Look what came in the mail! My first box of paperback books. The writing and publishing end are finished. Now it’s time for sales!
Before ordering, I checked with my friends at Casa Chic, Riverside Arts, and the Armstrong Museum for numbers. Then I guessed what I needed for upcoming events. I got my total and placed my order.
I opened my box. I was so excited I found 2 different ways to count to 44! Two groups of 22, or four groups of 10 with 4 left-over.
I separated them for distribution. The first 3 piles are for Riverside, the museum, and Casa Chic. 4 go to a friend, and another 4 to Purdue. The rest are for those upcoming events.
could choose, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d write Neil’s story!
This is me, still at Riverside. Della asked me to sign the books, and she got the great idea to take a picture of that moment. Of course we embellished it a little. The 4 ladies in the picture didn’t buy my book, but they were good sports and posed for the photo. Thanks, ladies!
What surprised me the most is how I started shaking when I started writing. Who knew happy nerves could make you shake!
Della took pity on me. She wrote an inscription about dreams in each book. Best of all she put a different one in each book, then I signed it. Thanks, Della for the help, and the idea!
I wanted a picture of me dropping off books at Casa Chic, and this is it! We had a great background, all things Wapakoneta. I’ve shopped at Casa for years. When I want something interesting or unique, it’s my go-to place. Landa is one of the owners, and she’s been a church friend for years. She followed my writing dream from the start, and she always believed in it. I’m thrilled to sell Neil’s story at Casa Chic!
Landa didn’t hand me a check. She does her business differently than Riverside. She waits for the entire shipment to sell, then she pays for the whole order. Different strokes for different folks! I’m grateful to Riverside and Casa Chic for offering Neil to their customers.
If you need Neil or Wapakoneta souvenirs, go to Riverside or Casa Chic. They have treasures for sale, things that you’ll want to buy and take home! Happy treasure hunting!
I started a business that produces a new product to sell, what am I?
A Manager Bureaucrat Entrepreneur Salesman Inventor
Tomorrow . . . The paperbacks are here!
What five-finger exercise is a piece of music written for the purpose of practicing on what instrument?
Sax Trombone Violin Piano
The Answer: The Piano
I didn’t know Chopin’s etudes are also designed to train the fingers. Etude opus 10 is his best set of exercises, according to my source. They also suggested that Fur Elise by Beethoven may have been written to promote piano dexterity. I played it, loved it, but never guessed it was about fingering, not Elise. Would you believe science has studied piano exercises? George A. Kochevitsky wrote a book about it, and it even includes his thoughts about Chopin and his etudes.
I started lessons in 3rd grade with Mrs. Cliffwell. I took lessons for 2 years until she retired. I don’t remember my 2nd teacher. I think it’s because I developed some bad habits like the girl in the picture. Her hands are flat, and her arms are slumped down.
Mrs. Frazier whipped me back into shape. She taught me to hold my fingers like claws, using my hand and arm like 1 long lever to control those fingers. You can’t play fast or complicated pieces with slumping hands. I blossomed under her teaching. I did district solo contests where judges rated my performances. I always got 1’s or 2’s. I also accompanied the middle school choir. That led to playing for a few vocal contest soloists. I loved Mrs. Frazier! Then she retired too!
Did you guess which 2 instruments I played in concert and in marching band? I played the clarinet and the alto saxophone. They’re the 2 instruments to the left of the trombone.
I started playing the clarinet in 4th grade, a year after I started piano lessons. A lot of kids struggled to learn their instrument and the notes. I had it easy. I only had to learn the clarinet.
It made clarinet easy and helped me to win 1st chair when we started competing for seats. I still remember my band teacher from elementary school. Mr. Trunk directed our first concert with all the instruments put together. It was a horrible version of something like MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB.
In middle school my band teacher was Miss Souder. She scared the bejesus out of me till the candy run-in. You fund band by doing things like selling candy bars. My dad wouldn’t let me sell so I had to go in and tell Miss Souder. OH MY! She was furious, and I burst into tears. She reined in her temper, and she soon became one of my all-time favorite teachers.
Miss Souder gave private lessons, and she was strict, but she always pushed you to do your best. She pushed me to go to district solo contests. I was first-chair through middle school because of piano training, my drive, and Miss Souder’s lessons. She pushed me to do an all-district band. I wasn’t first chair, but I was still in the first section.
Each spring Miss Souder gave away scholarships for Ball State’s music summer camp to one 8th grader, one 9th. I won in 9th grade, and it gave me a musical peek outside Northwest Ohio. I discovered I was good, but everyone else was better. I wasn’t 1st chair or even 1st section. I was third. It was a humbling experience, but I learned a lot, and I was determined to get better.
This is me in marching band. I picked up the alto saxophone because clarinets weren’t brass instruments. Mr. Trunk from elementary school was my band teacher again, and he wanted an all brass band like the Ohio State Marching Band. I played saxophone during marching season, from June till November. Then I switched back to clarinet for concert band.
In high school I found my last piano teacher, Mrs. Skinner, but I called her Anita. She played violin and piano. She was younger than all my other teachers. She had two little kids, and I wanted to be like her.
I kept doing contest with piano and clarinet, but never with saxophone, and I continued to do well with 1’s and 2’s, till my senior year. That’s when I met a boy.
Everything changed after that, I spent less time with my music and more time with the boy. That year I went to a piano solo contest. For the first time I wasn’t ready. I had to memorize the piece, and I didn’t spend enough time on it. I fell apart and forgot where I was. Somehow, I managed to finish.
The judge was a music professor from Bowling Green University. He gave me a 3, my worst score ever, but he gave me the kindest comment. He told me I had potential, but I needed to invest the time, 1-2 hours per instrument, per day.
I thought about what he said, and I left music behind. I didn’t want to invest the time to become a musician or a music teacher. After high school I quit the piano and clarinet, but I never stopped loving music. It’s the gift that keeps giving whenever I turn on the radio.
I became an elementary teacher and taught 2nd grade. One of the gifts I gave my students was the gift of music. I never played for them, but I was known for occasionally singing and dancing around the room, with whatever song crossed my mind. Tonight, in the words of Kiki Dee, I still have the music in me. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLQRW7J_D0U
Earth Day 2019 was April 22, but every day should be Earth Day. Do you know which country puts out the most carbon?
USA China India Japan Russia
The answer: China
Tomorrow: Details about each country and tips to be a good Earth citizen every day.
Can you find the countries below? Start on the western side of the Earth. Find a light green country. That’s the United States.
Now go east across the ocean to a huge yellow country at the top of the world. That’s Russia. Go south to an orange country. That’s China.
Next go east of China and Russia into the ocean. Find a chain of islands that’s half pink, half purple. That’s Japan.
Finally go back to China. Travel south to a large green peninsula. That’s India. These are the world’s 5 top polluters. I don’t think any of them want to be on this list. Here are 2 charts that show 2 different ways to wrap your head around the numbers.
2015 Total Emissions Country Rank Carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion (million metric tons)
Sources: - https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-which-country-has-the-most-carbon-emissions/
- Union of Concerned Scientists Last Updated: April 19, 2019
So what does all this mean? Is the USA alright? Do we need to do better? How? What do you think?
There’s always room for improvement, for me as a person. For the US as a country. We span across a continent with miles of highway to connect us. We don’t have mass transit, except in our large cities or on the east coast.
If you look at this link: Union of Concerned Scientists, there are 2 other countries in the 15 metric ton per capita range. Canada is at 15.32, and Australia’s at 15. 83. They’re like us, continent-wide with miles of highway to cross. The biggest surprise on this page, Saudia Arabia’s at 16.85 and tops the per capita list.
One of the nice things about aging is watching things get better. When I grew up in the 60’s, people were becoming aware of pollution. As a country we stopped using DDT. We put animals on the endangered list and worked to protect them. Back then there was no recycling, and now I see it around my little town. Yay! We’ve gotten better at taking care of our planet since the 60’s. But, we still have room to grow.
Now, how can YOU help the Earth? My friends at Traveltrivia.com had a couple suggestions. 1) Ride your bike whenever it’s possible. I have to confess I’m not a bike rider, but I try to watch my car trips so that I accomplish as much as possible in 1 trip. I used to carpool to work. We drove 1 car, not 2. These are simple things, but if everyone does the simple things, we can have a big effect.
2) Turn off the water. Don’t let it drip! Water is a natural resource. Don’t waste it. I also try to watch what I throw out into my yard. Whatever goes into the ground can go into our water system, and it can pollute your water.
3) Turn off the lights when you leave the room. The same is true for anything that uses electricity. Turning it off saves the natural resources that make your electricity. Saving water and electricity also saves money, and that’s a great thing! Money saved is money you can spend on something else that YOU want or need.
4) Reuse something instead of throwing it away. If it’s broken, can you fix it? Turn it into something else? I saved a card from my father’s funeral. I cut it into pieces, glued it onto a frame, and now it’s a treasured possession. Another great thing!
5) If you can’t use it, recycle it! I don’t throw out my newspapers – I recycle them. Did you know paper is one of the biggest things going into the garbage dumps? I can’t recycle old clothes, but I give them to places like Goodwill. You can get things there free or at a great price. Sometimes you even find treasures! Happy Hunting!
If you have other suggestions, please comment or email me. I’d love to share them so we can all make Earth Day every day.!
Sources: - https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-which-country-has-the-most-carbon-emissions/
- Union of Concerned Scientists Last Updated: April 19, 2019
Usually I don’t get comments, but I thought I’d share this one with you, along with my answer.
Daniel: It is interesting to see the “emissions from fuel combustion per capita”. Regarding greenhouse emissions and global warming: This is the possibility that each of every American has an impact on carbon pollution. Instead of working against this outrageous number, people get more, bigger pick-ups, companies discontinue fuel saving vehicles like Ford Focus...Strange new world, and I’m disappointed about Americans who seem to not care.
Rinda: Daniel, I agree that every American has an impact on carbon pollution. I understand your concern about the big pick-ups versus the economy cars. I drive a Honda Crosstour. I’m not sure what my mileage is, but it’s better than our Honda Pilot (my husband worked at Honda, and they’re great cars).
I think Americans do care about the environment, but it’s one choice among a million you might make in a day. I was a soccer mom. Having a car big enough to haul my 3 kids around, plus any of their friends, was huge back in the day.
Our next car will probably be a truck, sorry! It’s not because we don’t care about the environment, but because we have a boat to move around. We also have a trailer that helps us move anything from tree limbs to furniture. In America, we don’t have the luxury of taking a train so we want a car that’s comfortable. I spent an hour in my car, round trip 5 days a week for 33 years. Now I substitute teach. I sub in Wapak, not my old district because it saves time, energy, and money, all things valued by Americans.
I hope my response will redeem truck-driving Americans in your eyes. At least in my family, we have a good reason for our choices. And Daniel, if you need a car, take a look at the Hondas! They’re fuel efficient, and last forever. Our Pilot has almost 300,000 miles. It’s a gem!
It’s almost Easter, time for chocolate bunnies and jelly beans. The Jelly Belly Company is known for their best-selling flavors. How many do you think they make?
20 30 40 50
The answer . . . 50 flavors. Jelly Belly’s traditionals include orange, lemon, lime, and cherry. The exotics include cinnamon, pomegranate, cappuccino, buttered popcorn, and chili-mango. They also do specialty jellybeans with licenced ingredients like Tabasco sauce, hot-cha-cha!
The unusual ones like egg nog or pancakes and maple syrup are more my speed. Jelly Belly even has some nonalcoholic versions of mai tais, strawberry daiquiris, margueritas, and draft beer. If you want flavors like lychee or green tea, you’ll have to go outside the US.
Jelly Belly also makes Berti Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, the ones from Harry Potter, and yes you can try vomit, earwax, skunk spray, and even rotten egg. Really!
The Jelly Belly Company’s base and manufacturing plant is in Fairfield, California. It’s 40 miles southwest of Sacramento, the capital of California. In 2014 Family Fun Magazine picked their self-guided tour as one of the best around.
Jelly Belly has another plant in North Chicago, Illinois. Follow its eastern border north. North Chicago is on Lake Michigan, about 10 miles south of Wisconsin.
Drive 3 miles north into Wisconsin, and you’ll be in Pleasant Prairie and at the Jelly Belly distribution center. They ship beans all over the country, and they offer a train tour of their warehouse.
Would you believe Jelly Belly has a factory in Rayong, Thailand? If you fly southeast of Chon Buri, you’ll be in Rayong, and that’s where they make lychee, green tea, and the other international flavors.
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:
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!