Christmas is almost here, and so is Christmas trivia.
What is glögg?
A Christmas coffee Hot cocoa
Mulled wine Spiced Cider
Glögg is a special mulled wine that’s made just for Advent. Answer the next question to find out where it comes from. Click the information link, and you can try it without crossing the Atlantic.
Where do you go for a glass of glögg?
Sweden France Germany Spain
Go to Sweden, but only during Advent. That’s when you can get a glass of glögg. Traditionally it’s served in small glasses.
FYI – the spices were originally added because back then the wine didn’t taste so good, but now it’s added because it’s tradition. Don’t forget to put the almonds and raisins in your glass before you pour in the glögg. Cheers!
For More Info: www.swedishfood.com
Where was the Advent Wreath invented? England Sweden Germany Italy
Welcome to Germany where Johan Hinrich Wichern invented the Advent Wreath in 1839. His version was made of wood, and it had 24 candles, 4 big ones for Sundays and 20 little ones for weekdays.
Today’s Advent wreath is made with fir branches and cones, ribbons, ornaments, and those original 4 candles. One for each week like the one to the left.
What did a mother from Munich invent to keep herself sane when her son asked every day how long till Christmas? A calendar An advent calendar A paper chain Balloon bouquet to pop
In 1885 Gerhard Lang’s mother did. He saw the first Advent candle lit and didn’t understand waiting till his mother drew 24 squares on a box. Each square equaled one day, getting up once and going to bed. From then on, Gerhard got a calendar every year until he outgrew them.
Around 1900 Gerhard started a publishing company. During a slow sales period, he remembered his old calendars, and in 1904 he sold the first “Munich Christmas Calendar.” Its subtitle was “The 24 Waiting Days,” and it sold for 30 pfennigs or about 15 cents. Today you can buy cardboard ones, felt ones, bags on strings, and little towns, but, they all still share 24 days of waiting.
My Sources: Kaiserslautern American | Date Updated: December 6, 2019
What’s the name of the little town where Jesus was born? Bethlehem Jerusalem Judea Samaria
Bonus Points: What’s the song title that tells the story of that birth?
The Song – O Little Town of Bethlehem – Sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
For More Info: en.wikipedia.org
Who made Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem?
His father King Herod Caesar Augustus
Why? A Family visit To worship the new king For a census of the Roman Empire
The Gospel of Luke said (Luke 2: 1 – 5; paraphrasing) Caesar Augustus ordered a census of the entire Roman world. Everyone went to their family’s hometown to register and be counted. Joseph left Nazareth in Galilee. He traveled to Bethlehem in Judea because that’s where his family came from. Joseph was descended from King David’s family. In Bethlehem he registered with his fiancee Mary. She was going to have a baby.
This is a Nativity Scene. I grew up with one, and so did my kids.
Who was really there when Jesus was born, and who wasn’t?
Mary, Joseph and Jesus Shepherds Wise Men Animals Angels
According to Luke 2: 7-21, paraphrasing, Mary gave birth to a baby boy. She wrapped him in cloth and laid him in a manger. There was no other place for them to stay.
That night the shepherds were out in the field with their sheep. An angel appeared, and the shepherds were terrified until the angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I bring good news for all people. Today in Bethlehem your savior was born. The baby is wrapped in cloth, laying in a manger, which is a feeding trough for animals.”
Then a group of angels appeared. They said, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on Earth.” The angels returned to heaven, and the shepherds hurried off to Bethlehem. They found the baby in the manger. The shepherds returned home, telling everyone what they’d seen and heard. Eight days later Jesus was named and circumcised.
So a Nativity according to Luke would look like this –baby Jesus would be lying in a manger with Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds looking on.
No animals are mentioned, but the most likely ones would be an ox and a donkey. That’s what Saint Francis of Assisi used, and he made the first nativity scene. I don’t know about the sheep. If the shepherds were in a hurry like Luke said, they probably would have left the sheep behind. Maybe a young shepherd watched over them until the others returned.
The angels only went out to the fields to send the shepherds into Bethlehem. Then they returned home to heaven.
As for the wise men, here’s their story according to Matthew 2:1-12, paraphrased . . . After Jesus was born, Magi from the east came to ask King Herod about the star. They followed it to Jerusalem. They wanted to worship the new king of the Jews.
They’re called Magi in Luke, but in other stories they’re called kings or wise men. Usually nativities have 3 kings, but Luke never mentioned a number.
Herod sent for his chief priests and teachers. They looked back to Micah, who prophesied that the baby would be born in Bethlehem in Judea. Herod sent the Magi there. He told them to worship the child, and then report back so he could visit him too.
The Magi followed the star, this time to the baby in Bethlehem. They might have looked something like this when they bowed down to worship the child in the manger.
The Magi gave him gifts fit for a king – gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Frankincense is a tree sap that was burned to worship the gods. Myrrh was a perfume made from sap too. It was either burnt as incense or used as oil for anointing someone. All three gifts were part of Temple worship.
I found this site when I was researching and writing Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream. I didn’t understand how a wind tunnel worked, and that was kind of key to the story, no LOL! Since then, Instructables have been sending me emails with ideas, and I’ve been looking for the right projects to share. This one came yesterday, and it’s perfect. Here’s the link:
Ready . . . Set . . . Let’s make some ornaments!
#1 - First up is something easy-peasy. I could make it, and I’m not crafty at all. All you need is a bulb and some foam letters.
My Idea: I’d change it up with other foam shapes because I love re-imagining things. Must be the writer/editor in me!
#2 - This is an Oregon Duck Christmas Tree, as in the University of Oregon.
It’s a little harder to make because you sew sequins onto one piece of green felt, and then onto another piece. If you do it their way, it’s just a little longer, just a little harder, but very doable for someone like me.
My Ideas: First I’d make it an OSU tree, as in scarlet, gray, and buckeyes. I also wouldn’t sew all those sequins on. I’d attach them with a clear glue, and I’d only do one side. I’d put something on the back, like a kid’s picture and date, but then I love to edit things!
#3 - This is an X-Wing Fighter Ornament. I loved the idea, and I thought you might too.
My Ideas: This is way too complicated for me. I like easy peasy. Do you have a Star Wars or Lego toy that would work? All you need to do is attach a hook.
If you and your family want to make one yourself , try this idea with Legos or K’Nex. They’re easier to work with!
#4 – Oh Christmas Tree, oh Christmas Tree! I wanted to post this ornament last night, but I couldn’t decide whether I should keep it or pull it down. I slept on it.
This ornament is SO difficult to make! It has 15 steps, and most of them are highly technical. That’s because this ornament is an LED Circuit Board Christmas Tree Ornament.
I decided to save it because it might help you win a contest, teachers only, for a 3-D printer. I know – a 3D printer! WOW!
My Idea: I wouldn’t even attempt a circuit board! I’d get something in a shiny green material. I’d find great stickers and sequins, and I’d try really hard not to over-decorate. I love this tree’s simplicity!
here to edit.
#5 – If you have a 3D printer, try making this floating snowflake ornament. The secret – tulle, the stuff you use for tutus and veils. If you like this idea, you can also make jewelry using the same idea. Click the printing on tulle trick.
My Idea: Go to the craft store and buy your snowflake and frame. You could use tulle to hold the snowflake in place. But if your frame comes with plastic, just lay your snowflake inside. Done!
#6 – This ornament is hands-on. It’s a diorama inside a glass ornament – with sand. The hard part – fitting things like trees and photos inside.
My Idea: If you can’t find a fillable ornament, try decorating on the outside, but be careful! Sometimes flat images don’t fit well on round objects. You may have to do a little nip/tuck surgery.
#7 – If you’re crafty and have a 3D printer, this is the project for you! Who doesn’t love Star Wars?
My Idea: I don’t have a 3D printer so I’d look for my figurine in the nearest toy store. Just be careful that it fits inside your ornament.
Teachers, could your school use a 3-D Printer? Check out this link!
From Instructables – “This contest is for ALL teachers (professional and otherwise) and open to any projects that have a definable STEM focus.
We are looking for projects that are replicable in the classroom or other educational setting, that teach skills related to Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math.
There is a special Judges' prize for the project that best uses the Makey Makey invention kit.
Only 39 days left to enter the STEM Contest!”
Sometimes ideas just come. That’s what happened last night when I posted my review for The Best Seat in Kindergarten. I loved the story! I thought it was perfect for its audience, Preschool and Kindergarten kids. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars. But when I went into Amazon, it had one review, for one star.
If you’re a writer, that hurts. It’s not easy to get a book published traditionally. The bar is high, and everyone involved works hard to do it well.
Review Title: Terrible message for kids! "Do things for people so they will like you".
Review: If I had seen this in a store I would never have bought it. Sam spends the entire book getting things for the other kid and at the end he has nothing for his own project, but he thinks he has friends. No, Sam. Friends would have gotten you something, too, not used you. Get this if you want to teach your child to be a lackey. Pass if you don't want them to feel they have to serve their peers to be wanted.
My Review Title: The Power of Helping Others
My Review: This would be a great first day of school book, but it’s also something more. It’s about the power of friendship, of helping others. The first day of school finally arrives, and his teacher takes the class outside for a nature walk. The assignment – find something and bring it back for show-and-tell. Guess who finds the best thing of all? Sorry, you’ll have to read to find out what Sam found.
My Additional Paragraph: I'm a retired teacher, and I read the other review. I never saw this as a story about buying friends. For me it's about a sweet little boy who likes to help others. In over 33 years teaching 2nd grade I've seen lots of kids who have trouble making friends. One of the best ways to help them, is to teach them how to be a friend. Often these same kids push others away. This story has lots of small examples of kindness that can help kids learn how to be a friend.
My Final Thoughts: Writing reviews is a wonderful thing! Readers get a peek into the best/not so best parts of the story. It helps them to decide whether or not to buy that book.
For a writer, a good review is priceless. It sells our books, sometimes to people who have never heard of them. Did you know 50 or more reviews puts a book at the top of Amazon’s search list? I have 17. I’d given up on getting more, but then I thought why not try? It never hurts to ask!
If you’ve read Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream, please consider writing an honest review. The best part – a kid or their parents might read your review and pick my book. Whenever I autograph one, I always write about dreams. Neil’s first one was the wind tunnel, and you know where it took him. Mine was to write and publish a book. Thanks to Neil, I did it!
Do you see that silver badge? Neil earned it from Readers’ Favorite. They only give out four or five stars. If you get 1, 2, or 3, they’ll send you your review, but they won’t post it. No one likes a bad review.
Readers’ Favorite reviews are incredible! First is a 125-word summary of the book. Last is 125 words on whether or not the reviewer liked it. I thought about becoming one of their reviewers, but I don’t have time. I’m happier writing my short reviews.
If you’d like to read my Readers’ Favorite review, click on this link:
Part 1 - Who is Franklin? Why is he sitting alone?
This post started on my Facebook account as a GIF and a question, ‘What would you like me to put into a blog? I got one answer – ‘Ever wonder why Franklin is sitting all by himself?
To be honest, I didn’t know who Franklin was. I didn’t see him till the question was asked. My eyes were drawn to the right side of the picture, which is what readers are trained to do, to move their eyes from left to right. Can you tell I’m still a reading teacher
Evidently this image came from the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special from November 20, 1973. I was 14. No one thought anything about the image then, but they sure did in 2015. Here’s an article I found. I was shocked to read what was assumed about Charles Schultz. Link - https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/charlie-brown-racist-franklin/
The article proves that Charles was never a racist. In fact he put the first African American into a cartoon in June of 1968 because a retired teacher wrote him and suggested it.
The cartoon was so controversial in 1968 that his editors told him to change it. Charles said, “Either you print it just the way I draw it or I quit. How’s that? It sounds like moral courage to me.
But, that still doesn’t explain why Franklin is sitting alone so I googled again, and I found this link -
It said that, “Patty is the real engine of the special, with Linus and Marcie as it’s moral voice. Franklin and Sally just kind of hang around and watch.” In 1973 that was pretty groundbreaking. The link had an updated version with Franklin and Sally on the same side of the table, which I liked.
As someone who’s 60, who lived through that time, I applaud this picture. It’s not perfect, but it was forward thinking for its time.
Hindsight is always 20/20. You’ll never know then what you know now. When I look at this picture, I see kids celebrating, flaws and all. I remember how much I loved those characters then, and I see how much today’s kids still love them. Best of all it gives them a peek into the past, to see how much we’ve changed in the last 50 years. In the words of the 60’s we’ve come a long way, baby! Good for all of us, and especially for today’s kids, no matter who they are.
Part 2 – Charlie Brown Trivia
1- What’s the name and breed of Charlie Brown’s dog?
Buddy is a beagle. Snoopy is a beagle.
Buddy is a foxhound. Snoopy is a foxhound.
2- When did he first appear in the Peanuts comic strip?
1948 1950 1952 1954
And the answers are . . .
1. Snoopy is a beagle, who was based on Spike, one of Schultz’s childhood dogs.
2. Snoopy first appeared on October 4th, 1950. I was born in 1959, and I don’t remember a world without him.
My source said foxhounds are bigger than beagles, and they look a lot alike, but a picture’s worth a thousand words so I searched for a pair.
Part 3 – WHICH PEANUTS CHARACTER MATCHES YOUR PERSONALITY?
When I did my research for Part 1, I ran across a web site, that matched a Peanuts Character to your personality. I changed it. I picked my favorite characters, then I checked out their traits. Sorry, I couldn’t pick just one.
The Reformer: Lucy knows what she wants and goes after it. Whether she’s picking Charlie Brown to direct the Christmas play or offering psychiatric advice, she’s a leader.
The Helper: Linus is always there to help his best friend Charlie Brown. My favorite moment is when he tells Charlie he didn’t ruin Christmas. Linus says that’s impossible, because there’s more to Christmas than trees and pageants.
The Overachiever: Schroeder is the kid who could play Beethoven in elementary school. He focused in on his music and his practice-time. The result, super-achievement!
The Individualist: Snoopy isn’t afraid to be himself whether he’s Charlie Brown’s best friend, or Joe Cool, or a WWII flying ace. He’s unforgettable, and he commands the spotlight!
The Investigator: Woodstock is Snoopy’s sidekick, and he’s up to investigate/help him in any and all adventures.
The Loyalist: Marcie is Peppermint Patty’s sidekick. She’s loyal through and through. When Patty gets into trouble for being rude at Thanksgiving Dinner, Marcie helps her to make things right again with her friends.
The Challenger: Sally challenges everyone – her big brother, his friends, even Santa Claus. She’s one determined little girl, especially with Linus who tries to ignore her, but never quite succeeds.
The Challenger: Sally challenges everyone – her big brother, his friends, even Santa Claus. She’s one determined little girl, especially with Linus who tries to ignore her, but never quite succeeds.
The Peacemaker: Charlie Brown tries to make peace, to help his friends get along, and he’s persistent about it. Sometimes he fails, but he always tries, tries again.
So who am I? I’m mostly Charlie Brown. I try to get along with people, and I’m persistent. I’m also part Snoopy. I think differently from most people. I’ve never been cool, but I’ve always wanted to be. I’m an achiever like Schroeder. I’ve always tried to do my best, to become the best. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don’t. Finally, I’m enthusiastic like Peppermint Patty. I throw myself into things, but never sports. My Source: https://www.filmfad.com/which-peanuts-character-matches-your-personality/
Take a look at heaven! This is the view from the picture window at our lakehouse. It’s on Norris Lake, and it’s, well, heaven. I feel blessed to have a second home. I never wished for it. Warning – be careful what you wish for – sometimes wishes come true. Then you need to figure out how to live with them.
This is what our view looked like when we first bought the house. It was more of a National Forest House, not a lakehouse. To see what I mean, put your hand up in front of you. Don’t spread your fingers. Now look through them. This is what our lake view used to look like.
This picture is my favorite! We took this a day or two after we got the house. It had been vacant for 3-4 years. That meant we got it at a great price, but it also meant our animal friends thought it was still home. My husband got within a foot before his friend decided to run.
The next day some bird took over the same spot, except it flopped on its back for a little sunbathing. I wish I’d gotten a picture of it!
Look down at the next picture. This may be a year or two later. When we bought the house, the lake didn’t have the rip-rap on the shoreline. Would you believe we had to ask for permission to put it in, and it stops erosion?
It’s also later because my husband worked hard to clear the trees. I think he cut down over 50 our first summer at the lake. I didn’t realize I was a tree hugger, but I hate to see big old trees cut down. I have to admit – the view is much better now! But I miss the visiting squirrels who’d hop over for a quick visit. Good times!
The first picture below is a favorite from our first summer at the lake. I know it’s that first summer because there isn’t a boat, and it’s my husband’s pride and joy. With/without it, it’s still like stepping into paradise as you walk down the steps to the dock.
I don’t have many pictures like the second one. Sometimes when the sun is shining, the lake literally sparkles and it sends them onto the living room ceiling. Heaven!
Meet My Family
My husband is in the first picture. My oldest and youngest are in the middle, and I’m in the last picture. My middle son is missing. He was in college when this was taken. I’m the only one with my face showing. My family likes their privacy.
Do you see my husband’s baby in all 3 pictures? It’s his boat. We got it that first year at the lake. My son got married in September of 2015, and my husband bought the boat the same weekend. The boat didn’t make it to the lake till November. That’s when my son towed it from Texas to Tennessee.
Did you know Tennessee builds the most speed boats, and Texas sells the most at really good prices? I didn’t, not until we bought the boat.
The View from a Boat
I’m so glad we have the boat! You see so much more of the lake. It may be mile after mile of trees and woods and mountains, but there’s something about all that green that brings me peace. I don’t like the lake as much on weekends. Everyone’s there so the fun gets noisier. I prefer weekdays when it’s just me and the lake.
The lake is gorgeous at dusk when the lights are coming on and the sun is setting behind the mountains. I try to focus on the twinkling lights, not things hidden beneath the surface, when we drive home in the dark.
No Matter the Weather, No Matter the Season
My pictures are all about the lake, not the house. The lake brought us here. We found the house in the fall. The leaves were down, but the price was too high.
Our realtor called us back after Christmas. The price came down, but it was still too high. I barely looked at the house because it was the lake that called me.
Over the spring my husband kept thinking about the lake-house. The week I retired we made a low-ball offer. We thought we’d be refused. We weren’t! We had to figure out what to do next. Be careful what you wish for because sometimes, those wishes do come true.
did it in slippery snow. Deer are amazing!
We’ve met other animals over the years. Squirrels, snakes, frogs, turtles, crows, hawks, even an eagle. I call the lake my wild kingdom. For a city girl like me, it’s an amazing place!
I’ll close this on the porch. It’s a great place to sit and watch the rain without getting wet. Here’s the link for SMOKY MOUNTAIN RAIN. It’s exactly what I was thinking about when I took this photo.
I love the lake like no other place. The view inspired 2 story ideas. I’m self-publishing one about my family’s lake adventures. I want to publish the one about our ‘darn ducks’ traditionally. Whether I’m writing or taking a break, there’s no place like the lake. It’s heaven!
This is what happened 2 nights ago. I was packing to travel, and I started searching for a critique I needed. I thought I’d finally have time for it. It was almost midnight, but I searched for an hour before I gave up. I knew I should have quit sooner.
I tried to sleep but my thoughts ran circles through my head - it’s lost – where could it be – my fault – my husband’s – it’s lost – If I could edit this photo, that search arrow would be spinning like those thoughts.
This is what a critique looks like. It shows what a reviewer thinks can be done to improve a story.
I was searching for one from the Cleveland writing conference for a manuscript that’s moving closer to publication. I have someone who’s interested in the story, with changes of course.
I felt like my critique was irreplaceable. I wanted to sob, but I was too tired.
I tried talking to myself. I backtracked through all the places I’d been, the things I’d done with that critique. I came up with 2 new places to check and a backup plan, just in case it was truly gone.
The last time I remember seeing the critique was in Texas. I went to my grandgirl’s shower. I checked with my daughter-in-law. It wasn’t there.
After Texas we stopped at the lake, and I unloaded a bag. I checked it. No critique so I gave up, at least for a TV break. I turned it on . . .
AND I FOUND IT – beside the remote control, right where I’d left it, Forgotten. Minds and memories work like that. It’s sad but true.
But finding it, that was a Hallmark movie moment! Perfect like this photo! I had my critique. I could work on my manuscript, and life was good! I wish Hallmark moments lasted longer, but I savor them as long as possible!
My husband told me I’d find my critique, and he was right. He loves hearing that!
Tomorrow I have another story that’s lost – devastated – found – grateful! My husband was right again!
This is an aquamarine. It’s the March birthstone. I have an aquamarine ring, not this big of course. Mine is much, much smaller, but it’s precious to me.
I lost a baby when I was pregnant. I’d only known about it for a couple weeks, but it was devastating.
It took a year to recover, and by that time I was pregnant again with my daughter. She was due the same time as the baby I lost. Both babies were due in March. 26 years later, it feels like a Godwink moment from a Hallmark movie.
About a month ago, I lost the ring. I looked everywhere, in all the usual spots. I was sad, but not devastated because my husband said, once again, you’ll find it.
And once again he was right. I found the ring a couple days later when I stopped looking. It was laying downstairs close to the laundry room. This is how I felt, like I was starring in a summer Hallmark movie!
I’d laid it there when I was doing laundry. I wanted to put it in a safe place. I did! An unusually safe place. So safe even I couldn’t find it.
My advice – when something is lost – search carefully by backtracking through all the places you remember being. Search again, like once a day. Also search your memory, maybe you’ll remember a place you’d forgotten. You’ll look, and there it will be.
Another tip – pray. I do. I pray that it will be found, and if it isn’t,that it will find its way to someone who needs it, like the ring. But if it’s like the manuscript, I pray for another way to recover it. I did have another plan, to email the conference for another copy of the critique.
Finally I try to learn from my mistakes. With my critique, I’d make another copy, put it in a special folder so it would be easier to find. Good luck to you and to me, because eventually we all lose things, and hopefully we won’t lose ‘it’ either. We’ll keep our cool and make the best of a disappointing/devastating situation!
Screenshot #1 - Do you want to read about Veterans for Veterans Day? I have two posts, but how can you find them? Go to my Pinterest boards at https://www.pinterest.com/rindabeach/ This is what you’ll see , two boards with soldiers. Bingo! You could check the Economics board, but the Government one is better. I peeked!
Screenshot #2 - If you clicked on Government, then you’d come to this page. You’re still looking for veterans so I’d go straight to the pins for Serving your country.
If you need Citizenship, International rules, or state government, you can look them up later. If you’re interested in the DACA kids who are in the news, I have a post about them too.
Screenshot #3 – Here’s the screen you’ll see for Serving your country.
The first post is titled Stories Matter, and they’re all about the life of President George H. W. Bush. I was inspired by all the stories I heard during the week leading up to his funeral.
The first one tells how George joined the Navy the day after he turned 18. A year later he was the youngest Navy fighter pilot, and he almost didn’t live to tell. You’ll have to read to discover the details.
Screenshot #4 - The middle post is titled There’s More to Soldier, More to a Veteran.
I interviewed a Facebook friend who has since become my son-in-law. He went to West Point, became a Captain in the Army. I wanted to know what inspired him to join, and why he’s still inspired with his mission.
Today and every day I thank Jesse and his fellow soldiers for their service, for giving their time and talents to serve our country. They could have taken an easier route, but they didn’t. They’re out there every day making a difference for us. Thank you!
Screenshot #5 – The Final Post is Semper Fi! The 14 Marine Corp Leadership Traits. They’re the same traits I taught my second graders back in the day.
I found this story because my friend Mark emailed me about Jesse and his service. Mark wanted me to know that our servicemen don’t do their jobs for appreciation. They do them for love of country, because they want to serve.
Then he told me about the character traits that changed his life. I was so impressed that I saved his email so I could write this post.
I want these posts to live, to be rediscovered and reread. That’s why I decided to use screenshots for my illustrations. I want you to be able to find them and use them again and again.
Part 2 - Finding Great Books on rindabeach.com
Here’s how to find a good book from my 2 Pinterest boards for Classroom Reads. One’s for Chapter books, and the other’s for Picture books. I have Veterans Day books from each board. Look at the next screen shot, and see how to find them.
I have Chapter Books divided into 7 sections with 41 pins (41 books). This section is for realistic fiction.
This is the book I picked last year to honor our veterans. Daisy is a rescue dog, but no one will take a chance on her, not even a Veteran with PTSD (Post Tramatic Stress Disease). Daisy’s story is incredible! It’s one of my favorite books!
I have Picture Books divided into 16 sections with 77 pins (77 books). This is the book I picked 2 years ago to honor our veterans.
Sheepdogs explains in story form what our police and military do for us day in, day out. They look scary, but when the wolves/bad guys come around, you need a good sheepdog. If you know someone who serves in the military or law enforcement, this is the perfect gift. It will help their children understand the difficult job they do. It’s another one of my favorites!
This post started with 4 eerie pictures I found last year on Triptrivia.com. I saved them, and now I have time to share them. Unfortunately my link doesn’t work anymore, but I copied the words and pictures so I could research them.
Original link: https://www.triptrivia.com/answer/5c61be31cca5d000045ca39d
Island of the Dolls, Part 1
I don’t think dolls are creepy, but this picture sure is. It’s from the Island of the Dolls. I’d never heard of it until Trip Trivia’s post. The island is in the channels of Xochimilco. That’s south of Mexico City, close to the Estadio Azteca football stadium. Would you believe it’s one of the channel’s main attractions?
The story: a girl drowned near this spot. Don Julian Santana owned the island. After the drowning he got one too many scares he couldn’t explain. Then he spotted a doll floating along the shore. He had heard the dead girl still cried out for her missing doll. He decided evil spirits were behind it.
Don Julian started searching the canals and garbage for unwanted dolls. He hung them on trees to scare off those evil spirits. That was the 1950’s. Don Julian lived till 2001. The creepy part – he died of a heart attack, close to where he found that first doll.
This is the oldest one found on the island, but there are literally hundreds. They’re covered in cobwebs and bugs. YUCK! You can visit if you’d like, but I prefer the toy store ones that are bug and web-free.
Here’s a tourist map of Xochimilco, just in case you ever find yourself in Mexico City.
Map source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xochimilco
Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo, Italy, Part 2
I see dead bodies – really – in Palermo Italy. This was once the cemetery for the Capuchin Monastery, but in the 1500’s they ran out of space in the graveyard so the monks excavated the crypts below it. Once they pulled out all the coffins, they mummified the bodies.YUCK!
To mummify something you dehydrate it. That means you pull the water out of the dead body. The monks did it by putting the body on the ceramic pipes of the catacomb. After the water was gone, sometimes they washed the bodies in vinegar. P-U!
Sometimes they embalmed them, which usually involved 4 steps. Other bodies were sealed in a glass cabinet, but everyone wore their everyday or favorite clothes.
At first the catacombs were only for monks, but in time getting entombed there became a status symbol. It was the ultimate form of burial. Relatives donated towards the upkeep, but if they stopped payment, the body was put on a side shelf until the money streamed in again.
This is Rosalia Lombardo. She was one of the last people to get a spot in the catacombs in 1871. She looks like a ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ which is the pose she was placed in.
Make time if you want to visit everyone – there are about 8000 corpses and 1252 mummies, but please, no photos or touching bodies. Iron grills stop the touching, and I bet a big fine stops those photo ops.
The big map is the island of Sicily. The tiny one shows it beside the rest of Italy.
If you want to find Palermo, go to the northwestern corner of Sicily. Travel east to the next province. It looks like Palermo is the third bump along the coast line, and it’s Sicily’s hottest tourist spot.
The Hanging Coffins of Sagada, Part 3
Feel like hanging around for eternity? Go to the town of Sagada in the Mountain Province of the Philippines. These coffins are an old Igorot tradition. Not everyone is allowed to have one. One source said you had to have grandchildren. Another said you had to die from natural causes. Being old just might help you hang high in the sky
The early coffins were about a meter stick long. They were nailed or wired to the cliff. The higher your coffin, the better your social position. Do you curl up in a ball at night? The Igorot curl their dead up inside the coffin. They might break a few bones, but they believed it gave you peace.
Today things have changed. The coffins are now 2 meters long so no more broken bones, but the burials only happen every couple of years. Younger people prefer level ground.
This is a map of the Philippines. Find the province on the northwest coast, then go south 2 more provinces. I think that’s where Sagada is, but click the link below to see for yourself.
Travel north to the Chinese mainland or south to the island of Indonesia, and you’ll find hanging coffins there too.
Chernobyl, Ukraine, Part 4
I don’t see dead bodies – I see a region that’s dead, that’s frozen in time. It looks like it did 33 years ago when it was abandoned because of what happened at 1:23 AM on April 26, 1986. That’s when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded.
On April 27th the Soviets started evacuating the town next door, Pripyat. By May 14th they’d gotten everyone out of the 18 mile area around the plant. The pictures above could have been taken in 1986 or in 2019. No one has lived there since.
By April 28th the world discovered the spread of radiation. Workers at a nuclear plant 680 miles to the northwest in Sweden found radioactive particles on their clothes.
The map below shows the levels of radiation. The Confiscated/Closed Zone is probably part of that original 18 mile evacuation, but the radiation spread into Belarus and Russia itself.
Here are 5 creepy facts from my research:
1. The radiation in Chernobyl was the same as in Hiroshima, Japan after the atomic bomb.
2. The greatest danger was in the first few weeks, just like Hiroshima.
3. The firefighters suffered the most. They went in to stop the fires, but dozens of them died from radiation sickness.
4. Chernobyl didn’t have a containment building to protect it like a cocoon. If it had, very few people would have died. The environment would have been preserved.
5. Today animals like deer, moose, and boars are back, and so are the plants. Radiation is still there and will be for decades.
The Gates of Hell, Part 5
No bodies here! They would have been incinerated already. This fiery furnace has 2 other names - the Door to Hell, and the Darvaza Gas Crater, but I think it looks like the center of the earth.
Remember the good old Soviet Union? They were involved in this disaster too. Back in 1971 they found a natural gas field, and a camp of engineers started drilling. They didn’t know there was a pocket of gas. The field collapsed, the crater opened, but no one died.
The engineers were worried that poisonous gases like methane would be released. They decided to burn them off, thinking it would only take a couple of weeks. It didn’t. They’ve been burning now for 43 years.
The crater is 230 feet in diameter and 65 feet deep. It doesn’t look huge from here, but that’s about 80 yards across a football field and about 22 yards down.
If you decide to visit, try camping out in the Karakum Desert that’s pictured above. You won’t need to bring your night light.
To find the crater, go east from the Caspian Sea through the Balkan Province. Continue east to the red line that runs north-south from Dashhowez to Ahal. The crater is in Ahal, near the border.
I found Readers’ Favorite in August. Someone on my 12 x 12 writing forum had earned their star, and they were sharing their good news. I decided to check out Readers’ Favorite. You can pay for an express review. That means you get the review within 2-3 weeks, but it doesn’t affect the quality or rating of your review.
Readers’ Favorite also has free reviews, but you are not guaranteed one. Reviewers choose the books they want to do. They look over a list in their favorite genres. They look at the cover, read the description, sometimes a little of the book. Then they make a choice. Half of the submissions are reviewed within 3 months. Some are never reviewed.
I decided to opt for a free review. I sent my submission out August 30th. September came and went. I was busy working on other manuscripts, and I forgot about the review. Then October 14th I received an email from Readers’ Favorite. I was afraid to open it, afraid of what was inside. I knew it would be an honest review. I hoped for a 5, but I’ve been hopeful before and been disappointed. I prepared myself for a 3. Then I opened the email, and this is what I found:
Reviewed By: Emily-Jane Hills Orford
Review Rating: 5 Stars - Congratulations on your 5-star review!
Reviewed By Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite
Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon in 1969, had a passion for flying and aeronautical engineering from a very young age. An outing with his father to watch an airplane race in 1932 launched his passion. In 1935 he had his first airplane ride. As a boy, he built one model airplane after another (and a few paper airplanes in between), always looking forward to sending the finished craft zooming across the yard outside his bedroom window, just to see how far it would fly. He worked odd jobs, earning the money to finance his ever-growing fleet of homemade airplanes and to pay for his much-desired flying lessons at the nearby airfield. As a teenager, he researched and designed a wind tunnel, a project that earned him recognition. He graduated from high school in 1947 at sixteen, the youngest graduate at his school. He earned a Holloway scholarship to study aeronautical engineering at Purdue University. Little did anyone know then that this passionately brilliant young man would someday walk on the moon.
I remember that day in 1969. I was twelve. Not usually allowed to watch television during the day, I sat down with my grandmother to watch the historic event on a small ten-inch black and white television. My memories of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon parallels that of author Rinda Beach. A lot has been written about this astronaut’s accomplishments, but what’s interesting is the story Rinda weaves in her book, Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream. Written with young readers in mind, the story tells of a young Neil Armstrong and his growing passion for airplanes, flying, and the world beyond the skies. With occasional black and white sketches to parallel the story, the author develops a plot that will appeal to young readers and encourage them to dream big, to never lose sight of one's dreams and to work hard to achieve them. Every famous adult was once a child with a dream. Having fond memories of this historic event fifty years ago, it was a pleasure to read this story and learn more about the man whose passion encouraged all of us to dream big. A wonderful addition to the library of young people’s stories about flying and space travel.
If you’d like to see the review online at Readers’ Favorite, click on this link:
Have you ever been out somewhere, and something caught your eye? You wanted to know more about it, but how? Sunday I ate lunch at Texas Roadhouse. I looked up and found something looking down at me. I thought it was a buffalo.
My husband thought it was either a buffalo or bison, but he wasn’t sure which. Now I was curious. Same animal, or different? There wasn’t a computer in sight, but, I had my phone so I asked it, “What’s the difference between buffalo and bison? I couldn’t believe the answer!
The animal we all know from the Wild Wild West isn’t a buffalo – it’s a bison! Real buffaloes come from Asia and Africa. So what’s the difference? Read the paragraph below. Then test your knowledge.
First look at the head. There are 2 clues. Bison have huge heads. Buffalo have smaller ones. Bison have beards. Buffalo don’t. I read that bison are the cool cows! LOL! I thought that was funny!
Second bison have huge humps for their shoulders. They can use them as snowplows. I could use one this winter – LOL again! Now, can you tell which is which?
#1 and #2 Which is Which? Buffalo or Bison?
#1 is a bison. See the beard, big head, and shoulder hump? It’s a dead give-away! #2 is a buffalo from Asia. See its small head? It’s missing a beard and a hump! A dead give-away! Did you know Asian buffalo have horns that span 6 feet. This one sure looks that wide!
#3 and #4 Which is Which? Buffalo or Bison
#3 is a buffalo. It’s from Kenya, in Africa. Its horns are much smaller than an Asian buffalo, but it’s head is small, and there’s no beard or hump. #4 are American bison. All 3 have big heads, beards, and shoulder humps.
So how did this happen? How did bison get turned into buffalo?
The mix-up started when the first Europeans came over, before Jamestown and the Pilgrims of Plymouth. Think of the explorers in the 1500’s from countries like Spain, Portugal, England, and France.
Those explorers had been to Asia and Africa. They’d seen buffalo there, and they thought they saw them in America too. Now looking at them side by side, it’s easy to see the difference, but those explorers couldn’t. And that’s how buffalo and bison got misnamed.
Google Source: https://www.livescience.com/32115-bison-vs-buffalo-whats-the-difference.html
Google Me That!
Same day, same lunch, I was telling my husband about a movie I’d seen called The Fifth Quarter. The 2011 movie was based on a miraculous college football season from 2006, but I couldn’t remember the name of the college. Guess what – I googled it!
The team – The Wake Forest Deacons. The movie is about what happens when a family loses their 15 year old son in a car accident. They turn a tradgedy into a miracle for the team, for organ donors, and for families who lose their teenagers in car accidents.
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!