All posts by serviceclub

The dog days of Summer

After all the rain we’ve had over the last week (my yard registered 10 1/2″ in the rain gauge) we are finally getting a glimmer of the sun and a taste of the intense summery weather. With the rain come humidity and for those of you who enjoy the “soupy” weather you’ll be happy to know that there will be plenty of it!

We are starting to enter the “Dog Days of Summer”. This is commonly understood to be 40 days from early July to mid-August in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere it is from February through March. It is literally a period of stagnation.

Why is it called “dog days”?

In ancient times it was common practice for people all over the world to create images or pictures in the sky by joining the dots of the stars in the night sky. Nowadays these are called constellations and they were mapped out by Europeans. One of the constellations that were created was Canis Major and Canis Minor. The brightest star within Canis Major is called Sirius – the big dog.

In the summer, Sirius (Dog Star) rises and sets with the sun. The people believed that this star added heat to the sun when it was in conjunction with the sun, thereby creating a period of swelteringly hot weather. They named the 20 days before and the 20 days after, “dog days” after the Dog Star.

Today, dog days occur during the period between July 3 and August 11. Although it is certainly the warmest period of the summer, the heat is not due to the added radiation from a far-away star. Instead the heat of summer is a direct result of the earth’s tilt.

Whatever you are planning to do during the dog days of summer, make sure you drink plenty of water, use lots of sunscreen and do something fun!

Are you prepared for Spring weather?

April is nearly over.  Spring is in the air and Summer is on its way.  This is the season of drastic weather changes and it is time to get an emergency kit prepared!  Here in St. Louis, Missouri we are no stranger to major natural phenomena such as severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, earthquakes.  Do you and your family have a plan in the event of an emergency or bad weather?  Do you have a special meeting place where family members can get together after a catastrophe?

What to do in the event of a natural disaster:

–  Make sure your family members know where to meet up after a disaster.  Bear in mind that buildings could be the least secure place.

–  Prepare a disaster kit that includes items such as a can opener, knife, flashlight, batteries, weather radio, clothing, pet food (if you have pets), extra medications, first aid kit, canned or long life foods, copies of your ID’s and next of kin, blanket etc.  For info on disaster kits, check out this website:

–  Have a place of safety to go to during the disaster, for example your basement, a room with no windows, the lowest level of your house.  Keep the windows closed.

–  Get a NOAA weather radio and batteries or subscribe to websites such as that will send you automated text messages and/or emails advising you of any immediate danger.

–  Prepare yourself in advance with information about natural disasters.  Knowledge is power (and peace of mind).  This website can help:

Once the immediate disaster is over, check in with your family and friends – bear in mind that the communication towers may be destroyed and the use of cell phones will be useless.  Remember to have a specific meeting place to go to after the disaster.

After natural catastrophes, FEMA, or other emergency rescuers may not be able to get to you straight away, so ensure that you have 2-3 day’s worth of clothing, food and water (don’t forget your pets!)

A good time to remember to check your supplies in preparation for Spring and in preparation for Winter is when the clocks go forward and when they go back.

Don’t forget that you can never be over-prepared!  Be sensible, be prepared, don’t panic and above all, stay safe!

What’s special about March?

Lately I’ve paid more attention to “official days” in various months and it piqued my curiosity. I’m not sure how these special days get chosen, but I find them interesting. Here are some fun facts and official observances for March:

The month of March 2015 is observed as:
American Red Cross Month
Irish-American Heritage
Women’s History Month
Colorectal Cancer Awareness
Endometriosis Awareness Month
National Nutrition Month
Save Your Vision Month
Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Birthstones for March are: Aquamarine, Bloodstone & Jade

Fruit & Veges for the month of March are:
Canistel (EggFruit)
Red Banana
Kiwano Melon
Green Onions & Leeks

March flower: Daffodil

Astrological Signs: Pisces (till 20th) & Aries (21th→)

Other Notable March Dates & Events:
March 1 – 7: National Consumer Protection Week 2015
March 2: Read Across America Day
March 5: Purim
March 8: International Women’s Day
March 8: Daylight Saving Time Begins
March 12: World Kidney Day
March 17: Saint Patrick’s Day
March 19: St Joseph
March 20: Spring Begins
March 29: Palm Sunday
March 30: National Doctors’ Day

For a more in-depth list of National days, weeks and months, check out this link:

Busy February

February 2015 looks to be a busy month!  First up there is the Super Bowl for those who are football fans (or maybe just fans of the commercials).  Did you root for the Patriots or for the Seahawks?  Do you prefer to follow the game on TV, radio or social media?  Super Bowl Sunday is celebrated on February 1st this year.

Valentine’s Day is also coming up soon on February 14th.  The Service Club for the Blind has some soft toys available for purchase.  Most of them either talk or sing or dance.  We typically don’t keep specific Valentine’s Day candy but we do have other candy available and we will be happy to help you choose something for your sweetheart!

Presidents’ Day is always celebrated on the third Monday of February.  This year is falls on February 16th.  Presidents’ Day traditionally honors George Washington’s birthday – first President of the United States – and it is a Federal holiday.  It is known by a variety of names and in some states it is called “Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthday”.  Some states celebrate Washington alone and some celebrate Washington and Jefferson (not Lincoln).  In Missouri it is known as Washington’s Birthday.

Are you a Mardi Gras follower?  Mardi Gras literally means “Fat Tuesday” and it typically falls on Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) and it marks the last day before the start of Lent.  In New Orleans, Mardi Gras is celebrated by parades, music, parties and a lot of fun.  The period from 12th Night until Mardi Gras Day is called “Carnival”.  Mardi Gras Day is on February 17th this year.

Whichever holiday you celebrate, we hope you have fun doing so.

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year to our followers!  May 2015 be a year of expectation and success.

I have just finished packing away all our Christmas items left over from our various shopping days.  It seems that finding items $10 and under is becoming rather a task, but lucky for us, we are tax exempt and we have shoppers who do a great job of finding some wonderful bargains.  Let us know if there are specific items you’d like us to source for you closer to Christmas 2015.

Our first book club meeting for the year is the 4th Wednesday of the month.  Our author that we will be discussing is Tamar Myers.

We will not be scheduling any social events until the weather starts to warm up a little.  We have some good plans in the pipelines for 2015 so be sure to check back, or join our Facebook group for more info.  Search for our Facebook group “Service Club for the Blind” and follow us on Twitter @SClubBlind.

Do you need a new cane?  We have canes available from 34″ to 58″ either in 4 or 6 sections. Prices range from $17.50 to $20.50.  The correct way to find out the correct length of cane you should use is to measure from the floor to your breast bone.  Our canes are available in 2″ increments.

As always, we can be contacted at:

3719 Watson Rd., St. Louis, MO 63109
Tel: 314 647-3306

Book Club – aka The Reading Ring

The Service Club holds a monthly book club meeting for its members and clients.  We have a substantial collection of audio books that were donated to us and we lend them out on a regular basis (library style).

For our book club meetings we choose an author’s name out of a basket and each book club member has one month to read any book by that author and in any format (audio, large print, Braille etc.).  At the following book club meeting we will discuss that author and share a little about the books we read and then choose another random author for the next month’s meeting.

Our first book club meeting was held on September 16, 2009.  Book club meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday of a month from 10am – noon at the Service Club.  Please call the office for the current author details.

Welcome to our “Do it Yourself” Blog.

Thank you for surfing into our little  corner of cyberspace!

The Service Club for the Blind is a non-profit 501 (c)3 agency.  We endeavor to assist people who are legally blind in the St. Louis, Missouri area.

For our clients we provide various assistance, from food vouchers, clothing, school clothing for their children, assistance with utility expenses, assistance with prescription medications as well as various other assistance.

For our members we provide social activities designed to provide them with opportunities to interact with others, share experiences and establish friendships.  We also offer them an adaptive technology program as well as a health benefit program.

We receive no federal or state funding and rely solely on donations and bequests.  All our services are free to our clients and members.  Without donations we would not be able to continue to provide these services.  The Service Club for the Blind is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization and in that regard, all contributions are tax deductible.

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