Part 3 – Rock the Boat – They’re at it again! The folks from Applebee’s have
another great ad on TV, and it’s a blast from my past! Have you heard it yet? I have,
and my toes still tap to that beat! Now, let’s rock that boat – but don’t tip the boat over!
Meet the Hues Corporation! They’re the voices behind the song. From left to right – Fleming Williams, H. Ann Kelley, and St. Clair Lee.
Would you believe Rock the Boat was almost a flop? The trio released it on their debut studio album in 1973. The first two singles didn’t go anywhere on the top 40 charts.
Rock the Boat was their 3rd single in early 1974, and it didn’t look good either – no radio airtime or sales activity. Then somehow it became a disco favorite in New York City dance clubs, and radio picked it up. The almost-failure hit the top 40 and reached #1 on July 6, 1974.
Rock the Boat was one of the earliest disco hits. I was nearly a sophomore in high school back in 1974. Disco wouldn’t hit Ohio until I was in college. That’s when Saturday Night Fever struck. Funny, I don’t remember it from high school, but I do – from college. Disco was HUGE.
Fun Fact # 1 - Wally Holmes wrote it, and first lines are important. Wally’s was “Ever since our voyage of love began.” The producer John Florez thought the lyrics were trite and overused, and he got Wally to change that first line. Now you know how they got the notion.”
#2 – H. Ann Kelley, the girl in the band, was supposed to sing lead, but someone thought bands with female lead singers weren’t commercially successful, so they gave it to Fleming Williams. He left the group soon after the recording. I wish someone had the notion to give the lead to H. Ann.
#3 – John put Rock the Boat out on the B side of the record. Back in the day, singles came out as 45 RPM records. The A side was the hit. The B side, not.
After it did so well in dance clubs, John remixed it. He boosted the bass and rhythm instruments. Then he re-released it, and the rest is history!
Here’s what I found when I looked up Applebee’s new commercial. Take a look at the promotional information. I’ve never seen it written out like this before, but I like having all the important information in one place.
OOPS! I almost forgot the most important part – the link! How else can you see the Hughes Corporation in action singing their #1 hit Rock the Boat?!
Google: Hues Corporation - Rock the Boat - Bing video
1. Restaurant image - By Michael Rivera - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40559229
2. Applebee's TV Commercial, 'Jungle Cruise: Rock the Boat' Song by The Hues Corporation - iSpot.tv
3. The Hughes Corporation - By RCA Records - www.album.it, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45459572
1. Hues Corporation - Rock the Boat - Bing video
2. Rock the Boat (The Hues Corporation song) - Wikipedia
3. Applebee's TV Commercial, 'Jungle Cruise: Rock the Boat' Song by The Hues Corporation - Bing video
Part 1 – Meet Simone Biles – This photo was taken in 2018 at the Voice of America (VOA). It’s the largest and oldest international broadcasting company. It didn’t say why Simone was there, but maybe she stopped into say she was back in the gymnastics game again.
Did you know she took 2017 off? I didn’t! That was the year after the 2016 Brazil Olympics, and Simone won 4 gold medals, the most ever for an American gymnast. I’m glad she took a year off.
Simone probably started training nonstop in 2011. That’s when she became an elite gymnast. Imagine training as your full-time job, and school what you fit around it.
And Me Too – I never found her training schedule, but I considered going into music. I played 2 instruments, and I was told to practice an hour a day, per instrument. That was the minimum to go into music, not to become a GOAT. I wonder what Simone puts in, on 4 pieces of equipment, per day.
Can you imagine the stress of being a GOAT? You always have to deliver. There’s no room for mistakes, and everyone makes those. Did you watch Simone in team qualifications, or in the preliminaries? She was GREAT, but not perfect. She looked unhappy after each performance, even though she was at the top of the leader board.
I wonder, if Simone’s a perfectionist. I’m a recovering one. I’m learning to be OK with mistakes, but I used to go over them, over and over, endlessly. Now I stop when they teach me something that will help me grow. I have a feeling Simone does that too.
I was shocked, when I heard Simone dropped out of the team finals. She put endless hours into each of her 4 routines, for 4 years. You don’t invest that kind of time, that kind of effort into something, then quit. I don’t, and I bet Simone doesn’t either.
You keep going, whether you’re injured, or sick, until you hit a wall that tells you, YOU HAVE to. For me, it used to be losing my voice. Then I could call in sick and get my kids a substitute teacher. For Simone, it was the twisties, and they don’t look like this photo.
Part 2 – What’s a Twistie? – It happens when a gymnast is flying through the air. They can’t tell where they are, or where to land. Planes have the same problem in fog. They don’t know which way is up, or down.
I discovered twisties on July 28th when USA Gymnastics announced Simone’s withdrawal from team competition. I was shocked till I learned more. Simone said her mind and body just weren’t in sync. She also said she didn’t think many people understood how dangerous gymnastic surfaces can be.
Take a look at the picture above. It doesn’t look dangerous. Then look at the one below. It is! I thought Simone was upside down. NOT – she was in the middle of one of her twisty-airborne moves. If she lost focus, she might have landed on her head, or neck. YIKES!
Simone also talked about not having an inch of control over her body, not knowing where she was in the air. But even scarier, she had no idea how she was going to land . . . or where. I can’t imagine being brave and talented enough, to keep going after that first twistie.
I didn’t know Simone had the twisties before Tokyo, on floor and vault. This year the bars & beam piled on too. YUCK! I’m glad she took a break, but I’m also glad she came back and won bronze in the balance beam. I read that she did it for herself. Yay, Simone! Here’s to your new life beyond gymnastics!
Part 3 – Daring Young Gymnasts – Do you remember the song about the daring young men on the flying trapeze? Now they’re flying around equipment in the gym. They’re defying gravity and some of the laws of physics. It’s crazy good, also a little scary.
Did you know that about 100,000 gymnasts are injured every year? The most common injuries are wrist fractures, cartilage damage, and ACL tears. Did you also know that gymnasts are starting earlier and doing more difficult moves?
Death is rare in gymnastics, but it happened to Melanie Coleman after a fall from the uneven bars. It also happened to Julissa Gomez in 1988. She was vaulting and slipped off the springboard. Falls are dangerous.
Adriana Duffy and Sang Lan were both paralyzed by vaulting accidents 11 years apart. I’m glad there’s a new, safer springboard and horse for athletes today.
Men and women both vault over them, the gymnastic kind. Men also twist and rotate around pommel horses. It’s amazing what gymnasts can do, and they make it look so easy!
Here’s the new springboard and horse. Look at the old one, then the new one. Can you see how they’re different, and why the new one is safer? I’m so glad someone figured that out.
Take a look at all the positions this young man rotated through in a few seconds.
WOW! Gymnasts are amazing!
How Can You Protect Your Young Gymnast? – I picked 10 tips to share. To read all of them click on this link: Safety Tips: Gymnastics (for Teens) - Nemours Kidshealth
1. Wear the proper equipment – wrist straps, guards, grips, and footwear. Use spotting belts for new moves.
2. Warm up and stretch. That’s true for any sport.
3. Only practice on padded floors, not a hard surface.
4. Find a good coach! Somone who knows the latest in safety. A good coach will spot you when you try new/difficult moves.
5. Tell your coach if you’re uncomfortable with a skill. If you can’t, tell a parent or an adult who’ll help you. Kids don’t want to tell anyone. I saw it with my own, and with my 2nd graders. Sometimes parents had to tell me what their child wouldn’t.
6. Don’t try a new move at a game or competition, UNLESS you’ve practiced it A LOT.
7. No jewelry, gum chewing, or clothes that can get caught on equipment.
8. Never train alone.
9. STOP! If you get hurt or feel pain. Then get it checked out by a grown-up.
10. Play other sports so that you don’t overuse the same muscles. That leads to injuries.
CONGRATULATIONS to the Olympic athletes from all over the world! Win, lose, draw, or withdraw – you played the games and did your best. Thank you for the memories, for the inspiration you’ve given us, especially to the young athletes waiting in the wings for their turn. THANK YOU!
PS – OOPS! I forgot to write about mindfulness, but lucky for me, I already did! The link below will tell you what it is, and show you a few exercises that are great for kids.
PPS – They can help us grown-ups too!
Link: Rinda Beach - Blog - Rinda Beach
1. Simone Biles reveals depths of twisties problem at Olympics (nypost.com)
2. Simone Biles - Wikipedia
3. Gymnastics deaths are rare, but previous disasters have prompted safety changes - CNN
4. Safety Tips: Gymnastics (for Teens) - Nemours Kidshealth
Started 7/27 Finished 7/29
I never imagined a fairy godmother could create havoc, but Shanna Swendson did. Ethelinda hasn’t made a successful match since Cinderella and Prince Charming. I love the complications that she brings to Book 3 of Enchanted Inc!
To-do: Stop the bad guys. Rescue the wizard. Find the perfect outfit for New Year’s Eve.
At last, Owen Palmer, the dreamboat wizard at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., has conjured up the courage to get Katie Chandler under the mistletoe at the office holiday party. But just when it looks like Katie has found her prince, in pops her inept fairy godmother, Ethelinda, to throw a wand into the works. Ethelinda’s timing couldn’t be worse. A plot hatched by MSI’s rogue ex-employees, Idris and his evil fairy gal pal Ari, threatens to expose the company’s secrets–and the very existence of magic itself. Even worse, it could also mean the end of Katie’s happily-ever-after.
Now Katie and Owen must work side by side (but alas, not cheek to cheek) to thwart the villains’ plans. Braving black-magic-wielding sorceresses, subway-dwelling dragons, lovelorn frog princes, and even the dreaded trip to meet Owen’s parents at Christmas, Katie and her beau are in a battle to beat Idris at his own sinister game. All mischief and matters of the heart will come to a head at a big New Year’s Eve gala, when the crystal ball will drop, champagne will pour, and Katie will find herself truly spellbound.
Started 7/19 Finished 7/26/21
If you love Romcoms like Bridget Jones, read Book 2 from Enchanted Inc, and follow Katie Chandler through her newest adventure! Magicians and fairies and stilettos, oh my! Throw in parents who are visiting when you’re trying to save the world!
Click your heels three times and say,
“There’s no place like Bloomies!”
Katie Chandler’s life is pure magic–literally. As an executive assistant at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., she’s seen more than her share of fantastical occurrences. A mere Manhattan mortal, Katie is no wizard, but she’s a wiz at exposing “hokum” pocus, cloaked lies, and deceptive enchantments. And she’s fallen under the all-too-human spell of attraction to Owen, a hunky wizard and coworker. Owen, however, is preoccupied. Someone has broken into his office and disrupted top-secret files, and it reeks of an inside job. CEO Merlin (yes, the Merlin) and taps Katie and her special ability to uncover the magical mole.
Keeping her feelings in check while sleuthing alongside Owen, Katie is shocked to discover that her immunity to magic is waning, putting her in grave danger. Soon she’s surrendering to the charms and enchantments of everyone and everything around her, including a killer pair of red stilettos. Katie must now conjure up her natural instincts to get to the bottom of the break-in, regain her power, and win the wizard of her dreams.
This is one of my all-time favorite books! I found it in 2005, and I’m rereading it, again! Imagine - having a nonmagical who can see what’s real, and what’s a spell. Go ahead – treat yourself to an adventure!
Katie Chandler had always heard that New York is a weird and wonderful place, but this small-town Texas gal had no idea how weird until she moved there. Everywhere she goes, she sees something worth gawking at and Katie is afraid she’s a little too normal to make a splash in the big city. Working for an ogre of a boss doesn’t help.
Then, seemingly out of the blue, Katie gets a job offer from Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., a company that tricks of the trade to the magic community. For MSI, Katie’s ordinariness is an asset. Lacking any bit of magic, she can easily spot a fake spell, catch hidden clauses in competitor’s contracts, and detect magically disguised intruders. Suddenly, average Katie is very special indeed.
She quickly learns that office politics are even more complicated when your new boss is a real ogre, and you have a crush on the sexy, shy, ultra-powerful head of the R&D department, who is so busy fighting an evil competitor threatening to sell black magic on the street that he seems barely to notice Katie. Now it’s up to Katie to pull off the impossible: save the world and–hopefully–live happily ever after.
I was looking for a book on my kindle feed that I wanted to read again. If you love dogs, and I do, this is the perfect book! There is really only one dog in the story, but I loved it through every single reincarnation. Each time it learns to love a new person. It learns a new skill that will later become part of the plot. This book is so well written! It tells each new story from the dog’s point of view, but keeps the thread alive through all the twists and turns in its lives. This is a great read!
PS – if you have kids who are into early chapter books, W. Bruce Cameron has six books written just for them. I loved Lily to the Rescue and recommended it on My Reads. Here’s the link: Rinda Beach - Beach Reads - Rinda Beach
Based on the beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose, from director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Dear John, The 100-Foot Journey), shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad) who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love.
Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog's Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.
A Dog's Purpose Series
#1 A Dog’s Purpose #2 A Dog’s Journey #3 A Dog's Promise
Books for Young Readers
Ellie's Story: A Dog’s Purpose Puppy Tale Bailey’s Story: A Dog’s Purpose Puppy Tale
Molly's Story: A Dog's Purpose Puppy Tale Max's Story: A Dog’s Purpose Puppy Tale
Toby's Story: A Dog's Purpose Puppy Tale Shelby's Story: A Dog's Way Home Novel
Started 7/7 Finished 7/9
This is the prequel to the Brothers Maledetti series. It came out last . . . it seems like it would be first. I think of writing as a sequential thing, going from the beginning to the end. That’s reading!. I’m glad Nichole decided to write the back story, the one about the parents! I had to read it!
Florence, Italy. Summer, 1982 – Judith Campbell prides herself on her level head. She’s a scientist with a ten-year plan, a well-managed bank account, and clear understanding of what she wants out of life. Currently, that means a summer of fun touring Europe with her friends. She intends to see some amazing scenery, flirt with a cute guy or two, and return home ready to settle down for good.
Falling madly in love with an Italian playboy is definitely not on her life goals to-do list.
But then her eyes meet those of Cesare D’Angelo across a crowded piazza. Cesare is everything Judith never knew she wanted. Handsome and charismatic, he challenges her assumptions and forces her rethink her logical approach to everything. Case in point—Judith finds herself falling for him, hard and fast. Definitely not her most carefully thought-out decision.
But Cesare keeps devastating secrets that will challenge Judith’s very understanding of reality. And soon Judith finds herself facing the most difficult decision of all--
Would you still chose to love someone even if your time together would be brief? Would you accept a relationship, knowing that only heartbreak and grief awaited you in the end?
Part 1 – February Has Come and Gone – So has the 4th of July! The last time I wrote about the Challenge was after Christmas. If you’d like to see where I was back then, here’s the link: Rinda Beach - Blog - Rinda Beach
I didn’t make it. I was in one of my writing groups, and I talked to them about my failure. I almost burst into tears. I failed because I didn’t make my deadline, but I wasn’t ready to quit. Back in February all 4 stories had grown by leaps and bounds so, I kept pushing.
Now 3 out of 4 are ready. ONE to go! Wahoo! It feels good to see light at the end of this journey. I don’t know when I’ll finish, and I don’t know if I’ll get a yes or no at the end of this quest. But I feel like I’ve won! I pushed myself to grow as a writer since last October, and that’s a very good thing!
Part 2 – ONE is DONE! – It took me until April to get it right. My Safety Story is only about 500 words long. I never expected it would take seven months. Writing IS one of the hardest things I’ve ever done!
I did two rounds of editing/critiquing before Christmas, and two after. In January I worked to make the main character’s arc stronger. Lynne Marie, Callie and my other writing friends pushed me to show that main character’s growth from the beginning to the end. They also pushed me to make the other characters stronger and more purposeful in their actions.
Then at the end of the month I tweaked the ending to make it stronger. I kept editing my characters and their actions. It worked! In early February I got Lynne Marie’s critique back – no suggestions! WAHOO! You can’t imagine how happy I was.
Lynne Marie also suggested I send it to Rate Your Story for feedback. They had some small things I couldn’t believe I’d missed. I made those changes and ran it past Callie’s critique group. Done! My Safety Story is still in the computer, waiting for me to get the other three agent- ready too!
Next to the Finish – My Nativity story – in May! Before Christmas it had one critique from Rate Your Story. My Reader said it needed more action so I worked on that early in January. Then I sent it off to Lynne Marie. Her response – OH MY! Not good.
She gave me lots of suggestions. I worked on being less heavy-handed with my words, and on making the kids drive the story, not the parents. Basically I was doing heavy surgery through the entire manuscript.
The hardest part was managing a story within a story. I had a pair of twins from the present, then Baby Jesus and his family to work into a cohesive story, with a narrative arc. Not easy peasy, but I made progress.
Lynne Marie’s favorite part of the new manuscript was the twist it took from a Nativity to a Christmas focus. It wasn’t perfect, but she encouraged me to push that angle. I did! By March I was ready to send it out again. For some reason, I don’t know why, I sent it to Callie, and I couldn’t believe the results!
Callie liked my January manuscript better than the new one. I listened to her and resurrected it. I worked on it in April and May, building the twins and their character arc. I looked at every single word to make sure they worked. In May – I finally finished!
Part 3 – The Third One, A Charm? I thought my duck manuscript would be my 3rd submission. I did three rounds of critiques and revisions before Christmas. Back then I changed the main character’s name, and I linked the duck and sister problems together.
After Christmas I worked with Lynne Marie again. In January she thought Liam should drive the story. She suggested fleshing out the sisters, and to keep working on connecting them to those ducks.
I sent in my February revision, and this time she said to look at the beginning and the end. Funny – that’s where the sisters are! I also need to keep building the sister/duck connection. It’s not strong enough, yet!
I took my March revision to Callie, and I got something new to work on – cutting back on the sisters at the beginning. Finally, progress! I fleshed them out enough! Wahoo! But the ending – it was still too fast! Picture books are tricky, to get just right!
In May, Callie said it was close, and that I should put a pin in it. I just nailed the nativity story the week before. She said the ducks were a regional, not a national story. The reason – those ducks caused problems for Liam. He wanted to get rid of them. Me too! Lots of people in publishing, and lots of readers wouldn’t want that. It makes it easier for an agent to say no to this story. But – Callie gave me another idea that IS ready . . . look down for a hint!
Callie’s Suggestion – Submit my ant story! It’s a middle grade novel, not a picture book, and it’s coming along. I stalled. Then I thought. I said why not? I always listen to her advice, because time after time she has good insights, so I did it again this time!
Last December I started another class with her. Before Christmas I was working on a chapter book with Zoe at the zoo. (That’s the Zoe from my newest book, Zoe’s Scavenger Hunt Fun.) I kept working in January and February. I planned to get back to the ant story in January, but I didn’t.
In March Callie started a chapter book critique group. I joined! I pushed the zoo story aside and went back to the ants. I’ve worked on it ever since. I just sent in chapter 11. Only 19 more to go! If I knock out 2 chapters a month, I’ll finish 9 months from now. Here’s to the great ant adventure!
Part 4 – The Final Manuscript – the dog story! Before Christmas it went through 4 rounds of critiques that sent me searching for a new dog name – Coco. The plot, with its tattling battle between girl and dog, had to move. It needed to be fun.
After Christmas Marlee needed more at stake, a reason to battle her dog. If I couldn’t figure it out, the plot had to change, a lot! In March a critique partner suggested using school as that stake.
It worked! In April Callie and company suggested working it in earlier. They saw chunks I repeated. Clean-up time! Another critique partner gave me a great idea to play with Coco’s bark.
In June Marlee needed some character building, and I found another clean-up job – too many stage directions for Coco and Marlee. The illustrations will show what they’re doing. The solution – put them in notes for the illustrator.
It’s almost August, and I found something else to tighten. I drifted away from that tattling battle. Time to move closer again! I’ll keep adding and cutting until the story’s just right. When I’m done, you’ll be one of the first to know!
Now Sitting on the Back Burner – My zoo scavenger hunt for Zoe and her family. It will stay there until I find the right opportunity for it. For now other stories are closer to publication, to earning money. If a story doesn’t sell, it won’t be published. It’s a sad but simple truth.
Sometimes words inspire us. They help us do what we fear. We pull them out when we need courage. Here are three quotes from three famous people about persistence.
Quote #1 – You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.
Who said it? Wayne Gretzky, the great one! He got it from his dad, Walter. Here’s a recording with information on Wayne that I didn’t include. It's about a minute long.
Link: Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
Wayne is from Canada where hockey is king! His parents bought their first house because the backyard was perfect to build an ice rink every winter. Walter encouraged his kids to take shots, even if they missed. It worked! Three of his four boys grew up to become professional hockey players. Wayne’s the famous one!
These are Wayne’s first skates. He wore them when he was three, and they’re definitely well used! I wonder how many shots he took in them. If you’d like to check them out, go to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
At six Wayne played on a team, for ten-year-olds. When he turned ten, he scored 378 goals and 139 assists in ONE season. No one counted his practice shots or misses. By age 13 Wayne had over 1000 goals. I wonder how many thousands of shots he took at those hockey nets by the time he was 13!
Wayne played in the National Hockey League from 1979 – 1999. He didn’t wait three years to get into the Hall of Fame. He was voted in his first year. Only nine other players have done that. I’m glad he took all those shots!
Wayne Gretzky - Wikipedia
Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
- Wayne Gretzky in 2006: By Kris Krüg, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36257814
- First Skates: By Resolute - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17891111
- Wayne and the Stanley Cup. He won it four times with his first team, the Edmonton Oilers:
By 117Avenue - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52424962
Quote #2 – Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.
Who said it? Madeleine L’Engle! Here’s a recording that’s about a minute long with her thoughts about inspiration. You’ll only find them on this link. Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
Madeleine wrote her first story when she was five. She started keeping her thoughts in a journal when she was eight. She was off to a great start, but she was also shy and clumsy. Some of her teachers thought she was stupid. Her parents didn’t know what to do, but Madeleine did. She turned toward reading and writing. I’m so glad she did! Books are always a great answer!
Madeleine graduated college in 1941, cum laude, with honor. By 1942 she published two novels, but by 1958 she only had three more books in print. It must have been disappointing for her.
Madeleine decided if she couldn’t sell a book by her 40th birthday in November of 1958, that she’d quit writing. She wanted to pull her weight, money-wise, in the family, but she couldn’t stop thinking up stories.
In 1959 her family took a ten-week cross-country camping trip. Would you believe that’s when the idea for A Wrinkle in Time arrived? After she quit? I’m so glad she kept thinking!
Nothing is instant, even for Madeleine L’Engle. She finished Wrinkle in 1960, but it was rejected more than 30 times before she found the right editor, the right publisher. In 1962 Wrinkle was born. Madeleine published over 60 pieces of writing, from fiction to poetry to nonfiction. I’m glad she didn’t quit! We would have missed out on some great writing!
Sources of Information:
- Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
- Madeleine L'Engle - Wikipedia
- Madeleine L'Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in Time - The Official Website (madeleinelengle.com)
Quote #3 – Genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.
Who said it? Thomas Alva Edison! Here’s a recording of the details behind the quote. Link: Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
Thomas went to school for a couple months as a kid, but he didn’t fit in. His mother homeschooled him so he could learn his way, from experiments. He went back as an adult – to take one chemistry class.
When he was 12, he developed hearing problems, but he learned it was a good thing – he could focus on work, without any distractions.
Thomas was also an entrepreneur. He made money selling candy, newspapers, and veggies on the local trains, and he was only 13. He used his money to buy supplies for his experiments.
Sometimes Thomas failed. He was experimenting with battery acid. It leaked through the floor and onto his boss’ desk. He was fired the next day.
But Thomas persevered and got his first patent for an electric vote recorder two years later. It didn’t sell, but Thomas kept experimenting. Seven years later he developed a new telegraph machine and sold it to Western Union.
The profits – he used them to build Menlo Park, the first industrial research lab, where he could constantly innovate and improve. Eventually his lab took up two city blocks and held over 8000 chemicals. Thomas also bought things like hair, silk, and feathers. They were a few of his supplies.
Thomas kept working. His next big invention was the phonograph, in the photo. The telephone transmitter, the electric light bulb, and the motion picture camera, they’re just a few of his inventions. Thomas also started 14 companies including General Electric. They all came from perspiration and experimentation – hard work.
Take a peek inside Thomas’ lab at Menlo Park, or go visit Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan.
- Menlo Park - By Andrew Balet - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5,
- Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
- Thomas Edison - Wikipedi
Take a trip to three of them. Why are they special? They all welcome those who create, those who make art. I’m a writer so I’m glad I qualify . . . because all three make me feel like I’m home!
#1 – Welcome to Riverside Art Center! It’s in my hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio.
They invite in artists of all ages! They’re known for their bucket of chalk at the door, ready for any artist to begin a new creation.
Riverside helped me launch my first book back in 2019, and they’re still helping me today. I’m grateful!
They also support other local artists. Look around the store. and you’ll see so much creativity – from paintings to stained glass. Pottery to woodwork. If you’re looking for something unique for yourself, or for a gift, Riverside is the place to go!
Riverside is also known for celebrating Wapak’s most famous citizen, Neil Armstrong. Come in and find a way to remember the first man to land on the moon.
Look at the photo below on the left . . . The house at the top was Neil’s home when he was in high school. The basement is where he built the wind tunnel that launched all his dreams.
Below it is the picture of the Wapak movie theatre. I saw my first movie there . . . Mary Poppins. I think it’s old enough that Neil went there too. I wonder what he watched?!
The other photo is my favorite table in Riverside . . . jewelry! Riverside has some incredible jewelry makers. One of them makes things like elephants and octopi from silverware. WOW!
If you’re ever in Wapak, stop into Riverside and the other stores on Auglaize Street. There are so many great shops within a couple blocks. PLUS – the Summer Moon Festival is coming . . . July 13th – 18th. I can’t wait!
Postmark has both of my lake books. I dropped them off in June, and this is the first time I’ve been back. I looked all over the shop, but had trouble finding them. Do you see either book?
The first time I took a walk through the shop, I found a shelf of books, but I didn’t see mine. I looked a second time, and that’s when I found them! We’re on a table with another children’s book. Its cover is gorgeous! Zoe is to its right, and Lake Fun is under Zoe.
I wandered through the shop taking pictures of the things that caught my eye. I admire artists, especially those who paint. Me, I draw stick figures! But I have a good sense of color, and what goes together.
The bird on the left caught my eye! I love the colors! I wish I had a place for it, but maybe that place is at someone else’s house.
I love woodwork, like the bowls and cutting boards. I admire people who create things I can’t. Buying their work makes me happy.
I can’t do pottery either. The mushrooms caught my eye because they’re whimsical and full of color. I’m glad I can share them with you!
The third shelf’s full of children’s toys. The giraffe’s my favorite. The rocking chair is close, if only I could tell who, or what, is sitting in it.
I love jewelry, and it was scattered through the shop. I couldn’t leave without another pair of earrings!
I also love whimsy, like the purple bear, the golden seahorse, or the blue birdhouse. So cute! If you’re near Lafollette, stop inside Postmark, and do your own treasure hunting!
#3 – Welcome to rindabeach.com!
Welcome to my home online! Usually I share my blogs and book reviews with you, but now I want to show you how to shop with me, online. Hover over Books, and you’ll find my three titles. Follow along, and I’ll show you where to find each one!
Here are my books in website order. Lake Fun came out last year and it’s found its niche on Amazon. It’s my highest-ranking book, but the only place you can buy it online – Amazon. Click on their link, and in seconds you’ll be in the checkout line.
You can also buy it from me at any event, or, by sending me an email. I’ll work with PayPal and USPS to get a personalized copy right to your house, without ever leaving home! My favorite part – autographing it to you and your favorite lake!
This is my 2nd book from the dropdown menu, but it was my very first, from 2019. I finished it in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Did you know building that wind tunnel was the first step Neil took towards fulfilling his dreams? I have the directions for a simple one in the back matter. It’s the length of your kitchen table. Neil’s – it took up most of his basement!
There are 2 online links to buy Neil from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but it’s also on IndieBound. And like Lake Fun, you can buy an autographed copy from me. I’m only an email away. Neil is my favorite book to autograph – I always personalize it with something about your dreams.
This is my newest book, the last one on the link. Zoe is a chapter book with journal pages at the end. You get to be my co-author and illustrator.
You can buy Zoe online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, or BiblioKid Publishing. Or, you can use the PayPal link and get a personalized autographed copy from me.
Pick one, two, or all three of my books to finish your summer of reading!
Don’t forget to pick up your free printable page and bookmark when you visit me online!
A MADNESS MOST DISCREET
Started 6/30 Finished 7/7
This is the last book in the series, and it won’t let you down. If you read the other books, you’ve been rooting for Tennyson, hoping there’s someone out there perfect for him. The first time I read it, I wondered if Nichole could find the perfect heroine for him. She did - in Olivia Hawking!
Together Tennyson and Olivia will help end the curse of the D’Angelo’s. How? Sorry, I can’t tell you, but I love the way Nichole left the crumbs of her back story in all four novels, AND, she stuck the ending!
PS – Next up for me – the prequel to the series, how the triplet’s parents met and married.
TENNYSON D'ANGELO . . . Darkness lives within each of us. Shadows. We are each capable of great goodness and unbelievable evil. It is the duality of being human. I want to live in the light. I don’t enjoy the shadows. But I’m not sure I’ve been given a choice in the matter. The shadows own me. They dance at my edges and tangle in my light. They torment my days and make my nights an anguished hell. I simply want to be free. One way . . . or another.
They call him the Prophet. Tennyson D’Angelo, the man who can foretell the future. A modern-day oracle. And Olivia Hawking desperately needs his help. She tracks him down in Italy, begging for his assistance. She has a life-or-death problem that only a bonafide psychic can solve. But Tennyson is slowly fracturing from within, the weight of the D’Angelo curse destroying him.
Olivia and Tennyson join forces, each searching for answers. But their understanding of the D’Angelo curse keeps changing, and Time is not on their side. Even as they fall in love, Tennyson and Olivia realize they are in a race against the clock. Will they find answers in time to save themselves?
Started 6/21 Finished 6/30
I met Chiara in book 1, and Jack in #2. I liked them both as supporting characters. They were both well developed , and it was fun to see them step into a story of their own. I never would have put them together, but I’m glad Nichole Van did. Enjoy this thriller with a Mafia twist that has Chiara hiding from the Italian mob, and Jack, in his ghostly form trying to protect her.
Chiara doesn’t like Jack. Jack doesn’t like Chiara.
The story should end there. Except . . . maybe Chiara finds herself daydreaming far too often about Jack. And maybe Jack finds Chiara aggravating in an adorable sorta way. Maybe Jack and Chiara find themselves falling in love. The problem, of course, remains. Jack is a ghost. And Chiara is not.
Jack Knight-Snow has had a bad year for losing things. So far he has lost a ship full of ancient treasure, his family, his friends, his title, his lands and money, his fiancé, the century into which he was born . . . oh, and his physical body. Worse, feisty Chiara D’Angelo might just finish the job and make him lose his mind.
For her part, Chiara simply wants to help Jack get his body back and move on with his life. She doesn’t want to like his snarky humor or his gorgeous eyes or the way he accepts her exactly as she is. She’s a hot mess when it comes to romantic relationships. Case in point . . . she’s developing feelings for a ghost.
But tackling the problem of Jack’s ghostliness is not straightforward. Soon, Jack and Chiara find themselves embroiled in a mystery which creates more questions about the D’Angelo brothers’ gifts of Second Sight. Set against the backdrop of Tuscany, Italy, Jack and Chiara race to uncover answers about the past before becoming history themselves.
Love's Shadow . . . . . . Started 6/5________________________________ Finished 6/20
I wasn’t a huge fan of Branwell or Lucy in the beginning. I’d forgotten they were a little too goofy for me, BUT, as I continued reading, I remembered how much I liked this book. It’s like Gladly Beyond because the chapters go back and forth between characters. The biggest difference is that Branwell’s take place in the past so Nichole got to thread in their backstory early in the novel. (I never get away with that! No LOL!)
Branwell is Dante’s identical twin, except for hair, clothes, and his GUT. Lucy was once Tennyson’s girlfriend and totally off limits, because of the brother thing. Tennyson is the most fragile of the triplets . . . he sees, hears, and feels the future. Lucy was like a buffer for him, keeping the bad emotions at bay, helping him hold onto his sanity. He was barely in the first book, but he has a huge role in this one.
The problem this time . . . Lucy’s niece Grace is missing. She VANISHED! Literally, all that’s left is a bloody red handprint, and the Italian police believe Lucy did it. (I never did!) This is the story of finding Grace again and resolving the issues between Lucy and Branwell. It’s a GOOD Read!
Branwell D’Angelo . . . Six years ago, I fell in love with Lucy—my brother’s girlfriend. Stupid of me, I know, but sometimes the heart doesn’t listen to reason.
Six years, I’ve lived on the sidelines. Seeing him love her, be with her, bask in her sunshine . . . I watched her break his heart and then cleaned up the shattered pieces of him she left behind.
She’s the one woman I can’t have but still the only one my soul wants. Now she’s back in our lives and needs the unique help only us D’Angelos can give. My brother’s not emotionally strong enough to face her. So he’s sending me instead . . .
When tragedy strikes Lucy Snow on a visit to Italy, she can’t bring herself to call any of the D’Angelo brothers for help. There are consequences for falling in love with your ex-boyfriend’s brother. But Lucy desperately needs Branwell’s paranormal skills and his gift of Sight. And if seeing him will negate at least three years of therapy? Well, it’s a price she is willing to pay.
Thrown together in a desperate bid to save an innocent life, Branwell and Lucy struggle against their shared past, only to realize that something even more dangerous is reaching through the weight of time to stalk their every move . . .
Part 1 – The Back Story – I’ve thought about this for a year or two, but didn’t . . . I was too afraid.
First learning something new isn’t easy. I also hate looking and listening to myself, almost as much as I hate nails on chalkboards. Publishing NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM in 2019 helped me get used to having my picture taken.
This year in May I signed up for a marketing class with Yong. We talked about what I was doing to help people find me. She suggested video as one way to connect to my audience, as a way to show what I can do as a speaker.
I started by diving into Yong’s Super 7 Live Streaming Video Challenge. I watched a video each day that modeled something new. Then I had homework. Can you guess what it was?
Making videos! They were terrible at first, but I got used to them. To seeing my face, to hearing my voice. I started to feel comfortable, and the videos got better.
I also learned to look for what I did right. I saw progress, and that kept me going. I also looked at what wasn’t right, not to pick on myself, but to look at how to improve.
The setup – I start with notes about my latest post. I didn’t use images on the 1st one, but pictures help! They give you extra information. They help me remember what to say.
I added them to the 2nd. I printed out pictures, but they were hard to hold. It’s like looking in a mirror and trying to point to the right spot. Last week I surprised myself by going to Zoom. I didn’t plan to, but it worked!
After the words and images are done, I run through them a couple times until I’m ready to try them on video. I record, watch, and repeat until I’m comfortable with what you’ll see. Then I save it.
No matter how hard I try, I’ll never make perfect videos. It’s like writing with permanent marker. You just can’t fix a mistake. It’s easier to start over again.
I’m trying not to be a perfectionist. It’s over-rated! I think close enough is good enough. So is your best. At some point we all have to decide the work is OK, and let it go.
Part 2 – My First Two Videos – The Madisons was the first video I posted. I was so nervous! I thought I was ready – I did seven videos as part of Yong’s class. OH MY! It was scary, but I’m glad I forced myself to take that step.
To get ready I wrote my script, then practiced talking through it. I made practice tapes to see how I did, and to see how I could improve. Then I finally made that final tape. OH WOW!
My secret – you never saw what I was looking at . . . my script. It was my security blanket. The only thing I had to remember was to focus on my camera. It’s the dot of yellow at the top of my computer.
I also looked at the length of the video. My first try was 11 minutes. I cut out a whole section about Dolley. I’m glad I did!.
I kept in the part about Little Jimmy, how he wrote the Constitution, and last, how he got Aaron Burr to introduce him to Dolley. I like to find the fun quirky details about people.
The HARDEST part – saving and downloading it. YIKES! I was supposed to go live at 3:00. I was 10 minutes late, but I was still sweating it out. I didn’t start taping until 1:30 on Sunday, and time flew, LITERALLY!
I finally finished taping my video at 2:40. Then I had to wait for it to download, find the notice in my email, and save it. FINALLY I could post it on Beach Girl Press. By the time I finished, it was 3:15. That was too close for me, and, no fun! It was enough to make me move taping to Saturdays.
I learned my lesson for the second video, The School of Word Play. I recorded it on Saturday, and I thought I was on track. I practiced my script. I made practice tapes so I could manage those vocabulary cards. I felt OK with everything, so I recorded and saved the video.
THEN I hit a problem – I had to download it onto my Beach Girl Press account on Facebook. That’s my business page. I think I started downloading around 2 on Sunday. I thought I’d make my 3PM deadline, but my video didn’t post on Facebook until 4:22. I had two terrible hours, full of panic and frustration! But, live and learn . . . I discovered a few tricks to make that download go faster!
BTW – here are the four words that I tried to say, and on video . . . OH MY!
Part 3 – Videos #3 & 4 – I felt comfortable talking my way through this one. It was my third video, so speaking to an audience that I’ll never see, it felt OK . . . until I held up pictures like this refrigerator.
I didn’t have trouble with the picture. I had trouble pointing to things I wanted you to notice . . . like the top left corner of the fridge. It’s the new one with my son’s family. How do I know? There are 4 names up there, not 3 . . . 2 go across, and 2 go up and down. My grandson is now officially family! His big sister was there already.
It’s HARD to point things out! Every time I tried, I was pointing at the wrong side. It’s a lot like trying to point something out when you’re looking in the mirror. Everything’s reflected . . . but in reverse. It’s the same with the reflection in a swimming pool. You think you’re reaching for a coin, but you miss . . . by a lot! TRICKY!
This came from video #4. It was about service dogs, financial literacy, and responsibility. I was planning on doing it on Facebook Live, but when I went to record, I switched to Zoom. I didn’t plan it . . . it just happened. I’ve done classes and critiques on Zoom, but I’ve never been in charge of the meeting or the video. THAT – was a whole new element.
When you have a new variable, it throws everything off balance. You don’t feel comfortable. You’re on edge, trying to keep things under control while trying to look calm, cool, and collected. TRICKY!
When I practiced, I worked on what I wanted to say about the pictures, and on moving from Zoom to Microsoft Word, then back again. It took a little longer to practice, but I got it done!
PS – My newest challenge – adding another site to share during the video. The last one was about editing and revision. I had it done, only 6 minutes long! Then I went back to save and trim the beginning and end. That’s when I discovered the problem. I could hear me talking about it, but no pictures, and a picture’s worth 1000 words! I took you home, to my author page on the international worldwide web so I could show you how to find my books, and the free journal pages.
When you make a mistake, you need to figure out where you went wrong. Mine – I didn’t click on Share New. I practiced switching around a few times and I recorded my efforts, only a minute or two to see if I could get that part right. I did! I reshot the video. I slowed down, took my time, and was happy with what I’d shot . . . until I saw the time . . . 11 minutes! OOPS! Live and learn! Shorter is always better!
See you on Sunday at 3PM! I’m still debating if I’ll share this post, or the next one I start writing. I guess we’ll both find out on Sunday!
Routing Myself through Revision – Revision is the highway I take to move a manuscript from first draft to publishing. I’ve been on this one everyday since October 2020. I’m prepping 4 manuscripts for an agent audition. It’s June, and I finally have 3 manuscripts agent-ready. WAHOO! One to go!
Part 1 – The Route . . . with a New Manuscript - This is like driving blind. I use my writing experience to get me on the road. I always start with an outline. It’s my road map. I drive from one point, to the next, until I reach the end of that outline, the end of the story. I’ll write a whole picture book manuscript before I send it out for a critique.
This baby idea is from my newest picture book. I started writing it this week – research first. I found a website with great information. I copied the link, the pictures and some of the words from the website. Then I wrote the first couple pages.
I won’t revise until I finish the baby story. It’s parked in my computer, for now. I have a picture and chapter book that I’m running back and forth between critiquing and revising. Whenever they give me a break, I’ll slip back to my new idea.
When I finish writing, then I’ll start revising. How? By listening to the words on Narrator. It helps me focus. I listen to make sure the story’s making sense, that it flows along, and that the words fit together.
The first time through a manuscript . . . that’s when I hit the most bumps. Sometimes even a pothole or two. It gets smoother each time I listen. Then I take a break. Leaving, then returning helps me to listen better. I usually do 2 or 3 rounds of editing before I move onto the next phase . . .
I read it aloud. It helps me find the last tangles and bumps in the words. I repeat my rounds of 3 until I like the way the words flow, until I find myself changing back and forth between the same 2 words. Then I’m done. I’m ready to send it off to be critiqued.
When I send a story out, I’m not looking for a grade. That’s for teachers and school! I’m looking for feedback. Pretend the star picture is a story. I’d critique it by writing what I like and what could be better. I’d look at the color and size of the shells. Is the red enough? Do I need other colors? Do the shells show up against the sand? Is there anything I should add or delete?
That’s what I want from my critique partners! What’s good? That gives me hope. What could be better? That helps me move the story forward!
Part 2 – The Route . . . with a Picture Book Manuscript – This is the story about my dog. It all started with Leia and my daughter back in 2011, but this year it changed A LOT. I hope it will be the 4th story for my agent audition challenge.
I’ll show you a few comments I got from Bonnie two weeks ago. I used them to prepare for a critique last week, and guess what? They worked!
After a critique, my first step is to copy and paste all the comments into my manuscript. Then I go through them one by one. I look at them and try to make changes.
Sometimes I can’t make changes right away, so I move onto the next comment and come back later. Then it’s easy because I know what to try. Sometimes I decide I like it the way it is, and I leave it alone, for now.
Here are some suggestions I looked at a couple weeks ago . . .
Screenshot #1 had 2 comments from Bonnie. She suggested changing the first line because Mom’s driving the action. In a picture book the kids are supposed to do that. I kept it because it sets the stage and introduces the setting and the main characters. I’ll leave it for now.
I listened to Bonnie on the next one. Jumping on the bed and tugging at the covers doesn’t drive the story, and the illustrator can show them better than I can write them. I put the words into art notes. This image doesn’t fit the picture in my head, but the illustrator will show Coco jumping on the bed and tugging at those covers.
Screenshot #2 has one suggestion. Bonnie thought I should get rid of Coco nudging Marlee down the stairs. She said try putting it in dialogue instead. I did!
In picture books I use words wisely. I try to stay under 500 words – so no room for stage directions. Instead I pick ones that are fun to read, fun to listen to. These aren’t Coco’s steps, but I hope they help you picture the one from the screenshot.
Can you see Bonnie to the right of her comments above? That’s where I usually find them, after someone’s name. No matter where they are, I cut and paste them into my manuscript. That’s how I begin revision.
Bonnie suggested two changes. She thought the line about Coco and her paws were stage directions. I took her advice and turned them into art notes.
When Mom talked about trouble. Bonnie thought Marlee should get that line. I agreed, and it was an easy change to make! BTW - this isn't my Marlee or Coco either, but I love imagining them together.
After I’ve made all the changes, I click narrator. It’s my best friend! I listen and look at the comments in red to see if they work. I do that 2 or 3 times before I pull them out . . . I don’t need them anymore.
Now it’s time to go back and listen to the whole story. If I hit a bump or a pothole, I fix it, go back a paragraph or two. and listen again. I listen from start to finish at least three times. I’m done if I like the sound of my words. No bumps or snags or tangles! If not, I repeat until it is. (LOL – I do lots of repeats!)
There shouldn’t be any snags or tangles left, but I always find some when I head into the final phase – reading the words out loud. Starting at the beginning and reading to the end. I read in rounds of three until the story is tangle-free. Then – I’m ready for the next critique.
The results . . . Bonnie’s suggestions were right on! When she looked at my story, it had 509 words. I took her advice and added art notes. (They don’t count toward the word count because they won’t show.) That cut the words down to 461. My critique group liked the new revision, and they suggested I look for more places where art notes are more effective. I did . . . the word count sits at 436.
What’s left? The last two steps – listening with narrator and reading it aloud. I have time to polish. My next critique is in two weeks. That’s when I’ll know how I did on my changes. The proof is always in the critique!
Part 3 – The Route . . . with a Middle Grade Manuscript – I started my ant story back in 2011. I kept going back to the beginning and getting it edited. I was afraid of taking the wrong road, and I did – because fear kept me in a roundabout. I found my way out when I finished it for a conference in 2016. Last May, in 2020, I did another round of editing & revision on those ants with my mentor Callie.
I started in chapter 1 and did an analysis of story structure from the beginning to the end as I edited. It was the most thorough review I’ve ever done of a story.
When I started this round, I had a saggy middle . . I pulled it up! I made it all the way to chapter 26! Woohoo! Then I stopped. Time is never your friend even if you’re retired! I had other projects coming due, so I put my ant story aside.
In February 2021 I pushed my zoo chapter book to the back burner and set those ants on the march. I’ve been working on them since then. In the next section I’ll show you some of the edits I just made on Chapter 8. I’ll clean up all the snags and tangles I can, but I’ll leave notes behind for the next round of edits. It will come. Now, here’s chapter 8.
Screenshot #1 - Look at the first line in pink. There are two comments to address. I started with the 2nd one, the antennae check Callie didn’t like. My guess, it’s a little mean. Heather gave me some ideas for other ways Antinet could show anger. That helped me revise. I left Antinet shouting, got rid of the antennae, but had her asking about the missing humans. I’ll know if it works when Poppy goes through her next round of editing.
The next line I looked at started with ‘a few ants.’ Heather suggested that if Poppy heard giggles behind her, it would help the reader imagine the room she’s in. It was an easy change to make!
In the last comment, Heather thought Poppy went from hesitant to rambling too quickly. I decided to have Poppy clutch her claws and picture what she’d seen. I’m hoping it shows Poppy’s change in mood.
Screenshot #2 - This time I numbered the comments to make it easier for me to write, easier for you to read. The 1st comment is terrific! Callie loved my line about Kings. Comments like that are great – they give you hope, and keep you writing. They also give you a target to write towards.
Comments 2 and 3 refer to ‘only five.’ Heather was confused about that number and using those 5 humans wisely. I broke it apart. Antinet still talks about the 5 humans who are left. The next paragraph lets the room react. Then in a new paragraph Antinet asks how the colony can use them wisely. I’ll have to wait till the next round of revisions to see if it worked!
With #5, I didn’t make any changes because Poppy is the idea ant. She was the only one who had an idea about how to fix the food-room problem – so I left the line alone, for now.
Screenshot #3 - This is the note I add to the top of all my chapters this time around. First I look for any comments Callie made from last summer. That’s where I start editing.
The next 3 lines came up last summer somewhere around chapter 3. The 3 main characters were too much alike. I added this note to chapter 4. Then I clicked ‘Find’ and the name of the character.
I went through the chapter doing 3 rounds of listening first for Poppy, then for Snapdragon, and finally for Foxglove. I reread that description line when I started a new character. IT WORKED! I left it in this year to make sure each ant held onto their individuality. It’s still working!
Part 1 – The Price of the Dog
I love dogs! The first one is a border terrier like my dog Leia. The second is a doodle, the kind of dog I’d love to have. I’ve never thought of the price, beyond the fee you pay the breeder or the adoption fee, but there’s more. Much, much more.
I didn’t realize until I got an email from Abby at Bankrate.com. It was all about how to buy a service dog. Abby asked if I’d add her link to a post I did about working dogs. I said I could do even better . . . I’d share her information with my audience, with Abby’s permission, of course! Here’s her link: https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/how-to-afford-a-service-dog/
Meet a real service dog! How do I know for sure? From its vest!
Service dogs don’t come cheap! The average price – from 20,000 - $60,000. Why so much? Because of all the training they need. A service dog needs to know what to do, whether it’s assisting someone who’s blind or someone who has seizures. The dog has to perform every single time. He has to do his job.
Imagine if you’re blind and your dog stops guiding you in the middle of a street. If you have seizures, a dog can warn you ahead of time so that you can get yourself into a safe position. Can you imagine how much better a dog could make your life? It’d be miraculous! But there are more costs involved, and you need to make sure you can take care of your dog and keep it safe and healthy!
1. Dog Food – The cost per year – about $400, depending on the brand you buy. My Leia only got dry dog food, but we were an Iams family, because that’s what our breeder recommended. When she got older, and pickier, we probably paid more for her dogfood, but we never bought the canned or refrigerated stuff. That was too expensive!
2. The Veterinarian – Average vet care per year is about $260. That’s for both regular and emergency cases. Our dog had yearly checkups, shots, and medicine. We did have one emergency – she dragged some chicken bones out of the trash and tried to eat them. Oh my! I have never seen anyone or anything in so much pain! We took her into a doggy emergency room. I didn’t know there was one! They gave her something to help her pass the chips. She was better than ever! She lived to be 15, which is a really old age for a dog.
3. Health Insurance – If I had a dog worth $20,000, I would definitely get it health insurance. My granddog has it. My daughter says it’s a lot like human insurance.
I also wondered if it worked like cars do – if your dog died, would it help you buy another service dog? I don’t know! I couldn’t google the answer.
4. Heartworm protection – I did this for my dog. I don’t remember how often, but the link price was about $120 a year. Cheap compared to having your dog die because of worms. Yuck! What an awful way to go!
5. Flea and Tick protection – I did this for my Leia. $200 or whatever I paid was a small price to keep her safe. Fleas are insects that live on dogs. They bite and make them itch. Ticks bite dogs too, but they stay attached so they can live off the dog’s blood. Yuck!
Even worse, fleas and ticks can also leave pets to come live on you. They carry diseases that can make you or your pet sick. That’s another reason it’s important to protect your pet from these tiny insects!
6. Toys and Treats – Dogs need to have fun, just like you and me. $75 is a small price to pay to keep you and your service dog safe and happy.
The grand total, to take care of your service dog, is $1280 per year. No wonder my husband doesn’t want me to have a dog. That’s half the reason why. The other half - a pet’s like having a kid. You have to take care of it. You don’t just leave it home alone.
Part 2 – The Steps to Finding Your Dog – Now that you’ve decided a Service Dog is in your future, there are a couple steps to take ahead of time before you pick your dog.
Step 1 – Find the Program that Matches You: One kind of program helps veterans who served our country. They train dogs to meet the needs of soldiers whose service left them scarred.
Another program is for people with autism. They have trouble with social, emotional, and communication skills. Dogs help them too.
There are still other programs for people with physical disabilities. Moving, seeing, or certain health problems are difficult. There are dogs for them too.
Children can have autism or physical disabilities too, and there are dogs who are trained just for them, not for grown-ups.Bankrate.com has links for each program.
Theirs again: https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/how-to-afford-a-service-dog/
Step 2 – Determine Your Eligibility: Did you know you have to qualify for a program? Your level of severity (difficulty) has to be high enough. Did you know some breeds fit some medical conditions better than others? People who train service dogs want to make sure they find the best match for you, and for their dog.
Knowing your program can help you decide if you’re a good fit. Your doctor can help you and answer questions along the way.
When you’re doing your search, make sure that the program fits ADI standards (Assistance Dogs International). You want to make sure you get a dog who has the skills you need, not a fake.
Step 3 – Gather Supplies: Not sure what to get? Ask the people who are training your dog. They should have a supply list. My breeder did. She wanted to make sure her dog went to a good home.
Don’t wait until your dog arrives! Doing a little bit at a time spreads the cost, and the joy. You’ll need things like toys and bowls and medication. Some things like dog food can wait until the very end.
Another question to think about – do you want a service dog certificate, and can they get you one? If you travel, a paper might offer proof, and make your trip easier.
Part 3 – Financial Considerations – This is where the rubber meets the road. You know what your dog will cost. Now – to find the money! How? Here are some options for you.
1. Grants – This is like free money, sort of. You don’t have to pay it back, like you do with a loan, but there’s a catch . . . You have to fill out an application, and you might get the money . . . you might not. If it’s basic information, that’s easy. But it could be a lot more work, with no promise of a payday. Just hope!
I wrote a couple grants to get money for science equipment for my second graders when I was still teaching. It was WORK! I researched my topic, the equipment I wanted, and the experiments the kids would do. It was a LOT of work! And I didn’t know until a month later if it would pay off. It did! Twice!
Click on the Bankrate.com link again to find their grant information. https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/how-to-afford-a-service-dog/
2. Fundraising – Look for ways to raise money in your community and beyond. I saw an author put out a call to the kidlit community. She needed help buying a service dog. I donated money, and so did a lot of other people. She didn’t have to pay me, or anyone else back, and I felt good because I helped her.
There are places online like GoFundMe where you can find help. There are also groups in your community who might help. It never hurts to ask! People love to help good causes. I do!
3. FSA Accounts – Huh? What’s that? I had to look it up. FSA stands for Flexible Spending Account. A lot of people have this as part of their regular insurance coverage. That means X dollars come out of your check every time you’re paid, and it goes into a special account. It’s still your money, but it can only be spent on medical care.
The big advantage – you can’t be taxed on that money. If the government takes out 10% from your paycheck, you get to save that money in your account. If you have $100, you save $10. You’ll get a little interest, but the big advantage is that you get $100 in your account, not $90. Over a year, that’s an extra $120 for your medical care. That’s a great thing!
4. Personal Loans – Yes, you can borrow money. As long as you meet the bank’s loan requirements, you’ll get the money you need. The catch – you’ll have to pay the bank back, with interest. If you borrow $100, and they charge you 10% interest on that loan, each month you’ll pay money on your loan, and on the interest.
At first you pay mostly interest. The longer you pay, the more you pay towards principal. That’s the money you originally borrowed. You’ll also pay the bank back more money than you borrowed. If you pay $20 a month, your loan would be paid off in 5 months, but you’d owe $50 in interest. Pay $50 a month, and you’d only owe $20 in interest. The lesson – pay back your loan as quickly as possible!
5. Other Financial Considerations – Bankrate.com had 8 tips to consider, but I picked out three. #1. If you can’t get full assistance, buy your own dog, and find an independent trainer who’s certified. It’s a lot cheaper! #2. Some dog food and vets will give you a discount if you have a service dog. #3. If you need financial aid, try places like the Humane Society. They might be able to help.
Want to read the other five? Click on bankrate.com!
6. The Bottom Line – Service dogs are expensive, BUT you’ll get a lot out of them. You’ll have a friend for life, and that life will be easier and better. Close your eyes and imagine trying to get around your house without help. No peeking! Then imagine having a dog to guide you. A dog would be priceless!
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!