Friday, December 31, 2010

Use the Library

Use your Library to Live Light and Save

By Debra L. Karplus, MS, OTR/L

Libraries have changed greatly over the past few decades. No longer are they sterile places that only have books to borrow and where one must be silent. When was the last time you heard a librarian say ‘shhhhh’ to a patron? Many of today’s libraries have become gathering places for families and friends to enjoy a cup of cappuccino with a freshly baked fruit filled muffin, attend an interesting lecture, or check out a wide variety of media. Typically your home real estate taxes support your local library; so why not spend more time at the library and get your money’s worth. You will be surprised at the dollars that you can save.

Borrow instead of buy; it always stretches your dollar.

How many books do you purchase that you only read once, or maybe you do not read then at all? The library is a great way to explore a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction topics. Many libraries will even special order a book that you request, or obtain it through the library system that they are part of with neighboring libraries. And, if you find a book to be especially useful, you can ultimately buy it online at a discount.

Going to a movie at your local theater can be expensive, especially if you bring the entire family or go in the evening. Even video rentals are not free. But many public libraries have free videos and DVDs, in excellent condition, that you can borrow of popular movies, educational films ‘how-to’ ideas like home improvements or cooking, and more. Next time you are at the library peruse the media section. You may be pleasantly surprised to see how extensive the collection is. The same holds true of the CDs, with anything from popular music, Broadway musicals, classical music and other genres.

How much do you spend each year on magazine subscriptions? Generally, you read a magazine once, especially if it’s a timely news magazine; and eventually you need to take it to the recycling center. It’s likely that your library subscribes to the magazines that you are receiving at home. Cancel those home subscriptions, and spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon in a comfortable library chair reading your favorite magazines in the periodicals section. Magazines for teens and younger children are also at your library.

Utilize the free computer and databases at the library.

Most libraries have a section or room filled with computers for the public to use. Many libraries are even wired for free wifi. Bring your portable computer and you are ready to work or study. What a great place for your children to do their homework! Additionally, libraries often subscribe to databases that you don’t have at home. For example, if genealogy is your passion, the library may have online newspapers from other towns, birth notices, specific immigration websites and other electronic sources to find helpful information.

Entertain your children in the library’s kid section.

The weather outside is terrible and the kids are becoming restless staying at home. Why not head to the library. Children’s departments have become lively places for children to play and interact. Besides books for all aged children including even the very little ones, you are likely to find toys, puzzles and games, also. And check the library’s calendar of events. Many libraries have daytime or bedtime story hours and a variety of other age-appropriate activities.

Attend free adult and family-oriented library programs.

On a given evening or weekend afternoon, interesting, informative and fun programs are scheduled at the library. A banker or financial planner may be giving a free lecture about retirement savings. A published author could be speaking about her upcoming novel. A well-travelled local teacher might speak about a recent trip to China. Or possibly a chamber group is entertaining library patrons with some selections from Beethoven pieces. Why spend money at symphony hall when you can be enjoying these and many other free library events!

Spend a little money at the library for big savings.

Many libraries frequently discard older books, magazines, CDs, videos and DVDs. They do this by having sales, with bargain-basement prices. Some even sell bag loads of books or other materials. Inquire if your library will be having a sale; or volunteer your time to help organize one.

You are probably already paying indirectly for goods and services of you local library. Plan a library visit with the family when you have a block of time. Give yourselves a tour of all that is to be offered. The library can easily become a regular favorite family spot with savings galore. Check it out.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Head Lice: a poem

Head Lice Are Not Nice

By Debra L. Karplus, MS, OTR/L

You learned in school, that bugs are cool. They have a body, six legs and a head.
Also called insects, bugs living outdoors are quite well fed.

But in your house, much smaller than a mouse, bugs find crumbs to make a meal.
Some bugs fly and others crawl.
But watch out for the ones that bother you, because they are the worst of all.

Mosquitoes spread diseases, so it’s best to avoid their sting.
To avoid itchy mosquito bites, stinky bug spray may be the best thing.

But the grossest little critters may be crawling around your head.
Tiny little head lice are the bugs that you should dread.

You won’t know that you have them, until your head begins to itch.
Short hair, long hair, blond hair, brown hair, it doesn’t matter which.

If your scalp gets real itchy, get your mom to take a look.
She can learn what head lice look like from the Internet or a picture book.

You don’t need to see the doctor if your hair gets full of lice.
Most kids get them at least once, hopefully not twice.

The best way to de-lice your hair is with special shampoo or fine-tooth comb.
Mom will also need to clean sofas and pillow cases, and other fabrics in your home.

BUT, since head lice, are not nice, it is best to follow this advice…

Since you never know who might have the little critters in their head.
You must be careful at sleepovers where you put your head in bed.

Many kids get head lice from other kids at school.
Don’t ever put on someone’s hat, even if it looks real cool.

You might think your hair looks messy and you want to fix it in a rush.
But don’t be tempted to use someone else’s comb or brush.

You can even get head lice in your hair from lying on a rug,
Or even if your hair touches lice-infested hair when giving a friend a hug.

Just remember that head lice are not nice, so be sure to follow this advice!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Formation of NASA

The Formation of NASA

by Debra L. Karplus, MS, OTR/L

Space travel has always had a presence during your lifetime. But, prior to the late 1950s, space travel existed only as science fiction. Long before there was Mr. Rogers, that mellow Public Television gentleman from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, who always wore a cardigan sweater and pacified you daily, there was a livelier Mr. Rogers, a fictitious character whose neighborhood was outer space.

The idea of space travel was fiction before the formation of NASA.

Ask your parents or grandparents about Buck Rogers. They’ll recall that Buck’s exciting adventures were chronicled, starting around 1928. This Mr. Rogers heroically travelled in space and became part of pop culture through novellas, comic strips, a radio show, movies, and finally, a television series.

Competition with Russia was the motivation for establishing NASA.

In the 1950’s, Russia and the United States seemed to be in constant competition, not unlike today’s sixth graders trying to wear the coolest athletic shoes. In 1957, when Russia launched Sputnik satellites into space, this rivalry focused on a race to space. Consequently, on October 1, 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Act (NASA) was signed into law by United States President Dwight Eisenhower (Ike).

The purpose of the formation of NASA was to do scientific research and stimulate public interest in aerospace exploration. In 1961, one of the priorities of newly elected President John F. Kennedy (JFK) went far beyond exploring space; he declared in a speech early in his term that by 1970, man should go to moon, land there, and return safely. This planted the seeds for the NASA of today. Despite the untimely death of JFK, the space program maintained momentum.

The different NASA missions have each had specific research goals.

There have been several NASA missions, each with unique goals. Some of the most well known early missions have been Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.

The Mercury Space missions occurred from 1961 to 1965 and included two unmanned missions and seven manned missions, ending with MA-9. Mercury missions were intended to be manned, orbit around the earth, question man’s ability to function in space for longer than 24 hour duration, and return man and the spacecraft safely to earth. Alan Shepard was one of Mercury’s first astronauts. In 1962, John Glenn was the first person to orbit around the earth. Mercury missions lasted from fifteen minutes to thirty-four hours.

The twelve Gemini missions occurred from 1965 to 1968. Virgil “Gus” Grissom was one of the first Gemini astronauts. Neil Armstrong manned Gemini 8 in 1965.Gemini missions were the bridge to moon travel and explored the concepts of weightlessness, rendezvous, and docking. Gemini missions lasted from five hours to fourteen days.

Seventeen Apollo missions occurred from 1968 to 1972 each lasting approximately one week. The goal of the Apollo missions was to fulfill Kennedy’s dream of landing a man on the moon safely. Six of the Apollo missions accomplished this, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17. Kennedy would have been smiling on July 20, 1969 when Neil Armstrong on Apollo 11, walked off spacecraft, set a small American flag on the moon and stated “one small step for man, one giant step for mankind”.

The malfunction of the Apollo 13 caused some injuries, but thankfully all three astronauts, led by Jim Lovell, arrived home alive. This aborted mission was the subject of the 1995 major motion picture, not very creatively entitled, Apollo 13. Scientists are still not superstitious about the number thirteen.

Women can be astronauts, too.

Though the names you hear about on the early space missions are all men, woman have done much of the work on the ground in the space race. Since NASA’s inception, female scientists have made great strides both at Washington DC’s NASA headquarters and at Cape Canaveral, on the east coast of Florida, where most launches occur.

Sally Ride was the first American woman in space. She was on Challenger missions in 1983 and 1984, and has spent over 343 hours in space. In the 1980s and 1990s, of the 94 NASA flights, 57 had at least one female crew member. The 28 flights from 1995 to1998 had 22 flights with at least on woman on board. So, women are indeed catching up in America’s space program.

Space travel may be safer than driving on the highway, but there have been

In the more than fifty years since the formation of NASA, sadly there have been three major tragedies where astronauts have been killed in space. Probably a coincidence, but all have occurred in the month of January. Despite the overall success of NASA missions, it received much criticism after each of the calamities.
The 1967 fire on Apollo 1 during launching killed Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White who were trapped inside the capsule. This set the space program back approximately twenty-one months. Over one thousand changes were made to the design of the capsule, as a result of this fire.

It was unusually cold on the 1986 January morning when the Challenger exploded on take-off due to gaps in the seals. All seven astronauts died instantly including teacher-in-space Christa McAuliffe. Pieces of the spacecraft hit the ground as it disintegrated.

The most recent fatality from the space program occurred in 2004 aboard space shuttle Columbia. During the flight, pieces of foam on the spacecraft became dislodged and created a hole. Debris was found in Texas and Louisiana. All seven astronauts died from this disaster.

Can NASA survive in today’s economy?

The world is very different today than it was when the space program was launched. Priorities in the United States are no longer the same as they were fifty years ago. The terrorist attacks of September 2001 threatened budget cuts to NASA. Today’s economy is volatile. Personal and financial safety are number one concerns. A new administration in Washington plans to make life better in American homes, but there’s been little mention of the space program.

NASA is still alive and kicking with more space missions planned and great hopes for understanding the universe, other planets, weather, clouds and the earth’s atmosphere and life beyond earth. Hopefully, there is room in our lives today to dream big and explore the larger world. Perhaps, living in places outside of the boundaries of planet earth might hold the solution to some of the problems of today’s world.


1. Would you like to be part of the space program? Would you prefer working on the ground at NASA headquarters or would you rather travel in space? Why?

2. Which seems more interesting, the space program of the early years or space missions to the moon? Discuss some reasons.

3. What would your life be like if you lived on another planet? What would you do for a living? How would you spend your leisure time?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

About Service Dogs

Service Dogs for People with Disabilities

By Debra L. Karplus, MS, OTR/L

Your family dog, Snoopie, seems like the smartest animal you’ve ever seen. He is loyal and gentle, and does many cool tricks that you friends’ dogs cannot do. One day, you brought him to visit the nursing home in your town and all the people there loved Snoopie and enjoyed petting him and having Snoopie sit on their lap. But if your grandpa acquired a disability, would Snoopie be able to work as a service dog and help grandpa get around and perform daily tasks?

Training is different for a service dog than for a family pet.

Service dogs are specially trained animals that help people who have physical and psychological disabilities. Blind dogs, hearing dogs, seizure-alert dogs, and mobility dogs are just a few of the services that these working animals provide. They’re individually trained while they are puppies, with advanced training as they become older. Their training is specific to the disability they will work with, such as blindness.

Services dogs are not therapy dogs, and they are not pets.

Because service dogs are considered to be working dogs and are not pets, they must be treated differently. You don’t want to pet, talk to, make noises, or feed a working dog. Therapy dogs are not the same as service dogs. Therapy dogs are often pets that are seen helping in therapy settings such as hospitals and nursing homes.

Certain qualities are desirable for service dogs.

Herman Shepherds, Labrador and golden retrievers make good service dogs because of their size, temperament, good health and long life. A working dog must be trainable and must not have uncontrollable behavior. It can’t be aggressive and must be safe to take into public places. It must not be easily distracted by noises. Being able to follow verbal cues and hand signals is a must for service dogs. Eight years is generally the working life of a service dog. After than, they retire and can become someone’s lovable pet.

Service dogs can be professionally trained or owner trained.

Programs employing professionals who train service dogs exist around the United States. These experts are familiar with dog training and with disabilities. A professionally-trained service dogs is certified when the training is complete, though certification is not a requirement. There are also owner-trained dogs, a less expensive training option.

Public places that don’t allow pets, allow service dogs.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 expanded rights of people with disabilities. It allowed public access for working animals. Don’t be surprised if you see a service dog in a restroom, hotel, school, shopping mall, taxicab, airplane, concert or sporting event.

People with disabilities each have their own service dogs.

To get a service dog, a person must first establish that they have a disability that would be helped by having a specially-trained dog. They next must contact an organization that has service dogs. is one of many websites that has access to service dogs. You can learn more about working dogs on this website.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

About Arbor Day: for kids

Arbor Day: a Holiday to Celebrate Trees

By Debra L. Karplus, MS

Apple slices covered with peanut butter are a delicious snack. Apples grow on trees, as do peanuts that make peanut butter; many other tasty foods we enjoy also come from trees. Our houses have frames made of lumber that comes from trees. The trees around our homes keep us cool in the summer. Logs in the fireplace, cut from trees, split, and seasoned or dried, help keep us warm each winter. The wooden chair that you are sitting on is a product from trees. Even the paper in this magazine is made from trees! We don’t often think about the many ways in which trees are part of our lives. Many things that we use in our in our daily lives come from trees. But, imagine a world with no trees.


Jules Sterling Morton is not someone you learned about in your social studies class. You are not likely to find his biography on the shelves of your school or public library. Most of us have never heard of him. But Morton’s hard work is the reason we celebrate a relatively unknown American holiday, Arbor Day. A journalist and later a politician from Nebraska, who lived 1832 to 1902, Morton later became a United States cabinet member as the Secretary of Agriculture. He wanted people to set aside a special day each year to increase the awareness of trees, and for people to be able to recognize the many varieties of trees. The first Arbor Day was celebrated April 10, 1872, as a result of Morton’s hard work. Over one million trees were planted that day. Since 1872, the history of Arbor Day has spread far beyond Nebraska. Now all fifty states celebrate Arbor Day at some time of the year.


Arbor Day is an annual celebration of trees and is dedicated to the planting of trees. You probably will not see it on the calendar because, though the National Arbor Day is on the last Friday in April each year, when you celebrate Arbor Day depends on which state you live in. It varies because of different climates and planting seasons nation-wide. For example, Florida, whose state tree is the Cabbage Palmetto, celebrates Arbor Day on the third Friday in January. So does Louisiana; its state tree is the Bald Cypress. South Carolina, whose state tree is also the Cabbage Palmetto, celebrates Arbor Day on the first Friday in December, making it the latest Arbor Day in the United States each year. These southern states having a winter growing season while Northerners are experiencing cold weather. When is Arbor Day celebrated in your state? Do you know the name of your state tree? Does this tree grow in your neighborhood? Can you identify it?


Trees are celebrated in other many other countries, such as Australia, and in different cultures. Japan has a Greening Day. In Israel, Tu Bish Vat, is a national holiday for planting trees that was established centuries before Jules Sterling Morton of Nebraska was born. Jewish people in the United States acknowledge this sometimes forgotten religious holiday, which occurs in January or February, and often plant trees or raise money for tree planting. Honoring trees and their fruits is actually mentioned in the Bible in Leviticus 19: 23-25.


The Arbor Day Foundation is a national organization committed to providing information and resources to encourage the celebration of Arbor Day. Its mission is to “inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees”. You can become part of this goal by treating existing trees with respect and by helping to plant new trees. For example, ask your parents if your family can plant a tree in your front or back yard, such as a fruit tree that you can enjoy in after a few seasons. Organize a group at school or at church to plant a tree on Arbor Day to beautify the landscape. Dedicate the new tree to someone who has made a difference in your community. Perhaps you can even organize a hike through your local park and learn to recognize trees and leaves of trees that grow in your area. Whatever your age or wherever you live; there are activities you can do to celebrate trees. Use your imagination to create new ideas for Arbor Day awareness n your neighborhood.

Going green is an idea we have heard and read much about during these past few years. What better way to make your town more environmentally friendly than to expand Arbor Day into an exciting a holiday as perhaps Fourth of July, Halloween, or even Christmas! Become the Arbor Day leader in your area.

Monday, December 6, 2010

History of surnames?

I continue to delve into our family tree. I am wondering when people started using surnames.


Teaching Tots to use Tools

Check out my latest article on Dollar Stretcher

Tots & Tools

I welcome your comments!

Explaining Disability to Children

Wheelchair Wonders

By Debra L. Karplus, MS, OTR/L

There’s a new student at school who uses a wheelchair. You’ve never seen a kid in a wheelchair before. You probably thought he couldn’t do much. But as the semester progressed, you noticed that he rode the bus, attended physical education class, participated in field trips, and went to the same parties as you did. He was a regular kid who everyone liked because he had a terrific personality and a fun sense of humor. He even earned better grades than many of your classmates!

Wheelchairs have been around for centuries. They became more common in the early 1900s after World War I. Their design has changed noticeably over the years.

People use wheelchairs for many different reasons.

Whether someone has weakness in their legs or difficulty with balance or coordination, a wheelchair is a helpful way to move short or longer distances. Sometimes people are born with problems that make walking difficult, such as a disease called cerebral palsy. Other people become injured or acquire a disease or disability later. Wheelchairs are used by people of all ages. Perhaps your grandpa uses a wheelchair. Sometimes little kids use a wheelchair. Because kids grow, they may need a bigger wheelchair after a few years.

Not all wheelchairs are the same.

Try on a friend’s eyeglasses and you will have difficulty seeing through them, even if you need glasses. Everyone’s eyeglasses are a little different. The same is true of wheelchairs. They have a variety of features. People with special jobs such as an occupational therapist or physical therapist are experts at deciding what features are needed on a person’s wheelchair. They understand disability, and measure the person for their own special wheelchair.

Some people have strong enough arms to move or propel their own wheelchair. But other people require a motorized wheelchair, operated by hand controls, which works because of a special battery underneath the seat. Wheelchairs are different heights depending on the size of the person. Taller people have chairs with larger wheels. Some wheelchair backs are especially long if the person needs to rest their neck on it. Some wheelchair backs even recline. The seat and special cushion come in many sizes, and there are a variety of fabrics and materials for seat cushions.

Depending on a person’s ability to get in and out of the wheelchair by themselves, there are different styles of removable armrests. Additionally, there are a variety of leg rests; some can be elevated, and some swing out of the way. Many of the foot pedals have straps to help the person correctly position their feet. Most wheelchairs have brakes on both sides to keep the chair from rolling away. There are other fancier wheelchair features such as a drink holder or pouch in the back to hold things like a sweater or notebook.

People who use wheelchairs can do most of the same things as everyone else.

Don’t be surprised if you see someone getting out of the driver’s seat of a car and getting into a wheelchair. People who use wheelchairs can drive cars and vans just like your parents do. People in wheelchairs go to school, have jobs, and go on vacations, even on airplanes. People who use wheelchairs get married, and can usually have children, just like your parents did.

Recently, wheelchair sports have become popular. Wheelchair racing and wheelchair basketball are fun sports to watch, and wheelchair athletes have upper bodies that are very muscular and fit. Perhaps someday you’ll have the chance to attend one of these sporting events.

Some people who use a wheelchair have become famous for great things they’ve accomplished.

A person can become very successful even if they use a wheelchair. Franklin Roosevelt, president from 1933 to 1945, served longer than any other American president, and did many noteworthy things. World-famous violinist Yitzhak Perlman still plays beautiful music today.

If you are lucky, you’ll have the opportunity to make friends with someone in a wheelchair. Or maybe you’ll visit your grandma at the nursing home and find that her roommate, who’s in a wheelchair, is a fascinating storyteller. People in wheelchairs can have wonderful lives just as you can. Open your heart to people who look different from you.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Waltz King: for kids

Johann Strauss, Jr., the Waltz King

By Debra L. Karplus, MS

When your father wants you to become a businessman but you are passionate about something completely different, what do you do? Why not become a great composer. That’s what Johann Strauss, Jr. did.

Johann who?

We’re not talking about the harpsichord Brandenburg Concerto gentleman; that was Johann Sebastian Bach from Germany in the Baroque Era of the 1600s. Nor was this the genius who was writing symphonies and operas at age twelve; that’s Mozart. Remember him from that Amadeus movie. And what about the deaf guy who wrote those nine symphonies and Fur Elise, a recognizable little tune that any former student of piano can probably still play. That was Ludwig Van Beethoven. He never even heard most of his compositions, except perhaps in his head. Like Mozart, Beethoven was from Vienna, Austria. So was Franz Schubert whose Eighth Symphony remained “Unfinished”. Franz Joseph Haydn, composer of 104 short but sweet symphonies, was also Viennese.

In America, the mid 1800s was a time of unrest and a time of change.

In the mid 1800s in America, a Civil War was about to begin between the North and the South. People were building railroads, heading to California in covered wagons to pan for gold, owning slaves, and singing songs written by Stephen Foster like Oh! Susanna and Camptown Races. A lawyer from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln was about to become President of the United States. The American flag waved its approximately thirty stars, one for each state at the time.

But, in the mid 1800s in Europe the cultural arts were flourishing.

Across the Atlantic Ocean in Europe, Vienna, the capital and largest city of Austria located along the country’s eastern edge toward the north, was known as a cultural arts center. Paris, France may have been the hub of Impressionistic painting, but Vienna was the place for music in the mid 1800s. The Alps are in the south west portion of Austria, but Vienna is said to have lovely countryside of rolling hills. The movie The Sound of Music was filmed on location in Salzburg, Austria, just to the west of Vienna. Austria is a relatively small country surrounded by Germany and Czechoslovak to its north, Italy to its south, Hungary to its east, and Switzerland to its west. Much of the music from the Classical Era was written in the late 1700s and 1800s in Vienna. The Austrian city’s reputation for fine music dates back well before the 1700s; the renowned ensemble of the Vienna Choir Boys had its inception there in 1498. It is truly amazing that they have been around so long.

The Strauss Family was well known as composers and performers, specifically of the waltz.

Johann Strauss Sr. (1804 – 1849) was a conductor and a composer known as “Father of the Waltz”. He hoped that young Johann Strauss, Jr. (1825 -1899) would pursue a banking career. Mrs. Strauss, however, secretly encouraged their oldest son to learn to play the violin. She arranged for one of the musicians in papa’s orchestra to give her son music lessons. At age six Johann, Jr. composed his first waltz. By the time he was 19, he had formed his own orchestra. And over the course of his lifetime he composed approximately 170 waltzes, among the most famous being “he Beautiful Blue Danube” (1867) and “Tales from the Vienna Woods”. Be sure to get the CD from the library and listen to these sometime. You will undoubtedly say “Oh, yeah, I’ve heard that before!” Strauss also composed some operettas, including his most popular “Die Fledermaus” (1874), translated as the flying mouse, or the bat, as well as others. He also wrote numerous polkas, marches, and gallops. He may have composed over 500 works. For most of his compositions, Strauss used a full orchestra, complete with strings, woodwinds, percussion, piano and often a harp.

It is said that father and son were rivals, and that after the death from scarlet fever of the senior Strauss, young Johann became even more popular than his father had been. Johann travelled to many places including Russia, Poland, Germany, France, and Italy, where he was genuinely welcomed and his music was well received. He later befriended Romantic Era composer Johannes Brahms who was born in Germany but settled in Vienna. Richard Wagner, composer of the famous opera Der Ring des Nibelungen and numerous other operas, was a great admired of Johann Strauss.

Johann Strauss’ two younger brothers, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss, were also composers but remained relatively unknown musically. Johann’s first wife was a singer. His second wife was an actress who allegedly was not particularly fond of her husband’s compositions.

This waltz family of Strauss’ is not to be confused with Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949), a German composer of the Romantic Era, best known today for Also Sprach Zarathustra, the music that most people recognize as the theme for the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey.

The waltz became a popular dance form in the 1800s, thanks to Johann Strauss, father and son.

The waltz evolved from A German dance form, the Landler. The German translation for the word “walzer” is “roll, turn, or glide”. After being performed in an opera in 1776, it gained popularity in Vienna. It was the Strauss’, father and son, who wrote the music that made the waltz the popular dance that it was in its beginnings, and is a favorite for ballroom dancers today. The waltz has an easily recognized sound characterized by moderate triple (¾) time rhythm (one-two-three, one-two-three), with an even tempo and emphasis on the first beat.

Darkness falls on the last dance.

Johann Strauss, Jr. died of pneumonia at age 73. He was in the process of composing his only ballet, Aschenbrodel (Cinderella) at the time of his death. Throughout his lifetime, he was known as the “The Waltz King”. The legacy of “The King of the Waltz” lives on and is the favorite of both audiences and musicians. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra frequently performs the many works of Johann Strauss, Jr.


1. What do you think your life would be like if you lived in Austria in the 1800s? What would you do for a living? What would you do in your leisure time? What would your house be like? Describe your family.

2. How might Johann Strauss,’ life have been different if he and his father had had a better relationship? Who would have become the more famous Strauss? Why?

3. If the waltz had not been developed as a popular dance, would the Strauss’ still have become famous? Why?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wood Heat: useful info for kids

Sources of Energy: Home Heating or Cooking Food with Wood can be Good

By Debra L. Karplus, MS, OTR/L

Whether you live in a warm or cold climate, you probably don’t think much about staying warm and comfortable indoors during the winter months. When the temperature inside becomes too chilly, the furnace in your house quietly does its magic, by clicking on. A device called a thermostat is set by your parents, to regulate how cold they want the inside of your house to be. Many families set their thermostat at approximately sixty-eight degrees. Ask mom or dad to show you the thermostat and furnace at your house.

Americans stayed warm indoors by burning wood indoors, before furnaces were invented.

Before homes had furnaces, people often heated by burning wood. Fireplaces became popular during the 1600s. Cast iron stoves proved to be a better, more efficient way for home heating. Benjamin Franklin who lived from 1706 to 1790 discovered and created many important things, including the wood burning stove. Americans started using the Franklin stove during the 1740s. The wood burning stoves of the 1820s allowed people to cook delicious food on top of them or even inside them.

Today, some families use fireplaces or woodstoves to stay warm.

People in many parts of the country still burn wood indoors, in addition to using their furnace. It helps save money, especially when you find free firewood in your own neighborhood. You may be surprised at how plentiful wood is! Sometimes tree cutters, called arborists, are trimming trees along your street. After a storm, especially if it has been windy, there may be fallen wood on the ground that can be used for burning.

You can have the warmest heat by choosing the right firewood.

Firewood needs to be dried, or seasoned. This means that there should be no moisture inside a log. Sometimes it takes a few years for wood to season. Unseasoned wood does not burn easily, produces little heat, and makes the inside of your chimney sticky. That’s why many people do not like burning wood from pine trees.

Firewood from certain kinds of trees creates more heat than others. Woods that are considered to be hard woods, such as hickory, oak, or maple, burn the hottest. Soft woods such as birch or willow produce much less heat. Learn what kinds of trees grow in your area.

Sitting by the fireplace or woodstove is a relaxing family activity. Whether you are playing board games, reading, or doing your homework, the cozy warmth of an indoor fire feels good and is a wonderful source of energy. Stay warm this winter!

There are activities you can do in your own neighborhood to help people stay warm inside.

1. Find out which families have a woodstove or fireplace and help locate wood piles near home. Be sure the wood is really free and is being given away.

2. Pick up twigs after a storm, and use string to tie bundles. Twigs make great kindling, small sticks necessary to start an indoor fire. Maybe neighbors will even buy your bundled wood!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Genealogy for Kids

Here's an article I wrote to help children get started in family tree research. I hope you enjoy the article. Pass it along to a child.

Creating a Family Story Scrapbook
By Debra L. Karplus, MS, OTR/L

Learning about your family history, genealogy, has become a fascinating hobby for many people. Your parents can tell you about themselves; your grandparents can share about their parents and even their grandparents. The Internet has made it easy to gather information, dates and places, of births, marriages and deaths, of people many generations in the past.

Most exciting about family tree discovery is writing the stories you hear about ancestors. Learn to become an expert interviewer, and you can create your family history. Bring paper and pencil to your next gathering. Begin asking questions; phrase them so that answers are not simply “yes” or “no”. You’ll be impressed at how well you can get people talking! If you can’t think of any good questions to ask, use some of these to get started:

What were you like when you were my age?
What family holidays, traditions, or activities did you enjoy?
What do you remember about your childhood bedroom?
What did you like about school?
What fun things did you do with friends? What made you laugh?
What childhood goals or dreams did you have?
What is your favorite childhood memory?
How did you meet your husband or wife?
What was your occupation and why did you choose it?
What places have you visited?

Talk to as many relatives as possible in person, on the phone, or by email. You are certain to collect interesting family tales. Before long, you’ll have enough family stories to create a scrapbook. Decorate it with family photographs and drawings. This project can become a finished project or might be ongoing, as you get more family members talking.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Dollar Stretcher newsletter subscribers:

Check out my article about Bartering in the December 2010 newsletter that was just mailed.

I welcome your comments

Monday, November 15, 2010

Resale Shops

Check out my latest article on the Dollar Stretcher website, about Resale Shops.

I welcome your comments.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Remembering Bob Smith

Way too young to be leaving this world, Bob Smith made music come alive at Washington Elementary School. He was the life of the Champaign-Urbana Theater. He was a wonderful volunteer for the Baroque Artists group. And he did so much more.

Bob, thanks for letting me try the steel drums in your classroom. You will be missed!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

For subscribers of The Dollar Stretcher

For those of you who are subscribers of the monthly newsletter, the Dollar Stretcher:

My article Home Safe Home appears in the November 2010 edition.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Kale in the kitchen

This season I planted several varieties of kale in my garden. What a bountiful crop I have! Kale is wonderful in salads, but now that the Illinois weather is becoming wintery, I wanted to find some other uses for kale.

Try this yummy idea:

Heat olive oil in a pan.
Add kale that has been washed and cut.
Add garlic.
Serve hot with vinegar and a dash of salt.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ghost Story

A House with a Life of its Own
By Debra L. Karplus

Some people thought that the house was haunted. But, clueless, Jan and Jim signed the offer giving the realtor the deposit check. The basement washing machine was enough of a selling feature to make this their first home. With two kids in diapers, eventually, they’d buy a dryer.

‘Promise you’ll keep Mr. Williams as the gardener”, insisted Mrs. Hardin, a gentle octogenarian with failing vision. She’d grown up in the turn-of-the century house; she was moving move to a nursing home.

“Of course, we will,” lied Jan.

“You have the only key to the house, Jan; make sure you don’t lose it.”

“Why couldn’t Jim have confidence in her? she wondered.

Jan’s best friend had given her a catalogue of fruit trees. “Call their toll-free number; they’ll ship them free with next-day delivery.”

Two pear, apple, plum, peach, and cherry; Jan could hardly wait until the trees arrived. She drove by the house daily but saw no evidence of a delivery.

“I’ll give the tree farm a call next week if those trees don’t get delivered”, she decided.

With so much to do before moving in, Jan established a routine of bringing a load of dirty laundry to the new house, putting it in the washer, running errands, taking the clean laundry out, and bringing it back to the place they rented, using the backyard clothesline to dry everything.

One evening, later than her usual time, Jan stopped at the house to pickup laundered towels. Fumbling around the dark basement, she finally located the light switch. And when she did, she jumped with a startle. “Who had hung the clean wet towels around the basement?” After all, she had the only house key.

As she was leaving the house, noticeably shaken, she tripped on something in the hallway outside the living room. Her new white gym shoes suddenly felt wet and a little muddy. A large bucket lay on its side in front of her feet with a bundle of dwarf trees strewn on the parquet floor. “When did these arrive and who brought them into the house?” Jan was too logical a woman to be able to make any sense out of this.

Minivans and pickup trucks filled the driveway as friends helped Jan and Jim move in. It was hard to believe that so much had fit into their rented house.

“Jan, where’ did we pack the bedsheets”, Jim’s voice echoed in the bedroom filled
with boxes and a smattering of furniture.

Little Jason was quite a talker. “Somebody in’der “, he squealed, attempting to hide in the master bedroom closet. “Somebody in ‘der”, relentless but with the conviction that comes from a two-year old.

By the end of moving day, all were exhausted. Sleep came easily.

But the house seemed to have a presence, a life of its own. Jason and baby Jennifer cried much of the night, Scootch the dog and Puss rand up and down the stairs all night, When Jim and Jan awoke, still tired, they shared similar dreams about death.

Jim went off to work, leaving tired Jan at home with the little ones to sort through boxes. There was calmness outside on this fresh April morning. Jan stepped out on the back porch while Jason and Jennifer were still in their cribs.

Old Mrs. Reynolds from next door scurried over toward Jan. “Did you hear, did you hear, Mrs. Hardin died last night”.

Caught by surprise, Jan could not think of an appropriate response. Perhaps Mrs. Hardin’s spirit had been in the house last night?

Nothing was ever the same after that.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dumpster Diving with Panache

I hope you enjoy my latest article on Dollar Stretcher website
Dumpster Diving with Panache. I am especially proud of my title!

I found the above futon frame on the parkway of a neighbor who was moving. It is perfect for supporting my firewood pile.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Finding Free Firewood

Check out my latest article on The Dollar Stretcher

Finding Free Firewood

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ode to A Moving Day

Crystal and Sierra Brown,
Welcome to your new place.
It’s filled with warmth
and love in every space.

Building your house,
So much was learned.
Volunteers with tools
And materials turned,

In June, on Beslin Street,
an empty lot,
Despite July and August
Being blazing hot.

By early 2010, September,
After a summer to remember.

Welcome home, Brown family

Thursday, September 16, 2010


The Habitat House is finished, the dedication was tonight. The Browns move in tomorrow.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Feel younger in an instant!

A friend gave me two car booster seats that her children had outgrown, as I anticipate the arrival of two young visitors.

Riding around with two car seats in the back of the Honda Civic makes me feel 30 again.

I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Free Firewood

For those who subscribe to the Dollar Stretcher Magazine, you will find my article, Free Firewood in the September 2010 issue.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Gas or electric stove?

I may be needing to buy a new kitchen stove. I currently have a 32 year old Kenmore gas drop-in.

Gas drop-ins are no longer made.

What to do?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Habitat house - going green

The grass is not in yet, but shrubbery is.

Take a look!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bartering article on Dollar Stretcher website

I welcome your comments on my article about bartering.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Habitat House update

The Browns move in early September. Landscaping is scheduled soon.

Though schedule conflicts prevented me from participating in some of the August build dates, I feel very proud to have been part of this project.

Strawberry Fields forever

Happy Birthday, Strawberry Fields Natural Food Store.

Since August 18, 1974, you have been keeping Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and many surrounding areas well fed.

Despite two newer locations and several owners since we conceived you, your have outlasted local Kroger, A & P, Eisner/Jewel and IGA Food Stores.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Produce at school

One of our newest public schools is situated on a large plot of land. The school is on a balanced calendar which means they start in July and end in June but have several long breaks during the year. The school has a large outdoor garden which students help maintain as part of the science program. Produce is then donated to various organizations.

I was pleasantly while at school yesterday, that during the noon hour, instead of a typical school bake sale, they had an indoor mini farmer's market. What a terrific idea.

What other schools do this?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Growing sprouts

I have been successful growing bean sprouts in my kitchen.

But I just heard on the news about a man who swallowed a pea and it went down the wrong way and ended up in his lung and sprouted.

I find that amazing!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Class reunions

This summer I attended my class reunion and had a fabulous time.

One of my favorite authors is Elizabeth Berg, and I have red most of her books fiction and nonfiction.

I am reading The Last Time I Saw You, about a 40 year class reunion.

A must read!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Home Safety

The Dollar Stretcher has just published my latest article, Home Safe Home.

I hope you enjoy it. I welcome comments on the Dollar Stretcher website at the end of my article

Friday, August 6, 2010


I have been making great progress on our family tree. I spent last evening at the local Research Center of the Latter Day Saints. I was happyily surprised that they welcome all faiths and are glad to help with research.

Kudos to the LDS.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning

Mazel tov to you, Chelsea Clinton.

If wedding size and price are an indicator of marriage success, then you are promised many many years of marital bliss.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Birthday treats

There are many e-clubs you can join online to receive yummy treats for your birthday.

Flat Top Grill
Bob Evans
Baskin Robbins
Coldstone Ice Cream

Get on their web sites to sign up. You can enjoy fine treats during your birthday week.

Monday, July 26, 2010

DNA testing for genealogy

I have been intrigued by genealogical research for the past several years and have traced some lines of my family of origin to the early 1800s.

I have been reading about DNA testing and it sounds like the logical next step.

There are numerous products/services for this.

I'd love to hear about people's personal experience with DNA testing.

I don't want to waste my time or money unless this will be truly worthwhile.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Teaching Adult Classes

Check out my latest article in Dollar Stretcher

Sharing Your Sills: teaching adult classes

I welcome your comments.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blog = Web + log

They say that heating with wood heats you at least twice. Certainly true. Though this house is just behind mine, it is many many wheelbarrow loads of wood.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Muffin Man at Urbana Farmer's Market

I was so lucky to sample the yummiest muffins I have ever tasted. The Muffin Man, as he is known out and about town, with his sons, bakes and sells a variety of fruit filled muffins each week at the market.

If you are in town on a Saturday morning, don't miss these!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Renewing your driver's license

Went to the driver's license place yesterday. It is an interesting place and knows no social class; whoever you are,(unless you are non-driver, of course)you need to go there every few years.

Have you ever sat beside someone famous at the DMV?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cork Boat

John Pollack collected corks, the type that are on wine bottles, for nearly 25 years. He then assembled a crew of volunteers to build a cork coat, lage enough to travel from continent to continent.

You must read Cork Boat, John's book!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Guys and cars

It seems that most of the men I know, married or single, own more than one vehicle. Usually the second vehicle is either a fun one (motorcycle or sports car) or a utility one (small pick up truck).

None of the women I know have more than one vehicle, unless you include a bicycle.

Is this true of people YOU know? I'd welcome some explanation of this.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mamma Mia

Want to see a fun, feel good movie?

We watched the video of Mamma Mia.

Very well done.

A must see!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Choosing the Right Checking Account

Young Money has published my latest article

Choosing the Right Checking Account

check it out and please comment

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Random acts of kindness

While transporting a woodpile home, I was at a 4-way stop. The garden on the corner lot was lovely. I had admired in many times, but never saw a person there.

This time there was a lady working hard in the heat. I rolled down my window and praised her on the beautiful and bountiful garden.

She responded, "Want some cabbage?"

Of course I did. I got out of the car & she gave me a HUGE head of cabbage and also a handful of large onions.

It is refreshing to see that people are basically good.

What random acts of kindness have you witnessed?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Habitat House update

We are on a several week break from working on the habitat House. I rode my bike by the house. The electricians have been hard at work wiring and the drywall is up.

I am signed up to do interior painting next week.

Exciting to see all the progress.

Friday, July 9, 2010

No wrong turns

While running errands this morning, I thought I'd made a wrong turn. But, happily, the street I ended up on had free firewood. I have a wood stove, a chain saw and splitter and a car with a large enough trunk for hauling wood.

The lesson learned is that seemingly "wrong turns" can have a pleasant ending.

I enjoyed my favorite symphony while transporting my new wood pile.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Credit Scores

Young Money just published my latest article.

Your Credit Score: Why it

I welcome your comments.

Dying to know

The other day at a funeral, I spotted a couple of piles of picture post cards from the fumeral parlor.

I'm curious.

WHO does one send these to?


WHAT does one write?


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Kudos to 4H

I am doing a variety of volunteer jobs. One of the organizations I help is 4H. Today we judged projects, some of which will progress to the State Fair in Springfield in August.

What experience do YOU have working with 4H as a child or as an adult?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Become a Lawyer

Check out my latest article on Young Money

What is a Career in Law Really Like?
I welcome your comments.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Become a Better Public Speaker

Check out my latest article on Young Money.

Become a Better Public Speaker

Monday, June 28, 2010

Habitat House after Day 7

I can't take any credit for the build on Day 7 because I was out of town at my high school class reunion. But I wanted blog followers to see the progress. Next build day is Thursday. Stay tuned...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Habitat House after Day 6

I scheduling conflict prevented me from doing the build today, so I drove by later in the day to see what I missed.

If I was a bit taller, I would have taken a photo of the completed roofing job. Not sure why they used dark-colored shingles. Perhaps they were donated?

The house is also partially sided.

Check future posts for more photos.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Become a Certified Coach

Check the Young Money website,

for my latest article

Become a Certified Coach

I welcome your comments.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Habitat House after Day 5

We accomplished much on Day 5. I took my camera to the site, but the progress is not obvious, thus no photos on this posting.

But here are some pix taken by the Habitat folks.

One is of me on the second day, building a wall. Notice the hair pulled back in a scarf, gloves and long pants (despite the ridiculously hot and humid weather), and hard work shoes, all for safety. The white tool bag around my waist is "tres chic". I douse myself with sunscreen throughout the day. Additionally,I stay off ladders and keep both feet on the ground.

The other photo is at drywall training, Debbie does drywall.

We finished the Styrofoam insulation on the exterior. I did much of that. Another crew put the black paper on the roof. Inside, plumbers and pipe fitters installed the two shower/bathtub units and also got the kitchen completely ready for fixtures and appliances.

They feed us well on site. I now understand what "Will work for food" means. One lunch was sandwiches from Jimmy John's, another day was catered by Olive Garden including a choice of hot entrees, bread sticks, delicious salad and teramisu (not sure how to spell that and neither does my computer spellcheck)for dessert, Day 5 was fun dining in the park with union pipe fitters, as we enjoyed Chipotle's savory burritos, guacamole and chips.

It is all very exciting, satisfying and fun.

Stay tuned for more.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Habitat for Humanity: after Day 4

Here is the project after Day 4. With the windows and doors in place it is really starting to look like a family's home. It is very satisfying to be volunteering for this build.

I put up all the blue Styrofoam insulation in the front.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Financial programs for Aspiring Teachers

Check out my latest article at the Dollar Stretcher,

Special Breaks for Aspiring Teachers: Scholarships, Grants and Loan Forgiveness Programs

I welcome your comments.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Habitat house after Day 3

Admittedly, I only stayed on site for the first part of the day. The heat and humidity were just too much for me despite all the water I drank.

By the end of Day 3, volunteers had put up all the trestle, the wood frames for the roof. Here are some different views that I photographed this morn. Note that the flat concrete section is the back porch.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Habitat for Humanity

I am enjoying building the house in Urbana. Here are some photos after Day 2 of the build.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Six word memoirs

I attended a writing workshop the week, and they discussed writing a six WORD memoir.

quest for things real past present

What would your be?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Working Vacations

I hope you will read my latest Young Money article on

Work, Travel, Make People Better

I welcome your comments.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Organizing the workshop

I completed a long-overdue organizing project that was perfect for this rainy day. I organized all the nuts, bolts, washers, nails and so on, in order to embark on household projects without scavenging for necessary supplies.

Hoep do you keep your workshop organized?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pollinatarium at the University of Illinois

If you want to learn about bees, butterflies and nectar, the University of Illinois Pollinatarium is the place to go.

Today's program was about attracting butterflies to your garden. I was delighted to learn that many of those plants are already in my garden.

What plants in your garden attract buterflies?

Abraham Lincoln Museum & Library in Springfield

We visited the Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield Illinois and it is fabulous.

What is your favorite museum?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Horizon Hobby - a great place to work

I am on a crew of volunteers building a house through Habitat for Humanity and it is very satisfying and I am learning so much.

Though I have never worked for Horizon Hobby, Horizon is donating much of the food and labor and is supporting this project. The people I have met who work for Horizon say it is a great place to work.

Kudos to the generosity of Horizon Hobby!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Affordable home repairs

Summer time is a great time to get the house fixed up, especially from the harsh Midwestern winters.

Though many folks find duct tape to be the answer to most home repair challenges, but our friend Don seems to be King of Caulk. Personally, steel wool is my handy house helper of choice.

What tips can you offer regarding inexpensive house fixes?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

This is Memorial Day. When I was younger, it was celebrated on the last day in May and not necessarily on a Monday.

Now that Memorial is part of a three day weekend, it seems to have lost its meaning. Most people celebrate it as the unofficial start of summer with the ending of school, and the start of outdoor swimming and barbeques.

How will you celebrate Memorial Day? Will you honor those who have died?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Playing duplicate bridge

This week has been the regional duplicate bridge tournamnet here in Champaign. People come from all over, especially Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis to play duplicate bridge and compete. It is intense, but fun, and you see many of the same people each year.

What is your favorite card game?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Travel destinations for this summer

I hope you will read my latest article on

This Young Money article is about
Travel Destination with a Money Theme.

Check it out. I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day trip to Six Flags

Each May, our middle school 8th graders take a day trip to Six Flags in St. Louis. It is the highlight of the school year.

When I was in grade school, I remember taking fun and educational field trips to Springfield, Illinois.

What have been your favorite school field trips?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

High School Yearbook

The yearbook at the high school here costs $50. That sounds expensive.

How much does your high school charge for the yearbook?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Painting a house

I have been painting the exterior of my house and garage, including the porch floor and steps. I find outdoor house painting relaxing and satisfying.

What is your favorite house project?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Raising chickens

I read in the local news today that the city of Champaign wants to make it legal to have backyard chickens. In neighboring city Urbana, this has already been legal.

It's an interesting idea. I have a thriving garden that makes me increasingly self sufficient. Raising chickens would produce eggs and good fertilizer.

What experience have you had with raising chickens?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wants versus needs

Wants versus Needs: Determining the Difference
A guide to living green and living clean in today’s world
By Debra L. Karplus

You barely stayed awake during that Introduction to Psychology 100 class back in college, but you can still visualize the Maslow Triangle. In 1954, Abraham Maslow presented his hierarchy of human needs that is still used today. At the wide base are the physiological needs that everyone needs such as air, food, water, sleep, and homeostasis. At the next level, Maslow states that people require safety which includes health, employment and security. The next level identifies human nature to require love and belonging. Esteem is a requirement at the next level. Finally, at the tip of the triangle, is self-actualization. It seemed incredibly logical, but you never made any connection between Maslow’s findings and your own needs. That semester you were going through a messy relationship break-up and had a nasty case of bronchitis that lingered.

Back in junior high, you learned about the food pyramid which has been revised many times since then. It identifies your body’s daily requirements for eating grains, vegetables, fruit, and oils, foods from the milk group, and meats and beans. You crammed for this test as you munched on bags of salty pretzels and liters of caffeinated soda. You ultimately aced the exam. The food pyramid looked neat and tidy and made good sense, but it had no impact on your own eating habits.

Until a of couple years ago, before the economy became shaky, buying whatever you wanted was so easy. Investments almost promised positive results and there was always something new you needed, such as a faster light-weight computer or a trendy new pair of shoes. When the Dow started slipping in 2008 and return on investments plummeted, while efforts to go green accelerated, people began to re-evaluate when they truly needed go get through their day.

Some people of all ages, denominations, and demographics, all over the world, celebrate a Sabbath day every seven days, on the weekend. Professors often go on sabbatical, taking a break each seven years. Taking such breaks from daily lives is restful and helps gain perspective on what matters. Schedule a day when you will not be at work to go through your entire day with only the necessities. You might learn more about yourself and what you actually need, necessary for survival, versus the things you want that perhaps make life more interesting and fun, but that perhaps you can live without.


Cancel coffee. Would you really be mourning that morning mocha? That five-dollar- a- day habit becomes a fifteen hundred dollar a year expenditure. You do the math. If you can’t start your day without that java, then buy a big can of the generic coffee at the discount store or supermarket and after it is brewed, flavor it with vanilla or cinnamon. Drink it in a cup from your favorite morning coffee spot. The folks at work will not know the difference and neither will you.

Cool it on the cable TV. Why pay for many more channels than you need? Most of them are not things you would ever watch anyway? Spend your evenings interacting as a family, helping with homework, playing board games, doing a group project, or reading.

Could you function if you were to sell your cell phone? Most families cannot imagine life without their cell phone. But take the time to calculate how much your cell plan really costs. Maybe you don’t need so many phones or so many “free” minutes.

Compare using cursive writing instead of the computer. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone, such as your grandmother? Email is handy for confirming the time of tonight’s soccer game, but people of all ages still enjoy getting a letter the old fashioned way, via the US Mail, that someone hand wrote. Try it. You may be surprised at how much pleasure it gives.

Change using the car and instead use a backpack to haul your cargo by bus, bicycle or on foot. Sure, it’s handy to hop in the car and drive to the grocery for a head of lettuce. But, if your feet provide the transportation via biking or walking, you save money, avoid polluting the air, and get some exercise too. You might even find some therapeutic psychological value in this slower pace.

Avoid costly cosmetics and create a beautiful inner you. When you visit any online or retail store, you will find a myriad or products for women and men intended to make your appearance “more desirable”. Why not make peace with the hair, face and body you have, and relish the streak of gray hair or well-deserved age lines.

Needs and wants vary from person to person depending on many variables in your own life. Most people don’t have the luxury of not working. Many jobs require the cell phone and the computer, for example. Get serious with yourself about what’s really important and life may take on a whole new more genuine meaning.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Occupational therapy: a great career choice

Become an Occupational Therapist and Really Make a Difference
By Debra L. Karplus, MS, OTR/L

You were curious about the lady who came into your second grade classroom and worked with the boy beside you who used a wheelchair and the girl in the front row with cerebral palsy. They you broke your arm doing gymnastics. After the cast was removed, Mom took you to the clinic three times a week. You did fun exercises working with a man in that same profession. His nametag read “occupational therapist”. After a few weeks, your arm “magically” became stronger. That impressed you. You certainly knew about doctors and nurses; but being an occupational therapist (OT), looked like a career that you might enjoy.

A recent interview with an experienced OT shared insights into what it’s like to be an occupational therapist.

Interviewer: What do OTs do?

Occupational therapist: OTs do many different things to help people of all ages who have disabilities, diseases or injuries to become stronger and more independent. OTs evaluate and set goals, do treatment, fit people for wheelchairs, help patients use adaptive equipment to do more of their own self care such as dressing themselves. Some OTs even assess disabled people and order specialized equipment so that they can drive a car! Treatment involves strengthening muscles and training patients to do activities of daily living (ADL), such as bathing, dressing, or eating. For example, a person who’s injured one hand will need to learn to cut meat. It’s very exciting to see a patient master a new skill and say “I did it”!

Interviewer: Where do OTs work?

OT: Some work in medical settings, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and sports clinics. Many OTs work in schools. Some OTs visit people’s homes such as homebound older people; OTs also do home visits to families whose baby needs therapy. OTs work with other medical professionals. In medical settings, they work closely with doctors, nurses, and other kinds of therapists such as physical therapists or speech and language pathologists. In schools, OTs work closely with teachers and parents.

Interviewer: So, why is it called “occupational” therapy? Does it have to do with someone’s work or occupation?

OT: When occupational therapy first became a profession, during World War I, therapists trained injured soldiers returning from war to learn a new occupation. The name “occupational therapist” stuck, even though OTs today do much more than help people learn job-related skills.

Interviewer: Why did you become an OT? When did you decide?

OT: I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I grew up. The summer before college, I worked as a camp counselor. I told my supervisor that I enjoyed working with my hands, creating new things, teaching, and psychology. She told me that she was an occupational therapist and thought that, with my interests, I might enjoy occupational therapy as a career. And, the rest is history.

Interviewer: What is your favorite work setting?

OT: Though I’ve enjoyed working in most places in my many years as an OT, when working with young people in schools I feel I can really make a difference. I find that extremely satisfying.

Interviewer: How does someone become an OT? What schooling do you need and how long does it take?

OT: After you earn your Bachelor’s Degree, you need to enroll in one of the approximately 150 occupational therapy master’s degree programs in the US. Though there are two-year community college programs to become an occupational therapy assistant, best job prospects are for those who complete the Master’s Degree program.

Interviewer: What kinds of classes do you take?

OT: Science and medical classes such as anatomy and physiology, design classes, psychology classes, group dynamics, followed by approximately a year of internships where you are a “practice OT” working closely with a supervisor, an experienced therapist.


Becoming an occupational therapist may be one of the best decisions in your life. It’s a career where there’ll always be jobs, because there’ll always be people needing therapy. The pay is reasonable. But most important, you really make a difference in people’s lives.

Here are some activities you can do to learn more about becoming an occupational therapist:

1. Ask your teacher if you can watch the school OT while she works with students. Prepare some questions to ask this therapist.

2. See if your parents can schedule some after-school or weekend time when you can visit the rehabilitation department of your local hospital to observe OTs working with patients in a medical setting.

3. Question any of your relatives or friends if they have ever received therapy from an OT and ask them what they did during therapy.

4. Create or design a device for someone you know with a disability that will make their life easier.

5. Read books about occupational therapy or check the Internet for more information.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Amazon has excellent customer service

I love I order a variety of items from them and have never had a problem.

Recently, I bought a restaurant gift certificate from Amazon and had it sent as a gift. The recipient had a problem with this gift card.

Saturday night, I sent an email to Amazon to inform them of this situation. In just three days, my credit card was reimbursed for the full amount.

If you can buy it on Amazon, I strongly recommend it!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Technology: yesterday and today

Tech Talk: It’s Not Your Grandmother’s Gadgets
By Debra L. Karplus

Mom and Dad have been acting goofy since they organized their fifty-year high school class reunion. Every time you talk with them they go retro, transporting back in time, like in the 1960 movie, Time Machine. Eisenhower was President, two stars were added to the flag as Alaska and Hawaii became states. Annual household income was approximately $5,600. A new house cost $12,700, or you could rent for $98 monthly.

A new Desoto cost $2,600. Like cars of that era, it lacked seat belts, air conditioning, or power steering. It did have a huge ash tray; it seemed cool to smoke, (less than $.30 a pack). You could fill your gas tank for $.25 per gallon. People weren’t thinking about energy, conservation or the environment; resources seemed unlimited.

In 1960, postage was $.04, which was great because people enjoyed receiving letters in the mail. You could buy a magazine on the corner newsstand for $.15. And, people were excited that the Dow had just hit 540.


In 1960, you could dance The Twist to records such as Elvis’ new album, It’s Now or Never ($ 4.85). Called 33s, albums spun at 33 1/3 RPM (revolutions per minute). Cassettes tapes, 8-tracks and CDs were yet to come. Everyone owned a phonograph, a portable record player. A transistor radio using a 9-volt battery, cost $10 - $20, and had clip for your pocket and ear phone to listen to your favorite radio station. Who needed an IPod?

On the home entertainment TV system ($550), kids enjoyed Howdy Doody. TV wasn’t on all night; late at night you could stare at the test pattern, a large non-moving picture of an Indian head. There were only three channels, CBS, NBC and ABC.


Telephone party lines, especially in rural areas, were the chat rooms or social networks of 1960. No one ever received long distance calls; but on the rare occasion that you did, everyone ran to the phone and gathered around. If you needed assistance making a call, a pleasant-voiced lady, the telephone operator was always available to help. All you had to do was dial “O”.

Girls often kept diaries, but they were considered private, and usually had a small lock and key. No one journalled or blogged. Even if the technology had existed, it would have been an invasion of privacy.

People enjoyed receiving and sending chain letters. If you followed the instructions carefully, you’d end up with hundreds of letters when your name came to the top of the chain; nobody ever saw results of any chain letter, (spam 1960-style). Today’s forwarded email and jokes has been much more successful.

If you needed cash quickly, Western Union could wire money. There weren’t ATM, direct deposit or electronic transfer. And before there was texting, there was Morse code’s system of dots and dashes for sending telegrams, the quickest way to spread news.

Good manners were essential. All adults were addressed as Mr. or Mrs. And you might get your mouth washed out with soap for cussing, such as if you said something horrific like “he smells”.


After school, you could get a hamburger at the corner malt shop; most of them had a Juke Box. Drop in a coin and listen to a Hit Parade song. Weekends, you could see a movie at the theater, maybe a double feature, for $.25. Popcorn cost a dime. Drive-in movies were hip, but nobody expected to really watch the movie.

A new fast food place with golden arches was attracting families. You could get a hamburger on a bun ($.18), but you had to go inside. There was no drive-up window.

In 1960, party was always a noun, never a verb, and there was always at least one set of parents chaperoning any house party. But if you wanted to have a neato time away from home, places had pinball games ($.25 to play). What a gas! Who needed video games?


Walking to school, you carried a school bag or brief case, not a backpack. You used the QWERTY keyboard on your Smith Corona manual typewriter for school term papers, if you needed a few copies, you used carbon paper. A special typewriter eraser, helped correct errors.

Those in the engineering program used a slide rule ($15). Calculators had not yet been invented. Offices often had bulky adding machines.


Students passed notes in class. Who needed texting? Your parents had been high school sweethearts. Most of their friends today had met and married right after high school. Relationships weren’t as ambiguous as they are today.

Schools had stricter dress codes that were enforced. Nobody would’ve considered wearing a T-shirt or clothing with writing or visible labels, or jeans. In fact, girls always wore dresses or skirts, never slacks. Underwear and lingerie, and knees never showed. No one ate or drank in class either. (The only ones to drink from a bottle were infants!)

Prices and devices used to communicate, educate, placate and date have changed greatly in the past fifty years. But perhaps people are still the same. Was 1960 really a kindler and gentler time? Ask your parents and grandparents what they think.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Start a Babysitting Club

The Babysitting Club
by Debra L. Karplus

When our children were young, like other families, we had little money to spend for a babysitter. Sometimes, we wanted to go out to a movie or enjoy some quiet time without children. To save money, our family organized a babysitting club with seven other families who had children of the same age. Every month, each family selected a Friday or Saturday night to be the host house. Hosting involved opening your home from seven o’clock in the evening until eight o’clock the next morning to anyone in the club who wanted to drop off their children. The guests could stay the entire eleven hours, or just part of the time. The hosting family provided a healthy evening snack, a safe place for the children to sleep, and a nourishing breakfast. No advance commitment was required to use the babysitting club.

The convenience of not having to search for a competent, available babysitter each weekend, in addition to the money saved on a babysitter was just one of many benefits of being in the babysitting club. Also, the children were in a safe home with responsible adults. The children felt comfortable with each other and many friendships between the children and also their parents, evolved from the baby sitting club. We remained members of the babysitting club for several years until our children were old enough to stay home without an adult.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dump your Garbage Service

Five Steps toward Dumping Your Garbage Service
By Debra L. Karplus

How much of your hard-earned income are you spending toward garbage hauling service? Most of our neighbors have trash pick-up twice a week. A more economy-minded family can sign up for minimal garbage service which requires the use of one’s own trash container for once a week pick-up. In our Midwestern town, population 100,000, minimal hauling services cost approximately $320 per year, plus miscellaneous surcharges. For that same amount of money, you could purchase things that are much more enjoyable such as a desktop computer, a round trip air ticket to someplace interesting, or bicycles for a family of four.

How did we trash our hauling service? We compost, burn, recycle, reuse, and we reduce what we bring into the house. Admittedly, once a month we may have a small sack containing some plastic bags and grocery packaging. We toss it into the supermarket dumpster, before stocking up on more bulk food items.

1. Compost your organic materials.

Kitchen disposal systems can be installed easily and inexpensively in the sink and are useful for discarding small quantities of kitchen food waste. However, if you have a garden of any size, outdoor composters can be purchased at your local home improvement or garden store or can be bought online for under $100. They can be situated in your yard in an aesthetic as well as functional spot. By composting, your soil will become richer each year.

2. Burn your paper and wooden scraps.

I’ll preface by stating that we have a wood burning stove in our living room. For scraps from woodworking and household projects, non-glossy newsprint, or trash from the daily mail, this serves the dual purpose of getting rid of litter while simultaneously keeping us warm in the winter. The ash that we clean out of the stove each morning is added to our compost. And, we have devised a way to organize our paper waste during the summer months until the fall burning season approaches.

Know your city codes for burning! Some municipalities permit open fires, such as bonfires or campfires on private property. Others towns will allow you to burn outdoors in a fire pit or other protected area. In our city, outdoor fires are strictly banned.

3. Recycle all that is recyclable.

A growing number of communities now have drop-off centers for recyclables. Our Recycling Center is open 24/7 and accepts paper, cardboard, glass, and plastic. Additionally, we have a landscape reclamation center which accepts most yard waste. We have places in town that take used motor oil. We are also lucky enough to have regularly scheduled places, at least annually, to bring old electronics devices such as computers and stereo equipment, and also another drive which collects unused household chemicals such as paints and adhesives. Most of our supermarkets and smaller groceries have places to return and recycle plastic bags.

4. Reuse, use again, and use one more time.

Using items in your house as many times as is safely and functionally possible is even better than composting, burning or recycling. Plastic eating utensils and sandwich bags, if properly sanitized, have can have more lives than a cat. If fact, why use those disposable items at all? We never buy facial tissue. A packet of white men’s handkerchiefs will last for many years and can be purchased inexpensively at any discount store. We entertain frequently, yet we never use paper napkins or plastic plates or utensils. Instead, we use our regular dishes, forks, knives, spoons and cloth napkins. After dinner, people offer to help wash the dishes; this adds to the socializing.

5. Say “no, thank you” in order to save the earth and save money, too.

When you start thinking like a non-wasteful person, you will be amazed at how many items are unnecessary to accept. Bring your own cloth sack when you shop for groceries and when asked “paper or plastic”, you can respond with “neither, thank you”.

Contact your employer, your bank, the investment company where you have mutual funds and retirement accounts, your utility companies, credit card companies and other places that regularly send you mail and sign up for as many paperless transactions as possible such as direct deposit, online bill pay and online statements. Banks insist that the paperless systems are at least as safe as those using paper and are quick and easy to manage.

Do everything you can to eliminate glossy advertisements from your daily newspaper and also junk mail. There are a few web sites where you can sign up to remove your name and address from junk mail lists and databases.

You needn’t have earned a PhD in sanitation in order to throw away your trash hauling service. Be calculating and deliberate in what you bring into your house from the start. Reuse what’s left whenever possible. Compost, burn or recycle the rest. In short time your household, too, can be a garbage-free zone.

Parkland Chorus sings

Last night was our end-of-semester concert for the Parkland College chorus.

I have been in the group nearly ten years and love singing a wide variety of music from opera to show tunes. I especially enjoy singing the works of Gilbert and Sullivan.

We have sung in many languages including German, Italian, French and Hebrews. People seem impressed with that, but I can remove the mystique by saying it is just syllables, and really, anyone can do that!

What music do you enjoy singing?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jobs for teens

Most of the teens I speak with have jobs working in fast foods.

What jobs do teens have in your area?

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Chorale concert in Champaign

We were so fortunate to attend the Chorale concert this past weekend. They will be on tour this summer, but their next local concert is November 7.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Private versus public: What's the Difference?

I Just Overheard that it’s Okay to mention my Unmentionables?
By Debra L. Karplus

“….thanks for paying my rent again, Sweetie…and helping with my daughter’s college tuition…I’ll pay you back in my usual way”. (Giggle, blush).

The redhead wearing strong perfume, “Val”, was seated behind me, waiting at the airport gate, speaking loudly and emphatically on a cell phone that appeared to be surgically attached to her right ear. It was as if the passengers on Flight 4030 to Cleveland were intended to be included in her drama. Too preoccupied with her conversation to notice my eavesdropping, Val couldn’t have known that I was best friends with “Janet”, successful attorney and soon-to-be-ex-wife of “Danny”, Val’s sugar daddy and current love interest. It was easy for me to make that connection, thanks to Janet’s flawless description of Val.

I settled into Seat 12A, hoping for no seatmate and some quiet time, until Val plopped onto Seat 12B. I didn’t acknowledge her, but without preface, she delivered a monologue to me, a presumed stranger, with embarrassingly explicit details about boyfriend Danny. Apparently, Val had met Danny in a chat room. The concept of chat rooms perplexes me; confiding with strangers in a virtual place about topics that would be taboo with real friends. When I was in preschool, my imaginary friend Clara served that purpose. I felt relief when our plane landed.

At the hotel, the reservations clerk, who answered all my questions with “No problem”, was clad in a sheer blouse cut lower than her lingerie. A naval ring sparkled on her midriff. Her way-too-snug designer jeans revealed a panty line. Why even bother to wear outer garments, I pondered. She might have done well to consult with the career attire shop at the mall.

Exhausted from travelling, I unpacked my suitcase and turned on the TV, hoping to catch the news. Instead, I was entertained by a local talk show; the guest was announcing to viewers that her husband was clueless about her love affair. She must’ve assumed that nobody watched the show or that they just wouldn’t blab to her hubby. I flipped the channel to some reality show. Was I the only person who’d never watched a reality show? I felt uncomfortable, as if guilty of voyeurism.

It’s ironic that we are paranoid about becoming victims of identity theft, yet we’ve managed to blur the line between what’s private versus public. Social filters seem to have eroded. How and when did this lack of good taste and etiquette creep up on us? Where are the values of propriety and decorum? Did the concept of privacy gradually slip away while we were preoccupied, or did it just disappear one day like pay phones? We’ve nearly forgotten that it’s not “all about us”, that we must co-exist in the world and be courteous.

I’m wondering where we go from here. I don’t imagine modern society can ever return to a world where private issues remain private. So what next? Here’s one possibility; I think directions for fastening seatbelts on all air flights is unnecessary. Maybe, they’ll abolish those instructions and replace them with short bios of the passengers.

“Jonathan in 3D is flying first class and exploiting his company’s expense account. Don’t let him hoard the hot towels.”

“Liza in 14C is en route to interview for a job for which she in unqualified. The “L” on her sweater stands for ‘loser’.”

“Heather in 18E left her husband home with their four kids and told him she will be visiting her college friend Chris. But, she didn’t tell her husband that Chris is a he and not a she.”

Martin is 21B is a recovering alcoholic who has fallen off the wagon twice. His friends call him “Martini’. When the beverage cart rolls by, make sure he sticks with the soft drinks.”

“Bart in 26A has a terrible problem with motion sickness. Can someone seated near the lavatory please trade seats with him?”

Maybe, the few people who still have land lines for their home telephones should request that party lines, like those before the 1950s, be re-installed.

Perhaps, it was always a myth that we ever had any privacy and that we’ve really just gone full circle.

Writing about Writing

  •, 2014, 08/01, Magazine Writing Business
  •, 2014, 12/01, Writing Opportunities
  •, 2015, 01/16, Teaching Writing Classes
  •, 2015, 03/01, Query letters
  •, 2015, 04/01, Marketing Agent
  •, 2015, 05/06, New Markets
  •, 2015, 07/20, Growing an Idea Bank
  •, 2015, 07/20, Online Presence
  •, 2016, 07/18, SEO-Friendly Writing

History, genealogy and research articles

  • Ancestry Magazine, September 2008, Still No Bill
  • Champaign County Historical Museum Newsletter, Summer 2007, House with a Life of its Own
  • Family Chronicle Magazine, Mar/Apr 2014, Canadian Jewish Genealogy
  • Grand Magazine, Nov 9, 2012, Genealogy with your Grandchildren
  • Inside Glenview Magazine, December 2013, Genealogy Glenview Style
  • Prime Life Times, November 2013, Getting Started in Genealogy
  • Untangling your Jewish Roots, on

Writing for children or about children

  • Essay writing for a major national testing organization
  • Fun for Kidz Magazine, Friends with Disabilities, the visually impaired student at school, July 2013
  • Grand Magazine: Debbie's Secret Diary, Feb 25, 2013
  • Grand Magazine: Fun in Hamilton County Indiana, Jun 11, 2013
  • Grand Magazine: Fun in Hamilton County Indiana, Jun 11, 2013
  • Grand Magazine: Letter Writing, Jan 23, 2013
  • Grand Magazine: Mothers & Daughters, Mar 29, 2013
  • Grand Magazine: Nursing Grandchild, Apr 29, 2013
  • Grand Magazine: Poem for my Grandson, Feb 27, 2013
  • Grand Magazine: Safety at Grandma's, Feb 25, 2013
  • Grand Magazine: Volunteering, Jan 23, 2013
  • Grand Magazine: Bullying, Jan 3, 2013
  • Grand Magazine: Children's Museums: Jan, 3, 2013
  • Grand Magazine: Creative Writing w/your Grandchildren, June 27, 2012
  • Grand Magazine: Don't let your Grandchild Make you Sick, June 7, 2012
  • Grand Magazine: Fun in Central Illinois w/Grandkids, July 7, 2012
  • Grand Magazine: Fun things to do at Grandma's, June 4, 2012
  • Grand Magazine: Genealogy with your Grandchildren, November 9, 2012
  • Grand Magazine: Gift that keeps on Giving, June 26, 2012
  • Grand Magazine: Girls Just Want to Have Funds, July 7, 2012
  • Grand Magazine: Grand Times at the Public Library, July 7, 2012
  • Grand Magazine: Homespun Activities w/your Grandchild, June 27, 2012
  • Grand Magazine: School Pictures, Jan 4, 2013
  • Grand Magazine: Substitute teaching, Feb, 20, 2013
  • Grand Magazine: Vegetarian Grandchidlren, July 13, 2012
  • on Creative Writing Class for Children

Therapy publications by Debra Karplus

  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2004, 09/06, OT Bedside Manner Could Use Improvement
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 01/16, OT: Then & Now
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 01/20, Why Occupational Therapy?
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 01/27, Yoga & OT
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 02/04, Wheelchair Wonders
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 02/10, Home visit safety
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 02/17, Cursive writing
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 02/21, Grandmotherly advice
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 02/28, Mainstreaming for Special Ed
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 03/10, Disability Etiquette
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 03/17, Equestrian Therapy
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 03/24, Advertising OT
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 03/31, Lessons Learned
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 04/08, President with a Disability
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 04/14, Wheelchair Evolution
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 04/21, Favorite Patients
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 04/28, Rural OT
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 05/05, Bipolar Disorder
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 05/12, Splints
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 05/19, Willard and Spackman
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 05/27, Industrial Evaluations,
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 06/02, Presentations to Students
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 06/09, Insurance rules!
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 06/12, Working vacation for OTs
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 06/16, Drivers Ed and OT
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 06/23, Male OTs
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 06/30, Recruiters
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 07/07, Tattoos
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 07/14, Eleanor Clarke Slagle
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 07/21, The ADA
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 07/28, PhD in OT?
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 08/04, Handicapped parking
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 08/11, Squeamish OT
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 08/18, Gardening (tomatoes)
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 08/25, Manual Muscle Test
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 09/02, Medical Marijuana
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 09/08, Defining OT
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 09/15, Dress code
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 09/22, OT training?
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 09/29, Travelling OT
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 10/06, ADHD & OT
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 10/13, Stigma of Little School Bus
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 10/20, Malpractice
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 10/27, Disability Resource Expo
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 11/03, Voting & disability
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 11/10, PRN work & holidays
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 11/17, Staying well at work
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2014, 11/24, Service Dogs
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 03/18, Confidentiality
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 04/09, Disability & Mr Magoo
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 05/19, OT and Wii
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 05/26, COPD & OT
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 06/16, Singing & OT
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 06/23, Father's Day reminder
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 06/30, Online OT?
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 07/07, Choose health career & debt
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 07/13, Lou Gehrig's Disease
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 07/20, Backpacks
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 07/28, Fishing & ADA
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 08/04, Give credit
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 08/10, Getting along
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 08/17, Mindfulness
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 08/26, Aquatics
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 08/31, Fall prevention
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 09/09, Mom's advice
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 09/16, Respecting disabled
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 09/22, Laughter Yoga
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 09/30, Bike helmets
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 10/16, Joint pain & baby boomers
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 10/27, Helmets for falls
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 10/30, ALS eliminated
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2015, 11/10, Wheelchair sports
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2016, 01/12, English Learners
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2016, 01/18, Therapy on wheels
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2016, 01/26, Body mechanics
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2016, 02/01, Chair yoga
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2016, 02/08, Stroke & memory
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2016, 02/17, Spinal stenosis
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2016, 02/22, Explaining disability
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2016, 03/03, Health fairs
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2017, 01/05, OT for daily tasks
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2017, 01/09, Aging in place
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2017, 01/20, Reflections one-handed
  • Advance for OT Practitioners, 2017, 01/26, Dog OT
  • American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 1994, Older Adults with Developmental Disabilities
  • American Journal of Occupational Therapy, June, 1989, Activites Handbook and Instructor's Guide
  • American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November 1994, ADL Evaluations in Long Term Care Facilities
  • Grand Magazine, June 12, 2012, Your Grandchild with ADHD
  • Grand Magazine, June 12, 2012, Your Grandchild with Asperger Syndrome
  • Grand Magazine, May 11, 2012, Your Grandchild with a Physical Disability
  • Grand Magazine, November 12, 2012, Grandchild with Developmental Disability
  • Grand Magazine, October 8, 2012, Your Grandchild & Special Education
  • Item writing for a therapy testing organization
  • Journal of Rehabilitation, July 1994, Invaluable Guide to Life after Stroke
  • Occupational Therapy Forum, April 3,1989, Wheelchair Accessibility
  • Occupational Therapy Forum, July 22,1994, Psychosocial Impact of Stroke on the Family
  • Occupational Therapy Forum, May 29,1989, The Self-Employed Occupational Therapist
  • Prime Life Times, 2014, 03, Working with an OT
  • Prime Life Times, 2016, 03, Bathroom Safety at Home
  • Prime Life Times, 2017, 02, Tasks One-handed
  • Prime Life Times, 2017, 05, Aging in Place
  • Prime Life Times, 2017, 06, Preparing for Hip Surgery
  • The Therapist in Business: an Introduction to Private Practice, a book published by Cross Country, 2005
  • writer for National Board Certifying Occupational Therapists (NBCOT)

Family, home and lifestyle articles by Debra Karplus or Lee Doppelt

  •, Finding Free Firewood
  • Back Home Magazine, November 2008, Scavenge for Firewood
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2009, 09, Your Kitchen: a Food Factory
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2010, 02, Food plus Family plus Friends
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2010, 03, Avoiding Layoffs
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2010, 04, Benefits of Volunteering
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2010, 09, Free Firewood
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2010, 10, Dumpster Diving with Panache
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2010, 11, Home Safe Home
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2010, 12, Bartering
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2011, 01,Those Who Can,Teach
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2011, 02, Tots & Tools
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2011, 03, IRA or Roth
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2011, 04, Resale Shops
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2011, 05, Get Paid for Research
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2011, 06, Roadside Assistance Plans
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2011, 08, Managing your Banking
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2011, 09, Cutting Back on Tree Trimming
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2011, 10, Should You Be Alarmed?
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2011, 11, Non-Traditional Housing
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2011, 11, Opting for Co-ops
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2012, 01, Be a Smarter Patient
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2012, 03, Save Money with a Motorcycle
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2012, 04, Farmers Market Selling
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2012, 05, Habitat Store
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2012, 05, Mulching
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2012, 06, Seven Habits of Frugal People
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2012, 07, Magic with Molasses
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2012, 07, Rain Gardens
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2012, 08, Senior Discounts
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2012, 08, Work at Home
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2012, 09, Composting
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2012, 10, Finding Cheap Airfares
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2012, 10, Soybeans
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2012, 12, Income from Direct Sales
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2013, 02, Mattresses
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2013, 03, Discount Airlines
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2013, 09, Baby Toys to Make
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2013, 10, Affordable Fences
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2013, 10, Buying a Chainsaw
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2013, 11, Cast Iron Cookware
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 01, Carpeting purchase
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 02, Community College
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 02, Home Safety Improvements
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 03, Income Tax Preparation
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 03, Kale
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 04, Lawn mower purchase
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 05, Pet Sitters
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 06, Car Rental Free
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 06, Care Management for Elderly Parents
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 07, Selling Stuff Online
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 08, Services at Reduced Cost
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 08, Zoo & Garden Membership
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 09, Washing Machines
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 10, Catering Cheap
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2014, 12, Flowers sent
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2015, 01, Auto loans
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2015, 03, Buying smart
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2015, 03, String trimmers
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2015, 06, Wedding out of town
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2015, 06, Who pays?
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2015, 07, Driveways
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2015, 08, Lottery playing
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2015, 09, Rent-free living
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2015, 10, Frugal or cheap?
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2015, 10, Winter clothes
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2015, 12, Dental scams
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2015, 12, Housing for adult kids
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2016, 01, Frugal not Poor
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2016, 02, Free college
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2016, 02, Retirement employment
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2016, 04, Self employment
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2016, 09, Lottery
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2016, 09, Moving experience
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2016, 11, Drapes & Curtains
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2017, 02, House for sale
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2017, 03, Garden labor-free
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2017, 03, House purchase
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2017, 04, Bicycle Maintenance
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2017, 04, Refrigerators
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2017, 05, Homeowner's associations
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2017, 06, House Won't Sell
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2017, 06, Rain Barrels
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2017, 07, Dehumidifiers
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2017, 08, Blenders/food processors
  • Dollar Stretcher Magazine, 2017, 10, Rent out rooms
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2009, 12, Simplify Your Financial Life
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2010, 06, Special Breaks for Aspiring Teachers
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2011, 05/11, Essential Appliances
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2011, 07/04, Water Problems
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2011, 08/22, Vegetarian Diet
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2011, 11,11, Gutter Cleaning
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2012, 01/10, Buying Tires
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2012, 01/10, Wood Heat
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2012, 02/06, Nursing Home Insurance
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2012, 05/07, Uses for Palletts
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2012, 09/03, Wedding Planners
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2012, 10/22, Reading Cheap
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2012, 11/18, Mystery Shopping
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2012, 11/23, Make Money by Blogging
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 01/24, Meals while Travelling
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 02/13, Auto advertising
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 02/25, Vacuum Cleaners
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 05/06, Breastfeeding
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 05/31, Travel Insurance
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 07/05, Spices & Health
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 07/20, Emergency room visits
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 07/23, Bicycle Shopping
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 07/23, Home Project Management
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 07/23, Kitchen Stoves
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 07/23, Lawn Alternatives
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 08/16, Sorghum sweetener
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 08/19, Generosity & Frugality
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 10/08, Lighthouse Lodging
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 10/10, Raising Backyard Hens
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 12/06, Bed & Breakfast at your Home
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2013, 12/16, Gym Membership
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 01/15, Bed & Breakfast, your home
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 01/29, Grow Sprouts
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 02/20, Garden plot rented
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 03/28, Baby Food Homemade
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 04/04, A New Roof
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 04/11, TV Studio Audience Participant
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 05/19, Flying with Babies
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 06/09, Home Inspections
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 06/16, Baby Boomer Financial Timeline
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 08/04, Childcare
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 09/12, Chimney Care
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 09/29, Service Auctions
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 10/02, Luggage
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 10/14, Grocery savings
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 10/17, Sell your home
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 12/08, Back to the Land
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2014, 12/16, Baby strollers
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2015, 01/15, Mobile Homes
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2015, 03/01, Basements kept Dry
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2015, 03/23, Group Travel
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2015, 03/30, Shoes purchased
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2015, 04/13, Millionaires
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2015, 04/20, National Parks
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2015, 05/04, Foraging
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2015, 06/01, Home mobility equipment
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2015, 06/22. Funerals
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2015, 07/06, Car sharing
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2015, 10/19, SAD Light Boxes
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2015, 10/19, Snow removal
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2015, 11/09, Rewiring an Old House
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2015, 12/28, Gym equip at home
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2016, 01/18, Quit stressful job
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2016, 03/07, Estate sale income
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2016, 03/21, Disability-friendly home
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2016, 04/06, Class action suits
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2016, 05/16, Pet transport
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2016, 05/23, Backpacks
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2016, 08/01, Silver Sneakers
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2016, 10/03, Arthritis Devices
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2016, 11/07, Crawl space
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2016, 11/28, Malt
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2016, 12/11, Television purchase
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 01/09, Cruises cut rate
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 01/30, Beekeeping
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 02/20, Piano tuned
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 03/06, Transport Motor Homes
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 03/20, Garage door
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 04/17, Train travel
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 04/24, Asbestos removal
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 05/29, Sofa purchase
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 06/05, Friends & financial advice
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 06/05, Heating ducts cleaned
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 06/12, Power washing
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 06/26, House won't sell
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 07/03, Age in Place
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 07/10, Dehumidifiers
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 08/01, Injury prep
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 08/21, Dog walker
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 09/18, Car seats
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 09/25, Radon
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 10/02, Goose control
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 10/09, Car purchase
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 10/16, Lists to save money
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 10/16, Mold solutions
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 10/30, Money-smart preschoolers
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 11/06, Golf cart transport
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2017, 11/17, Pet for family
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2018, 01/29, Frugal in suburbia
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2018, 02/12, College online
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2018, 02/19, Tutoring service
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2018, 02/26, Cruise ship job
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2018, 05/21, Cookers in kitcher
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2018, 05/28, Roommates
  • Dollar Stretcher, 2018, 06/18, Retreats reduce stress
  • Inside Glenview Magazine, 2014, 01, Going Vegetarian
  • Inside Glenview Magazine, 2014, 03, Finding the Right Firewood
  • Inside Glenview Magazine, 2014, 04, Growing Sprouts
  • Inside Glenview Magazine, 2014, 05, Bake your own Bread
  • News-Gazette, 2012, 11/04, Places to visit, Lake Superior
  • News-Gazette, 2012, 11/25, Places to visit, Salt Lake City
  • News-Gazette, 2013, 06/23, Hamilton County Indiana
  • News-Gazette, 2013, 08/25, Traverse City Michigan
  • News-Gazette, 2014, 05/25, Boulder Colorado
  • News-Gazette, 2015, 06/19, Minneapolis-St.Paul
  • News-Gazette, 2015, 09/20, Galesburg Illinois
  • News-Gazette, 2015, 10/18, Omaha
  • News-Gazette, 2015, 11/15, Iowa's Lincoln Highway
  • News-Gazette, 2015, 12/20, Illinois Great River Road
  • Prime Life Times, 2013, 12, Museums in Champaign County
  • Prime Life Times, 2014, 01, Mahomet, Illinois
  • Prime Life Times, 2014, 02, Great Second Chances
  • Prime Life Times, 2015, 08, Choral Union
  • Prime Life Times, 2018, 01, Mahjong Madness

FICTION by Lee Doppelt

  • Mr. America Mirage, novella by Lee Doppelt, available on

Entrepreneur Interviews

  • Young Money, 2010, 03/30, Amos Winbush of CyberSynchs
  • Young Money, 2010, 03/23, Rob Carpenter of Friendgiftr

Business Editorials

  • Business Week Magazine, 2006, 10/09, Launching a Career
  • Fortune Magazine, 2008, 07/21, Hoist by our own Petard

Money, Business & Careers

  • Entrepreneur Briefing, available on
  • Forbes: 2012, April, Sell at the Farmer's Market
  • Young Money Magazine, 2009, Spring,Getting the Government to Pay for College
  • Young Money Magazine, 2009, Summer, Business of Loan Forgiveness
  • Young Money, 2008, 11/19, Is Being an Entrepreneur Right for you?
  • Young Money, 2008, 12/10, The ABCs of Substitute Teaching
  • Young Money, 2008, 12/11, The Election, Change and You
  • Young Money, 2008, 12/24, Six Ways to Avoid those Extra Baggage Charges
  • Young Money, 2008, 12/29, Who will Prepare your Taxes this Year?
  • Young Money, 2009, 01/05, The Basics of Stock Market Investing
  • Young Money, 2009, 01/14, Find a Stock Broker
  • Young Money, 2009, 01/21, What's the Best Credit Card for You
  • Young Money, 2009, 01/28, Community College or University?
  • Young Money, 2009, 02/03, Study Abroad
  • Young Money, 2009, 02/18, Fix, replace or repair
  • Young Money, 2009, 03/18, Six Ways to Raise Money Savvy Kids
  • Young Money, 2009, 03/25, Job Benefits
  • Young Money, 2009, 04/08, Worried About the Future? Get Covered
  • Young Money, 2009, 04/16, Beginners Guide to Dividends
  • Young Money, 2009, 04/23, Find a Government Internship
  • Young Money, 2009, 04/29, FDIC
  • Young Money, 2009, 06/03, Investing in Gold
  • Young Money, 2009, 06/11, Beyond Student Loans
  • Young Money, 2009, 07/01, Filling out a W4 Form
  • Young Money, 2009, 07/02, Being an Occupational Therapist
  • Young Money, 2009, 09/09, Background Checks
  • Young Money, 2009, 09/16, Obama health reform
  • Young Money, 2009, 11/16, Funds for Online College
  • Young Money, 2010, 01/06, Guide to Getting into Politics
  • Young Money, 2010, 02/24, Live & Work in your College Town
  • Young Money, 2010, 03/24, Career & Personality Tests
  • Young Money, 2010, 05/28, Travel Destinations
  • Young Money, 2010, 06/08, Work & Travel
  • Young Money, 2010, 06/23, Become a Certified Coach
  • Young MOney, 2010, 07/01, Become a Better Public Speaker
  • Young Money, 2010, 07/06, Career in Law
  • Young Money, 2010, 07/08, Your Credit Score
  • Young Money, 2010, 07/10, Choosing the Right Checking Account

National Gallery of Writing Publications

  • #1501828 A Career in Law
  • #1501106 Adapting to Adaptive Equipment
  • #1501931 Write an Excellent College Application Essay
  • #1408918 Superior Camp Experience for Children
  • #1501325 How to Keep Substitute Teachers Happy - Spending -- Finance

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