Friday, April 23, 2021

101 Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol

 In mid-March, I went to the emergency room after feeling tightness in my throat, jaw, and upper-chest. After a variety of tests and an overnight stay in the hospital, there was no indication of a heart attack which was good. However, there were some unusual things I learned about my aorta as well as that I had high cholesterol. 

Having been eating healthier since January 1st, I was surprised at the numbers as were the doctors. However, with a family history of high cholesterol on both sides, it is not surprising that this eventually would be passed along to me. 

So, I found a book at the library called 101 Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol

Some of the things I'd already been doing. However, there are some other good suggestions and general information:

- Plaque is composed of oxidized LDL's and calcium in the bloodstream, as well as other cellular debris, or litter, that gets caught in the fatty (lipd) deposits. As the deposit grows larger, it hardens from the increase in the amount of calcium. IT is living and growing....Eventually, the buildup of plaque can decrease or block blood flow to the hart or to the brain, starving these organs of essential oxygen and causing chest pains, a heart attack, or a stroke. 

- You should fast for at least 9-12 hours before you have a lipid profile test.

- Several factors affect the total cholesterol levels including:

- Your diet -foods that come from animals (such as meat and eggs) contain cholesterol. Foods high in saturated fats, such as meats and dairy products, are converted into cholesterol in your body. 

- Your weight - people who lose as little as 10% of their total body weight have seen improvements in cholesterol levels.

- Your level of physical activity - people who are physically active on a regular basis have higher levels of HDL or good cholesterol.

- Whether you effectively manage stress - mental and emotional stress can adversely affect heart health.

- Your family history - family hypercholesterolemia strikes one in 500 children. The strongest risk factor for heart disease is hereditary. 

- The circulatory system includes the heart, lungs, and all of the blood vessels. In the average person, these vessels would be 100,000 miles long if laid end-to-end. 

- Each day and night, the average heart beats approximately 100,000 times and pumps 2,000 gallons of blood. Over a normal lifespan, the heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times.

- Warning signs of a heart attack:

- Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or that recurs.

- Pain that spreads from the chest to the shoulders, neck, jaw, or arms.

- Chest discomfort combined with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath. 

- Atypical chest, stomach, or abdominal pain.

- Nausea or dizziness.

 - Shortness of breath followed by difficult breathing.

- Unexplained anxiety, weakness, or fatigue.

- Heart palpitations, accompanied by a cold sweat or pale skin.

- Your blood pressure should be lower than 120 mmHg over 80 mmHg.

- Blood pressure can be managed by losing as little as 5-10 pounds of weight, exercising regularly, eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy products, and reducing stress.

- Moderate-intensity exercise - at a minimum of 30 minutes a day on most days of the week - can have a powerful impact on improving your health.

-  LDL cholesterol level is considered high if it is greater than 160 mg/dL. LDL should be less than 100 mg/dL.

- A total cholesterol greater than 240 mg/dL is considered high risk. It should be less than 200 to be considered healthy.

- Behavioral change model shows that there are five stages. The fourth stage is "Action" and it is the first six-month period of starting up a new exercise program, following a new eating pattern or integrating new methods of relaxation into your day. Studies show that it typically takes two months to develop a habit and that as many as 50% of people who start a new program drop out within the first six months. 

- The fifth stage of the behavioral change model is "Maintenance." This is the ideal conclusion to an effort in making a change. This is when a person has been exercising regularly for at least six months, for example. The odds of giving up this new habit after that length of time are low. The behavior becomes self-motivating because it is easy to feel the benefits and rewards of the healthy activity. 

- Write down the top five things that are important to you (e.g., family, health, community, hobby, volunteer work). On the same piece of paper, list the top five activities that take up most of your time in an average day. Compare the two lists. Do you have a good match? Or have you realized that you are neglecting some things that are very important to you?

- Remember to reward yourself for your good behavior. If you have stuck to your eating plan or exercise schedule for four weeks, reward yourself with a massage or buy yourself some new exercise clothing. 

- The American Heart Association guidelines recommend the following foods: 

- 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day

- 6 servings of grains a day

-2 servings of fatty fish per week

- Fat-free and low-fat dairy products

- Legumes (beans)

- Poultry

- Lean meats

 

- Steaks, chops, hamburger, sausage, processed meats (lunchmeat, hot dogs, salami) and fatty cuts of meat are all common sources of saturated fats. Dairy products are rich in saturated fat (cheese, butter, whole milk, 2% milk, ice cream, whole-milk yougurt). Reduce or eliminate these to lower your LDL cholesterol levels.

- Trans fats are more harmful to your health than saturated fats. They are found in commercially-processed foods such as pies, doughnuts, cookies, chips, candy, pastries, shortening, and fried fast food. Also found in cereals, crackers, stick margarine, and lard. 

 

- Eating one egg per day by a person who does not have known CVD or elevated lipid levels did not contribute to elevated blood cholesterol levels.

- Look for "whole," "whole wheat," or "Whole grain" products.

- Increase soluble fiber by 5-10 grams per day to reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 5%. Whole wheat, whole oats, barley, rye, oat brain, rice bran, corn bran, and psyllium seeds all contain soluable fiber.

- Fish is a good source of protein that does not contain harmful saturated animal fats. Salmon, tuna, herring, and mackerel are good dietary sources of medga-3 fatty acids. 

- Monounsaturated fats reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. Some foods include nuts, avocados, and plant oils such as olive, canola, and peanut.

- Enjoy fruit-based desserts (e.g., poached pears, baked apples, fresh-fruit sorbets).

- Include a grain-based food at every meal.

- Prepare desserts with fruit and whole grains (e.g., apple crisp).

- Use whole-grain tortillas or pita breads to make healthy chips for dips or salsa.

- Try sandwiches on hearty whole-grain breads with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, avocados, and sprouts. Use bean dips such as hummus on the sandwich for protein. 

- Meat from grass-fed cattle has about one-half to one-third the fat as meat from grain-fed cattle. Grass-fed beef is lower in calories and higher in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.

- Avoid completely, if you can, processed meats (e.g., lunchmeat, salami, bologna, pepperoni, sausage).

- Choose products from dairy cows that have been fed grass diets. 

- Vetables such as broccoli, chard, greens, and artichokes are all great sources of dietary calcium as well as calcium-fortified orange juice and some whole-grain cereals. 

- Regular physical activity lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides and increases good cholesterol. It also reduces risk of death from all causes, reduces feelings of depression and anxiety, and helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.

- Exercise should be moderate intensity, such as brisk walking.

- More activity and a higher intensity will provide greater health and fitness benefits.

- Take the time to find a comfortable, sturdy shoe and provides good arch support.

- Get sportswear that breathes, such as cotton or polyester blends. 

- Get a pedometer to measure your progress. If you take 12,000 to 15,000 steps per day, it can help you accomplish your weight-loss goals.

- Long-term stress is associated with elevated blood cholesterol levels. 

- When you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself:

- Am I overcommitted?

- Am I taking care of others and neglecting my own self-care?

- Am I trying to accomplish everything on my own without asking for any support from anyone else?

- Are my expectations unrealistic?

- What is going on in my life right now that gives me a sense of struggle?

- Make time for self-care.

- Satins such as Crestor (rosuvastatin) impact cholesterol levels within 4-6 weeks. After about 6-8 weeks, your health care provider will retest your cholesterol levels to determine the effectiveness of the statin therapy and whether the dose requires adjustment. 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Compound Effect - Book Notes

 From January through mid-March, I did a health challenge called 75Hard. One of the habits that had to be done daily was to read 10 pages of a self-improvement book. A book that was highly recommended on the 75Hard Facebook group for women was The Compound Effect - Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success by Darren Hardy. 

I'm glad I found out about this book. There are a lot of helpful ideas for habit-building that I wish I would have known when I was younger. Nonetheless, there are habits and ideas worth doing today that were presented in the book. Below are some highlights:

- Little, everyday decisions will either take you to the life you desire or to disaster by default.

- From what to eat and where to work, to the people you spend your time with, to how you spend your afternoon, every choice shapes how you live today, but more important, how you live the rest of your life.

- The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices completed consistently over time.

- Your grandparents worked six days a week, from sunup to sundown, using the skills they learned in their youth and repeatedly throughout their entire life. They knew the secret was hard work, discipline, and good habits.

- Every decision, no matter how slight, alters the trajectory of your life - whether or not to go to college, whom to marry, to have that last drink before your drive, to indulge in gossip or stay silent, to say I love you or not. 

- Your biggest challenge is that you've been sleepwalking through your choices.

- Keep a Thanksgiving journal for your spouse or a loved one. Every day for an entire year, log at least one thing you appreciate about him/her. It forces you to focus on that person's positive aspects. You will be consciously looking for all the things the person does "right." 

-  Pick an area of your life where you most want to be successful (e.g., more money in the bank, a trimmer waistline, better relationship with your spouse or kids). Picture where you are in that area, right now. Now picture where you want to be: richer, thinner, happier, you name it. 

- Track every action that relates to the area of your life you want to improve. If you want to get out of debt, track every penny you pull from your pocket. If you want to lose weight, track your food. 

- Track down every cent you spend for 30 days. 

- Track one habit for one week. Then three weeks. 

- Every dollar you spend today, no matter where you spend it, is costing you nearly five dollars in only 20 years (and ten dollars in 30 years)?

- Every time you spend a dollar today, it's like taking five dollars out of your future pocket.

- Save $250 per month in an IRA starting at 23 years old. By the time you're 40 years old, there would be no need to invest anymore. By the time you are 67 years old, there will be more than $1 million in that account, growing at 8% interest compounded monthly.

- The story of most people's lives is that they're riding the horse of their habits, with no idea where they're headed. It's time to take control of the reins and move your life in the direction of where you really want to go.

- What is your why? You've got to have a reason if you want to make significant improvements to your life. 

- I have seen business moguls achieve their ultimate goals, but still live in frustration, worry, and fear. What's preventing these successful people from being happy? The answer is they have focused only on achievement and not fulfillment. Extraordinary accomplishment does not guarantee extraordinary joy, happiness, love, and a sense of meaning.

- When your actions conflict with your values, you'll end up unhappy, frustrated, and despondent.

- If you are not making the progress that you would like to make and are capable of making, it is simply because your goals are not clearly defined.

- Clean your home. If you're trying to curb your spending, take an evening and cancel every catalog or retail offer that comes in the mail or your inbox. If you want to eat healthy, stop buying junk food. Make sure your refrigerator and pantry are stocked with healthy options.

- How can you alter your bad habits so that they're not as harmful? Can you replace them with healthier habits or drop-kick them altogether? 

- About every 3 months, pick one vice and abstain for 30 days. If you find it seriously difficult to abstain for those 30 days, you may have found a habit worth cutting out of your life.

- Find rewards to give yourself every month, every week, every day - a walk, relax in the bath, or read something just for fun. 

- Every Saturday is FD (Family Day) which means NO working. Sundown on Friday night until sunup on Sunday morning is time devoted to marriage and family. If you don't create these boundaries, one day has a tendency to flow into the next. Unfortunately, the people who get shoved aside are often the most important. 

- Once a month try to do something that creates an experience that has some memorable intensity. Drive up to the mountains, go on an adventurous hike, try a new fancy restaurant, go sailing on a lake. Something out of the ordinary that has a heightened experience and creates an indelible memory. 

- Everyone is affected by 3 kinds of influences: input (what you feed your mind), associations (the people with whom you spend time), and environment (your surroundings).

- We can protect and feed our mind. We can be disciplined and proactive about what we allow in.

- How to feed your mind? Listen to positive, inspirational, and supportive input and ideas. Stories of aspiration, people who (despite challenges) are overcoming obstacles and achieving great things. Strategies of success, prosperity, health, love, and joy. Ideas to create more abundance, to grow, expand, and become more. Examples and stories of what's good, right, and possible in the world. 

- Listen to instructional and inspirational CDs when driving. 

- We become the combined average of the five people we hang around the most. The people with whom we spend our time determine what conversations dominate our attention and to which attitudes and opinions we are regularly exposed. Eventually, we start to eat what they eat, talk like they talk, read what they read, think like they think, watch what they watch, treat people how they treat them, even dress like they dress. 

- What is the combined average income, health, or attitudes of the five people you spend most of your time with?

- Jot down the names of those five people you hang around the most. Write down their main characteristics, both positive and negative. What's their average health and bank balance? What is their average relationship like? Is this list okay for you? Is this where you want to go?

- It's time to reappraise and reprioritize the people you spend time with. These relationships can nurture you, starve you, or keep you stuck. 

- Do not allow someone else's actions or attitudes to have a dampening influence on you.

- Identify people who have positive qualities in the areas of life where you want to improve - people with the financial and business success you desire, the parenting skills you want, the relationships you yearn for, the lifestyle you love. And then spend more time with them. Join organizations and businesses where these people gather and make friends. 

- The dream in your heart may be bigger than the environment in which you find yourself. Sometimes you have to get out of that environment to see that dream fulfilled. It's just not where you live. It's whatever surrounds you. Creating a positive environment to support your success means clearing out all the clutter in your life - physical, psychic, whatever's broken, whatever makes you cringe. Each and every incomplete thing in your life exerts a draining force on you, sucking the energy of accomplishment and success out of you as surely as a vampire stealing blood. Every incomplete promise, commitment, and agreement saps your strength because it blocks your momentum and inhibits your ability to move forward. Incomplete tasks keep calling you back to the past to take care of them. So think about what you can complete today.

- If you tolerate disrespect, you will be disrespected. If you tolerate people being late and making you wait, people will show up late for you. If you tolerate being underpaid and overworked, that will continue for you. If you tolerate your body being overweight, tired, and perpetually sick, it will be.

- You can do more than expected in every aspect of your life.

- Instead of sending Christmas cards, send Thanksgiving cards. Handwrite personal sentiments expressing how grateful you are for your relationship with that person and what he or she means to you. 

- One core value in life is significance - to make a positive difference in other people's lives.

- Ideas uninvested are wasted.

- The ripple effect of helping others and giving generously of your time and energy is that you become the biggest beneficiary of your personal philanthropy. 

Action Steps

- Write out a few excuses you might be clinging to (e.g., not smart enough, no experience, don't have the education). Decide to make up in hard work and personal development to outcompete anyone - including your old self.

- Write out the half-dozen small, seemingly inconsequential steps you can take every day that can take your life in a completely new and positive direction.

- Write down the small, seemingly inconsequential actions you can stop doing that might be compounding your results downward.

- List a few areas, skills, or outcomes where you have been most successful in the past. 

- What area, person, or circumstance in your life do you struggle with the most? Start journaling all the aspects of that situation that you are grateful for. Keep a record of everything that reinforces and expands your gratitude in that area.

- Where in your life are you not taking 100% responsibility for the success or failure of your present condition? Write down 3 things you have done in the past that have messed things up. List 3 things you should have done but didn't. Write 3 things that happened to you but you responded poorly. Write 3 things you can start doing right now to take back responsibility for the outcomes of your life.

- Start tracking at least one behavior in one area of your life you'd like to change and improve (e.g., money, nutrition, fitness, recognizing others, parenting...any area).

- Write out your top three goals. Now make a list of the bad habits that might be sabotaging your progress in each area. Write down every one. 

- Add to that list all the habits you need to adopt that, practiced and compounded over time, will result in you achieving your goals.

- Identify your core motivation.

- Find your why power. Design your concise, compelling, and awe-inspiring goals.

- Build your bookend morning and evening routines. Design a predictable and fail-safe routine schedule for your life.

- List 3 areas of life in which you are not consistent enough. What has this inconsistency cost you in life thus far? Make a declaration to stay steadfast in your new commitment to consistency.

- Identify the influence the input of media and information is having on your life. Keep your mind regularly filled with positive, uplifting, and supportive input.

- Evaluate your current associations. Who might you need to further limit your association? Who might you need to completely dissociate from? Strategize ways you will expand your associations.

- Identify the three areas of your life you are most focused on improving. Find and engage a mentor in each of those areas. Your mentors could be people with whom you have brief conversations or they could be authors (books or on CD).

- Find 3 areas in your life where you can do "extra" (e.g., weight lifting reps, recognition, sentiments of appreciation).

- Identify 3 areas in your life where you can beat the expectations. Where and how can you create "wow" moments?

- Identify 3 ways you can do the unexpected. Where can you differentiate from what is common, normal, or expected?

Things to Read

SUCCESS

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Pie

When I lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, there was a pie I ate at a local restaurant that was delicious. I believe they termed it a "derby pie." However, it is very similar to this Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Pie I made recently for Paige's birthday I saw the recipe on Pinterest that led to the Food website.


This is a super easy recipe to make and I would make it again since everyone loved it. It would have to be a special treat because the nutritional value is not that great. Ignore the dents in the top. That's where the birthday decorations and candles were placed.

INGREDIENTS 

1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie pastry (I made homemade pie crust using my Grandma's recipe)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed 
3/4 cup butter, softened 
1 cup Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chip 
1 cup chopped walnuts (I didn't include any walnuts) 

DIRECTIONS 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat eggs in a large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. 

Beat in butter. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. 

Spoon into pie shell. 

Bake for 55-60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between outside edge and the center comes out clean. 

Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

NUTRITION INFORMATION

Serving Size: 1 (102) g Servings 
Per Recipe: 8 

AMT. PER SERVING and % DAILY VALUE 

Calories: 609.7 
Calories from Fat 376 g (62 % daily value)
Total Fat 41.8 g (64 %)
Saturated Fat 17.8 g (89 %)
Cholesterol 92.2 mg (30 %)
Sodium 293.3 mg (12 %)
Total Carbohydrate 57.7 g (19 %)
Dietary Fiber 3.2 g (13 %)
Sugars 37.8 g (151 %)
Protein 7.1 g (14 %)

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Field Guide to Citizen Science

One of the things that is suggested for high school students applying to college is to boost the activities they do. In a book I read, there was the idea of contributing to scientific research and the citizen scientist movement. 

So, I checked a book out of the library called The Field Guide to Citizen Science - How You Can Contribute to Scientific Research and Make a Difference by Darlene Cavalier. 

Citizen science brings science within reach by connecting two critical ingredients: you and teams of scientists who need and value your help for authentic research. Citizen science has contributed a lot to entomology - especially in terms of monarch butterfly migration. 

In the mid-1990s, citizen science was key to climate change negotiations. British scientists found that birds were laying their eggs earlier in the year because of climate change. They were able to share this information that climate change was not a "future" problem but a "now" or urgent one. 

Citizen scientists share the characteristics of being curious, concerned, and not bystanders.

There are so many great ideas and projects to get involved with at home and in the community. The first step is to create an account on SciStarter.org. This helps you keep track of your contributions and find a relevant project to participate in.

Some of the ones that stood out for me and are ones I'd enjoy doing are: 

- C-BARQ and Fe-BARQ - create standardized evaluations of cat and dog temperament and behavior. Add each pet you want to evaluate to your online portal.

- Smithsonian Transcription Center - to make historical data more accessible for research and discovery. 

- Stall Catchers - to speed up Alzheimer's research. Play games online to report stalled, clogged blood vessels in moving images of mouse brains. 

- Project Feeder Watch - to monitor backyard feeder birds.

- The Great Sunflower Project - to identify where pollinators are declining and improve habitat.

- What's in Your Backyard - to assist with the discovery of life-saving antibiotics.

- Stream Selfie - to help map and monitor all the streams in the United States.

- Globe at Night - to raise awareness about light pollution around the world.

- Budburst - to help scientists by observing seasonal changes in plants.

- iNaturalist - to contribute to a global database of biodiversity data.

- Project Squirrel - to help scientists better understand tree squirrel ecology.




Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Ultimate Side Hustle Book - 450 Moneymaking Ideas for the Gig Economy

 A recent book I browsed through was The Ultimate Side Hustle Book - 450 Moneymaking Ideas for the Gig Economy by Elana Varon. As I'm trying to think of ways to earn money when Olivia begins college, I'm looking at some side hustle books. This one had quite a few ideas that sound intriguing and worth exploring. 

The ones I'm most interested in or intrigue me are:

- Arts or Crafts Teacher - teach art or craft classes to adults or children. Need experience with the medium or method you are teaching, a teaching degree or certification if teaching at a school. Teachers charge students for materials, but for photography courses, students bring their own equipment. Can offer private lessons to groups or individuals. Promote lessons on social media. Teach through adult education programs. Charge per student - about $60 or more for an hour lesson. Earnings depend on what is left after your expenses.

- Lesson Plan Creator - sell your lesson plans and teaching materials to other teachers. Post materials to online marketplaces where teachers sell lesson plans and materials. Set your own rates for materials. Sites take a cut plus may require membership. Prices range from less than $1 to $15 or more.

- Baker - sell baked goods, such as cookies. Need to be able to bake plus comply with state and local cottage food laws. May be able to sell your products from your home. Customers and social media generate orders. Set up a booth at the local farmers' markets or events. Sell through local stores. Price your products to cover your costs and time.

- Fiber Artist - make woven clothing, accessories, or home goods. Need to be good-quality items. Need yarns and equipment. Sell online, farmers' or crafts markets, or in stores. Use social media to market your work. Cover your costs and pay yourself for your time. Craft artists make an average of $19 per hour.

- Personal Chef - cook meals for clients in their homes. Know how to cook nutritious everyday meals. Professional training can help you get started. Get friends and customers who have had your cooking spread the word. Network with friends on social media to promote your services and meet potential customers. Private chefs can earn $30 per hour or more. 

- Photographer - Event or Portrait - photograph weddings, individuals, families, children, or pets. Need artistic ability, experience capturing individual personalities and group relationships, and ability to create rapport with reluctant subjects. Having a portfolio enables you to showcase your abilities. Need a camera, lenses, and related equipment. Just as with the above side hustles, social media, friends, and customers seem the best way to get leads. Event photographers can charge $100 or more per hour and wedding photographers get $2,000 on the average per event. Portrait photographers earn about $20 per hour.

- Photographer - Prints - shoot images to sell as artwork. Know how to compose, shoot, and edit photos. Hospitals, libraries, and places of worship may show work for sale by local artists. Galleries and art shows are other options. Cover your costs and time plus whatever fee a gallery or shop takes out. Average pay is about $20 per hour.

- Social Media Marketer - write social media posts for companies, interact with followers, and manage social media accounts. Need writing, digital marketing experience, a social media presence, and knowledge of social media metrics. Need a computer, smartphone, and reliable internet service. Join an online freelance platform, network with colleagues, and promote your services on social media. Pay ranges from $10 to $50+ per hour.

- Event Planner - plan and organize conferences, lectures, or social events. Bring an event concept to fruition. Develop and work within a budget. Coordinate vendors such as caterers, florists, speakers, and entertainers. Start by planning small, social, community, or business events. Network with people you know, promote your services on social media, and get referrals from people who have attended events you planned. Earn about $25 per hour.

- Home Organizer - help people arrange their space and reduce clutter. Have experience organizing closets, drawers, and living spaces. Take classes to improve your skills. Do projects for your friends and use social media. Pay ranges from $40-$200 per hour, depending on your experience and location. 

- Party Planner - plan and organize parties, such as birthdays and special occasions. Identify a niche theme - children's birthday parties, baby showers, spa treatments. Need equipment and supplies. Can earn anywhere from $250 to $2,000 depending on the type of event and number of guests.

- Slide Presentation Designer - create presentation slide decks. Have design ability, business, marketing, or industry knowledge; storytelling ability; and expertise using PowerPoint. Leads - start-up companies that need a library of slide decks for presenting to funders and customers. Rates vary. For formatting and basic editing, it may be less than $20 per hour. Someone with proven storytelling and design skills can charge $100 per hour and up. 

- Balloon Twister - make balloon sculptures on-demand at parties or events, or create balloon art as party decorations. Know the craft. Friends, neighbors, colleagues, and neighborhood or community groups can be sources of work. About $100 per hour is common or by the piece.

- Food Tour Guide - take groups to visit local restaurants and food shops to teach them about local specialities or a type of cuisine. Know the food and establish relationships with local restaurants and food shop owners. Some cities require tour guides to have a license. Network with hotel concierges, restaurant managers, specialty food shops, and travel agents. Give free tours to generate word-of-mouth referrals and social media posts. List your tours on travel and food business review sites. Guides who work for tour companies earn about $13 per hour. Earnings are higher for independent guides. If you charge $25 per person for a two-hour tour, you'll make $50 per hour with a family of four. 

- Mock Juror - give only survey feedback to attorneys about their cases before trial. Have to meet minimum requirements. Sign up on a mock jury site. This one has multiple sites listed. Jurors are paid $10-$50, depending on the site.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

College Admission Essentials - Book Notes

 As Olivia is getting ready to apply to colleges she would like to attend, I am reading some books about the college admission process called College Admission Essentials by Ethan Sawyer. 

Although we have been through this process already with Sophia, there is always something new to learn. This book had some helpful tips; and I was glad that I read it. Below are some things that are relevant to us and I want to remember:

- Admission officers want to know what matters to you - your values.

- Do the Essence Objects Exercise. Imagine a box. In the box is a set of "essence objects" or things that remind you of important moments, relations, or values in your life. 

What's an object that reminds you of home?

- What object makes you feel safe?

- What's something that inspires you?

What's a food that reminds you of your family?

What's a book that changed your life?

What object represents a challenge you've faced?

What's a dream or goal you have for the future?

What's something about you that sometimes surprises people?

Who are you with and what are you doing when you feel most like yourself?

What makes your heart skip a beat?

What brings you joy?

What's hanging on your bedroom walls?

What are you proud of?

What's the last spontaneous thing you did?

What's your earliest memory?

What's an object that reminds you of something that still feels unresolved in your life?

What's an object that represents something you know now that you didn't know five years ago?

What action or gesture represents love to you?

What do you like to do that does not involve technology?

What will you save for your child someday?

What's the most memorable meal you've ever eaten or made?

Is there a book that you are always lending to people?

What do you like to collect?

What have you kept from a trip?

What reminds you of summer?

What's something that people associate with you?

What's your favorite smell? Your favorite thing to look at? Your favorite thing to touch?

- Do the Values Exercise. You'll select 10 values from a list and whittle that down to the most important values.

- Do the Core Memories Exercise. For each of your top five values, write down either a core memory, an image, or an essence object that you associate with each value. 

- Do the Enneagram test.

- Extracurricular activities that you may not have considered: running a small business, photography, bird watching, and online class certifications.

- Things to do during the summer:

-  Take an online course in something that fascinates you. Google "Free and low-cost online courses from top universities."

- Do one good deed a day for thirty days, then blog about it.  

- Shadow relatives or family friends at work.  

- Create your own internship.

- Do research with a local professor. 

- Do the 21 Details Exercise.



- Make a list of the extracurricular activities. Include work and family responsibilities. Refer to this part on the College Essay Guy's website about writing about activities and using a variety of verbs: How to Write a Successful Common App Activities List (collegeessayguy.com)

- List your awards in order of importance. Start with those that mean the most to you personally.

- Include additional details about activities that wouldn't fit in your activities list. See here for more information: How to Use the Common App Additional Information Section: Guide + Examples (collegeessayguy.com)

- In an essay, the focus could be why you're choosing a particular major.  

- Don't use common or obvious adjectives to describe yourself (e.g., adventurous, compassionate, passionate) or adjectives that repeat information that's already clear on your application (e.g., motivated, hardworking, determined).

- Get letters of recommendation from teachers and others who know you. Use this questionnaire to help them write their letters.

- If the college requires an interview, read this section of the College Essay Guy's website.

- All of the special effects people, set dressers, and costume designers in the movie credits are non-famous artists making a living by putting their talents to work.

- The arts are essential to a meaningful life. Sometimes it's obvious like a new musician and sometimes it is subtle like the lighting in a restaurant, a floral arrangement, or a building that makes you want to walk inside. The arts invite us to look at the world differently, to consider other perspectives, and to feel like someone else out there understands you.

- Will the college you are looking at support your creative development? If you like to pour bronze, does the school have a foundry? Ask about research resources - like slide libraries, music archives, and print collections.

- Create a great art portfolio:
- Give yourself time to prepare your portfolio. It can take several months to up to a year to create a portfolio.
- Create more artwork than what the application requires. If it requires 15 artworks, aim to create 30-40.
- Draw from life.
- Include a wide variety of subject matter in your work - figures, self-portraits, still lifes, landscapes, interior spaces, and architectural spaces, character design, abstraction, editorial illustration, typography, urban sketching, poster design, book covers, and more.
- Avoid cliches in your artwork. If you are given a prompt called "time" do not do an image of a watch, clock, or hourglass. Find an uncommon connection.
- Express your own point of view. Express an opinion, narrative, mood, or an emotion. 
- Present your artwork professionally.
- Create using a wide range of media. Drawing with pencil, crayons, conte crayons, markers, soft pastels, oil pastels. Include drawings, photography, paintings, sculptures, mixed media, collages, digial media, animation, printmaking, clay, installation, and more. 
- Use high-quality photographs of your artwork.
- Attend National Portfolio Day. Follow the Facebook page.

- More comprehensive information about pursuing an art major is here.

- Students with learning differences can ask for accommodations including:
- teacher's notes
- note takers
- preferential seating
- use of a calculator
- use of a computer
- breaks as needed

Testing accommodations might include:
- extended time on tests and exams
- test-taking locations with reduced distractions
- use of a calculator or computer
- testing across multiple days
- breaks as needed
- oral examinations
- spell-checker programs

- Develop a self-directed project based on what you care about.
- Connect with what you care about
- Connect your values to a problem that is either local, global, or both. Consider what causes suffering (for you personally, what suffering (by other people) do you react to the strongest, what makes you most afraid for the future, and what you would like to be different in the world.
- Write your vision statement - what your core values are and how you describe the world as you'd like it to be.
- Make your project happen.
- Write about your project in your college application. 

- When comparing financial aid packages, fill out the award letter analyzer.

- Three ways to decide what your heart wants:
- One day - imagine for the next 24 hours you're going to attend School A. Wear a sweatshirt from that school, say to yourself, "I'm going to School A." See how it feels. Repeat with the other schools.
- One hour - create a pro- and con- list. 
- One minute - flip a coin. Heads up you go to one school, tails you to to another. Catch the coin and hide the result. Ask yourself, "Which was I hoping would or wouldn't come up?" Then look at the coin and pay attention to how you feel. 

Websites to Explore

College Essay Guy 

Books to Read

The Brothers Karamazov


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Alone Together - Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19

 Who would have thought in March 2020 that one year later COVID-19 would still be around, we would be wearing masks, and over 500,000 people would have died it? It is not surprising that books about COVID-19 have been added to the library collection. A new book that I found at the library is Alone Together - Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19 which is edited by Jennifer Haupt.


 This book is a collection of short stories, poems, and reflections by a variety of writers. There is such a diversity of writing styles and content which makes it an interesting book. With so many perspectives on the pandemic and its impact on people, it is reassuring to know that I'm not alone in feeling the way that I do. 

Some things that stood out from the various poems and stories include: 

- Part of the tremendous unease during the pandemic has been recognizing that we are in the midst of transformation, with no clear sense of where it will lead and little reassuring guidance along the way. 

- We're doing these things we didn't have time for in the past because we were so busy with our lives.

Olivia making a barn quilt. She was commissioned to do a 
custom-designed barn quilt which is exciting!

- What's the new normal now? I'm finding that we're going back to some of the things that we used to do growing up and my kid is enjoying it!  

Enjoying watching and photographing birds during the pandemic.

- These shared experiences are bringing us closer together, and I think that's one of the gifts of this time, that we're going to develop some new old ways of interacting with each other. 

Making food for holidays and other special days.

- That's when I saw something I'd missed for a long time. Smiles. 

- Only when I noticed others doing errands in their pajamas did I realize that...people were going outside wearing the clothes they'd just slept in. It wasn't exhibitionism. Dressing had become as blurry as the days of the week.

- Our faces became armored with masks. When people approached it was impossible to determine if they were happy or threatening. 

Some of our Lions Club members packaging food for 

other members before a Zoom club meeting.

- Each week I spend triple (on groceries) what I did pre-virus and still feel like I do not have enough.

- The virus sheds and we shed what doesn't serve us so we can focus on what matters.

Enjoying a meal together on New Year's Day.

- In times like these, trying to produce any kind of art feels a bit frivolous. But when we're stuck in our homes and told only to go out when absolutely needed, making art is probably the best way to combat anxiety and atrophy.

Made window stars for Olivia's 18th birthday which 
also was her golden birthday.

- We can treat our pain and create change when we turn our grief and anger into action.

- The plans that had been the tent poles for my illusion of control were pulled right out of the ground. I had to make new plans, live by new rules, which took some doing.

- For the first time in her life, she must do nothing at all. 

- Somewhere in the past year, she has stopped waking up more beautiful each day. Something has shifted in her face and she sees age flicker between her brows then dive down to the two crevices on the sides of her mouth. 

- Grace is finding your own unique strengths and developing those as best you can. Grace is doing what you love and loving what you do.

  
One of the things I love is taking photos of nature - plants and wildlife.

- You want to keep arguing for those things you were passionate about fifty days ago, but you cannot remember what day of the week itis, you cannot remember the month.

- You see your family and friends via cell phone, via computer. Your hair is grayer. There are circles under everyone's eyes, there are worry lines accenting the corners of mouths. 

 

Conducting meetings on Zoom has become the new normal.

At this particular one, we had a speaker and bald eagle from The Raptor Center 

join us for a presentation.