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!
Part I – The Beginning of a Story - The Problem
I found this story when I was watching local news, channel 6 WAITE in Knoxville. The story – how Coca-Cola is fighting Covid-19. Coke! I was hooked!
All stories start with a problem, and this one was global – a shortage of test tubes for Covid-19 testing. How could test tubes ever be a world-wide problem?
These tubes are special. They start life as plastic preforms, small plastic tubes that are heated and blown into shape. But there’s more . . . They can’t leak. They have to be large enough to hold any size swab, and millions must be made every week. It’s a BIG problem!
Part 2 – The Middle – Step 1
This could be a set of Covid-19 tests. Do you see the swab and the vial? Back in May there were not enough test kits around, and something had to be done.
The US Department of Health and Human Services reached out to the Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL), which is near Knoxville, Tennessee. They talked to Lonnie Love, the lead coronavirus scientist, about options.
Step 2 Lonnie knew the people at Coke, and talked to them about what they needed. They decided the preform from Coke looked like a perfect match for the testing kit.
Step 3 Lonnie and ORNL asked Coke for preform samples, like that first tube. They worked together to decide if the preform test tubes could be used in the kits.
Look above at the kits again. Those packages include the swab, saline solution, and the test tube. The tubes have to be big enough for the swabs to fit inside, and the cap has to seal on top. Coke’s do!
Coke preforms have a screw-top lid that’s tamper-proof, and it seals so there won’t be any leaks.
Step 4 Lonnie’s team checked out the preforms first. Then they picked Longhorn Vaccines-Diagnostics in San Antonio, Texas to do more testing.
Lonnie wanted Longhorn to double check to make sure the preform met all their requirements. They’re one of the five companies that make covid-19 tests.
Step 5 Within 24 hours, Lonnie got a call from Longhorn. They said, “Coke is it!”
Step 6 Lonnie’s team did another set of tests to make sure the preforms were leak proof. They also made sure bacteria couldn’t grow inside. How? They either heated them to a high temperature, or cleaned them in an ethanol solution. Ethanol is a grain alcohol.
Step 7 Lonnie also reached out to Sandia National Laboratories to work on sterilizing the preforms. It has to be done before they can be used in testing kits.
Sandia uses Gamma Irradiation for sterilization. It’s the best way to safely and economically sterilize huge amounts of medical equipment. Randy Schunk led the Sandia engineering team. Their job – to figure out the right amount of gamma rays. Enough to sterilize the tubes, but not so much that it damaged the preforms, their caps, and their contents. Then they’d be useless.
Look at the Y line. It shows how gamma radiation works. The waves can travel through paper and aluminum, but only a third of them can make it through lead or concrete.
STEP 8 Sandia’s job is to figure out the right amount of gamma radiation to clean the preforms but not damage them. They’ll share their results with the other companies around the country who sterilize the coke preforms.
Part 3 – The End – Step 9
On June 1, Coca-Cola announced this incredible story. Their Southeastern Container Company (SEC) from North Carolina had already produced 7 million tubes, in one week, for 7 million covid-19 kits.
Step 10 That was 8 weeks ago. Since then they have produced 56 million tubes for covid-19 kits.
Thanks to Coke, the US Department of Health and Human Services, Oak Ridge, Longhorn, and Sandia working together, 56 million people have been able to find out whether they’re positive or negative for covid-19. Each of these companies must feel proud of what they’ve done for their family, friends, communities, and country, and I’m proud of them. I hope you are too!
My Main Source for this Post
Part 1 – The Wrong Way to Find Them
The images I use on my posts are half the story. Tonight I’m taking you behind the scenes. I didn’t know back when I wrote my first blog in November of 2016 that you have to be careful where you get your images.
Do you remember the Great American Eclipse? It happened on August 21, 2017. I wrote a post about it. Back then I used Bing to find images. That’s where I looked as a teacher, then as a new writer. I loved my images . . . until I got caught.
It seems like sometime in March of 2018 I got a letter from a group of lawyers.YIKES! I opened it up and saw . . . one of the images from my eclipse post. DOUBLE YIKES!!
This isn’t that image. The original was way better! It featured the Trump family – Donald, Melania, and Barron. They were standing on a White House balcony, wearing the special eclipse glasses to see the event safely. The photo was copyrighted to a French source.
I live in Wapakoneta, Ohio. I couldn’t believe someone in France could find me! It was actually a legal team with a great search engine. They stated in simple legal terms what I needed to do to clean this up.
I’m a retired teacher, and I don’t make money on my blog. I thought I was immune, but I’d been warned about this by writing friends. I looked at the letter again. I knew I’d done something wrong, and this time I couldn’t ignore it. So I called the number, confessed, and asked for mercy.
The legal team asked for two things. 1 – I had to pull down the image from my blog. That was easy. 2 – I had to pay a fine. That was harder. BUT, I confessed my error, and my fine was cut in half. Thank goodness!
I spent part of a year dreading the mailbox because I could have had more fines. I took a chance – I didn’t change the other images on my blog, but I would have if I’d gotten another legal letter, or two.
But, I did learn from my mistake. I only use public domain pictures or my own now. I advise you to do the same, but it’s your choice. You’re allowed to learn from your mistakes, but it’s not fun. Not at all!
Part 2- My Biggest Source of Pictures – Look What I Found, With a Little Searching
Have you heard of Pixabay? If you haven’t, you need to check it out! Every picture is public domain, and that means they’re all FREE! I gave myself a research project for this section. I did a post about my mother, the bird lover. She named a few of the birds she’d seen. But about a week later, she wrote out a full list of her winter birds, with a brief description. I found all of their pictures on Pixabay, except one.
You can google Pixabay, or use this link: https://pixabay.com/
Here’s my link for my mother’s post if you’d like to read it: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/my-mother-the-bird-lover
I couldn’t remember when I wrote it so I checked my Pinterest Boards. If you have research to do, you can check it too. Here’s the link: https://www.pinterest.com/rindabeach/boards/
Part 3 – Where do You Look When Your Image isn’t on Pixabay
When I couldn’t find the Red Ruby Hummingbird, I googled it. Then I went down the list until I found the Wikipedia link.
My first problem, the bird doesn’t exist, but, there is a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. I clicked the link and found this image on Wikipedia. It’s Public Domain and FREE!
Sometimes Wikipedia asks you to attribute the source, and sometimes they don’t. This one did:
By Steve Maslowski - Cropped from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Digital Library System, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48297
Article Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby-throated_hummingbird#:~:text=The%20ruby-throated%20hummingbird%20is%20migratory%2C%20spending%20most%20of,Panama%20or%20Mexico%20to%20the%20eastern%20United%20States.
Remember those first 4 birds from Pixabay? One is in that first picture. It looks ruby red to me so I wondered if it could be my mother’s bird.
My source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufous_hummingbird
Part 4 – Where I Get Pictures of Me, or My Lake?
These pictures were taken by my sister-in-law two years ago when she came to the lake. The first one is the view from our dock. I know! Gorgeous!It became the background for many of the illustrations in LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME.
The second one’s our house and dock. I love to stay here. It’s gorgeous, and so peaceful! It’s my favorite place to write. I bet you could too! It’s easy to be inspired with this kind of view.
Both photos were digitally manipulated to look like illustrations. That’s what makes LAKE FUN so special!
Some pictures I take myself. They’re of the things happening around me that I want to share with you. These two found their way into my first book, NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM. I needed them for the back matter. Their job is to help you build your own wind tunnel.
BTW – if you know someone who has to do a science fair project, this is a great one. I googled and found this wind tunnel on Instructables.com. Goalie Guy made the original one for his 7th grade science project.
I asked to use his photos, but I didn’t need them. I’m a writer so I wound up editing his project to make it simpler. To say thank you for his help, I sent him a copy of NEIL as a gift. I discovered that Goalie Guy graduated from college last year. This year he was busy on the job designing and building robots. WOW!
Part 5 – OOPS! I Forgot a Source
I write a book review for every post you see. I try to pick a book that matches the post. Where do I find the covers? Amazon!
I haven’t had to worry about copyright. Tomorrow I’ll write and post my review for BORN TO FLY on My Reads. I’ll also copy and paste it onto Amazon. Then I submit it for acceptance.
I’ve never had one rejected, but maybe they accept them all. I usually get an email the next morning telling me that my review was accepted and posted.
PS- If I can’t give a book 4 or 5 stars on Amazon, I won’t review it. I can only think of one book from My Reads that had a 4. I only picked it because it fit the post. Every other book has gotten a 5. That’s because I keep a reading journal. It has 295 picture books and 110 chapter books, for now.
PPS- I started the journal in 2011 because of something I heard from a panel of agents. They said if they’re interested in you, they’ll ask what you’re reading. I knew I’d never remember titles or authors so I started the journal. It’s helped me with My Reads. Maybe someday it’ll help me find an agent for my writing.
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.
Part 1 – My mother is a bird lover. Sorry, this isn’t her! When I was growing up . . . when my kids were little, she was never, ever, a bird lover. What changed?
Five to ten years ago my oldest son gave her a bird feeder for Christmas. It was a nice gift, but I had no idea it would be life-changing.
Ever since that Christmas, whenever I stop by, Mom always gives me a bird report. She also links dates and birds. My daughter’s birthday is March 9th. That’s the date when the robins come back.
She gives me reports about hummingbird fights at her feeder. She lets sparrows build nests on her porch light. She even made me google a bird. She wasn’t sure about the spelling, and I was sure there was no such bird. Wrong! I found it . . . the Hoary Redpoll. Really! Mom’s Redpoll looks exactly like the one in the video. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af1vpd2Fk04
This isn’t her window either, but Mom watches the birds from her living room and kitchen windows.
I never see them from mine, but until five years ago, I was teaching. When you teach, there’s no time to look out the window.
I still don’t see those birds, unless they knock. At the lake, there’s a Papa Bluebird who tap, tap taps, like he wants to get my attention. I think he’s really warning off his reflection. He’s afraid there’s another boy bluebird in the neighborhood. When I try to take his picture, he flies off. I think he’s camera shy!
Now mom has two different feeders. My husband puts suet and bird seed in one. It looks like the one on the left.
The feeder on the right is for hummingbirds. The red liquid is in my refrigerator. My husband warned me not to drink it. Now he’s mixing it up again because the hummingbirds have returned. They usually come back around my birthday, May 7th, and Mother’s Day.
If you’d like to feed the birds, here’s a link. Did you know different birds eat different food? https://www.wildaboutbirds.com/read/attracting-birds/choosing-the-right-bird-food
Part 2 - Meet some of the birds who visit my mother . . . Can you guess their names? Check the captions to see if you’re right! Enjoy a little music while you enjoy a few birds. Good luck! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0adpbKfIp0I
These are the birds that most often appear at my mother’s window. She would recognize them all. I only know their names because I searched them out on https://pixabay.com/. When I see red, it’s a cardinal. Blue is for bluebird, and when I’m in doubt, it’s a bird.
This is John James Audubon in 1826. You might recognize his name – The Audubon Society. His claim to fame – he painted and described all the birds in America. Then he founded an organization that’s alive and well today. Click on the link below, and you can download 435 reproductions of his work. The Link:
An Email from a Friend
I reached out to a friend for a little help with this post. Here is what she wrote:
“Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic Lunar Calendar, which is ten days shorter than the Gregorian calendar [Me – I’d forgotten our calendar has a name] so each year Ramadan is about ten days earlier that the last. [Next year – around April 14th]
The months of the lunar calendar are 29 or 30 days.
“Oh, you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was presccribed for those before you, that you may develop God-consciousness.” (Quran 2:183)
“In Ramadan Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. It is not just a month to turn away from food and drink but to turn towards our Creator and serve His Creation.
During this month, Muslims pray and reflect during the day and in the evening they will break their day long fast with a meal called iftaar. This time calls on Muslims to honor the values at the very heart of Islam – compassion, peace, and service to others. This year, we will be doing this in lockdown and while practicing social distancing. This is just a pivot in the way most of us are used to engaging in Ramada, but God willing, we will find enrichment in this as well.
Wishing everyone a very blessed Ramadan – especially healthcare workers and all essential workers in the front lines – a very safe, healthy and blessed Ramadan!”
Many thanks to my friend for explaining Ramadan to me, and to you.
This year Ramadan started after sundown on April 24th, and it will end at sundown on May 23rd, but it will be different. I wanted to understand how. I found a source that looked at Prayer, Fasting, Charity, and Pilgrimage.
2. Prayer – Salat is the Muslim word for prayer. Believers pray 5 times a day, every day, facing Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Tarawih prayers are done each night during Ramadan. Tarawih and Friday prayers are usually said at the mosque in the evening. But not this year. Some mosques are using Zoom, Skype, or webcasts to bring their congregations together.
Some worry that people will miss the call to prayer this year. In Muslim countries it probably isn’t a problem. They broadcast their call with an outside speaker, but in the US the call comes from inside the mosque. I hope they’ll find a way to reach out to each member of the congregation.
2. Fasting – Sawm is part of worship during Ramadan. That’s the month that Muslims don’t eat or drink from dawn to dusk each day. As they turn away from food, they turn towards God and acts of charity.
The Quran tells people who are traveling, sick, elderly, or pregnant that they shouldn’t fast. This year people are worried that fasting will weaken their immune systems, and they’ll get the coronavirus.
But my source said there’s ‘leeway. You don’t have to do something that will hurt your health.’ I didn’t find a specific rule, but my guess is that if you have something like heart disease or diabetes, you will skip fasting and do works of charity instead.
Muslim families break their fasts at Suhoor and at Iftar. Suhoor is the pre-dawn meal before morning prayers. Iftar is the post-sunset meal.
This congregation, men only, is seated together without any social distancing. This year, 2020, Suhoor and Iftar are being done at home with social media connecting you and your mosque.
Here are 2 sources for Ramadan foods.
The pictures below are Ramadan foods I found on Pixabay.
Suhoor is the smaller sunrise meal. Health24.com said fasting required complex carbohydrates and high fiber foods. Complex carbs include whole wheats, oats, beans and rice. High fiber foods are raw fruits and vegetables. Ktchn.com went with a simpler meal – just a date and a glass of water, milk or juice. Then it’s time for morning prayer.
Iftar is the bigger meal after sunset. Health24 suggested dates and water, but advised against lots of sugars and fats. Ktchn.com went with dates and water before the evening prayer. After prayer there’d be dinner with a main dish, sides, salads, and desserts followed by the Tarawih prayers.
3. Charity – Zakat is another pillar of Islam. Donating money, food, and other resources to those in need is part of being Muslim.
Many mosques run their own food pantries year round. Members of the congregation volunteer at church and at non-profit groups. It is part of Islam ‘to care for those who are less fortunate.’ It’s especially true during Ramadan.
Many mosques provide iftar meals to their church families, but not this year – coronavirus. They’ll still pass out meals, but curb side pick up is one of the ways to use social distancing.
4. Pilgrimage – Hajj to Mecca is done during December, but there’s a shorter one during Ramadan, called Umrah.
The goal of pilgrimage is to worship at the holy Kaaba, in the center of the Great Mosque of Mecca, but that won’t happen this year either. Saudi Arabia has banned all religious gatherings, including community prayer because of the coronavirus.
There are so many things lost because of this virus, but there are gains too. You can meditate, pray, and study the Quran from home. You can donate money from a cancelled pilgrimage to charity. But best of all you have more time with family, and more time to draw closer to God.
Hello! Welcome to my website, in screenshot form. It went live in 2016, right after the November election. There are 6 buttons for you to check out, but I’m most active on two, the Blog and My Reads.
My blog is different from the other writers I know. Maybe because I’m a retired teacher. I wrote the content I wanted when I was still teaching, but I wanted to reach beyond second grade.
I wanted to write about the things teachers and kids are interested in, the things they have to learn. This photo came from a blog I did last summer. It was a timeline from the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, pre-launch to the end of their world tour.
This spring I finally reached my target, with teachers using my work. I know the Coronavirus forced them to look for material online so I invited 24 teachers from 2 school districts to use me and my writing vault as a resource. Six took a chance on me, and I’m grateful!
Four of them had specific topics they needed. I looked through my vault and sent them links for the posts that best fit their curriculum.
The other two decided to open my vault to their students. Their kids can pick any post to read, then write about. It’s easy peasy for teachers, plus kids get choice too. I’m thrilled!
Welcome to my vault, AKA Pinterest. If you click on this link, I hope you can find what you’re looking for. If you can’t, email me, and I’ll do the searching for you.
If you look across the first row, you might see some things you want to read about. I pulled four posts to show you features straight from the vault.
My first board – Pictures & Text – Earth/Space Science. The post title, Tales from Wapakoneta. When my book came out last summer, I heard lots of stories from hometown friends about Neil. This photo is from story #5. You’ll have to read to discover why Neil is holding a paper airplane. You can also find this post on my History/Social Studies board. When posts fit in more than one place, I list them on Pinterest for you.
Look to the board to the right – Pictures & Text – Economics/Social Studies. The title, Dogs? Do Sports? Really? This came out a few weeks ago. Someone sent me an article about doggy sports. I shared the link, then wrote my own post. It fits on two other boards – Life/Science and Language Arts.
This came from the third board – Pictures & Text Government/Social Studies. It’s broken down into six sections. This photo came from Citizenship Skills. The title, The Power of Kindness, Especially Now. You’ll also find this post pinned in the Economics board too.
The Golden Arches – I had to – from the Pictures & Text – Geography/Social Studies. You’ll find it in the International Maps and Culture section. The title, McDonald’s Trivia. I had a ball writing it, and I think my readers did too. My website numbers stayed high that week!
Finding content on my Pinterest board is like a treasure hunt. You have to look; then hope you find it. My next big business project. . . adding in SEO words. I hope to make it easier for you to find the things you need. I can’t wait to take my class tomorrow!
SEO Words – The Next Frontier – This diagram shows exactly how I feel about them. When I started this post, I thought I understood Search Engine Optimization Words.
I used them with my debut book, NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM. Amazon does too. Here are a few of their SEO words. You can use them to search my reviews:
Wind tunnel Neil Armstrong
Moon landing Must read
Rinda Beach Anniversary of the moon
I thought SEO Words for Pinterest would be the same. Sort of yes. Sort of no. I discovered that I can put something SEO-ish in before posting my blogs on Weebly, but I want to know exactly what that looks like.
I also discovered that I can put SEO words directly into Pinterest, but I don’t know where. I feel like I’m in the deep end of the pool, but I forgot how to swim. I found a friend who’s going to explain a little more to me tomorrow. Fingers crossed! I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks if I learned the SEO stroke.
Cover Image – LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME
I picked the lake for the cover. It’s the star of the book so it will stretch from the front to the back. The left half will be the back cover. The right, the front.
Imagine the front – the title in a fun font – with a trio of images.
The back – the blurb below will take center stage on the lake.
Blurb: This book is part story – part souvenir. Follow Zoe and her family on their lake vacation on the left side of each page. On the right side, there’s room for you to record your own lake vacation story. It’s two stories in one book.
Happy reading, writing and illustrating!
If you’d like to read LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME before it comes out, email me! You could be an ARC Reader. ARC stands for Advanced Reader Copy.
I’ve done this for a few friends, and I love getting sneak peeks at their manuscripts. In return I wrote honest reviews of those stories. That’s basically a few sentences telling if I liked their manuscript, and why.
If you’re interested in doing the same thing for me, please email. I’d love to give you a sneak peek, and an honest review would help LAKE FUN to be seen on Amazon.
Passover ended today, April 16, 20 20, and today President Trump announced a plan to reopen the country. I’m four days late, but I need to write about this Easter, because of the Coronavirus. Something that was so horrible made me understand Easter in a way I never could have, without it.
The Road to Easter – Passover ran from April 9 – 16, and Easter from the 9th – 13th, but it started even earlier. This photo contains a hint. It was a day way back in February. Any guesses?
Ash Wednesday was February 26, 2020. That was when we could still go to church. If you went to Ash Wednesday service, you could choose whether your pastor, minister, or priest drew an ash cross on your forehead.
I didn’t get one this year. I don’t think I’ve ever had an ash cross, probably because Wednesday was a school night, and everything was harder back when I was teaching.
Somehow after my husband and I retired we didn’t get back to Wednesday night services. Now it’s something I want to do, next year. If you’d like to read more about Ash Wednesday, here’s one source, but there are many more. https://www.christianity.com/church/church-life/what-is-ash-wednesday-why-do-christians-celebrate-it.html
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. It’s the trip most Christian churches, and mine, take toward Easter. As you attend each Wednesday and Sunday service, you learn a little more about the journey Jesus took to the cross. You learn a little more about what he chose to do for you and me.
But in Ohio, and at my church, everything stopped on March 25th. That’s when our governor put the state into lockdown until April 6th, but when April came, lockdown continued, now until May 1st.
No more church services, but it didn’t stop Lent. I can still go to church on TV or online. At home I can still practice my faith. If you’d like to read more about Lent, here’s one source, but there are many more. https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/lent-101-honoring-the-sacrifice-of-jesus-1382259.html
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, and it’s the beginning of Holy Week. This year it should have been on Sunday, April 5th. It wasn’t. We were under lockdown orders, across most of the country.
When my kids were little, they’d march into church, waving palms while the congregation sang, “Ride on, Ride on in Majesty.” It was another way to retell Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem, the week before he died.
Imagine – Jesus riding in on a donkey with crowds cheering, waving palms, and shouting Hosannas. Palms, to symbolize the victory over death. Hosannas, to recognize a King, an earthly one, they thought. The donkey, to symbolize a king and peace.
The donkey also fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy in Zech. 9:9 that Israel’s king would arrive, riding on a donkey. It’s hard to believe a week later the king would be dead, on a cross, but Jesus knew what lay ahead.
I skipped Palm Sunday this year. I could have watched the service on TV, but I already knew my church was redoing Holy Week. No date yet – we’ll find out soon, when we make it out of lockdown. I love getting a second chance! If you’d like to read more about Lent, here’s one source, but there are many more.
Maundy Thursday came on April 9th, but it will be on the Thursday after Palm Sunday, the new one for me.
I don’t remember Thursday services. For me it was another school night, but in Sunday School I taught my preschoolers the road to Easter, but we never connected Maundy Thursday to the Last Supper.
Imagine – the disciples sitting around a table watching Jesus break bread and pass it around. He said this is my body. Eat this in remembrance of me.
Then Jesus passed a cup around. He said this is my blood. Drink this in remembrance of me. That’s my communion service, but it came from the Last Supper.
When I take communion, I always have mixed feelings – sadness for the sacrifice Jesus made, and gratitude. Because of his choices, my sins are forgiven. If you’d like to read more about Maundy Thursday, here’s one source, but there are many more. https://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/easter/what-is-maundy-thursday-5-things-christians-need-to-know.html
Good Friday came on April 10th, but it will be rescheduled, the day after Maundy Thursday. I attended one Good Friday, and years later, I still remember it. Vividly.
When Pastor finished, he left, slamming the door behind him. Not one person said a word as we shuffled outside. My kids even stayed quiet in the car, for a few minutes.
It was dramatic – reenacting the moment when Jesus was sealed inside a tomb, left for dead.
I taught that Easter story to my preschoolers. The trial where Jesus was condemned. The climb to Calvary carrying the cross. The nails that held him in place, and the darkness after his spirit was gone.
Jesus was taken to a tomb and sealed inside. If you’d like to read more about Good Friday, here’s one source, but there are many more. https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-good-friday-p2-700773
Look at the pictures above and below. This is what most people think of when they think Easter, especially if you’re not a church goer. Easter is about bunnies and chicks. It’s spring, time for baby animals.
Kids also love the stuffed animals to cuddle or the candy ones to eat. Did you catch the bunny on the right? He’s a brand-new bunny, who’s virus-ready just for you!
It’s also time for flowers like crocuses and daffodils. But the most important thing about Easter are the eggs. I dyed them as a kid, and so did my children, usually a day or two before Easter. Then they’d sit around in the refrigerator, waiting for the big day . . . Easter!
The Easter Bunny was busy all night, scattering eggs and baskets for every kid in the family. I remember those hunts. Mine were always inside. I remember the baskets, full of chocolate bunnies and eggs. If you were lucky, it held a stuffed animal, a book, or sidewalk chalk in it.
This year families did all of these things, at home. There wasn’t one community egg hunt. I’ve helped at church and at the local museum, but with the coronavirus lurking around, the hunts were all cancelled.
Without kids at home or out in the community, I felt like I was missing something, but soon my grandgirl will be old enough to become part of the holiday, and next year the community hunts will return.
Easter came on April 11th, but it was rescheduled, the Sunday after Good Friday. I haven’t missed an Easter service since I met my husband back in 1983, till now.
When my kids were little, they came dressed in their new Easter clothes. So did everyone else. Joy filled the air. Friends called, ‘Christ has risen.’ ‘He has risen indeed.’
Imagine that first Easter – the women arriving at the tomb to find it open. And empty. Angels telling them Jesus wasn’t there. He had risen. Those women waiting days for the truth. We’re lucky – we already know – he has risen indeed.
The link for the Easter story:
With the Coronavirus I missed Easter – church services, friends and family, eggs and bunnies, but I never lost Easter. Jesus still rose from the grave, and that’s the heart of Easter.
But I also discovered something – something I would have never discovered without the virus – how alone Jesus was during his Easter journey. There were people around him, but no one, not even his disciples, understood what he was going through. Now I understand that loneliness a little better.
I could be sad, but I’m grateful. This lockdown will lift, and the world will open up just like the tomb did. In John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
I can never match the Son’s example, but I hope I serve the people around me. Luke 24 is the best place to read about the resurrection. For more about Easter, here’s one source, but there are many more.
Do you recognize the story in this picture? It’s from the Bible, the story of Moses, how he led his people out of Egypt. Do you see the Red Sea? I think Moses already crossed it, and he’s leading his people to the other side, to the promised land.
My research said every year, with/without Corona, you clean out your house. For Jews this harkens back to that first Passover when they left Egypt behind. You could only take what you could carry. Imagine looking around your house and thinking what you’d take. I’d need a car and a huge trailer!
For Passover, they also cleaned all the leaven out of their houses. Leaven is probably a form of yeast, because it makes bread rise. When Moses said let’s go, the people took their bread, as is. There wasn’t time to add leaven to it.
Finally my source also said this is a good time to look at yourself. Do you have any habits that don’t belong, that you’re better without? This is a great time to try a change. It might do you good! I’m not Jewish, but I like the idea.
This is a table set for a Seder (say-der) dinner. Family and friends gather together to eat, to celebrate, to remember. Usually they gather together in homes, synagogues, hotels, and camps. Not this year!
Some people will have family, but some will be alone. You can look at what you’re missing, OR, you can look at what you’ll gain. If it’s just family, you can slow down to a family-friendly pace. If you only have adults, you can go adult speed. If you’re alone, just please yourself! There ARE opportunities!
Some will do their Seders on social media. They’ll skype, zoom, or face-time to have a family or a congregation together. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good. Some observant Jews won’t be able to do this. They don’t use technology on holidays, but I’ll bet a matzah they’ll find a way to make this Passover meaningful too.
This is a kosher grocery at Passover.
A Kosher grocery means it stocks foods that are special to the Jewish religion. Other foods won’t be there because they’re forbidden, like cuts of beef that come from the backend of a cow like flank or round steak. If you’d like to read more, click on this link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-kosher#animal-products
It’s Passover time in this grocery. My proof - some foods are covered in plastic. That way customers won’t pick up the wrong ones that have leaven/yeast in them. They’re not allowed during Passover.
Back in March suppliers said the special Passover foods like Matzah would be in stock, but last week shoppers were worried that deliveries would be cancelled, or they wouldn’t be able to get in, in time with the limited number of shoppers. Passover 2020 started on April 9th, and it will end on the 16th.
This is Matzah, the most important Passover food. It’s the unleavened bread the Jews took to the promised land. A Rabbi from Senegal (a minister in Western Africa), said he would have Matzah even if he had to make it himself, starting with real wheat, the kind from a farmers’ field.
Someone from Washington, D.C. was planning to host her first Seder, but she had to cancel. She’ll still see her family through social media, but she said she’d miss the meal, not the food. She meant the part when everyone’s in the kitchen making dinner. I hope she thought of doing social networking from everyone’s kitchen. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
This is a Haggadah from the 1300’s. It’s a book, but it’s only used once a year. Its purpose – to guide you through your Seder dinner. Passover is more than just matzah, more than a meal. It’s a way to retell the story of Moses so that it will never be forgotten.
You can read the story in the Bible. Start at Exodus, and read all the way to the end of Deuteronomy. If you don’t have a Bible, just google Exodus. Your computer can pull up the pages.
The Haggadah will guide you through the ceremony’s fifteen steps. This year two sections might change. Both feature the youngest person in the room. This year, it could be a senior citizen.
Whoever it is gets to ask Four Questions, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” This year it’s possible our youngster will find himself both asking and answering those four questions. This only happens when there’s one person at the table.
In another part of the Seder the Matzah is broken in two. The larger part, the afikomen, will be hidden, and later found. If you’re all alone, you’ll have to do both jobs, but, when you find it, you won’t have to share your dessert.
This year you can look at what’s missing, celebrate what you have, or – take another option . . .
Pesach Sheni. It means – Second Passover. It started when ancient Jews were too late with their sacrifice. They needed another chance. So, if you need a do-over, save the date! May 9th, one month after the first day of Passover.
To learn more about the Seder or Passover, click on any of these links:
Do you recognize Joe Burrow in this photograph? He’s the one in the middle.
As quarterback Joe took the LSU Tigers all the way to the national championship. He won the Heisman Trophy for the nation’s best college football player. This sounds like the culmination to a great college career, but it wasn’t! It was a Cinderella season.
From High School to OSU to LSU
The Cinderella Season: So what happened? How did Joe and No.6 LSU turn 2019 into a Cinderella season? This is my third try to tell this story. I hope it’s the charm.
First up, Ranked Opponents:
- No. 9 Texas went down 45- 38 on September 7th. LSU became No.4.
- No.7 Florida lost 42-28 On October 12th. LSU moved up to No.2.
- No. 9 Auburn lost 23-20 in LSU’s closest win on October 26th. LSU holds onto No.2.
- No. 3 Alabama goes down 46-41 in the biggest game of the season. Alabama was predicted to win, Joe pulled it out, and LSU was NO. 1!
A Single-Season of Records:
- September 7th Joe passed for 471 yards in one game and takes over the No. 2 spot in LSU school history.
- September 21st Joe sets 2 records. He throws 6 touchdowns and has his 3rd game with over 350 yards.
- October 5th Joe has his 4th game with over 300 yards. It would have been 350, but he was 6 yards short.
- October 19th he scores his 32nd touchdown in one season, an LSU record.
- October 26th Joe has his 8th game with over 300 yards passing.
- November 16th, he sets the single-season record for passing yards and another one for 17 completed passes in one game.
- November 30th Joe sets the all-time single-season record for passing yards, and he ties for single-season touchdowns.
All this from the quarterback who didn’t get an offer from Nebraska, the one who was passed over at OSU 3 times. Congratulations, Joe! Persistence pays off!
The Road to the National Championship
- First up, the SEC Championship on December 7th. No. 4 Georgia went down to the Tigers 37-10. LSU was still ranked No. 1.
- On the 14th Joe won the Heisman Trophy for the best college player in America.
- Next up, the Peach Bowl on December 28th. No. 1 LSU defeated No. 4 Oklahoma 63 – 28 in the 1st game of the National Championship.
- Finally, on January 13th LSU defeated No. 3 Clemson 42-25 to win the National Championship.
- Records, yes, please! 60 passing touchdowns for the FBS* single-season record.
- 5,671 passing yards put Joe at third for all-time yards in an FBS* season.
- A passer rating* of 202.0, the highest passing efficiency in one season.
- This is a photo of Joe in the Oval Office. If you click on the link, you can see more photos of the LSU Tigers at the White House. Photo Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/49400533066/
* FBS is the top level for college football. It used to be called Division 1-A. Either way, it’s the most competitive subdivision of college football It’s made up of the largest and most competitive schools in the NCAA. That’s a record!
* Passer rating is a formula that includes attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdown passes, and interceptions. Click on this link if you’d like to see the math:
Up Next for Joe
The NFL draft to be held April 23 – 25, in less than a month. Many predict he’ll go first to the Cincinnati Bengals, close to home and his parents. Where ever Joe goes, I think any team will be lucky to get him.
When I look at him through my teacher/writer eyes . . .
This is what I see:
1. Persistence – Joe never gave up. When Nebraska didn’t pick him, he chose Ohio State. When OSU didn’t start him at quarterback, he tried for 3 years before moving onto LSU.
2. Initiative – When OSU didn’t pick him his sophomore year, Joe started looking at other teams. In May of 2018 he announced he’d be going to LSU.
3. Smart – Joe graduated from OSU in 3 years with a degree in consumer and family financial services. Most people take 4-5 years to graduate.
4. Coachable/Trainable – Joe went from zero to starter in 3 short months at LSU. To do that, he had to be able to work with a new coach, work with new teammates.
5. Personable – Joe learned how to fit in with his teammates in those 3 short months. “There is no I in team.” A 10 and 3 season at OSU in 2018 would have been a failure. Instead Joe used the experience to build the relationships that took LSU to the national championship.
Here’s what his OSU teammates had to say:
6. Leader - “Believe me when I say this because he was my roommate for two years,” Ohio State defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones said, “you’re getting a dog in Joe. Joe’s no slouch. He’s a leader. He’s gonna take over that huddle.”
7. Work Ethic – “LSU fans should be excited because they’re getting a warrior. A true warrior,” Ohio State receiver Parris Campbell said. “Many people didn’t get to see Joe before at the highest level, but we’ve seen Joe go to work every single day. He’s a guy who didn’t say a whole lot, but is just a down and dirty competitor. Just a warrior.
From a Pair of Buckeyes:
8. Loyal – Joe never bad-mouthed the Buckeyes or Nebraska either, even when he was competing with them in the runup to that championship. When OSU played Clemson, he rooted for OSU. When Clemson won, he stil had good things to say about his old team. Me
“Joe did about everything possible to win the starting position by the end of spring camp. “Do I wish he was still with us? I do,” Meyer said at Big Ten Media Days. “I love Joe Burrow. I love his family and have great respect for him. And that’s not going to stop. That relationship will continue for many years.” It says a lot about Urban, a lot about Joe.
From his former coach, Urban Meyer
3 Quotes: https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/lsu-football/one-got-away-burrow-osu-players-lsu-fans-burrow/
Why Write about Joe?
He's an inspiration! Joe is somebody you can learn from whether you want to play football, write stories, or do anything else. My advice: compare his character to yourself. Capitalize on strengths. Pick a weakness or two and work on them. Joe wasn’t an overnight success. He worked to be successful. The same is true for you and me. Here’s to the journey of becoming your own personal best!
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!