Category: What To Do When No One Tells You What To Do

Idea Treasure Hunting on Road Trips

Approaching a road trip with loose ideas about what you will discover provides a creative way to explore well-documented tourist areas without being stuck in possibly boring activities.

My husband is more structured than I am. He lists all the things he wants to see, studying each area in depth.

I, however, regard road trips as a treasure hunt. If I find only one unexpected-but-meaningful thing per day, I count it as highly rewarding. If I find many, I regard it as “striking it rich.”

Treasures I Found

I struck it rich many times during a three-week road trip to Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan (May 2019), but many cannot be documented as “tourist advice.” Here is what I found:

(Note that non-listed treasures include time with family and friends.)

  • Royal Icing Workshop: I spent two days in Wilton’s headquarters (Darien, Illinois) learning Royal Icing techniques from world-famous instructor, Julia Usher. My husband spent time exploring bike trails. All activities in this area were classified as “treasures.”

  • Losing All Art Supplies: While visiting family, I lost all my travel art supplies that I’ve collected over the years, forcing me to buy new ones. By doing this, I discovered how creative I could be with a cheap, kid’s watercolor set. And best? Upon arriving home, my sister-in-law found my original supplies in her car.

  • Recognizing I Love Drawing People: During my trip, I realized that I’d rather draw people than flowers, natural scenery, or architecture. I came to this conclusion after seeing a stunning sketch book on Facebook that focused exclusively on portraits. Here’s one example of my work (done with cheap watercolors and a rapidly disintegrating paint brush). For more, visit Sketches by Karen Little on Littleviews-Crafts.com.

  • Buying Stuff: I bought two long scarves, one at the Milwaukee Art Museum, and a second in Fish Creek in Door County, Wisconsin. Yes, I am a “treasure hunting” consumer at heart. Nearby surroundings were fabulous, too, in all locations.The following photo is my friend, Toni, creating “art with art” in the Milwaukee Art Museum as she almost locked arms with the museum’s famous “The Janitor” by Duane Hanson. (Note: When asking Toni to pose, I didn’t know you were not supposed to step into the “box.”)

  • Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees: Just driving through this area is amazing, especially after a period of heavy rains where everything is verdant (lush). In spring, check for forest floors covered with Jonquils.

  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore: This federal preserve in Michigan is always a marvel. But treasure-wise-speaking, we got to use our antique, “forever free” federal park pass, which is no longer available to seniors.

  • Cherry Republic at Glen Arbor, Michigan: Glen Arbor is the original home of this small chain of unique restaurants. It features cherry-products, outdoor seating, and great food. Its other locations are nice, but this one is extra special. In addition to good food, I was fascinated with their lovely window box:

Of course, I found many other treasures, but perhaps the most important to me was discovering that my passion as an artist is drawing people in action! (My family, of course, benefits from my second passion, which involves sugar cookies decorated with Royal Icing.)

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Article by Karen Little, first published for Littleviews.com on June 3, 2019, all rights reserved by Karen Little and Littleviews. You may re-publish this article on a non-commercial site with permission from Karen.

Questions? Ask Karen at info@littleviews.com. Do you have an article you’d like to see in this series? Karen would love to hear from you.

How to Quickly Improve Your Memory by Self-Testing

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You truly learn a new topic only when you can express it fluently in some way. If, however, you are not in a classroom, it may have been difficult to identify your own fluency until now, with the availability of online test makers.

Taking a test someone else has prepared for you can help you learn, but it can be stressful. Unless you ace it, tests like that often make you feel insecure, instead of becoming confident that you are learning new information.

Taking a test you prepare for yourself, however, lets you focus on what you need to know without losing face in front of a teacher, or racking up poor grades.

Learn how effective and easy self-testing can be with the online app, Easy Test Maker, (EasyTestMaker.com), which is free for single-person use.

To test the self-test maker, I picked a subject I needed to know which, around Super Bowl time, was football. Next, I found source material that contained information I needed to learn, then using “cut and paste,” I pumped questions into Easy Test Maker.  Question types include a short answer, multiple choice, true or false, matching, or fill in the blank.

After creating my test, I actually tested and graded myself online! More reasonably, I also generated a PDF version of the test with and without answers for later review. Save the PDFs to go over as needed, and perhaps share them with other people interested in learning the same subject.

Use the free version as a self-testing device. An instructor’s version is available at a low annual fee for testing and tracking multiple students.

For even more learning power, feed your PDF in a “text to speech” app to practice responding by voice. This is especially handy for people with dyslexia!

Links

 


Article by Karen Little, first published for Littleviews.com on February 19, 2019, all rights reserved by Karen Little and Littleviews. You may re-publish this article on a non-commercial site with permission from Karen.

Questions? Ask Karen at info@littleviews.com. Do you have an article you’d like to see in this series? Karen would love to hear from you.

How to Transform Information Into Knowledge

Some people go on expensive trips only to discover that when they arrive at a new destination, they are more comfortable spending time in their hotel room as opposed to “seeing the sights.” Although they read travel brochures, fast-feed surface information that poses as education did not leave them feeling engaged.

Engagement is what happens after we transform education into something tangible. If all we do is just look at things that are supposed to be educational, our minds will fail to understand what our eyes see.

With this issue in mind, I was inspired after reading an article by Julie Lasky, a journalist who writes the New York Time’sWhat You Get” column. Her articles related to reporting on nation-wide real estate listings are so well-informed that you’d think that she constantly explores properties.

In reality, she conducts research from her home, a process she shares in a January 26, 2019 New York Times article, “This Real Estate Columnist Is Also a Geographer.” Read the article to learn how she transforms simple information into lively engagement.

Engagement makes your travels and other activities more interesting. Here are some tips on how to foster engagement:

  • Write about what you learn. Writing forces your brain to fuse raw information into knowledge
  • Become an expert in your subject by testing yourself
  • Cut and paste pictures and embed videos into your notes
  • Sketching is a form of writing, so freehand sketch or trace visual information of interest

 


Article by Karen Little, first published for Littleviews.com on February 2, 2019, all rights reserved by Karen Little and Littleviews. You may re-publish this article in a non-commercial site with permission from Karen.

Questions? Ask Karen at info@littleviews.com. Do you have an article you’d like to see in this series? Karen would love to hear from you.

How Online-Shopping Can Help Answer Our Prayers

The word prayer means “a request for help.” We commonly think of prayer as a request for help from a spiritual being, but actually, we pray every time we have a question we want answered. Online, then, Google probably is competitive with the spiritual world in its ability to receive and actually answer prayers.

Many of us “pray” to family and friends primarily because they are the first people who come to mind when we need help. A problem arises, however, with social isolation resulting from retirement, long-term layoffs, and physical disabilities. There may be no one around to ask for help, and even if there were, what many of us really want is a nudge in the right direction, not a lecture.

The next best place to turn if a friend isn’t at our side is, of course, Google (or other online search engine). Instead of looking up articles, ask a question, then click the “images” tab related to your search. Often seeing something provides the quick nudge we need, without sinking into hours of research or depression to resolve our problems.

Search engines are not the only places where imagery can help us find answers. Even if you don’t plan on shopping, online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and big specialty shops also provide plenty of ideas through pictures, many of which might relate to our needs by giving us ideas on how to solve them.

Pictures open our eyes and what we see often opens our minds beyond the point where we are stuck, especially when friends and acquaintances are not around. Wallets and charge cards are not required if all we are searching for are answers.


Article by Karen Little, first published for Littleviews.com on January 24, 2019, all rights reserved by Karen Little and Littleviews. You may re-publish this article in a non-commercial site with permission from Karen.

Questions? Ask Karen at info@littleviews.com. Do you have an article you’d like to see in this series? Karen would love to hear from you.