National Dictionary Day

National Dictionary Day is observed annually on October 16.

National Dictionary Day was created in honor of Noah Webster’s birthday (October 16, 1758) and was set aside as a day to emphasize the importance of learning and using dictionary skills and increasing one’s vocabulary.  Webster is considered the “Father of the American Dictionary”. 

Source: National Day Calendar

Book Clubs in Coffee Shops

I found a site asking Starbucks to add reading clubs/ books to their coffee shops. I think this is backwards. The book sellers need to bring in coffee, not the other way around. Coffee shops don’t have enough seating to really want a group of people hanging around and taking up space.

Smarter for a retail book seller to provide the coffee, books and space. Why don’t they evolve a room for public events? Make it cosy and enclose it (with glass doors to keep out sound but leave everyone a view). The store could promote the local book clubs. Offer members a discount on whatever the upcoming book is (and make sure they have it in stock ahead of time too).

The big chain book stores here (in Ontario) do have a coffee shop attached to them, a Starbucks. But, they don’t go the extra step of giving it a local group appeal. There isn’t enough seating and people are discouraged about shopping between the stores, due to theft, vandalism and accidents.

What do you think?

Plan a Hoax

Invent a hoax. Plan to fool the world, or at least your family and friends.

From the Shroud of Turin to the Patagonian giants these are 25 Forgotten Hoaxes That Fooled The World. You might just recognize some of them. A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, rumors, urban legends, pseudosciences, or April Fools’ Day events that are passed along in good faith or as jokes. Even if you weren’t aware of its meaning it’s almost certain you’re aware of some of the most famous and “successful” hoaxes. Some have even managed to fool millions of people and last for ages or even decades. Take the Loch Ness monster for example. It may be easy for us to understand how a photograph can be manipulated (after all, photoshop skills are not that uncommon anymore), but for people back then, a photo manipulation was not something easily done.

 However, there have been countless hoaxes throughout history. You might have heard of a few of them. These are 25 Forgotten Hoaxes That Fooled The World.

list25.comSource: 25 Forgotten Hoaxes That Fooled The World

Message in a Bottle Delayed

messageinabottleSource: 25 Incredible Stories From The World Of Ships, Boats, And Sailors

Pretty unbelievable. One of those things you would guess as false and yet wonder if it’s just odd enough to be true.

Imagine you found (by some long chain of events) a message in a bottle from a long forgotten relative. Just as in this case,  written as he or she was dying then left to be found. You could create a whole story about how the message was left but lost and wandered around for centuries only found by some odd mixture of events. It wouldn’t need to be a message in a bottle. It could be found in a time capsule. It could have been under the floor boards of an old house being demolished. So many options to choose from or invent.

Write the story, from start to finish, all the places and people who became involved in that old message along the way.

Since 2000… Can you Tell

This is a screen capture from a therapy clinic in Ontario. I’ve never seen anyone put a happy couple photo up like this. I think it’s a great idea for a small business, especially something intimate like a therapist. I’m posting about it for the people who work in web publishing and for the writers…

since2000

What story could you tell about this couple from their photos? Are they a happy couple? What does the body language look like to you? How have the years since 2000 been for them? What hardships and great events have they come through, together still?
Source: Newmarket Massage Therapy Clinic – Newmarket

18 Personal Service Home Business Ideas

home biz ideas

Personal Concierge

People who run their own home based business as a personal shopper, running errands for other people, are also known as a concierge service. Concierge are the people who work in fancy hotels, making sure the guest have all the extras they need. The concierge would book tours, order them a taxi or a limousine, whatever comes up. It’s a wonderful thing to have someone you can count on to help you with the little extras, if you have a lot on your plate, need help and can afford to pay for it.

Photographer

Take photos of people at events. Photograph pets for their owners. Learn a little more about light and shadows then look for work as a professional photographer. You don’t need the expense of your own darkroom or developing film now so photography can be a simple home business.

Event Planner

Weddings, family reunions, local business events, there are endless events going on all the time if you track down the sources. Talk to a veteran event planner and see if you can apprentice while you get the hang of things and build your list of contacts and sources for cakes, flowers, party supplies and etc.

Local Newsletter Publisher

Your local area may already have a local newsletter, distributed in stores and other businesses in the area. If so, consider formatting your newsletter online instead. But, gather businesses who want to reach more customers and provide the content to fill the newsletter with news, tips, stories, events, and ads.

Packing and Unpacking Service

Not only can you work with real estate agents to provide a welcome to new people moving into the neighbourhood but you can offer your own service to help people pack to move or unpack when they move into their new house.

Pet Sitter/ Walker

If you like animals offer to pet sit for the evening or a weekend (or longer if you are able to). This may be in your own home or you may come to the home of the animal. If you can, offer extras like pet grooming.

Yard Work

Whether it’s raking leaves, shovelling snow, cleaning a pool for Spring… there is always outside yard work to be done.

Internet Services

Building a website is not the job it used to be. These days you can spend some time learning the software and put up a finished site in an hour. Not everyone wants to do this however and those people will pay to have someone do it for them. You can also set up their online portfolio with social media accounts. Offer Internet lessons to teach them how to use social media and update their site too.

Tutoring

What’s your best subject? Offer your services to parents with school children who need some extra help and your expertise. English, math, science… but don’t forget piano playing, sewing and other skills you have.

Collectibles

The idea isn’t to build up a collection for yourself but to find and add to the collections of others. Pick items which you have an interest in and know something about then search for them online, in second hand shops and from other collectors who may want to sell. Connect yourself to people who collect and want what you can find for them.

Graffiti Removal

Here, a local business is told to remove graffiti within a specified amount of days. This is left for the business owner to do and if it is not removed in time the city will fine them. So, graffiti, especially when it continues over time, is a problem and a headache. Watch for the businesses which tend to be hit and offer to clean it up. You could even get a contract to come out weekly and take that headache away for them.

Local Tours

Your town will have something interesting to see. Even if you can’t think of anything, there is a reason people are coming to your town. Find it. Offer yourself as tour guide and then… go a bit farther. Offer a walking tour of your town and talk about the history, the paranormal, the UFOs, the ghosts and hauntings. Work with people who run local events, have a bed and breakfast or other tourist related businesses – don’t forget great sources like the local library and museum too.

Home Staging

You may not want to clean someone;s house but you could help set up homes for sale. Look at their curb appeal, see what could be touched up and make to look better for the sale inside and outside too.

Personal Chef

Not a caterer who cooks for parties and events, but a personal chef who cooks for a family (or someone alone and needing a specific diet). You do the shopping and cook it too. Preparation could be at your own home but the idea is to serve the food hot in their home.

Clothing Repair

Can you sew? People need cuffs hemmed, buttons sewn on and rips and tears repaired. If you can do alterations add that to your list of services.

Bookkeeping

Even with the software out there to make keeping books easier, someone still needs to pull it all together on a regular basis. You could have a few businesses (even other home businesses) who you visit weekly to gather the paperwork, sort it out and enter it into the system.

Office Plant Maintenance

Find which businesses keep plants and offer your service to maintain them: water, prune them and fertilize.

Elder Care

Seniors living alone need company and help with things like running errands and organizing.

How to Behave Like a True Princess

princessOriginally written for HubPages sometime in 2013. What does the idea of being a princess mean to you? Have you written about a princess (in a fantasy world or the modern world) before?

If you want to be treated like a Princess begin by acting like a Princess with poise, grace and pleasant manners.

The word Princess comes with so many labels, from a spoiled brat to a graceful lady. Assuming the Princess you want to be isn’t the spoiled brat, how do you become the lovely fairytale Princess admired by so many?

A real Princess isn’t a dainty little thing. She stands on her own feet and makes the world (or at least her own local world) a better place. Contribute an example of how to behave better so others will see and do the same themselves. Keep your poise, don’t get flustered or impatient too easily. Use your best manners and be polite – treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.

Still, a Princess is not a doormat. She stands a little above, on her pedestal. Not so high that she can’t join in and be apart of everything going on in her kingdom but still, she holds herself to high standards and she is proud of what she is and what she does.

Don’t rest on your laurels or think you know all you need to know. Take lessons in etiquette manners and ballroom dancing too.

A Princess with some education can make a career out of being a Princess. Become an etiquette consultant, a protocol specialist or even someone working with the Embassy of your own country or in a foreign country (if you enjoy the travel).

How to be a True Princess (or at Least Feel Like One)

  • Decide on your kingdom. Your room, home, or your neighbourhood?
  • Who are your subjects? Your friends and family?
  • Communicate well. Don’t speak too quickly and use a smooth, calm tone of voice.
  • Dress like a Princess. Be proud to look pretty and elegant.
  • Resist buying cheap, wait until you can buy quality clothing, furniture and accessories rather than finding yourself with something which doesn’t suit you.
  • Wear nightgowns to bed so you can sleep like a Princess too.
  • Design your bedroom, your most personal space, to be your Princess oasis.
  • Find an especially beautiful mirror which lets you see your whole Princess self: a refined, classy woman.
  • Enjoy flowers, even if they are artificial, they will brighten up your space.
  • Take care of your hygiene, keep cleaned, trimmed and well groomed.
  • Work hard, do your best to set a good example and show how wonderful a Princess can be.
  • Work to keep a good attitude, be happy and your kingdom and subjects will be happy too.
  • Keep your standards high when it comes to your own decorum and good behaviour.
  • Keep your mind open, be tolerant of other opinions, view points and ideas.
  • Be generous with your time and energy – give to charity when you can and volunteer to help.
  • A Princess attends functions, dances and balls. Make sure you are out to see movies, go ice skating and other events you enjoy.
  • Practice good posture, standing straight and tall with your shoulders slightly back.
  • Practice making an entrance and exit, not just from the room but vehicles too.
  • Practice how you sit. A Princess keeps her knees and feet together, especially when she’s wearing a skirt.
  • Walk with a light step rather than clumping around or dragging your feet.
  • Don’t hold onto negative things and emotions for too long.
  • Do things that make you happy, follow your bliss as they say.
  • Love yourself. Be kind to yourself.
  • Be grateful for what you have and thank people who help you. Show appreciation.
  • Create your own Princess crown (or tiara).
  • Learn how to gracefully curtsy.
  • Experiment and develop a Princess laugh.
  • Learn how to give a royal wave when you are on parade.
  • Host a Royal Event to show off your beautiful gown, your crown and your graciousness.
  • Read fairy tales. Write and draw your own story about your kingdom.
  • Be kind and generous to others and be true to yourself.
  • Have a fancy tea party and invite friends and other Princesses too.
  • Smile, bestow your smile generously for your subjects and others, even those who are not in your kingdom.
  • A Princess can be excited, exuberant even, but she does it graciously and with poise.
  • A Princess is never a poor loser or a gloating winner.
  • Sometimes being a Princess is all in the details: watch your fingernails for dirt and make sure your shoes are not scuffed.
  • Princesses respect the Earth. Don’t litter.

Be a classy Princess, never become snobby or act as if you’re better than everyone else. Don’t expect special favours but be thankful when you get them.

How to Curtsy

Begin by respectfully lowering your head.

Hold your skirt out sideways just enough to give you room to bend your knees.

Slowly lift your right foot and place it behind your left foot.

With one foot forward, and your upper body straight, bend your knees. Lower your eyes.

Rise up smoothly and slowly.

Princess Links

How to Write a Babysitting Resume

How to Start your own Babysitting Business and Write a Babysitting Resume

Babysitting is a good way to make some extra money and help out a family in your community too. Babysitters can be young people or anyone with some experience who has time in the evening, on weekends and so on.

You don’t need to be a big brother or sister to get some experience as a babysitter. Ask at the school and local library, those are places where you can volunteer and pick up experience helping with children. You can spend an hour reading to younger children at school or library or any other place you find out about yourself.

It will help if you have some first aid training but it is also good to mention you do have adult back up if you run into a problem (if you aren’t already an adult yourself).

Start the resume with an introduction to yourself. Give your name, age, address, how long you have lived in the area and who your references are. These would not be part of a standard resume but this is not standard. You are applying to look after someone’s children so you put the first concerns they would have at the top of your resume. A young person could mention the school they are attending and a sentence about future plans. (If you turn out to be a good babysitter they will like to know how long you are going to be available in the area, or whether you will be moving on to university in the next year). Don’t forget contact information: phone number and email address.

List your qualifications.  Do you have first aid training, have you taken lifeguard training at the local pool, did you take a babysitting course, do you have younger brothers and sisters you have taken care of, have you looked after babies (infants or toddlers), have you been babysitting for other families, are you in any groups like Brownies or Girl Guides, have you volunteered for community events and projects where you may have helped set things up or done the clean up. Take a little time to think about things you have done. Even working within the community at events is a good thing, whether or not there were children involved.

List work experience, if you have it. This is also good because parents will need to know your schedule, when you are available. If you have had a regular schedule for a job in the past (or currently) you can show your reliability.

List your special skills or limitations. What ages of children can you look after? If you have experience with infants, say so. If you can’t babysit past midnight, let people know on your resume. Are you allergic to animals, then you won’t be too eager to babysit at a house with a lot of dogs, cats, birds, etc. If you can cook, then you could mention being able to make dinner and clean up afterwards. Can you help children with their homework? Do you have something fun you like to do with the kids in between dinner and bedtime? Are you able to transport children (if needed), on the bus, or in your own vehicle with child seats?

What do you need when you babysit? You may want to do homework once the kids are put to bed, so you need a place to work. You could also mention pets here, especially if you have allergies or asthma or are just uncomfortable with pets or exotic pets like a rat. If there food for making a snack for the children or yourself later in the evening? Will you need a ride home at the end of the job? How much advance notice do you need?

What are your babysitting rates? Include any extra you charge for later evenings, holidays, etc.

End the resume with a summary. Sum up the best assets you have written about above and give your contact information again.

How to Survive Alone in a New Town or City

Why don’t more people travel alone?

I never thought of it as being especially brave. I enjoyed being able to choose my destination each day and push myself along into meeting people, trying new things and just plain getting out there and discovering new things every day.

It’s probably easier for younger people, those who don’t stop to think about what might happen. Most of the time, all those worries are based on very little real information. Seldom did any of those worries ever become fact.

Getting lost is something I don’t even count as a problem. It’s when you do get lost that you find something really wonderful. It may be a tourist thing, a new restaurant, an attraction or an event. Sometimes the thing you discover is yourself, your own resilience, ingenuity and ability to adapt and change.

Get out there, get involved and find your way around – those are the keys I have found to living or travelling in a new place, town or city.

Getting Started by Getting Out There

The number one thing to do in a new town or city is NOT staying indoors, shut away and safe. Jump in and join in. The purpose of travel is to see new things, meet new people and broaden your horizons. Also, to enjoy yourself and relax. But, if you just stay safe inside a hotel or a safe little area you could just have stayed home and saved your money.

Start slow and build your way up, feel your way around. I often went out for breakfast somewhere. Look for a local place rather than going for a chain restaurant just like the chain restaurant you see in your own city or town. Talk to the waitress or waiter, whoever takes your order and serves the meal. Make conversation by asking them about the town, what do they recommend?

You don’t have to take any suggestions, unless something does perk your interest. The point is to find out what local people think would be good to see. Often the local people have never explored the tourist elements themselves, they just know there is a local museum or art gallery but have never taken the time to see it. Locals tend to take their own town for granted that way. If you think about it, you like do the same in your own town.

Get Involved with the Local Community

Check for event listings in the local newspaper. See how many events and group meetings (clubs and societies) you can find and attend.

Go to local shops, stores and restaurants rather than big, well-known stores and retail chains. Local places will have local people and know more about local things you can do and get involved with.

Local places will also sometimes have flyers, business cards and other media which will help you find more local things to get involved with.

Navigation in a New Place

Get local maps and learn the roads. When you plan to go somewhere study the route so you will begin to understand the streets and be able to navigate around without needing a map eventually.

Know the local transit system. Know how much bus fare costs and the general route.

Keep the phone number for the local taxi service in cause you wander too far and don’t like where you end up. You don’t even need a ride all the way back, just get dropped off somewhere you would rather be.

Don’t Fear for Your Life

Don’t be afraid to wander around on your own. Even in the “big city” you don’t have to be intimidated or afraid. Too often I hear people from smaller towns claim bigger towns and cities are dangerous, so much crime, so many guns and robberies… Of course there are more crimes in an area with more people to create them. This does not mean you are not safe.

There are more areas more places as well as more people. Actually, having lived in both big cities, small cities, small towns, villages and one town too small to have more than one traffic light – I can say you are equally safe in any of those places.

Of course, there are precautions you can take, things not to do and situations to avoid. This is regardless of your location – village, town or city.

Don’t become an easy target. Going out drinking and then stumbling around drunk is not the smartest plan. Being an ignorant loud-mouth is bound to make you less friends and give people a reason to feel resentment and anger towards you. So, mind your manners.

When you go out, have a plan. Know where you are going. Have a plan for getting there and back. This way you won’t be vulnerable if something happens and you need to leave or get back to an area you know better. Also, people who walk as if they have a purpose and a planned destination are less likely to be approached.

If people tell you are area is not good for whatever reasons, avoid that area. You can be in a small town and discover an area which is run down and usually badly kept with people who don’t have much and may be risky. This is not just a big city thing.

A Few Links