Last February I found a post about treats and what kind of people like them. It caught my eye. With Valentines Day coming up, I decided to share what I read, then tell what I think. Here’s the link. It’s no longer up, but I wanted to give it credit.
I read lollipop lovers are reserved. They take their time with lollipops, with other things too.
I think they’re just young. I loved lollipops when I was little. So did my second graders. Why? I think it’s because they love sweets that last a while.
Most adults don’t eat lollipops. Me neither. There are other sweets I’d rather eat.
I read dark chocolate lovers tend to be health nuts. They’re mature with a good head on their shoulders.
I think they’re just older. My second graders never brought in dark chocolate candy bars for a Halloween party, but my friends have it around. Me too! I started buying it when I needed to eat less sugar. Now I just like how it tastes.
I read that M&M’s are perfect for travelers, for people on the go. They’re ready to eat anytime, and they’re colorful like you.
I think they’re the perfect candy. I’ve loved them since I was a kid. I bought them to treat my 2nd graders, but teachers would also come in and leave with a few. I think kids love their color. They also love eating one, or a whole handful. Now that I’m grown-up, I still like M&M’s, but I don’t love them like I used to. Taste changes as you age. You discover new flavors, and that’s a great thing!
I read gumball lovers are full of energy and ambition. They spring out of bed no matter how little sleep they’ve had. They lack only patience.
I think gumball lovers are full of energy because they’re young. When I was a kid, I loved them. You crunched them open and chewed them up like bubble gum. Now when I see gumball machines, I see kids. Adults get their gum by the checkout stand at the grocery store. No crunch necessary.
I read Reese Cup lovers are bold. They know what they want and go after it. Sometimes they’re called intimidating, but they’re a friend for life.
Wow! That’s a lot to get from peanut butter and chocolate. I’ve loved Reese’s Cups since I was a kid, and they’re still one of my favorites. Sometimes I’m bold. Sometimes I’m shy, but I think it boils down to Reese’s taste great, and they’re fun to eat. My take-away – they’re a life-long friend!
I read Starburst people are vibrant, yet easy going. People turn to you for advice, and you were a cool kid back in the day.
Frankly, I’ve never liked Starbursts. I thought they were boring, with their sweet fruit taste. Maybe that makes you easy going, but vibrant? Those are opposites. Maybe a Starburst lover can explain this to me because I just don’t get it.
I read licorice lovers are old school. They love black-and-white movies, hard-cover books, and following rules. They have a work ethic and discipline.
I should be a licorice lover. I’m into work and discipline, but not licorice. I don’t even know what it tastes like, but my kids do. They’re new school and modern technology. They love Twizzlers. Go figure! Maybe licorice is just a great mix of old and new.
I read Raisinettes bring out buttoned-up people who keep their personal and work life separate. They’re quiet till they’re ready to open up and have fun.
Raisinettes are chocolate-covered raisins. They’re traditional, and they’ve been around forever. I like them, but it’s not love. They’re sweet because they’re part fruit, part chocolate. Maybe that’s why when I eat one, I might eat ten.
I read people who eat Sour Gummies are impulsive, outgoing, and fearless. They live on the edge. They’re the life of the party.
Really? Just because you eat Sour Gummies! But I think you just might be fearless. You are eating something sour. And gummies, they stick to your teeth. YUCK! I’m not a fan of sour or gummy, and I’m definitely not impulsive, outgoing, or fearless. Maybe there is something to this candy stuff after all.
Are you an athlete or into sports? If you are, you might be a Snicker lover. I read Snicker people are also dog lovers.
I like Snickers, but I don’t love them. I’m not an athlete, but I like to watch sports. I love dogs, big time! Maybe I like Snickers more than I think. I’ll have to try one the next time I’m at the grocery store.
I read caramel lovers love learning. They’re the smart ones in your circle of friends. They like to learn from you. They’re shy in big groups, but outgoing with close friends.
Oh my gosh! I’m a caramel lover. I do trivia questions online. I don’t mind missing a question or two because I learn something new. Back in college I used to play down my grades. I didn’t want to seem too smart. I’m shy in a new or big group, but I love to laugh with friends. I think I’d better buy some caramels next time I’m at the store.
Lots of things have left the shop, but there are still some treasures to be found. Here’s a few pieces of furniture and accessories that she’s discounting at 75% off. Her last day will be next Sunday the 27th.
Rochelle still has magnets and cards in stock, and they’re both big sellers. I love her magnets! They’re on my refrigerator, and I’ve given them as gifts. The magnets are $1.50 each or 8 for $10. I have a trip to Rovals on my calendar for Wednesday. They open at 11 am and close at 6 pm.
The card pack is from her pet portrait line, but smaller. They’re cute outside and blank inside. Her deal this week… 6 packs of cards for $10. I definitely need these too!
This is one of Rochelle’s full-size pet portraits. She has a set of pets and farm animals that you can order from her web site. She has cards, like those above, or larger ones that you can frame.
If you have a special pet you want in paint, you can order a portrait from the web site too. Here’s her link: https://www.rovalspip.com
This is one last look at Rovals…I’ll miss shopping here, but I’ll miss my friend, Rochelle, even more.
But, there’s a bright side…there always is. Rochelle’s a Facebook friend so we can stay in touch, but it won’t be the same. Eventually there’ll be a Rovals in Illinois, and I hope I can shop there online. Fingers crossed!
If you want to shop Rovals, it’s open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 - 6. The last day will be Sunday from 12 – 5. Rochelle and Rovals is still open, but I miss them already.
I had never heard about King Day. A writer friend, Keila Dawson, published this book 2 years ago. I read it and thought it was just a funny story. Thanks to Keila, this year I put king cake together with the holiday. It’s the reason for the season, for cake and for babies.
If you’re like me, read on and discover King Day. If you’re hungry, make one for yourself. And if you’re adventurous, take a trip down to New Orleans and meet one of its best traditions…King Cake!
Can you guess what King Day is about now? Google pulled up Martin Luther King, but that’s wrong.
King Day is about the 3 kings, the 3 wise men. Yesterday in church I finally put it all together. I knew King Day was January 6th. So is Epiphany. Our church sermon said it’s always January 6th, this year, next year, and in 2040. Epiphany and King Day are always January 6th. They’re the same holiday.
Here’s a link for more information:
I always think of the 3 kings arriving with the shepherds at about the time Baby Jesus was born. That was the Nativity scene I grew up with.
Now I’m wondering. Maybe the shepherds stuck around for the kings, maybe not. I know from my research and from sitting in church, that the kings followed the star from their own countries. They went to see King Herod. He asked them to find out about the new baby king and to report back. Then the kings continued on, following the star till they came to Bethlehem, to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. It would have taken a while to get there since they traveled by camel. It doesn’t matter if the shepherds were there. What’s important is that the kings gave him kingly gifts—gold, frankincense, myrrh.
We all know gold is perfect for a king. Frankincense and myrrh I’d never thought about. I googled them for you! Frankincense is a gum or resin. It’s used in making perfume and incense. People wear perfume and it smells good, but incense also burns. Back in Old Testament times, frankincense was part of the sacrifices burned for God, for Yahweh. That made it a perfect gift for baby Jesus, part God, part man.
Myrrh is a gum resin. It was used for making perfume, incense, medicine, and for annoiting the dead. Back in Old Testament times, myrrh was a popular perfume, perfect for a king. After crucifixion, Jesus’ body was annointed with myrrh. Symbolically it points towards Jesus’ death.
Check out these links to see Frankincense and myrrh, and to learn more about them.
This is King Cake! I can tell because it’s yellow, purple, and green. Those are Mardi Gras colors. It looks like someone already found the baby in the center. Do you see him?
You can make your own King Cake. Google a recipe, or try this one from Keila Dawson. It’s easy enough that a preschooler can make it with you, easy enough that a classroom could make one too. Keila once made 50 cakes with her son’s class. They sent them off to some wounded warriers in Germany. I bet they loved them!
This is Keila’s king baby, but this isn’t King Day, and there’s no King Cake. Keila’s baby travels everywhere with her, to places like tennis tournaments and restaurants. Lucky baby! Keila gave me permission to share these pictures. I wonder where they’ll go next. I hope it’s New Orleans!
Do you remember the King Cake colors, purple, green, and gold? They’re the colors of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. They come out for King Day and hang around till Fat Tuesday. This year that’s March 5th, but it changes every year. King Day is always January 6th.
Here’s a link if you’d like to learn more about king cake:
King Cake has been around a long time, for over 300 years in France. The cake was made with French bread-dough. Sugar was sprinkled on top, and a bean was hidden somewhere inside. Whoever found the bean got to be king for the day. Tomorrow he/she was expected to buy or make the next cake.
This painting is from 1774. Its name— Le gateau des Rois. That’s French. In English that means the cake of the king. Click this link to learn more about the history of king cake:
King Day and King Cake are New Orleans traditions. Did you know that it was once a French colony? If you go to New Orleans you’ll meet a lot of French culture.
One of the traditions still around is celebrating Joan of Arc’s birthday. It’s January 6th. To the left is a statue of Joan. She’s famous because she liberated France from English rule.
The first parade of the Mardi Gras season is for Joan of Arc. It’s always on her birthday, January 6th. Here’s the link for the 2019 parade schedule: http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/schedule.html
King Day dates back to the old French and English holiday, Twelfth Night. In 567 the Catholic Church established The Twelve Days of Christmas, and they let you decide when to start your count, December 25th or 26th. That meant you celebrated Twelfth Night on either January 5th or 6th.
Twelfth Night is part of our culture. Shakespeare wrote about it in a play that was first performed in 1602. The song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, was published in 1780, but its roots go farther back into French and English history.
If you celebrated Twelfth Night in 2019 you probably ate king cake, and you probably took down your Christmas decorations. I hope so…it’s bad luck if you didn’t.
Here are two links if you’d like to read more about Twelfth Night:
Here’s a Mardi Gras question from Traveltrivia.com. Only 41% of those who answered got it right. I didn’t. Maybe you will! The answer’s at the bottom of this post. Good luck!
Which city hosted the 1st Mardi Gras celebration in the US?
The first parades of Mardi Gras were on January 6th, King Day. There were 3 of them in 2019. This float wasn’t there, but it helps you picture what might have been.
The Joan of Arc parade was first. It’s a walking parade. If you want to join in, dress in gold, and bring lots of king cake to share.
The Société Des Champs Elysée parade is one of the newest ones. It’s named after a famous street in Paris, France. 40 people will ride in this parade. I wonder if their float will look anything like the famous French street.
The third parade is the Phunny Phorty Phellows. What a name! They’re one of the oldest krewes (crews) around. The Fellows believe in fun so they dress accordingly.
Bands and dance teams are also part of the parade. If you want to march, check the link below. Then apply between August and November.
There are 3 ways to watch the parade. It’s free if you pick a place along the street. If you want a balcony or grand stand seat, you can buy your spot. The better it is, the more it costs. The best place is aboard a float. It’s the most expensive, but you’re part of the parade. Start searching after Easter if you want to float down the street.
This site has the parade schedule, plus more information:
One of the best parts of the parade is all the free stuff. The people riding aboard the floats buy bags of cheap treasures. They throw out necklaces and toys. Always catch them. Don’t reach down to pick up them up. Your fingers might be caught. If it’s on the ground, put a foot on it. Then pick it up between floats.
Here’s one last link from New Orleans:
Here’s your answer from Traveltrivia.com correctly. Which city hosted the first Mardi Gras celebration?
Mobile, Alabama, hosted the first Mardi Gras festival in the U.S. back in 1703. Mardi Gras originated as a Christian celebration between the Feast of the Epiphany and Ash Wednesday. The very first Mardi Gras parade was held in 1711 and featured a papier-maché cow head.
I started by doing 3 things to my blank canvas. I drew lines for 3 trees, that’s the white areas. I painted the sky blue and the trees white using the biggest brush.
This is what I used to give the trees color. I was given white, black, and brown. I mixed white and black to get gray. Then white and brown to get tan.
I picked up three colors at a time on my knife. I pushed them from one side of the tree to the middle. Then I repeated it on the other side. Sometimes I loaded my knife with white, gray, and black. Other times I used white, tan, and brown.
And that’s how I shaded the trees. All 3 are different, depending on the colors I put on the knife.
The next step was to add brown branches to the painting. I laid the cardinal on the right where that big empty space is. Then I sketched in lines and painted them brown. This time I used the green handled brush.
I painted the branches bigger, and I added smaller twigs, all in brown. With the yellow brush I swept in black lines to give the trees more definition.
I added dots of snow to the top of the branches. Do you see the wisp of white in the top right corner? It was a mistake. I asked Melanie about covering it up. I decided to keep it. Take a look at the picture below…she was right. It blends right in!
Let it snow! I dotted and swirled in more snow to the branches with the green and yellow brushes.
I used the biggest brush to add snow to the sky. How? It’s called dry brush. I dried off the brush, dipped it in white, and dotted my plate till I was happy with the snow. Then I repeated the technique on my canvas till my sky filled with snow.
At last! The cardinal’s here! I drew it in first. Then I outlined it in red, except for the beak. Three coats of red covered the background.
And of course, I did the beak with the same procedure…outline, then 3 coats of orange.
The finale! It was all about the bird! I added a black mask for his face and a white dot for his eye. Then I outlined his wings with brown. It reminded me of making ( )’s. Then I swept in more feather lines with brown. I added orange accents for the feathers.
Confession—I didn’t like his beak or his mask so I fixed them with sharpie markers. Of my 3 paintings, this is my favorite.
My take-away, relax and enjoy! This time I didn’t worry about every line. I didn’t worry about what everyone else’s painting looked like. I trusted the process, and my teacher. It worked so don’t worry! Be happy! Enjoy the journey!
The story behind this post: It all started with a publicist, not mine, Riley’s. Riley’s owner, Jill Mangel Weisfield , had a publicist for her book, and she emailed me and asked if I’d review it. She sent me a copy to read. I loved it so much I decided to review it for My Reads and write a post about working dogs.
In her adventure Riley searched for the right job. She imagined pulling a sled, guarding the president, competing in a dog show, guiding a blind person, working at a fire house, and becoming a therapy dog.
I researched and found even more job opportunities for Riley! It’s true— a dog is man’s best friend! Keep reading to find out why dogs are the best pet ever!
Sled Dogs: Long ago dogs pulled sleds in cold and snowy places like Alaska. Mushing peaked during the 1880’s gold rush. In the early 1900’s dogs still delivered mail until planes took over. Sometimes dogs still help out by moving people and supplies.
Dog sledding was a popular sport until snowmobiles appeared in the 1960’s, but in 1973 the Iditarod revived dog sledding. It takes 8-15 days to race from Anchorage to Nome. It may be early March, but the dogs race through blizzards and gale-force winds. The wind chill can drop to −100 °F. Yikes!
Carting: Carting or dryland mushing is a sport found all over the world. It looks like dog sledding without the snow, and it keeps the dogs in racing form during the off-season.
Draught Animals: These are draught (draft) dogs from long ago. I’d never seen the word draught before. It means that they’d pull carts for their owners, usually farmers or peddlers. Sometimes they carried mail or people.
In WWI they pulled small field guns. The Soviet Army in WWII used them to pull carts with stretchers for wounded soldiers. Would you believe the military dogs had guard dogs to protect them too. They were valuable!
Turnspit dogs: Can you find him in the picture? He’s inside the wheel, and he’s running to get some meat. He reminds me of a hamster on a wheel, except hamsters do it by choice, for fun.
Now can you see the spit on the fire? It’s cooking some meat. The dog’s wheel is connected to the spit.
When the dog runs, it turns the meat so it won’t get burned. In today’s world, that seems mean, but if you were a kid back in the day, you’d rather have a dog turn the spit than you. This picture was from a book about a tour to North/South Wales in 1797 by Henry Wigstead. I wonder if George Washington had a turnspit dog.
Turnspit dogs were also called Kitchen Dogs or Canis Vertigus, but no one’s sure what breed they were because no one recorded that information. Some people think they might be related to the Glen of Imaal Terrier or the Welsh Corgi. I think both are too cute to be put to work!
Hunting Dogs: Dogs have been helping people hunt since before bows and arrows. Hunters love their dogs. They can find, track, and bring back the animal you shot. Sometimes they chase away animals you don’t want like mice or cockroaches.
Dogs are trained to hold big animals like bears or wild boars in place until you arrive.
Bird Dogs: These dogs were bred to point hunters toward the game and to retrieve it. They’re energetic, and they love water. Bird dogs are great with kids, and they’re great as therapy dogs.
Here are some of the most popular bird dogs. Do you recognize any of them? Do you have one?
My dad’s favorite dog was a Brittany. She was his best friend and a family legend, pointing out pheasants hidden in the woods.
Sight Dogs: I’d never heard of Sight dogs till this post, but they have great eyes and great speed. They can chase down things that move fast like cats, squirrels, even kids. They love to play games like fetch. Sight dogs love to run, but if there’s nothing to chase, they’re happy laying by your feet. Here are a few sight dogs.
Herding Dogs: Everyone can picture them. They’re Biblical! Remember, the shepherds watching their flocks by night? I picture them with a dog or two. Don’t forget cowboys and their dogs herding cattle. I’ve never pictured dogs herding geese, but they are in the first picture below. I’ve seen dogs herd kids. My border terrier, Leia ,used to herd me if there was something she wanted me to do.
Did you know there’s actually a herding group of dogs? There are 80 different breeds in this group! But not all herding dogs turn out to be good herders. Some are better as pets. Click on the next link and you can read the whole list. Link: https://www.dogbreedinfo.com/h/herdingdogs.ht
Did you know herding dogs have trials? To win one, a dog must move the sheep when their handler is farther away. BTW a handler can be the owner or a professional hired by the owner. The dog must control the sheep and take them to the handler, and then repeat, by doing the opposite. It’s interesting that the away drive is harder. It’s against instinct for a dog to move the sheep away from the handler. The final task for the team is to move the sheep into a space like a pen or a cart.
Sometimes the dog must separate the sheep into 2 groups according to a judge’s directions. It’s called shedding. Singling is when the dog and handler work together to pull a few sheep out of a large group. They may also do a cross drive where the dog moves the sheep from one side of the field to the other, in front of the handler, but at a distance from him.
The picture above is from a 2010 trial in Utah. I found it, plus more information at this link.
Fire House Dogs: That’s the one and only Dalmatian. You know as in 101 Dalmatians? I’ve never seen a live one at my home fire house. They’re just statues. Read on and discover how Dalmatians became fire station dogs.
Back in the days of fire carriages in merry old England, the firemen would get the call, throw in a steam pump, hitch up the horses, and take off. The Dalmatians kept the horses from spooking and they could run forever beside the coach.
I love this fact! Dalmatians were the first siren. Their bark warned people to get out of the way because a fire carriage was coming. They also kept the horses calm when they arrived, and they guarded the equipment. Back at the fire house, they took care of vermin like rats.
But when fire trucks were invented, Dalmatians weren’t needed to bark or calm the horses. Any dog would do, but firemen have kept Dalmatians around. They’re tradition! I hope it never changes! Here’s the link that helped me write this post. It has more information than I could share.
Show Dogs: Have you ever seen dog shows on TV? The dogs are shampooed, trimmed, combed, and primped until they’re perfect. It looks like a beauty contest, but it’s not.
The AKC, American Kennel Association, says dog shows are about finding the dog that best fits the breed standards. That’s a list of physical traits, movement, and temperament. Each breed has its own standards. A Cocker and a Brittany are both spaniels, but they have different standards. A judge picks a winner based on those standards. A handler preps their dog to show off their best traits and to minimize others.
The AKC, American Kennel Association, says dog shows are about finding the dog that best fits the breed standards. That’s a list of their physical traits, how they move, and their personality. Each breed has its own standards. Boston and Border are both terriers, but with different standards. A judge picks a winner based on which dog fits the most standards. A handler preps their dog to show off their best traits, and to minimize others.
Did you know there are 340 recognized breeds world-wide? The AKC recognizes 192. Each breed has its own American club. There’s one club for Boston Terriers, and another for Border Terriers. A dog that conforms to standards will do well in shows. Winning means your dog is worth more money. Their puppies are worth more too. Winning might even get them a dog food commercial, and more money.
Some shows are small local events with just one breed. Others, like the one at Westminster feature all 192. They might have more than 3000 dogs entered in them. Here are 2 links to the AKC: https://www.akc.org/sports/conformation/ and https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/
If a dog doesn’t have enough traits, or it’s a mix of breeds, they can’t be in dog shows, but don’t worry! They can still be a great pet, and here’s another possibility.
Agility Dogs: Agility contests are for all dogs. It’s a growing sport across the US with over a million entries a year. Winning is strictly about how fast and how accurately a dog can race. It reminds me of the obstacle courses some people do on TV. Fast and accurate is the way to go! Each mistake is subtracted from your score.
The course is too complicated for a lone dog. They need a handler to guide them through a series of jumps, dog walks, seesaws, tunnels, pause tables, and weave poles.
The handler gets to walk through the course before the race, without their dog, but during the competition they’ll work together as a team. The dog will race off leash, without rewards like food or toys. The handler can’t touch the dog or anything on the course, but they’re allowed to use voice or hand signals. It must be hard for them to do this cold without running the actual course, but at least at home the handlers can prepare their dogs by using different obstacles, and by changing the order. Training, obedience, and working together is key!
To learn more, click on:
https://www.akc.org/sports/agility/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_agility
Guard Dogs: Dogs have been guarding people and their possessions since the shepherds watched their flocks, since dalmatians became fire house dogs.
Guard dogs and watch dogs are basically the same. They both guard something, but guard dogs work professionally for businesses like security firms and the military. Watch dogs work as pets and as home protectors. If this dog lived at your house, I think I would call and check before coming over. How about you?
Police Dogs: This is a German police dog, but dogs serve policemen world-wide. They can check out crime scenes and track down the bad guys. Dogs can make them freeze until policemen can arrest and handcuff them. Police dogs are also called K9 units. Did you get their joke? Policemen chose K9 because it’s a play on the word for dog…canine. LOL!
Military Dogs: They’re also known as War Dogs or the K9 Corps. Their newest name is Military Working Dogs. Whatever you want to call them, they do many of the same jobs that Police and Guard Dogs do, but these dogs also detect mines and wires. They track or scout for enemy soldiers. They stand guard as sentries. They also serve in search and rescue units. They are truly a soldier’s best friend.
Most military and police dogs are German shepherds, Dutch shepherds, and Malinois (Belgian shepherds). They look like they’re related. That’s probably because they come from the same part of the world.
re’s a map of Western Europe. The part that’s colored is Germany. Each color represents 1 of their 16 states, and that’s where the German Shepherd came from.
Find the northeastern corner of the map. Do you see the Niederlands? That’s the Netherlands where you find all things Dutch, including the Dutch Shepherd.
Go south. Do you see Belgien? That’s Belgium, home of the Belgian Shepherd.
Tao learn more, click or copy this link:
Search and Rescue Dogs: If you’re ever in trouble, you need a search and rescue dog out looking for you. Their sense of smell and hearing are incredible, and they’re so agile, they can find you no matter where you are. They’re trained to specialize in specific kinds of rescues. Read on to find out about these talented dogs.
Tracking Dogs: They track scents, of course! Their skills help them find both people and animals. They can even track down criminals before the police know who they’re looking for.
Detection Dogs: These dogs can sniff out a single ingredient or a mixture of them. Some of the common scents they look for are illegal drugs, bombs, blood, and dead bodies. They can even smell those things inside a suitcase or a trunk. They can also find live bedbugs, termites, or mice from the scent of their waste.
You can find detection dogs working for police departments, for biologists who study living things, and for medical departments.
Hunting truffles was one of the first detection jobs. Truffles are a special fungus that people like to eat, kind of like mushrooms. They’re harder to find because they’re buried underground, but detection dogs can sniff out this hidden treasure.
Cancer Detection Dogs: These dogs can detect certain forms of cancer by smelling your breath or your urine/pee. Research is promising, but it hasn’t been verified by enough studies. Maybe someday dogs will work for your local doctor or medical lab.
Cadaver Dogs: These dogs can find dead bodies or the parts of one. Whenever there’s a disaster like an earthquake or hurricane, dogs can find our loved ones faster than we can. They also work crime scenes and accidents.
This picture shows the site of a plane crash. A dog is looking for bodies that are buried under snow and ice. It’s sad work, but I’m glad dogs are there to help. If you’re looking for a search and rescue dog, these are the best ones around.
Service Dogs: As a retired teacher these dogs are close to my heart. They help you live with a disability, and they can also be your best friend. I researched five of them, and here’s what I discovered.
Seeing Eye Dogs/Guide Dogs: These are the most famous kind of service dogs. This picture is from 1941, but these dogs have been around even longer. They started work in Germany during WWI, about 1914. They were supposed to help veterans adjust to postwar life.
In 1927 Morris Frank brought a German dog home to Nashville, Tennessee. He started a Seeing Eye school for dogs that’s still working today. If you are blind or have trouble seeing, these dogs can guide you through life.
I was surprised to learn that dogs are red/green color blind, and that they don’t understand signs like stop signs. I wondered how they could help blind people with these 2 big disabilities.
Dog schools teach both people and dogs how to work as a team. You are trained to navigate by keeping a map in your head. You must know how many streets to your destination, which ones have stop signs, and which ones have traffic lights. The dog acts as your pilot and directs you around all the obstacles in your way.
Mobility Assistance Dogs: This is not a mobility dog, but it’s wearing a harness like mobility dogs do. Can you imagine how difficult life would be if you had trouble walking or were in a wheelchair?
These dogs are great, especially if your home is dog-ready. They push buttons for doors and lights. They get things that have fallen or are out of reach. They pull wheelchairs up ramps.
They bring family when you need help. They brace you if you have balance problems. A mobility dog could change your life.
Seizure Dog: This isn’t a seizure dog, but it could be. Seizure dogs are tuned into their humans. They detect seizures that are caused by epilepsy or something else.
Seizures are caused by an unexpected electrical charge in the brain. They show up in different ways, with different symptoms. Most are mild and last about 2 minutes, but if they last longer than 5, they can cause long term issues. Seizure dogs are for these patients.
Seizure dogs help in lots of ways. They summon help. They can start emergency response systems. They can help their human out of the seizure or into a better position. They can even help them stand.
Seizure dogs can also get phones or medication. If their human’s in danger like in the middle of the road, they can help them to safety. Some dogs even tell their humans that a seizure’s coming. Can you imagine what a difference these dogs make in the lives of their families?
These are the most common therapy dogs. They’re also the most common working dogs. Why? I think it’s because they’re all smart, obedient, and easily trainable. They’re perfect pets too!
Hearing Dogs: These dogs aren’t as famous, but if you have trouble hearing, a hearing dog would be a god-send. They are trained to nudge their owners and lead them towards a sound, like a doorbell, alarm clock, telephone, crying baby, a smoke alarm, even their human’s name. If you can hear, you’ve probably never thought of how difficult a hearing disability can be.
Therapy Dogs: They are the most common kind of service dog around, and any dog can be a therapy dog. They just have to have the right personality and the right training. Then they must pass a test to prove they have the right stuff.
If your dog passes, they earn a special vest. It tells everyone around that they’re a working dog. Then they can visit hospitals, nursing homes, libraries, schools, and even colleges, anywhere humans need a little TLC…tender loving care.
If you see a dog in a vest, they’re on the job. Always ask if you can greet them. Sometimes their humans will say yes. Other times no. It depends on the situation.
If you’d like to learn more about working dogs, here is the link that helped me get started: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_dog
Click on this one to learn more about the dog breeds that like to get to work:
I couldn’t share last year’s projects then, but I can now. Sorry, you’ll have to wait till next December to see what I did in 2018. Last year I did a moon theme for my kids. I made these ‘trivets to remember’ the moon landing in 1969. I know, corny, but I thought it was cute. I hope my kids liked their gifts. I added in NASA t shirts and a moon statue. In Wapakoneta, an artist makes a new one each year to honor the moon landing. I love this year’s version. Now, here’s last year’s project!
You need: stones, cork, Modge Podge, a brush, and a good glue. I made a set for all 3 of my kids, one dark and one light to represent both sides of the moon. They’re just dark and light stones that I glued onto a round piece of cork. I used E6000 to hold the stones in place. Then I painted the dark stones with Modge Podge to make them shiny.
On the back I wrote a little verse about the Moon Landing, then dated and signed it. My future son-in-law joked about their ‘trivet to remember.’ I know corny, but that was exactly what I was going for.
Another pointer…proofread your words before you write them in permanent ink. I had a couple of things wrong. But if you make a mistake, laugh it off. Mistakes like these make the projects homemade and special, at least that’s what I keep telling myself, after I laugh a little.
These are the final projects. I took pictures of them with my Santa vase, but my set are out all year. They sit underneath two pieces of table decorations. I also use them as trivets, not to remember, but to keep hot plates and pans off our dining room table.
1. What’s the author’s purpose?
2. What’s the main idea?
3. Which project would you try? Why?
Answers are at the end of this post.
Christmas is coming, and my favorite go-to gifts are photographs in one-of a kind frames. I like ideas that are simple . They don’t take forever, or cost a lot. I researched Pinterest for my first 2 projects. I tailored them to my materials, and to what I pictured for the end result. It never turns out the way I imagine, but I love the process of creating and letting a project “become.”
You need: a frame, construction paper (or cardstock), pictures, Modge Podge, and a brush. You could use this idea for a Christmas or dance program, maybe a special vacation, whatever you want to remember. Customize your frame with things you have (examples: a program, postcards, or souvenirs).
The Christmas after my father died, I wanted to do something to remember him. I wound up making 5 frames, for me, my mom, and my kids. Dad loved golf! I personalized the frame using his leftover cards. I cut them into strips and glued them to the frame with Modge Podge. I sealed it with 3 more coats. Inside I laid out the photos, tan construction strips, and his favorite poem. The glasses came later. Today it makes me happy to see Dad, and to remember him the way he was. I think he’d be happy too.
You need: a special object, a frame/shadowbox, construction paper/cardstock, ribbon/washi tape, and decoration (optional). Start with your object. Then look for things that help you remember your special day/event. Example: programs, pictures, postcards, or souvenirs.
This project started with a gift handkerchief from my son’s wedding. It says “Mother of the Groom.” I didn’t want it to sit in a drawer so I found a cool frame. I picked my favorite wedding pictures, glued them on an orange background, and framed them in blue ribbon. Cloth flowers added some color. I used Modge Podge to add their program to the back. I made 3 more handkerchief frames for my mother, my mother-in-law, and my new daughter-in-law. These were simple gifts. My biggest expense was the frame, and Hobby Lobby had them for 50% off.
This is last year’s project. You’ll need: cork, cardstock, Modge Podge, pictures, and lettering. Optional: nautical charms or buttons. I found lettering online and printed what I needed.
I did a lake photo project for my kids. The front and back are the same, just different pictures. I started with the photos and framed them in cardstock. I printed the lettering, then moved everything around, including the charms, until I liked the layout. I glued everything down with Modge Podge, except the charms. I added 2-3 layers on top to seal and finish the project. I glued the charms on last using a stronger glue, like Gorilla or E6000. The only downside to this project is you can’t use it as a trivet for hot dishes. But, if you’re looking for an unusual frame, this is it! It’s a simple, inexpensive way to remember events like vacations or dance recitals, and it’s kid-easy to make.
You need: colored stones, E6000.
This project started with a brand-new mirror…that dripped paint on itself on the way to the lake. I didn’t want to return it so I found a bag of dark blue, light blue, and white stones. I glued them down with E6000. Drip solved, and the mirror looks as good as new. If you have something old that needs a little freshening or updating, this is a great way to go!
If you have a vase or container, use what’s new like stones and candles, or what’s old like seashells. Fill it with things that make you happy!
You need: cork coffee beans, and a strong glue.
This is the same project, with coffee beans instead of stones. I hoped to get that coffee smell, but didn’t, not till my nose was right on top of those beans. I’m bringing it home to brush on a little Modge Podge. On my last project I discovered it makes things darker and shinier, and I should still be able to use it under hot dishes.
DIY Your Own Christmas Projects
1. What’s the author’s purpose?
My author’s purpose was to inform/teach you how to make 7 Christmas projects.
2. What’s the main idea?
Example: It’s about 7 projects and how to make them.
3. Which project would your try? Why?
Example: I’d make the cork frame because it’s easy, and I want to remember my Christmas program.
Meet my teacher, Melanie Sunderland Fullenkamp, owner of Full He’ART Paint and Sip. It’s the second painting I’ve done with her. It’s also the 2nd time I’ve painted since elementary school. That was a long time ago!
Beside Melanie, in the next picture is her daughter, Renae. She helps her mom with painting events. She also teaches classes for kids.
This event was named Winter Moon, and that’s what I was supposed to paint. Melanie painted all 4 of these canvases. Each one is a tiny bit different.
Here are the supplies Melanie set up at each painter. A glass of water, a rag, an easel, 3 paint brushes, 3 plastic plates, a quarter, a pencil, and an easel. On the 1st plate I started with white, light blue, and dark blue. A lot of people used purple and pink. They did Melanie’s original picture. I did it in blue.
Melanie modeled how to paint. I copied her. Light blue in the center. Darker blue around it, and onto the edges of the canvas. I brushed in some white to give it texture and movement. It worked just like Melanie said, even for an amateur like me. I drew in 3 lines for the trees and a triangle for the biggest tree. Sorry, you can’t see them!
Then I painted white down to the bottom and onto the sides. Melanie modeled how to make snow drifts by adding black to her brush. It showed up as gray. To make darker lines, use more black. Whiter, use more white.
The hard part, not using too much paint. That makes it look like dirty slush. When in doubt, ask Melanie. I did, and I stopped here. Do you see the dark gray triangle in the middle? That’s the shadow for the biggest tree.
Remember the 3 lines? Melanie turned them into tree trunks with black and hunter green. I copied her and dotted my way down. I can’t paint a straight line. I’m afraid to make mistakes so I dot my way through.
Then Melanie modeled how to make branches with the same colors. I dotted them in. Next, a little snow. I switched to white, and I dotted that snow in too.
Now time to add in the biggest tree, same colors, same techniques, except this tree is darker. Melanie said that’s because it’s closer to the front of the picture than the other trees.
I added snow to that big tree using the same technique, but I added more white and more snow than I did to the other trees. That’s because it’s in front again.
I added in the moon by tracing a quarter, then painting it white. I tried adding shadows on the moon, but mine wound up all gray. Too much paint! Melanie saved the moon by suggesting that I make it bigger and paint a white ring around it. It worked! My moon looks like it has a white halo.
The next step was to give that big tree colored lights. I used red, yellow, orange, and green. They looked great. I tried blue and purple, but they were too dark.
Here’s the final painting! I followed directions and added white to the dried canvas either in lines for snow banks, or in dots for falling snow.
Do I like my work? It depends. If I’m standing close, I see every flaw. Far away it looks better. When I look at Melanie’s, I know mine is different. It’s fuzzier, more impressionistic. Other people in class liked mine, and so did Facebook friends. I’m learning from painting to like myself, Rinda the impressionist.
Here’s my next painting with Melanie. My goal: To allow myself to be different. To check when I’m feeling insecure. I’m not a painter so I don’t know when to stop painting or to add one more brush stroke. It’s good to be able to ask a teacher. Here’s to my impression of that cardinal!
This is a map of Cuba. Can you see Cienfuegos? Look for Cuba in red. Cienfuegos is right above it.
Welcome to Cienfuegos! This is a shot of the harbor as we sailed in, but that is not my ship. The Empress of the Sea is much bigger.
This is another shot of the harbor. Can you see the boats up front? The mountains in the distance?
I didn’t know Cuba had mountains. When we sailed around the island on the way to Grand Cayman, we saw them in the distance. It was my first view of Cuba.
Here’s one last shot. It looks beautiful from the boat, not touristy, Just land and water and nature. Beautiful!
Let’s Go Ashore
This is the tender we took to ferry us into Grand Cayman and back. It took about an an hour or two for everyone to get off the boat. Easy peasy!
Cienfuegos wasn’t! Imagine that Grand Cayman tender cut in half. That’s the boat we climbed aboard. It had one deck that held about 40 people. It took 35 trips (3-4 hours) to unload everyone from the ship. The first 15 trips took forever! Really! But we weren’t in any rush. By the time we slept in and ate breakfast we were waiting for Tender 28 out of the 35. Sleeping in is always a good thing!
This is a paper reminder that you need to get a special Cuban passport before you can set foot on the island. It’s $75 a person, $150 for my husband and me. We paid for it before we even climbed aboard the ship in Miami. In return we each received two documents to fill in.
One was from the American government. We had to pick a reason why we wanted to go to Cuba. We marked we were there to support the Cuban people. Correction- we took a third party tour from a local group.
The other document was from the Cuban government. It was much shorter and asked for basic information like our names, address, birth-dates, passport numbers, and why we were there, at least that’s what I remember. We were told that we’d have to show that document at Cuban customs, and that they would take it from us either in Cienfuegos or Havana.
When we landed in Cienfuegos, we went into the old customs building. We were packed in like sardines, waiting our turn with the customs officers who’d look over our paperwork. My husband and I each carried an American passport, a Cuban passport, a key card from the ship, and a questionnaire for the American government. The official looked over my documents and sent me through the gate. I waited for my husband to follow. Next up, getting some Cuban money! They don’t accept American dollars or credit cards in Cuba. On to the next line!
At the next gate there were 4 sets of cargo containers that worked as bank offices. We waited in line, again, to exchange our money. It was a great deal for the Cuban government. They got 13% when we traded our dollars into CUCS, and then another 13% when we trade the CUCS back into dollars. That’s 26% total, or like $26 out of every $100 in American money. Like I said, a great deal for the Cuban government.
Look at the money carefully because there are 2 kinds of bills floating around Cuba. One kind has people on it. The other has places. You want places on yours because it’s worth more. Be careful when you buy from a street vendor. Make sure you get back bills with places, not people. I took a picture of the front and back of my bills and coins. I had a 1, 5, 10, and 20 in CUCS. Those were the bills we used. Thank goodness they were all places! I’d hate to have money troubles…I have so much fun spending it!
The coins above were hard to see so they got a close-up. Sorry, I didn’t have a 1 cent coin left, but I still had 5’s, a 10, and 25’s. The coin on the top left is worth 5 cents. The bottom left coin is worth 25. The middle one is worth 10 cents. Look at the coins on the top and bottom right. They always have the same picture, on the back, the Cuban coat of arms.
Once we finished exchanging money we headed out for an adventure. This is the 1st thing we found was a train, like the ones you find at an amusement park. It costs 5 CUCS a person to ride the train. I’m in the middle with my brother-in-law on the left and my husband on the right. We’re ready to take a tour down Main Street of Cienfuegos, Cuba. All aboard!
Main Street, Cienfuegos Style
When we climbed aboard, I had no idea where we were going, but I soon discovered that we were taking a trip down Main Street. Time to explore, Cienfuegos style!
This was the 1st building to catch my eye. It was built in 1920 as someone’s house. Later it became a hotel. Ready for the name…The Green Hotel. Really! In the states, it’d probably a bed and breakfast.
Take a look at the cars parked in front. They look like they’re from the 50’s and 60’s. That’s because Cuba used to be an American territory, like Puerto Rico. In 1959, Fidel Castro started a revolution, and the US and Cuba became enemies. The Americans put an embargo on products going in and out of Cuba. It’s still in effect today.
The picture beside the red car reminds me of a road in Florida with its palm-lined center strip and 2 lanes on either side. The difference…in Florida the road would be packed full of cars.
Both of these buildings started as private homes. Both were built in the early 1900’s, The first, the Cienfuegos Yacht Club now sits next to the marina and houses a restaurant. BTW…I didn’t remember all of this. I googled it to write this post.
The second, the Palacio de Valle was designed and built by a wealthy Spaniard. It’s a little small for a palace...only 8 bedrooms. In the 50’s someone wanted to turn it into a casino, but the 1959 Revolution stopped that. Now you can take a tour and stop in for lunch.
The building above is the Palicio Azul, The Blue Palace. Why? It’s painted powder blue. I love blue! It was built in 1921 and was owned by a rich tobacco baron. Cuba is known for its tobacco and its cigars. In 2004 it was renovated and became The Hotel Encanto Palacio Azul. With only 6 bedrooms, book early to stay here.
Beside the Palacio is a more modern hotel, well modern for the 1950’s. The Hotel Jagua is one of the most famous hotels in Cuba. It looks like a great place to stay!
Let’s Go to the Park…Parque Jose Marti
Look where the train dropped me off at…Jose Marti Park. Jose was a Cuban poet and journalist who fought for independence. He died on the battlefield, a hero.
Today Jose has a park in the heart of Cienfuegos. It’s a great place to sit, relax, and enjoy the greenery. For the Cuban people it’s where they remember a hero.
I had an hour to take pictures and shop before the train returned. There are statues scattered throughout the park. The lion, above, caught my eye. He’s on a marble pedestal. When I googled, I discovered lion statues mark the entrance to the park. Find a lion, and you’ll find a statue of Jose Marti nearby. If only I’d known!
As for the other statue above, I don’t know who it is. I searched google and found this same silhouette facing the Ferrer Palace. If you visit this palace, please look up this statue and send me its name.
This building, the Antiguo Ayuntamiento, is across the street from the park. Antiguo means old, and Ayuntamiento means municipal council. It doesn’t look old, but it’s still the home of Cienfuegos provincial government. Cienfuegos is both a city and a province. The only thing I could learn about this building is that it’s supposed to look like the Capaitolio in Havana.
The Teatro Tomas Terry is also across from the park. Tomas Terry Adams owned a sugar factory back in the day. Later he became Cienfuegos’ mayor. Sorry, this wasn’t his house, but it was built after his death all because Tomas put aside to money build an Italian-style theatre in Cienfuegos. Here it is! Famous singers like Enrico Caruso performed here. I wish Tomas could have seen and heard it during his lifetime!
Here’s the last building I captured on camera. It’s the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. It’s old, finished in 1819. Next year will be its 200th birthday. The Cathedral was the first church built in Cienfuegos, and it’s now a national monument. It’s a beautiful old building with its 2 bell towers, 3 arched doorways, and French stained-glass windows of the Twelve Apostles.
I found several factoids when I was googling information for this post. Cienfuegos means100 fires, but I didn’t read anything about fire in its history. The true story— it was named after Jose Cienfuegos who was the Captain General of Cuba from 1816-1819. Maybe someone in his family lit 100 fires. I hope not! Cienfuegos is also called the Pearl of the South, and it’s the only city in Cuba founded by France. The rest of the island belonged to Spain.
Shopping, Street Style This is the only picture I didn’t take. It’s the street market off Jose Marti Park. The vendors stretch 3 or 4 blocks down the street.
When I was there it was sprinkling. I shop by walking from booth to booth scanning for treasures, but a treasure must call me back. There was a toy jeep made out of recycled Coke cans that made me laugh. I was planning to go back for it.
A block or two later the rain poured down, and I’d somehow wandered away from my family. That’s scary when you’re in a foreign country, even if you’re an adult. I found my sister-in-law, who said my husband was looking for me. Ruh-roh! I’d hurried past him. I walked back slower, heart pounding, rain pouring down. Thank goodness we found each other! By then the vendors closed up to keep things dry. The Coke Can Car, gone! We waited on a covered porch till the rain stopped. We boarded the train, and luckily back at the dock, I found shopping and something to buy!
I found these booths in front of customs when we got off the train. They’d closed up for the rain and were reopening again. This time I took pictures. No Coke Can Car, but souvenir cars for kids were for sale. Next door was a booth of wooden things like statues, drums, and fans. They were touristy-cute, but nothing called me.
Next up jewelry. I glanced at the necklaces and earrings, but nothing called me here nor next door at the leather stand. Shoes, purses, baseballs, and wall hangings. When I wrote this post I thought I missed something to the right of the Chevrolet Legendario, I thought it said Buckeye, and I was wishing I’d bought it. Happily it says Bucanero so nothing was missed after all.
Finally, a treasure, something that called me back! It was a necklace made from seeds. I’d never seen anything like it so I walked back again.
The newspaper was my shopping bag. Cienfuegos is a very poor place. The street vendors don’t buy bags. They make them from recycled newspaper.
One last thing I remember from Cienfuegos were the dogs. They were thin like Greyhounds, but they were Mutts. I didn’t take a picture because I didn’t want to remember. I'm not used to seeing animals who aren't cared for.
Leaving, on a Tender
This is where I waited to leave. I was bored so I tried to take a picture of our ship. It’s not the big cruise ship. It’s off in the distance. Can you see it? Look at bow and follow it back. I can barely make it out, but I blew it up for you. Look!
See! Hello, Empress! Good-bye, Cienfuegos! Here’s to a one day sail tomorrow. Then it’s Havana Na Na Na!
On October 4th I set sail from Miami on The Empress of the Sea. The voyage took me to Grand Cayman and to Cuba. The Empress is a small cruise ship with only 10 decks, but she looks pretty big to me. Come aboard. I'll give you a quick tour.
Guess who I found beside the theater on Deck 6? Gloria Estefan! She’s a famous singer AND the ship’s godmother.
You can watch movies and live shows in the theater without buying a single ticket. Gloria wasn’t on-board, but a troupe of singers, dancers, and musicians were. I saw 3 different musical shows, plus a ventriloquist. A cruise ship keeps you entertained!
Welcome to the Pool! Deck 10 features a hot tub, a kiddie pool, plus another pool big enough for 10 people. Don’t worry! The cruse ship keeps a lifeguard on duty during pool hours.
One of my favorite things about cruising was the critters. They snuck into my stateroom most nights. (Our steward Ian made/left them when he did his evening room clean-up.) They were all made with the same white towels, but the elephant looked brighter than the others. Why? I took him into the bathroom to get a brighter light. I used the room lights for the other 3. Isn’t it amazing how light affects color?
Do you recognize the other animals? I think there are 2 rabbits up above. One’s stretched out, and the other’s all cuddled up. I think down below is a cat, but what do you think? If you have different ideas, please post a comment or message me. I’d love to hear what you think…and why!
This is my stateroom. My favorite part was the port hole where we could look out at the ocean.
My room wasn’t very big. I had a double bed that my husband thought could be pulled apart to make two twin beds.
Do you see the white square in the top corners? Those are wall beds that fold down at night, and up in the morning. Would you want to have a slumber party with 3 guests in here It might be be tight, but I bet it would still be fun!
I took this picture sitting on the bed. Straight ahead is the door. Thank goodness…with a full-length mirror! I love to see how I look from head to toe. To the right are 2 small closet doors, then a desk with another mirror. Beside it are the end of the wall beds. Like I said, this is a small room!
What’s this? It’s the inside of the first closet. There were 2 bare rods, and we used one to hang clothes. Down at the bottom you see something orange, and it’s the most important thing in the room…6 life jackets. We never had to use them, but I’m glad they were there.
The other closet had 2 rods for our clothes. Whoever designed this room knew how to make space for the things we brought along.
The bathroom is across from the 2 closets. It’s pretty small with only enough room for 1 person. There’s not much counter space, but it worked. My favorite part, the nice big mirror!
To the left of the sink is the shower. It reminds me of a triangular prism, and it’s just big enough room for 1 person.
Do you see the white dispenser? That’s the special shampoo/conditioner I used on-board. Why? Because their products are easier on the ocean. I used the ship’s soap too. It’s one small drop in the ocean, but imagine that drop times 1600 people a day, times 7 days. Using the right kind of soap is a good thing for the environment.
The second picture is the shelf above the toilet. It was just enough room to store all my bathroom products. My husband even got to have a shelf!
The TV was on the other side of the shower wall. That was my storage area. I used the drawers to store the things that didn’t fit in the bathroom. Beside the drawers was a a small table, perfect for my suitcase. I didn’t bother to unpack. I pulled out clothes when needed, and I used the top to throw the things I used everyday.
A desk and mirror are on the other side of the room. My husband used the drawers, and he hung his clothes in the closet. We stored 5 other suitcases under the bed. The stuff on the desktop, it’s mine. When you’re on vacation, I believe it’s better to bring too much, than too little.
I took these pictures back in July when the German students from Lengerich, our Sister City, visited Wapak. Every year they tour the Fire Department, but this year, I got to tag along.
I was fascinated! I haven’t been in a fire station since I was a kid. I didn’t take pictures until I spotted all those buttons on a fire truck. I immediately thought of this blog! Sorry! We visited the living quarters first, but I didn’t think to take pictures.
Can you guess what I found next? Fire trucks! This station is full of them. Really!
I took the 1st picture looking down an aisle between the trucks. In the 2nd I peeked in the front window. I didn’t notice buttons, but I was amazed by that front seat. I bet it fits 3 or 4 people, but if they’re wearing fire uniforms, probably only 2.
This pictures show a fireman’s clothing locker. Would you believe he gains 45 pounds by putting on his clothes? YIKES! Can you imagine fighting a fire while you’re wearing an extra 45 pounds? In clothes? DOUBLE YIKES!!!
So why do the clothes weigh so much? Because every bit of it must protect the firemen. Look at the helmet. It’s not cheap plastic. It resists heat and protects him from falling objects.
See the turnout pants and jackets? The fabric has two-layers to repel heat and wick away moisture. Wick? What’s wicking? It’s pulling sweat away from the inner layer next to your skin, and sending it to the outer layer. Then both layers dry fast so you can keep your cool.
This fireman is dressed for action.
See the boots? They’re made of rubber so firemen won’t slip and fall. The toes and soles are reinforced with metal to protect their feet from sharp fragments. Gloves go on the hands and stretch past the wrist. They’re made of thick leather that’s padded with lots of insulation so firefighters can touch hot stuff when they fight fires.
Firemen also have 2 safety devices you can’t see. They wear an air tank like a backpack. A hose connects the tank to a mask so firemen have 30 minutes of safe air to fight fires. Many firemen carry a PASS. That stands for Personal Alert Safety System. It’s a lot like a life alert. If a fireman taps a button, the unit signals where he is. A PASS could save a fireman’s life!
With all their trucks and equipment, firemen need lots of tools to keep everything running. Do you see their toolbox? It’s tall and red with lots of drawers. My husband, the engineer, has one just like it in gray.
Do you see all the brooms? I don’t think of firemen sweeping and cleaning, but I bet they do. Keeping things clean is a good thing! It makes everything run better.
Firemen don’t just fight fires. Most of them are paramedics. Paramedics are the guys who work in an ambulance. They’re trained to take care of you , and they also drive you to a hospital. A paramedic could save your life.
Here’s a set of tools that firemen use. Dummies! Really! But they’re not so dumb. They help firemen practice life-saving skills like CPR. Paramedics do CPR when someone stops breathing, or their heart stops beating. Did you know paramedics have to take classes and tests to become one? I’m glad. I want a well-trained paramedic working on me.
I didn’t look inside an ambulance today, but this looks like what you’d see. Did you know that firemen make more calls as paramedics than as firemen? I was surprised to hear that. When I went to Germany and toured cities that were hundreds of years old, our guides said fires were once a city's biggest danger.
Why are there fewer fires today? Hundreds of years ago people had fire inside their home to cook and stay warm. It’s easy for a fire to get out of control, especially if you fell asleep before putting it out.
Today houses are built better, with fire retardant materials that are hard to catch on fire. Houses have better wiring. Bad wiring can cause fires. Also most houses and buildings have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. I have both at my house. I hope you do too!
This is everyone’s favorite part of the fire station…the poles. If you look at the first one, the ceiling is opening. In the second one, the fireman is sliding down, feet first. They make it look so easy! I’ve always wanted to slide down a pole, but I’m pretty sure I’d fall.
Here are our class pictures. The first one has all of our German guests. The second has our German students with the 4 firemen who made us feel welcome. Don’t look for me…I was taking the pictures!
At Wapak Sister Cities we’d like to thank the German teens for being great guests. We’d also like to thank the Wapak firemen for being great hosts and great tour guides! We look forward to returning next year with a fresh batch of German kids. The best part of the exchange is introducing the German kids and their chaperone to American culture, whether it’s the Wapak Fire Station or LaGrande’s Pizza.
For those of you who are frequent visitors to my blog, I’ll be off on vacation till the 11th. Check back then, and you can find out here in the world Rinda went. Have a great week!
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!