Posts Tagged ‘winter’

Summer Vacation (and other breaks)

March 29, 2010

While Winter Break and Spring Break were opportunities to get away for a few days or have a stay-cation, Summer Vacation was a time to learn.From childhood until our teen years, school was one of the constants in our lives.  Our parents or guardians would enroll us in kindergarten and we would begin school in August or September.  In some parts of the United States (but not here in California), Fall Break may be observed in October.  Of course, Winter Break was always observed during the second half of December.  Spring Break would start in March or April.  The school year would end in May or June, beginning a Summer vacation that lasted two or three months.  By August or September, we found ourselves one grade higher than the year before.  The cycle repeated for the next 12 years of our young lives.

Winter Break was a time for families to get together and lasted at least two weeks.  Fall and Spring Breaks were chances for a few days to get away or have a stay-cation and may last a week or two.  Families made the most of these relatively short breaks.  Summer vacation, however, was quite longer and, as such, parents could not spend the whole time with their kids.  After all, they have bills to pay, a concept most kids are oblivious to, such as mortgage, insurance, and car payments.  They must also be able to fund the vacation they may eventually take.  However, a summer vacation to a faraway location may not be feasible for a year or two, or more.  What, then, could parents do to ease the boredom of their kids during the summer?

Fortunately, Santa Clarita’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department came to the rescue.  From what I can remember during my childhood, my parents made sure that I took part in one activity per summer, sometimes more.  The offerings were somewhat more limited during the rest of the year, and others were even seasonal, but during the summer, I was spoiled for choice.  Therefore, at one point or another, I ended up taking up swimming, Kali (Filipino stick fighting), and a CPR class.  I believe there were other classes, but they escape me at the moment.

When I look back, I’m glad I had taken those classes.  I had my video game systems, of course, but even I grew tired of them.  My parents made sure that, despite Summer Vacation, I was still learning something new.

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Francis M. Unson

How Electric Blankets Work

January 7, 2010

Even though we live in Sunny Southern California and can get by dressing in multiple layers, we should not forget the people who live in places where ice and snow are the norm during the month of January.  How exactly do our friends and relatives that live in more frigid climes keep warm?  Hopefully, they are making use of an electric blanket.  How do these comforting modern marvels work?  A website gives an explanation, seen below.

An electric blanket consists of heating coils in the form of insulated wires sewn into the inner fabric.  Arranging the wires in rows, a sensor called a rheostat stabilizes internal temperatures.  The sensor measures two things: 1) the temperature of the blanket and 2) body temperature.  Using both sets of data, the sensor sets the heating process, assuring the even distribution of heat across the entire blanket.  Some blankets come with an adjustable rheostat controller that is separate from the blanket.

Electric Blanket

Electric Blanket

Electric blankets come in various configurations: beneath the blanket or over existing blankets, often in lieu of existing bed sheet; preheating blankets that warm the bed prior to use and must be disconnected later; and all-night blankets that can stay on.  Safe storage of electric blankets ensures that their interior structure is not damaged.  Older blankets should be checked by the manufacturers of the blanket or an electrician every three years.

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Francis M. Unson