’s magical achievements is playing right into a devious plot more than three decades in the making. Now Katie has to do damage control that has nothing to do with marketing. To save the magical world, she’ll have to prove who the real enemy is, and doing that will require digging deeper into Owen’s mysterious past than he wants anyone to go. If she fails, she not only stands to lose a magical war, but she could also lose the man she loves.
Started 7/31 Finished 8/4
What do you do when your boyfriend stops saving the world, to rescue you? If you’re Katie Chandler, you head home, but don’t mess with Texas. Or with Katie, Owen, or Magic Inc!
Everything’s bigger in Texas—including romance, magic, and danger!
Katie Chandler has fled fast-paced Manhattan and returned home to a simpler life, working at her family’s feed-and-seed store in Cobb, Texas. In a painfully selfless gesture, Katie had left the sexy wizard Owen Palmer to battle his demons in the magical realm–after all, Katie just seemed to attract evil, which only made Owen’s job a lot harder. But now it seems that trouble has followed her home: Despite the fact that Merlin, Katie’s old boss at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., has assured her that Cobb is free of enchantmen, (magically speaking), Katie begins to notice curious phenomena.
Cobb is being plagued by a series of inexplicable petty crimes and other devilish mischief, and after her experiences in Manhattan, Katie knows “unauthorized magic” when she sees it. As this new darkness strikes deep in the heart of Texas, Owen appears (literally) to investigate. Now Katie’s friends and family must show the bad guys why it’s bad luck to hex with Texas, while Katie and Owen combine their strengths like never before to uncover a sinister plot before evil takes root in the Lone Star State.
Part 1 – The Story of the Photo Shoot – Leia and I did our shoot back in November or December of 2013. I had a snow day and called High 5 Photography in St. Marys. As luck would have it, Emily had an opening that day.
I remember it like yesterday. It was the first time I realized how old Leia was. I knew she was 14 in my head, but my heart still saw her the way she used to be. Leia loved to walk and would drag me down the street. Not that day . . . She walked a couple yards, and I carried her the rest of the way.
I saw more signs at the studio. Signs I’d seen with my father and his Alzheimer’s. Leia started pacing, like dad did. She wasn’t searching for scents. She was in a panic, trying to figure out where she was. She only calmed down when I held her, like I did in the picture.
That’s the day I found out Leia was old, that we didn’t have as much time left as I thought. I cried all the way home. It was only 10 minutes, but I spent it reliving what Alzheimer’s did to my dad.
People still saw the puppy in her, but look again . . . Can you see the gray hair around her eyes? I didn’t want her to suffer so I asked for advice. I wanted to know when to say good-bye. The vet said look for trouble seeing, hearing, and with bathroom issues.
I didn’t see it coming, but my friend Danelle did. She warned me. When she had bathroom issues in her crate in February, 2013, I knew it was time. I made the appointment to say goodbye.
The best thing I did that day was to tell Leia stories while I stroked her back. It helped. The worst – I didn’t let her have chocolate. It was her favorite thing to sneak. She only did it three times, but it always made her sick. Now I wish I’d made time to give her that one last treat.
Part 2 – How Leia Joined Our Family – I took this photo back on the first day of school in August of 1999. My kids were in 5th, 3rd, and Kindergarten. Leia was 4 months old. We’d had her for a few weeks. Our house was full of life – with 3 kids and a dog!
My husband lost a Super Bowl bet, so we won a dog! Not just any dog! We picked a breed that fit our family. We used one of the doggie tests I’ve written about. We took it a couple times to make sure we had good results. We did!
We got three breeds over and over again. The kids and I voted until we agreed . . . the Border Terrier won. We found our breeder in Clinton, Michigan, and in July we paid the dogs a visit. Puppies are always cute. I asked my kids to look at the adults. They decided Borders were just right for us.
We picked up Leia in August, and I remember the day she came home . . . the neighborhood kids were on alert and in our yard.
Poor Leia! She’d been living with 2 ladies, senior citizens, and now she was surrounded by kids. Oh my! They put her down the slide and introduced her to the neighbor’s cat. Within the hour she ran into her crate and refused to come out. The kids knew the crate was her sanctuary.
My husband, Mr. Non-Dog Lover, was the one who got her out. His secret – a steak bone. It was their one and only good moment in 14 years.
My kids had so many! Leia was FAST! I remember her standing, waiting between two bushes. My son and his best friend stood waiting to catch her. Sure enough, Leia squirted out, right between them, and neither kid caught her. When her kids were young, chase was Leia’s favorite game.
And if you wanted to see her doggy smile, just say the word walk, and she’d go crazy bouncing and barking. She only weighed 15 pounds, but she’d drag me down the street, choking the whole way. She was so happy to be out leading her human around! But her favorite thing of all time – taking her kids roller blading down the street. There was nothing better!
Part 3 – The Heart of the Family – No one will ever love you like your dog. She was my best friend. Leia was always happy whenever we came home. We might have been gone 10 minutes, or 10 hours. It didn’t matter . . . She’d bounce and bark with joy.
Inside or out, she loved to play. She’d chase kids, soccer balls, whatever moved! Leia loved tug-of-war. She’d never let go, even if we tugged her across the room. But her favorite kind of fun was licking any kid who landed on the floor or ground.
She slept in the kids’ rooms, but every morning I’d find her waiting for me to say three little words . . . Are you hungry? If she’d been fed, she wouldn’t move a muscle. But if not, she’d bounce and bark until I got the kids moving.
That was the starting point for her story. Leia was such a great character I knew she had to be in a book. I’ve been working on it since 2011, trying to get it just right, for my best friend.
Would you believe her character could be anything from a Great Dane to a Chihuahua? The illustrator gets to decide what she looks like. I hope my Leia is somewhere in the book. It’s why we did that photo shoot.
This was my favorite shot. We talked like this from the time she was a pup until the day she died. Leia would stop and sit. I’d lean over. She’d look and listen, sniff my breath to see what I’d eaten or where I’d been. Even as a senior dog, she kept tabs on me. I don’t think I’ll ever have a better friend. It’s been 8 years, and I still remember and hug tight the memories, of the way we were.
Summer is almost over, but there’s a little time left for one last road trip. Here are 3 sets of trivia questions for you to answer. Maybe, there’s still time for that last summer get-away!
Part 1 – Trivia Question #1 – Which state is home to the world’s largest convenience store?
California Texas New Jersey Colorado
Trivia Question #2 – How many gas pumps can you find at its biggest service station?
80 100 120 140
Answer #1 – Everything is bigger in Texas. Look for TX, its abbreviation, on the map.
Answer #2 – It has 120 pumps.
My Texas kids made sure I went inside Buc-ees the first time I visited. They’re HUGE! Think grocery store size! They’re that big! Buc-ee’s opened in 1982, and it owns 36 stores across Texas, Alabama, and Florida.
If you don’t like waiting to get gas, try Buc-ee’s in New Braunfels. It has 120 pumps, making it one of the world’s biggest gas stations. Inside – it’s the largest convenience store in the world – with 67,000 square feet. That’s big enough to fit 22 regular 7-Eleven’s inside. If you want to visit, it’s on Interstate 35 between Austin and San Antonio. It’s true – everything’s bigger in Texas!
PS – Don’t forget the Alamo in San Antonio!
1. Buc-ee’s in Terrell, TX - By Jameywiki - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47876613
2. Inside Buc-ee’s - By JamesRuddy93 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82979699
3. Buc-ee's - Wikipedia
Source: The Balance | Date Updated: April 23, 2021
Which state is home to the world's largest convenience store?: Texas | Travel Trivia
Part 2 – Trivia Question #3 – What is a Dark Sky Park?
Trivia Question #4 – What state has the most internationally identified parks?
Nebraska Utah Maine Colorado
Answer #3 – It’s a park that is dedicated to preserving and protecting the sky,
to keep it dark enough for stargazing.
Answer #4 – The International Dark Sky Association said it’s Utah, UT.
The International Dark-Sky Association was born in 2001. Its first action – an initiative to preserve and protect the sky. To keep it dark enough that people can still look up and see the stars, generations from now.
When I drive at night, I see the lights of each town I approach. It’s getting harder and harder to see the stars. I’m glad the darkest nights have IDSA protection now! That’s the International Dark-Sky Association in initialism (not an acronym).
Thanks to the Association there are now 90 International Dark Sky Parks. This is Joshua Tree National Park, and it’s one of the 21 International Dark Parks in Utah. That’s impressive – there are 90 around the world, and 21 are in Utah. Would you believe Utah added three new parks this year?
Utah is perfect for stargazing because most people live along the Wasatch Front. That leaves most of the state without light pollution. Utah is also dry. That means there’s less water vapor and clouds to block the night sky. Looking for stars – head to Utah!
Don’t worry if you live hours away from Utah! There are 66 Dark Sky Parks in the US. Geauga Observatory Park is in Ohio, and there’s a Dark Park in Michigan to the North, Indiana to the West, Tennessee to the South, and Pennsylvania to the east. To think that I’d never heard of Dark Sky Parks, and now I found five in and around Ohio! Take a look on the map at the top, and see which states you can find!
- Source: The Salt Lake Tribune | Date Updated: April 30, 2021
- What U.S. state has the most International Dark Sky Parks?: Utah | Travel Trivia
- Dark Sky Parks in the United States - WorldAtlas
Part 3 – Trivia Question #5 – Which state gets the most sleep?
S. Dakota Montana Colorado Minnesota
Trivia Question # 6 – Which gets the least?
Florida Hawaii Nevada California
Answer # 5 – If you live in South Dakota (SD), you get the most.
Answer # 6 – Hawaiians (HI) get the least.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends seven hours of sleep a night, but only about half of Americans manage that. If you’d like to find out how your state’s sleeping, click on the CDC link below. It’s under Information Sources.
Five states are real sleepers! They had 69 – 70% of their people averaging seven hours of sleep each night. South Dakota came out on top, followed by Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Idaho. If you need sleep, you know where to go! Can you find SD, CO, MN, NE, and ID on the map at the top?
Six states don’t sleep as much as they should! They had 56 – 61% of their people getting their nightly seven. Hawaii scraped the bottom with Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan and Georgia creeping in above them.HI, KY, MD, AL, MI, and GA on the map at the top?
- Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Date Updated: May 10, 2021
- Which state's residents get the most sleep?: South Dakota | Travel Trivia=
Part 3 – Rock the Boat – They’re at it again! The folks from Applebee’s have
another great ad on TV, and it’s a blast from my past! Have you heard it yet? I have,
and my toes still tap to that beat! Now, let’s rock that boat – but don’t tip the boat over!
Meet the Hues Corporation! They’re the voices behind the song. From left to right – Fleming Williams, H. Ann Kelley, and St. Clair Lee.
Would you believe Rock the Boat was almost a flop? The trio released it on their debut studio album in 1973. The first two singles didn’t go anywhere on the top 40 charts.
Rock the Boat was their 3rd single in early 1974, and it didn’t look good either – no radio airtime or sales activity. Then somehow it became a disco favorite in New York City dance clubs, and radio picked it up. The almost-failure hit the top 40 and reached #1 on July 6, 1974.
Rock the Boat was one of the earliest disco hits. I was nearly a sophomore in high school back in 1974. Disco wouldn’t hit Ohio until I was in college. That’s when Saturday Night Fever struck. Funny, I don’t remember it from high school, but I do – from college. Disco was HUGE.
Fun Fact # 1 - Wally Holmes wrote it, and first lines are important. Wally’s was “Ever since our voyage of love began.” The producer John Florez thought the lyrics were trite and overused, and he got Wally to change that first line. Now you know how they got the notion.”
#2 – H. Ann Kelley, the girl in the band, was supposed to sing lead, but someone thought bands with female lead singers weren’t commercially successful, so they gave it to Fleming Williams. He left the group soon after the recording. I wish someone had the notion to give the lead to H. Ann.
#3 – John put Rock the Boat out on the B side of the record. Back in the day, singles came out as 45 RPM records. The A side was the hit. The B side, not.
After it did so well in dance clubs, John remixed it. He boosted the bass and rhythm instruments. Then he re-released it, and the rest is history!
Here’s what I found when I looked up Applebee’s new commercial. Take a look at the promotional information. I’ve never seen it written out like this before, but I like having all the important information in one place.
OOPS! I almost forgot the most important part – the link! How else can you see the Hughes Corporation in action singing their #1 hit Rock the Boat?!
Google: Hues Corporation - Rock the Boat - Bing video
1. Restaurant image - By Michael Rivera - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40559229
2. Applebee's TV Commercial, 'Jungle Cruise: Rock the Boat' Song by The Hues Corporation - iSpot.tv
3. The Hughes Corporation - By RCA Records - www.album.it, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45459572
1. Hues Corporation - Rock the Boat - Bing video
2. Rock the Boat (The Hues Corporation song) - Wikipedia
3. Applebee's TV Commercial, 'Jungle Cruise: Rock the Boat' Song by The Hues Corporation - Bing video
Part 1 – Meet Simone Biles – This photo was taken in 2018 at the Voice of America (VOA). It’s the largest and oldest international broadcasting company. It didn’t say why Simone was there, but maybe she stopped into say she was back in the gymnastics game again.
Did you know she took 2017 off? I didn’t! That was the year after the 2016 Brazil Olympics, and Simone won 4 gold medals, the most ever for an American gymnast. I’m glad she took a year off.
Simone probably started training nonstop in 2011. That’s when she became an elite gymnast. Imagine training as your full-time job, and school what you fit around it.
And Me Too – I never found her training schedule, but I considered going into music. I played 2 instruments, and I was told to practice an hour a day, per instrument. That was the minimum to go into music, not to become a GOAT. I wonder what Simone puts in, on 4 pieces of equipment, per day.
Can you imagine the stress of being a GOAT? You always have to deliver. There’s no room for mistakes, and everyone makes those. Did you watch Simone in team qualifications, or in the preliminaries? She was GREAT, but not perfect. She looked unhappy after each performance, even though she was at the top of the leader board.
I wonder, if Simone’s a perfectionist. I’m a recovering one. I’m learning to be OK with mistakes, but I used to go over them, over and over, endlessly. Now I stop when they teach me something that will help me grow. I have a feeling Simone does that too.
I was shocked, when I heard Simone dropped out of the team finals. She put endless hours into each of her 4 routines, for 4 years. You don’t invest that kind of time, that kind of effort into something, then quit. I don’t, and I bet Simone doesn’t either.
You keep going, whether you’re injured, or sick, until you hit a wall that tells you, YOU HAVE to. For me, it used to be losing my voice. Then I could call in sick and get my kids a substitute teacher. For Simone, it was the twisties, and they don’t look like this photo.
Part 2 – What’s a Twistie? – It happens when a gymnast is flying through the air. They can’t tell where they are, or where to land. Planes have the same problem in fog. They don’t know which way is up, or down.
I discovered twisties on July 28th when USA Gymnastics announced Simone’s withdrawal from team competition. I was shocked till I learned more. Simone said her mind and body just weren’t in sync. She also said she didn’t think many people understood how dangerous gymnastic surfaces can be.
Take a look at the picture above. It doesn’t look dangerous. Then look at the one below. It is! I thought Simone was upside down. NOT – she was in the middle of one of her twisty-airborne moves. If she lost focus, she might have landed on her head, or neck. YIKES!
Simone also talked about not having an inch of control over her body, not knowing where she was in the air. But even scarier, she had no idea how she was going to land . . . or where. I can’t imagine being brave and talented enough, to keep going after that first twistie.
I didn’t know Simone had the twisties before Tokyo, on floor and vault. This year the bars & beam piled on too. YUCK! I’m glad she took a break, but I’m also glad she came back and won bronze in the balance beam. I read that she did it for herself. Yay, Simone! Here’s to your new life beyond gymnastics!
Part 3 – Daring Young Gymnasts – Do you remember the song about the daring young men on the flying trapeze? Now they’re flying around equipment in the gym. They’re defying gravity and some of the laws of physics. It’s crazy good, also a little scary.
Did you know that about 100,000 gymnasts are injured every year? The most common injuries are wrist fractures, cartilage damage, and ACL tears. Did you also know that gymnasts are starting earlier and doing more difficult moves?
Death is rare in gymnastics, but it happened to Melanie Coleman after a fall from the uneven bars. It also happened to Julissa Gomez in 1988. She was vaulting and slipped off the springboard. Falls are dangerous.
Adriana Duffy and Sang Lan were both paralyzed by vaulting accidents 11 years apart. I’m glad there’s a new, safer springboard and horse for athletes today.
Men and women both vault over them, the gymnastic kind. Men also twist and rotate around pommel horses. It’s amazing what gymnasts can do, and they make it look so easy!
Here’s the new springboard and horse. Look at the old one, then the new one. Can you see how they’re different, and why the new one is safer? I’m so glad someone figured that out.
Take a look at all the positions this young man rotated through in a few seconds.
WOW! Gymnasts are amazing!
How Can You Protect Your Young Gymnast? – I picked 10 tips to share. To read all of them click on this link: Safety Tips: Gymnastics (for Teens) - Nemours Kidshealth
1. Wear the proper equipment – wrist straps, guards, grips, and footwear. Use spotting belts for new moves.
2. Warm up and stretch. That’s true for any sport.
3. Only practice on padded floors, not a hard surface.
4. Find a good coach! Somone who knows the latest in safety. A good coach will spot you when you try new/difficult moves.
5. Tell your coach if you’re uncomfortable with a skill. If you can’t, tell a parent or an adult who’ll help you. Kids don’t want to tell anyone. I saw it with my own, and with my 2nd graders. Sometimes parents had to tell me what their child wouldn’t.
6. Don’t try a new move at a game or competition, UNLESS you’ve practiced it A LOT.
7. No jewelry, gum chewing, or clothes that can get caught on equipment.
8. Never train alone.
9. STOP! If you get hurt or feel pain. Then get it checked out by a grown-up.
10. Play other sports so that you don’t overuse the same muscles. That leads to injuries.
CONGRATULATIONS to the Olympic athletes from all over the world! Win, lose, draw, or withdraw – you played the games and did your best. Thank you for the memories, for the inspiration you’ve given us, especially to the young athletes waiting in the wings for their turn. THANK YOU!
PS – OOPS! I forgot to write about mindfulness, but lucky for me, I already did! The link below will tell you what it is, and show you a few exercises that are great for kids.
PPS – They can help us grown-ups too!
Link: Rinda Beach - Blog - Rinda Beach
1. Simone Biles reveals depths of twisties problem at Olympics (nypost.com)
2. Simone Biles - Wikipedia
3. Gymnastics deaths are rare, but previous disasters have prompted safety changes - CNN
4. Safety Tips: Gymnastics (for Teens) - Nemours Kidshealth
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!