I’m lucky! I had four Facebook/Instagram friends who reached out to let me know something was wrong. I only know one of them personally, but I’m so grateful that all four of them saw, and then said something.
Here’s my story, just in case it happens to you. I would never have believed this could be true. I’m a retired teacher/writer from a small town in Ohio.
Part 1 – Two Cautionary Notes
This all started on October 16th, but I couldn’t find that message. I found this one from Karen on the 29th . . . Hi. I’m a friend of yours on FB, and I got a strange message from you on Instagram. Was it really you, or a fake you?
I answered back that I’d check. I did – no message, let alone a strange one. I asked for more information. She answered . . .
‘They’ sent a message to me today through Instagram. I am following you now twice. One account has 74 followers and no posts, which is the fake one. The other one, using your same photo, has posts.
I replied that I’d change my password again, like I did on the 16th. I thanked her again, and I hoped this was over, but it wasn’t.
On October 31st I got this message from Linda . . . Hi – Have you been contacting me via Instagram? I just want to double check that this is really you.
I apologized and said it wasn’t. I told her I’d changed my password twice already. That I was trying to figure out how to clean up this mess.
Linda wrote back . . . No worries. I just wondered because the messages are just a little off. Just now I got one asking if I know about some kind of domestic assistance grants. I’m going to block you for now, because I honestly think it’s a foreign bot. Will you contact me . . . when it’s resolved?
I couldn’t believe it! Domestic assistance grants? Foreign bots? I felt like I was in a spy movie. That’s when help arrived!
Part 2 – Help is on the Way
I messaged that night, the 31st . . . Linda, how did they get my name on IG? I just had a kiddo (I had her sister in school) who contacted me. I looked up my address and only found me. Do you have the address they were using? I want to get this cleared up, and you just can’t talk to IG. YUCK!
I’d forgotten – I messaged IG twice, and got no response. But I got this from the kiddo, AKA My Hero, on FACEBOOK . . . RINDA! Get on your Instagram if you’re able. Someone is impersonating you and trying to push “grant information.” I’ve sent you several messages with what they sent me and asked my Grandma to reach out to you as well.
Her Grandmother wrote . . . Jessica just called me and said she has been getting messages from you on Instagram about federal grants. She thinks your account has been hacked.
Wow! Jessica went above and beyond a friend! She called her grandmother who was one of my teaching buddies.
These are the original messages from Jessica. I can read the first line – RINDA URGENT! And the second – Someone is pretending to be you! The rest of both screen shots are what the ‘fake rinda’ wrote. I would NEVER write either of those messages. Sorry, if they’re a little fuzzy.
Jessica’s explanation of how they did it (extra j in the middle) is on the bottom right. She also said she flagged it but Instagram did NOTHING, even though I’d already filled out 2 reports. You’d think they would have pulled down the fake rinda. They didn’t.
This set of messages came up after Jessica’s grandmother finally got my attention. I’m so glad I could ask Jessica. You can tell – I had no idea what I was doing.
The funny thing that I learned from later messages – I couldn’t search and find this fake me, the one with the extra j in the middle. Jessica said they must have blocked me.
I did another report about THAT, but I didn’t hear anything from Instagram. NOTHING. Jessica flagged the fake account again, and Instagram didn’t respond to her either. I was disappointed, but not surprised. I have a writing friend whose web site has been blocked by Facebook for a year. A YEAR, and she’s a retired Kindergarten teacher.
Part 3 – Solving My Own Problem
It’s now January, 2021, and Instagram never got back to me – I really don’t know if the fake me is gone. The last time I checked with Jessica was on October 31st. She pulled down her flag, and the fake me was still there. She flagged them again, and suggested that I report again. I did, but I have yet to hear anything from Instagram. It’s not a surprise – the only 2 social media sites that respond to me are Pinterest and Weebly.
The only proof I have that fake me isn’t operating - no one has messaged me about grants or strange messages since October.
I didn’t rely on reports to Instagram. I put up my own post with an image that reminds me of Darth Vader. I added a message that I was hacked on Facebook, my Facebook business page, Instagram, and Twitter. Here’s a copy of that post . . .
Someone hacked me on IG so if you get a weird message from what looks like me, it's not. I only message people I know personally, and I don't do anything with grants.
My friend Jessica said - flag that weird account, and let me know. I'll keep reporting until this person leaves my account alone.
I’m glad I did! Here are my stats – I reached 11 people on my Facebook business page, 3 on my personal page, 16 on Instagram, and 0 on Twitter. Those are the ones that I know of. I wonder how many took a look and then scrolled on down.
Instagram is where I had the biggest response, 16. I also had 2 people who commented on my post.
One wrote . . . I received a strange message as well. Sorry that happened to you.
Another wrote . . . Yeah, I got that message. Maybe that’s who hacked me.
Part 4 – IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING
That’s what four people did for me. I only know one of them personally. It only took a few minutes, but the other three made a huge difference in my business. The squeaky wheel gets oiled.
I left a reporting trail. I don’t know if it made any difference, but at least it’s there. My conscience is at peace because I tried to do the right thing.
If I’m ever in the shoes of those friends who helped me, I’ll do what they did. If I see something off, I’ll say something. I’ll message them on a different account like Linda and Karen did. They saw the fake messages on Instagram, but they contacted me on Facebook. I so appreciated them and their help!
I’ll also do what Jessica did – I’ll flag the account and send in a report. Unfortunately, I don’t know the grandmothers of most of my friends, but I’d call them if I did 😊
Looking back the best thing I did was putting my message out on social media. I know there were at least 30 people who heard my story, and two of them were touched enough to write on Instagram. That’s where the original fake account originated from.
So if you’re ever in my shoes and you’re hacked, or you see something that’s not quite right, I hope you’ll take my advice – See something, say something.
What is it?
If you’re mindful, what does that mean? You’re present, not just in the room. You know what’s going on around you, inside you. No multitasking allowed!
Being mindful means listening to what your head and your body say. You’re aware of your surroundings, the world around you. The most important part is recognizing your feelings. Don’t judge them. Just let them be.
Source: Mindfulness: How It Helps Your Health (webmd.com)
I found five exercises that will help you find your way to mindfulness. Here are my sources:
1. 25 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Children and Teens (+Tips!) (positivepsychology.com) I selected four, and they all sited Karen Young. These activities take longer, but can be modified to fit your classroom practice.
2. Karen Young. (2017). Mindfulness for children: Fun, effective ways to strengthen mind, body, spirit. Retrieved from www.heysigmund.com
3. 5 Minute Classroom Mindfulness Activities for Kids (teachstarter.com) These are shortened versions of the selected activities.
Five Mindful Excercises
1. Mindful Posing – Try striking a pose. This one might help your kids feel strong, brave, or happy. Test drive a few rounds of these. I bet your class will love them. If they do, I bet they can come up with a few new ideas for poses of their own! Source #1,2
- This illustration looks like a Superman pose, but it’s actually Wonder Woman. Stand tall, feet apart, with your hands or fists on your hips.
- To make the real Superman, stand tall. Have your arms reach for the sky, like you’re ready to take flight.
2. Spidey Senses – Kids will need their inner Spiderman for this one. They’ll need their senses to tell them about the world around them. Have them pause and focus on what their senses tell them. What can they smell, see, hear, taste, or touch? Source #1,2,3
This is a great way to encourage observation, curiosity, and living in the present!
3. Mindful Jar – Another name is Glitter Bottle. The first thing to do is to make one. Here’s how . . .
Fill a clear jar or bottle with water. Add glitter glue (glue & dry glitter). Put on the lid. Source #1,2,3
Part 1 – Shake up the glitter. Which emotions swirl like it? (example – anger) Connect those emotions to how they affect thoughts and decisions.
Part 2 – Now watch the glitter settle. Which emotions feel like this (calming)? Connect these emotions to how they affect thoughts and decisions. Discuss how you can calm your mind (example – take deep breaths).
4. Mindful Walk or Safari – Take a walk, inside or out. Long or short. Keep your mind on the present. Use your five senses to find living/nonliving things in the environment. Source #1,2,3
5. Gratitude – Give students time to think of things they’re grateful for. You can share them out loud. Write them down on paper. You can keep them in a journal or on a bulletin board. If you need suggestions, click on the link for Source: 3
Life changed back in March of 2020. Businesses and schools closed down. I thought things would return to normal by Easter, but Thanksgiving has come and gone. Life isn’t the same. Covid has taken some things away, but, if you look hard enough, there are some silver linings, and that’s what I’m holding onto.
1. Seeing My Mother – This isn’t my mother, but it could be. My mom’s in a nursing home, and I’m like so many people – I see her through a closed window.
We can’t hear each other so we use white boards. It’s a little more work, but, it helps us communicate.
We’ve been doing this since March. I miss going inside her house, sitting down, and chatting.
Now she’s at The Gardens, an assisted living home. There’s always plexiglass, glass, or six feet between us. I’m thankful for the white board.
I wish we could go back, but I know my mother is in a better place. She used to live alone, and I worried about her. Now she has people around 24/7 to help her.
2. Finding a Market for My Lake Book – Lake Fun debuted on May 9th, and I was hoping to have it for Memorial Weekend. That didn’t happen! Thanks to Covid everything took longer, from printing to shipping.
I finally got my order on June 5th, completely missing Memorial Day sales. When I arrived with my books, the marinas were like everyone else, just trying to survive.
I didn’t find a market for Lake Fun at the marinas, but, thanks to a God wink moment, I hope I found a better one with the rental market. I won’t know until March 2021. Fingers crossed!
3. Visiting the Lake – I have been to our lake house exactly four times since March. It usually is closer to nine.
I used to visit at least once a month for my critique group. But when Covid hit, we started meeting on zoom. It seemed safer for me to stay put in Wapak, so I did.
My first trip back didn’t come till June. That was to support my lake book. Then in July I made it down to see my sister. Her family needed a lake vacation as much as I did.
In September I drove down to help my husband get the boat out of the water. Now I’m here for Thanksgiving, and it’s my longest stay. I’ve missed it!
Covid took away my lake days, but not my love for it. There’s no place like the lake. The silver lining – being able to help my mother. Her health issues have been growing for several years. Covid pushed her into making a hard decision. Being home in Wapak meant I could give her more help with that decision, and its ramifications.
4. Seeing my Grandchild – The last time I got to see and hold my grandgirl was at her christening. That was in March, and she was 3 months old. (This isn't her, or me either.)
In June we were back in Texas to help my daughter and her husband move. I was hoping to see my GG, but my son said no. He was being cautious. It’s his job to take care of his family.
We didn’t go. How could we? What if we’d brought the Covid virus to them? How could we ever forgive ourselves?
We lost that time because of Covid, but we were lucky. My daughter-in-law sent lots of pictures and videos. It wasn’t the same, but it filled that hole. I’m hoping we get to see them at Christmas. What a gift that would be! My fingers are crossed!
5. No Subbing for Me – I haven’t subbed since last March. I was glad to take a break. It felt safer, and I thought schools would open before summer. They didn’t. The longer I’m out, the more I miss schools, teachers, and kids. There is so much life, so much energy. There’s no place like it!
One silver lining – writing time! There’s never enough. I have 4 manuscripts to get agent-ready by February. I write better stories, but there are no guarantees.
But the BIG silver lining – SLEEP! I’ve been fighting this since last October. I just discovered why. I stop breathing 10 times an hour. That’s every 6 minutes. No wonder I need 10 hours of sleep. It takes that long to make up for what I lose. If I don’t sub, I don’t get up early, and I can get in those 10 hours. It’s lovely, maybe even life-saving.
6. Cancelling Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving still came on the 26th, the 4th Thursday in November, but it was like no other. For 61 years I’ve always had my family around. I thought I would this year, but Covid cancelled it.
My son-in-law came into contact with Covid on the 20th. He went into self-quarantine for 14 days. He had a Covid test that came back negative, but that doesn’t mean you’re safe. He won’t be for sure, my daughter either, until December 4th. That’s still 4 days away.
My husband and I are both in our early 60’s. We did the safe thing, the prudent thing. We canceled Thanksgiving. It’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever done, but there’s always a silver lining.
My husband and I celebrated Thanksgiving together at the lake. Our first with just the two of us, in 35 years. The bright side – almost 2 weeks of peace, quiet, and a great view. I focused on sleep and writing. We talked to our kids, but the best part so far, no one has Covid. Maybe we’ll do a family Christmas, but only time will tell.
PS – If you’re wondering why I never show pictures of my family, it’s to preserve their privacy. I chose to write and publish blogs and books. They didn’t, so I respect their wishes.
The Definition of Godwink
Godwink – An occurrence so odd and out of ordinary, it had to be put in place by God. A wink from God letting you know you’re in the right direction.
How A Lost Purse Winked at Me
Last July I was running errands and took a few minutes to shop. At dinnertime I discovered my purse was missing, probably for a couple hours. I was losing so many things, and that’s one of my signs of stress.
When you lose something, the best thing to do is backtrack to all the places you visited. I was sure I knew where I’d left it, at the store where I shopped. I could picture it – on the shelf, by the cash register, where I set it down. I’d already checked my house and my car. Where else could it be?
I called the shop, and Melissa checked. It wasn’t there. I couldn’t believe it, and I was starting to panic.
Melissa invited me to stop by. She was waiting for a vendor so I hurried back. No purse., but there was a guy who wanted in. It was the vendor. Melissa let him in, plus a couple ladies who’d been looking in the window. They took a quick look and headed out again.
I ran down the street to check another store. No luck!
When I returned, the ladies were still there. We chatted again. I was so glad to see and talk to people after so much lockdown isolation. One of the moms connected me to my book, NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM. She’d given it to her daughter, and I’d autographed it for them.
We also discovered that I’d subbed in her daughter’s room. She’d come home with tales of me and said it was the best day she’d had all year.
That was my Godwink Moment. I’d been feeling lonely and depressed.
It meant the world that this mother and daughter remembered me. It came when I needed a boost, when I needed to know I’d made a difference. And it all happened because I’d been out looking for a lost purse.
As for the purse, it was sitting on a chair at my dining room table the whole time. I couldn’t see it because of all the clutter I’d thrown around it, which sounds a lot like my life last July.
How A Table with a River of Blue Winked at Me
Do you see the table below, with a river running through it? It’s a gorgeous piece of work, and it even lights up in the dark. I love it, but it’s way more than I’m allowed to spend. I was in Riverside Art Center where things like tables and art, jewelry and books are for sale.
It was July, and I was either shopping at Riverside or selling books. I think I was doing both. That’s when the designer/builder of the table stopped in. I wound up chatting with him about the table and my book. He was surprised to discover LAKE FUN is about Norris Lake.
His sister owns a house. She lives there and rents it out. He was going to take a book mark, but decided to buy the book for her. He thought it would make a great gift for her renters. Melissa said someone else looked at my book and had the same idea. It was a Godwink moment, and I actually recognized it that day!
Usually it takes longer for me to get it, but I realized, that day at Riverside, that my market for LAKE FUN wasn’t in the marinas. It was in the rentals. Thanks for the wink, God!
I approached my favorite marinas about their rentals in July, but they didn’t want to think about it. By July their season was almost over. They said to check back with them in March.
A month later in August I did the Indie Workshop with Brooke. She has her own small publishing house. I started wondering if a hardback book might sell better in the rental market. Writing isn’t just about words on a page. It’s also about sales. If you can’t sell an idea to an agent, publisher, or customer, there is no book.
I thought those rental owners might prefer to give out hardbacks as gifts. They’re nicer. The opportunity cost is only $10 more. That’s tiny compared to the price of each lake rental unit. Brooke thought it was a great idea. She picked us up. Then she suggested turning LAKE FUN into a chapter book.
The first night I wasn’t ready to change, but I thought about it. Especially for my target audience. They’re age 7-11, grades 1-5. They’re not into picture books.
Sharp first graders want to read chapter books. By the next morning I decided a chapter book would be a better fit for them, for the marketplace, and for me. I made the change, all because of that Godwink moment. I’ll let you know how ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN does. I should know before summer starts.
If you’d like to read more about my journey, and ZOE’s with BiblioKid author, click on this link: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/me-a-bibliokid-author
Part 1 - The Branches of the US Military
1. Which military branch was established first?Army Marines Air Force Navy Coast Guard
2. Can you put them in order historically, first to last?
3. What is the newest branch that was founded by President Trump?
And the answers . . .
1. The Army was first to be created.
2. The Historical Order for our Military Branches
June 14, 1775 The Army’s established.
October 13, 1775 The Navy’s created
November 10, 1775 The Marine Corp are formed
August 4, 1790 The Coast Guard’s established.
September 18, 1947 The Air Force is created.
*** Bonus Question ***
Why did the US form three military branches in 1775?
We were in the run-up to the Declaration of Independence. It came out on July 4th, 1776. The Revolutionary War would soon follow
3. The Air Force Space Command was formed on September 1st, 1982. It became an independent branch, The Space Force on December 20, 2019.
Sources: More Info: en.wikipedia.org
Part 2 – The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
4. Which part of the military guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia?
Army Navy Air Force Marines
5. Where is the Tomb of the Unknowns?
Washington, DC Arlington, Virginia
6. Which war did the first Unknown Soldier serve in?
The American Revolution The Civil War
Custer’s Last Stand World War I
And the answers . . .
4. The US Army guards the tomb. It was first guarded by the 3rd Calvary from Fort Myer, Virginia. The 3rd Infantry Regiment took over April 6, 1948,
Many soldiers volunteer for this service, but only 20% are accepted for training. Then only a small fraction of those will actually become guards.
The sentry in the photo is ‘walking the mat.’
- He marches south for 21 steps.
- Then he faces east for 21 seconds.
- He faces north, switches his weapon arm, and waits 21 seconds.
- Next he marches north 21 steps.
- He faces east again for 21 seconds.
- Then he faces south, switches his weapon arm, and waits 21 seconds.
The sentry will repeat this march until the guard is changed, and he’s relieved of service.
Why all the 21’s? It’s our highest military honor – a 21-gun salute.
The weapon arm is always on the shoulder nearest visitors. It protects and honors the Unknown Soldier. Source: More Info: en.wikipedia.org.
5. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is in Arlington, Virginia. That’s only 6.6 miles from Washington, D.C.
6. The Unknown Soldier served in World War I. Congress approved the memorial on March 4, 1921. Sgt. Edward F. Younger, a highly decorated soldier, was selected to choose the unknown.
He was shown four caskets from a cemetery in France. He picked the third one. It was sent home. The other three caskets are interred, buried in France.
That third casket lay in State in the Capitol Rotunda. It was interred at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 1921, where it’s still guarded today.
I thought there was just one unknown soldier, but there are four. The other three are on the west side of the Tomb. They represent the unknown from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
The other unknowns are in flush tombs. That means their caskets lie under a slab of white marble.
The Unknowns are guarded 365 days a year. Day and night, in all kinds of weather, men and women watch over them in silence, never knowing their name, but honoring their service. In this photo, with a rose. Source: More Info: en.wikipedia.org.
Part 3 – American Military Cemeteries
7. Which state has a military cemetery that belongs to England?
New York Massachusetts Virginia North Carolina
8. There are enemy combatants buried in Arlington National Cemetery. True or False?
9. How many American military cemeteries are located around the world? 16 20 26 30
And the answers . . .
7. This is the English cemetery, on the island of Ocracoke, in North Carolina. How did it get there? Here’s its story . . .
Back in 1942 German U-boats targeted American ships leaving from the Atlantic coast. They were sailing to Europe with supplies for the Allies. The Germans sank 35 American ships in January alone.
The US asked Great Britain for help. They sent ships to patrol the eastern seaboard. One of them, the Bedfordshire, was sunk by a German U-Boat in May of 1942. Everyone was lost. Four bodies washed ashore on Ocracoke.
The islanders buried them and built the monument in the photo. They also leased the land to Great Britain in perpetuity, forever.
Every May Americans and Brits come together to remember the sacrifice of the crew from the Bedfordshire.
Question Source: BBC | Date Updated: September 3, 2020
9. There are 26 military cemeteries for American servicemen and women around the world. There are also 30 memorials, monuments and markers. Here are 6 of them.
These cemeteries and monuments are found in 17 countries around the world including France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Panama, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Tunisia, the Solomon Islands, South Korea, Papua New Guinea, Gibraltar, New Zealand, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Morocco. There’s even a monument, a tree, in Cuba.
Click on this link and you’ll find an interactive map, plus more information. https://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/cemeteries-memorials-map
Covid and My Risk.
This is 2020. A hundred years from now, it wil still be known for Covid 19. For all the things that we can’t do, like go out to eat, or see our seniors. It will also be known for the things we have to do like wear masks or stay socially distant.
I’m considered at risk. I’m 61, and a diabetic. I knew when Covid came out that I had to follow the rules. . I stayed home, went out only for groceries, and wore my mask.
Summer came, and my husband and I helped my daughter move. It felt so good to be away from home. To wear my mask less. I even ate at a restaurant, outside. It was lovely!
Then Covid spiked and my kids talked to both of us, about following rules and staying safe. It’s funny to have your children give you advice. I loved them for doing it, but I didn’t want to be a baby, or a wimp. I promised them I would take it seriously, and I did . . . I talked to my doctor about my plans.
And the Doctor Said
I wanted to sub this fall. I thought I’d be fine, but I promised my kids, my husband too. I asked the doctor, and the doctor said . . .
No subbing for me, unless I’d be willing to be double masked all day. She wanted me to wear an N95 mask, with a face shield.
I’ve been wearing an N95 since March, but I’m only out for groceries or quick errands. An hour, tops. I’m always glad to take off the mask and breathe again. For me, it’s just not worth it to take the risk, and, wear a double mask all day.
I thought I’d be subbing in my hometown by now. I thought the spread would slow, and I’d be safe to go out. But, I’ll listen to my doctor and wait – till she says it’s safe. When you can’t do something, you really want to do it.
What I Miss about Subbing –
This is one of the elementaries I subbed in last year. I hope I’ll be back before this year ends. From the outside, it feels cold and empty, but inside it’s full of life.
The second picture could have come from inside, but it didn’t. One of the best things about an elementary is walking the halls and admiring the projects. You can learn a lot about kids by examining them, AND, it’s so much fun! Kids think differently from adults, and they say what they think. I love it! Usually, LOL!
These photos came from two different classrooms. I love to look around when I sub. What’s on the wall tells you a lot about what they teach, and how they teach it. I’ve used them in lessons – that’s why they’re there.
The other photo is from a smartboard/SmartScreen. Every single room I sub in uses them. They’re so much easier to use than when I was teaching 6 years ago. Why? The teachers put the links on their computer screens and in their plans. Once or twice a teacher has had a student who was my tech support. They loved it! Me too!
In Wapak the teachers also have a para-educator who’s in and out all day. They can find the link for me. Sometimes they even teach the lesson, especially in math. It has key vocabulary words that classroom teachers use. I don’t want to use the wrong ones and throw the kids off. Paras are WONDERFUL! For teachers, substitutes, and especially – KIDS!
But – what I miss the most – are the kids. Without them school is dead, like over summer vacation. BTW – I wrote a manuscript about that. It’s still in my computer, waiting for me to get the words, just right. I will!
There is so much life in a school. Sometimes too much! It literally bubbles out the door and bounces around the playground. I love talking to kids about content, in any subject. I love opening their minds to something new. I love chatting with them at recess. I guess I just love kids!
I miss them. The only good thing about being locked down – is that I have more time to write stories for them.
Me – at a few of My Favorite Places –
Can you guess where I’m at? If you answered school, you’re right! The first photograph was taken last year at one of my favorite elementaries. I won 4 books within a month, so I did a post about them. I had my picture taken with each one. I miss reading books to kids. At home I read in my head. It’s faster, but not as much fun!
The second photo was taken 5 years ago. I was visiting the school where I used to teach. It was lovely visiting and seeing my ‘old’ colleagues. There’s no place like school! My favorite part of that picture is the kids’ faces. Look at them, lifted up, looking at me, like I had something fascinating to say. I hope I did!
At home, no one looks at me like that. At school they do, whether I’m doing an author visit or a regular day of subbing. I love hanging out with kids!
This is me at 3 different book events from 2019. The first is from my local library. I was on the schedule, which was a thrill! Having MY book at MY local library, it was a bucket list moment!
The other two are from two local stores who sell my book. Being there is like visiting a friend’s house. It’s lovely. In spite of Covid, I’ve done two book events at both stores since March. I wear my mask and visit with people. It’s lovely to get out of the house and talk books! And, I always shop – I love to treasure hunt!
The Back Story – On September 1st, I wrote a post about how to pick the perfect dog. A pug would be my best match, if I could only have a dog. Here’s that post:
That post all started with Jess Miller from Jen Reviews. She liked a post I did about Riley, the therapy dog. It’s funny how one idea can lead to another. Here’s that link:
Jess asked if I would share her article on Riley’s post. It’s about how to use puppy personality tests to find the perfect pet. I looked at it, and tests fascinate me. I love the information you can discover, and I wanted to write more. Here’s Jess’ link:
I looked through the tests, trying to find my way in, but the words wouldn’t come. I went round and round – I even thought about switching topics.
Then I realized what was missing, the kind of dog. I needed to pick that first, then the puppy. When our family found Leia, we found our breed first, a border terrier. Then we looked for puppies.
I googled, found 4 tests, and my words.
And the test said . . . a pug. Now I can pick a puppy, or pretend to. I’m not allowed to have a real dog, but it’s fun to pretend, to imagine what if? It’s like window shopping . . . the possibilities are endless. And free!
How to Pick a Pup – Lauren Montgomery wrote the article for Your Dog Advisor.com. She started with the Volhard Aptitude Tests. There are ten, one for each puppy trait, but I thought I’d start with her 3 simple tests. Sometimes you need an easy button when you’re doing something important like finding your perfect pup.
Test #1 – Friendliness – Everyone wants a friendly dog! This one’s pretty simple. Take your puppy into a room where they won’t get into too much trouble. Leave for a moment, and have someone new come in.
A friendly puppy will run right over, lick them, or let them scratch their ears. If your puppy pulls away, hides, or whimpers, then you’ll need to look for ways to help your dog become more friendly. No matter the results, all puppies need to learn how to become part of their new families.
Test #2 – Independence – Some people like a clingy dog. I don’t, but I didn’t realize that clingy dogs might have separation anxiety. Here are a couple tests to check where your dog is on the independence scale.
The first is to hold your puppy under the front legs like this. Their hind legs will dangle free. If your puppy tries to escape, they’re probably pretty independent. This pup looks like my dog when my kids picked her up and held her. She was calm, but she didn’t look happy.
Another way to test for independence is to ease your puppy onto its back, then cradle it. This shot looks a lot like that, but I think it’s probably a belly rub. If your dog fights to break free or won’t look at you, it’s probably pretty independent.
My dad wanted me to do this test for a different reason, to check for dominance. He wanted to make sure we had a dog who would submit, who would obey us.
Test #3 – Fear – Nobody wants a scaredy-cat for a dog, but knowing its fear factors will help you find your puppy. Drop something like a spoon, or anything that will make a loud noise.
All puppies will have some kind of reaction, but cowering, crying, running, and hiding are big signals for fear and sensitivity. If you have a sensitive pup, the cure is a little extra TLC. You can also do a little training to help them become part of your family.
The Volhard Aptitude Traits and Tests – There are 10 tests and 10 traits. They include: social attraction, following, restraint, social dominance, elevation, retrieving, touch, sound, sight sensitivity, and stability. They’re done by a professional tester. Never, ever by the puppy’s owner or breeder. When the tester finishes, you’ll get a score on each trait.
I’ve never heard of these tests, but my dog was pure pet. I imagine people in the dog business use them to find and train the dogs you see in shows or agility competitions. They may even help breeders find the right dogs to produce your perfect puppy.
Trait #1 – Social Attraction – This fancy word sounds like good old friendliness. Does your puppy love to meet people or spend time alone? You can teach them social skills.
This test is a lot like the one for friendliness. The biggest difference is the owner brings in the puppy, stays till it’s comfortable, and then leaves. The tester claps, whistles, or calls him. A social puppy pays attention and doesn’t notice their friend leave.
Trait #2 – Following – Like follow-the-leader! Does your puppy follow you around, or does it stray away? Can you guess who’s easier to train? The follower, of course!
The tester tries to get the puppy to follow him around by using sounds or commands. If you have a busy family, you want a puppy-follower.
Trait #3 – Restraint – Will your puppy submit and follow directions? Let you hold them with their feet dangling midair? Guess who’s easier to train? The one with restraint!
This time the tester puts the puppy on its back to see if it can relax. Restraint isn’t a problem with a Chihuahua, but it could be with a Great Dane. That’s why my dad wanted me to try it on Leia. Thanks, dad!
Trait #4 – Social Dominance – I was right! It sounds a lot like restraint, and it will predict how well a puppy follows commands, but the test looks a lot like Social Attraction.
This picture is close to the real one. The puppy and examiner sit at eye level. In a real test you’d kneel, then lean over to pet its back. If the puppy licks you or shows affection – SUCCESS!
Trait #5 – Elevation – This is the puppy’s ability to obey when they’re stressed out. There’s no escape, like a trip to the vet or the groomer. You want a puppy like this, who’s cool, calm, and collected even when suspended from midair.
This is the test, the same one used for independence. The examiner holds the dog for 30 seconds, less if the pup is calm like this one. If your dog needs monthly grooming, give them an elevation or independence test. You’ll be glad you did!
Trait #6 – Retrieving – That’s what dogs do when they play fetch! They bring something back. If a dog’s good at retrieving, they’re probably very trainable. If you have a hunting, service, or working dog, find one with a great retrieval score.
The tester starts with something small. He wiggles it till he has the puppy’s attention. Then he gives it a toss. The puppy’s job – to bring the object back and get a score.
Trait #7 – Stability tests the puppy’s response to something new. This one looks like he can’t get out of that basket soon enough! If you’re in the military, or you move a lot, you want a puppy who has a high stability score.
The examiner will pull out something new, like an open umbrella, something the puppy has never seen before. His score will show how scared or interested he was in the object.
Trait #8 – Touch sensitivity – This trait tests how your puppy handles something touching/pressing on the pads of their feet. I didn’t know that puppies with low touch sensitivity will eventually have foot problems and they’ll stay away from fields and meadows. If you want a canine running partner, have your puppy take this test.
The tester will push on the puppy’s paw until it wiggles free or shows discomfort. That stops the test, and determines the score.
Trait #9 – Sound sensitivity – This is a puppy’s reaction to loud sounds like fireworks or thunder. Our Leia was OK with thunder, but not fireworks. She’d pace and shake until they stopped. Police and military dogs would need the right score on this test.
The tester would start by doing something loud, like dropping a book, or banging pans together. The score’s determined by the puppy’s immediate reaction to the noise.
Trait #9 – S ight Sensitivity – It’s all about how the puppy responds to movement. This one’s interested in the balloon, but will it pounce if the balloon moves? This test will clue you in if your puppy will chase cars, or cats. If you’re a hunter, you want a dog who can hold still.
The tester will jerk something across the room and watch to see how the puppy reacts. Will the pup sit and watch, or give chase?
If you’re interested in learning more about these tests, google Volhard Aptitude. You’ll find videos that can help you design your own quiz. You should also be able to find a Volhard site near you.
Part 1 – What Does Friendship Look Like?
Do you have friends you’ve known since you were little? You can’t remember life without them.
Friends are there when you need to talk, share a laugh, or have a slumber party. You’re never alone, when you’ve got a friend.
One friend or a bunch? At home or in school? It doesn’t matter – life is a whole lot better with friends!
This is what friendship used to look like. When I was a kid in the 60’s, we met people first, in person. We talked on a telephone. We sent letters and pictures through the mail. It might take a day, even a week, for it to arrive.. Occasionally we had pen pals, people we only met through a letter, rarely in person. It was usually something a teacher set up, and I did it a couple of times with my 2nd graders.
Part 2 – Facebook and a New Kind of Friend
Today we have options I never dreamed of. Now we can email or text words, pictures, and videos in seconds. We can see and talk to friends and family in real time, right now. It’s common to have friends we’ve never met in person, all because of the internet.
I joined Facebook first. I’m not sure when, but look below. This is the oldest picture I could find. It’s from August 16, 2010.
Back then my Facebook friends were people I’d met face-to-face. I started with 1 friend and went up to about 150 when I retired from teaching in 2015.
The most unusual thing about Facebook was you could friend or be friended by people you didn’t know. Usually they knew someone you did. Now I have friends in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Maybe someday – I’ll meet someone in Antarctica or South America!
If you want to be friends, I’ll check who you know. My rule of thumb – 3 friends in common. If you’re a complete stranger, I usually delete your request. I’ll also go to your page to see if you’re a teacher or a writer. I’ll look at your posts too. Good things mean we’re going to be friends. Bad stuff, we’re not.
I usually talk to friends through my Facebook page. I only talk on messenger if I know you personally, or if we’ve already talked on Facebook, and we need to share private information.
Over the years I’ve had a couple people who broke the rules. They wanted to chit-chat, and I don’t have time for that. I asked them to stop. They didn’t so I blocked their account.
I now have 1300 friends, exactly. I was curious so I went in and counted who I really know. It took a good 5-10 minutes. I recognized 368. I’ve talked to them personally or across Facebook groups. I’ve taken classes with some, or we’ve critiqued each other’s writing.
Some are personal friends and relatives. Three have passed, and their accounts were never pulled down. Occasionally their names come up, and I remember them. It’s sad, but sweet.
About a half dozen sat in my classroom. I always felt it was more important for me to be their teacher, not their friend. Now that I’m retired, I’m so glad they still remember me. A few were my teachers, but most of those 1300 people asked me to be friends. It’s rare for me to ask. I really have enough friends.
This is the header for my business page. Thanks to writing and self-publishing I’m now a business owner, which is something I never expected. The picture above was the first thing I posted on my business page back on March 22, 2019. I was three months away from publishing my first book – NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM.
My life and friends have changed tremendously, for the better, because of Facebook. I feel blessed by each one of you. Thanks!
Trivia Question – Which came first – Instagram or Twitter?
Part 3 – Next Came Twitter
I joined Twitter in June, 2018 because I hoped it would help people find my website – http://www.rindabeach.com/
My first tweet, October 14, 2018, was about my cruise to Cuba. The link: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/take-a-little-cruise-with-me-part-1-ship-shape
My first tweet, October 14, 2018, was about my cruise to Cuba. The link: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/take-a-little-cruise-with-me-part-1-ship-shape
There are two ways to find followers. Twitter makes suggestions, or people follow me. Either way, I research profiles, and I usually pick teachers and writers. We work well together!
I started my Twitter journey on 0 for everything. Now I have 2897 tweets. I follow 2427 people, and I have 1934 followers. That’s a long way from 0!
Part 4 – And Instagram Was Last
When I joined Twitter, I could have joined Instagram, but I didn’t. I think it’s because more writers were on Twitter. I’m not sure why I finally joined Instagram, but I’m glad I did.
This is my first Instagram post from January 17, 2019. It was about a dog named Riley. Would you believe she has her own book? That’s because she’s a service dog, and a great listener!
This is the link to my post about her:
Instagram has followers, and it works pretty much like Twitter. One click, and you followed someone. You find followers the same way too. Instagram makes suggestions, or people follow you.
I still research profiles before I follow anyone. I discovered something new – I’m good for librarians and home-schoolers, and they’re good for me too!
When I started posting on Instagram, I was at 0 for everything. Now I have 436 posts. I follow 1057 people, and I have 687 followers. I’ve come a long way in one short year!
With followers on either network, I’ve only run into one person I needed to block. They didn’t follow my rules. I only talk in posts, mine or yours. If you message me and want to chat, I’ll message back, but I’ll ask you to stop. If you don’t, I have to block you.
It’s been a blessing to meet so many wonderful people on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but you have to be careful. Not everyone is nice – That’s why I’m glad to follow or friend you!
June felt like summer, but it actually starts today, Saturday, June 20th. Let’s have some fun, but what’s the risk? High, Medium, or Low? Here are 14 summer activities. Test yourself, and risk a guess.
1. A backyard gathering with another family – What’s the risk?
It ranges from low to medium, but how can you keep it as low as possible?
- Give yourself lots of room outside with a small group.
- Pick friends who’ve been social distancing.
- Don’t share food, drinks, or utensils.
- Keep the party outside.
- No alcohol for adults. It makes them forget to social distance.
- Play lawn games like croquet or cornhole.
2. Eating inside at a restaurant – What’s your risk?
It ranges from medium to high. Eating in is one of the riskier things to do, but you can still lower your risk.
- Look for tables that are spaced out, servers who wear masks, and for hand-washing stations.
- Use condiments in packages, like ketchup. Don’t use bottles.
- Don’t use self-serve areas soda fountains or buffet tables.
- Leave when you finish eating. Don’t linger.
- Best tip of all – eat outside whenever possible.
3. Attending an indoor church service – Can you risk it?
It’s high risk because lots of families are gathering together for an extended period of time. But you can lower the risk.
- Look to see if your church is doing services for 25 people or less.
- Sit at least 6 feet apart from another family so you have social distance. Wear your masks.
- Skip singing and sharing hymnals. It keeps germs from spreading.
How about spending the day at the beach or the pool? Is it worth the risk?
Yes! The risk is actually low. Water will dilute any virus, but keep an eye on these risk factors.
- Stay 6 feet away from other families on land and in the water.
- Maintain that distance in busy places like the entrance or in bathrooms.
- Keep an eye on the kids. Try to keep them with friends whose families observed social distancing.
- Go early in the morning or late afternoon when it’s less crowded. Whenever/where ever you go, don’t forget to use social distancing. BTW – it’s easier at the beach!
5. What about attending a wedding, outside, with more than 10 guests?
Events like weddings and graduation parties are medium to high risk.
6. What’s your risk for using a public restroom?
It’s actually low to medium. Modern bathrooms are designed to prevent diseases with hard surfaces that are easy to clean.
- The biggest risk is determined by how clean the bathroom is. You’re at low risk if the restroom’s clean and well stocked with paper towels, soap, and toilet paper.
- Avoid bathrooms that are small, busy, and poorly ventilated like the ones that sit beside gas stations.
- You can keep the risk low by washing your hands. If you touch other surfaces on the way out, use hand sanitizer. I keep a bottle in my purse for times like this. When in doubt, wash or use your sanitizer!
7. Do you put your family at risk by letting a friend inside to use your bathoom?
No, it’s a very small risk. This came up in March, and I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t let them in. Now I would.
- Anything airborn will be sucked out by the ventilation. So, turn on your fan!
- Hard surfaces are easy to clean. If you don’t have time to clean before you use your bathroom, don’t worry. Just wash your hands.
8. What’s my risk if I share a vacation house with another family?
Ready, set, go! It’s actually low! Here’s how to keep it down.
- If both families have been social distancing, you’re in good shape.
- If anyone works in a high covid exposure job, like doctors or nurses, your vacation will automatically become more dangerous.
- Pick a vacation house away from crowds. Ask about the rental company’s cleaning policies. They may be taking covid precautions already. Clean surfaces they missed when you arrive.
- Talk to your co-vacationers about social distancing 2 weeks before vacation, and what you’ll do about it once you’re there. If anyone is sick, they have to stay home.
9. What about a hotel? Will my risk be higher?
A little bit – hotels are low to medium on the risk scale.
- It’s pretty low, especially once you’re in your room. Plus you can wash your hands or use sanitizer as soon as you shut the door.
- Limit time in common areas like the lobby, gym, restaurant, and elevator. More people means more risk, but hand sanitizer will help you lower it.
- Avoid the gym and elevator, if possible.
- Ask about hotel cleaning routines. Many have new covid policies. You may want to remove the bedcover if they’re not cleaned after each guest leaves.
- Bring disinfecting wipes to use on the remote control and other surfaces you’re worried about.
- If you have to use the elevator, use your ring finger to press the buttons, or use your wipes to press the buttons.
- If you’re worried about going out to a restaurant, do room service or take-out.
10. How about getting a haircut? Is it safe?
Your risk is higher . . . it runs from medium to high.
- This is one of the riskiest things on the list because you can’t stay 6 feet away from someone cutting your hair.
- You can lower your risk if you’re both wearing masks. It’s also safer if the covid rate is low in your area.
- Cloth masks don’t work as well in places this close.
- Check to see if your shop has employees wearing protective gear and washing their hands. If they’re protected, so are you.
- Silence is golden. Chatting can put both of you at risk. Getting done as soon as possible is safer.
11. I love to shop. Can I go back to the mall?
The risk varies. It depends on your mall.
- Outdoor malls are better than indoor ones.
- Crowds make a mall riskier. Think about going during off hours, like early morning.
- Less time is better. Plan what to buy so you can get in and out. Even better – shop online, then pick it up at the store.
- Don’t forget to wear your mask, and try to stay six feet away from people outside your family.
- Bring your hand sanitizer along so you’re ready when you touch hand rails and doorknobs.
- If you have a shopping cart, put a disinfecting wipe on the handle. Your hands will stay clean while you shop. Then throw it away when you’re done.
12. Should you go to a concert or dance club?
This is another one of the riskiest activities, but why?
- Most concerts are already cancelled this summer.
- Think crowds like this. Then picture people singing along. That’s dangerous in church, and it’s dangerous here.
- People are also celebrating. It was dangerous at weddings, and it’s dangerous here. People forget about social distancing, especially if they’ve been drinking.
- With dancing, people breathe harder than usual. That means when you exhale, you might shed the virus, and no one wants to share that!
- If you want to dance, invite over a few friends who’ve been socially distancing. You’re safer having fun in your own backyard.
13. How about camping? Is it a good idea?
Go for it! Camping is pretty low risk if you’re outside with your family.
- Remember public restrooms? Use the same precautions in shared bathrooms.
- Clean your picnic table before you eat and after you’re done. Or, keep it simple with a plastic tablecloth.
- Put space between you and the camper next-door. A crowded campground is not a good thing this summer.
- Sleep in family groups. Mixing up families can spread the coronavirus.
14. Can I exercise outside? Are there any no-no’s?
It’s mostly low risk, but some sports are better than others. Think social distancing!
- Cycling, golf, and tennis are great. A few people are playing, and they’re spread apart.
- Running is great if you can keep your distance from everyone else.
- Basketball, football, and soccer are contact sports, and that brings in risk. All that breathing so close together – yikes!
- If you feel too close to others, wear a mask. Be careful with cloth ones – they can’t keep out all those viruses.
My Conclusions from Summer Fun: I think controlling corona risk boils down to:
- Stay away from crowds, whether you’re inside or out.
- Outside is better than inside.
- Wear a mask if it’s too crowded.
- Keep your hands clean.
Part 1 My Family and the Spanish Flu – This is my Grandmother and Grandfather Wilson with four of their children. From left to right, Leo, Mary, Opal Lee, and Grant. Two kids are missing – my mother and her brother Don. They weren’t born yet. Mom was born in 1935 so I’m guessing this was taken around 1930. That’s way after the Spanish Flu.
When the media started connecting the Spanish Flu to Covid 19, I realized something I would never have figured out without this pandemic.
You see, without the Spanish Flu, those kids, my cousins and me – we would not exist.
It’s crazy to think this way, but it’s true. I discovered as a teenager that my grandmother wasn’t grandpa’s first wife. He was married to another woman first. I think her name was Melinda, but I’m not sure. In any case she was expecting a baby. It was due during the time the Spanish Flu was raging through the country. She didn’t live. Neither did her baby.
As a mom now, it makes me incredibly sad that both of them died, and that I don’t know their names. I don’t have a picture of Melinda. I think it’s heartbreaking that when you die, sometimes you are just forgotten by history. If Melinda hadn’t died, my grandfather and grandmother would never have married, and my mom, my aunts and uncles would never have been born. I’m glad they’re all there, but I’m still sad for Melinda and her baby.
I also realized something else by looking at that picture. By 1937 my grandmother, Rinda, was dead. You see her name is my name. I never understood why she had to die when her kids were so little. My mom was 2. My Aunt Opal Lee was 16.
Now I do. You see my grandfather had a third wife, and she gave him a daughter. If my grandmother hadn’t died, that last daughter, my aunt wouldn’t have been born. Sometimes it’s not for us to question why. Sometimes it’s for us to do or die. (Paraphrased from Alfred, Lord Tennyson – The Charge of the Light Brigade.)
Part 2 Three Cities and the Spanish Flu – With the new pandemic I’d heard reports about two of these cities, but the third one was a total surprise.
First up – Philadelphia, home to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell – By late summer of 1918, a second wave of Spanish flu hit the US. It was carried here by WWI soldiers returning home. By mid-September it was spreading through Philadelphia like wildfire, but the health director said don’t worry. It’s just those soldiers. The rest of us won’t get it. His advice – stay warm, keep your feet dry, and your bowels open. Sorry, it was in the article! Really!
September 28th, Philadelphia was celebrating with a Liberty Loan Parade to raise money for the military. Many people thought it should be cancelled, but the health director said it’ll be fine. We need to raise money for war bonds. On the 28th the parade stretched for 2 miles. It included soldiers, Boy Scouts, marching bands, and dignitaries marching down a route packed with spectators.
This is not the Liberty Loan Parade, but it gives you an idea how packed the parade route was. 72 hours or 3 days later, all 31 of Philadelphia’s hospitals were packed.
By the end of the week 2600 people were dead. A quote from the article said the “parade probably threw gasoline on the fire, but it was already cooking along pretty well.”
Next up – St. Louis, home to the Gateway Arch, our nation’s monument to western expansion – The St. Louis health commissioner went the opposite way. He put local physicians on high alert, before the first case was reported. He wanted them ready when the second wave hit.
When the flu broke out in the army barracks, he closed the schools, movie theaters, and pool halls. He banned all public gatherings. He had a network of volunteer nurses set up to treat the thousands who were infected. It flattened the curve and saved lives. A 2007 study went back and analyzed the results, St. Louis had 1/8 of Philadelphia’s worst death rates, an incredible feat for a big city!
I’m sorry to write that they weren’t so successful with the third wave that hit late winter/spring of 1919. I wonder if they got tired of lockdown and just had to get out.
Last but not least – San Francisco, home of the Golden Gate Bridge – Health officials in San Francisco put their faith in masks. If you left home without one or wore it the wrong way, you were arrested for disturbing the peace and fined $5. The officials believed they were 99% effective against the flu.
But gauze masks aren’t that effective. You can see through them, so how could they possibly stop germs? It’s more likely the low rates were caused by quarantining the naval bases before the flu arrived. Then the city closed schools, banned social gatherings, and close spaces like theaters. It sounds like they followed the St. Louis’ plan.
San Francisco believed in the masks so much they blew the whistle on November 21st. People could finally take off their masks without being arrested. A newspaper reported that the sidewalks were “strewn with the relics of a tortuous month.
Sadly their luck changed in January 1919. The third wave hit, and business and theater owners believed those masks would keep people safe. They fought and kept their buildings open. The result – San Francisco had some of the highest death rates in the US.
That same 2007 study said that if the other restrictions had held up, they could have reduced the death rate by 90%. My source for this article, with its great photos: https://history.com/news/spanish-flu-pandemic-response-cities
My conclusions as someone with two strikes (I’m old, and I’m a diabetic) dealing with the Coronavirus for its first wave, maybe more – I’ll wear my mask whenever I go out. I’ll also maintain my social distance. As this first wave ends, I’ll go out more and more, but if there’s a second wave, I’ll head back to that mask and social distancing. I love people, but I also love life! I have a granddaughter, and I want to watch her grow up. I want to dance at her wedding, even if I’m only swaying on my feet.
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!