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April 1, 2015

Today we celebrate:

National Sourdough Bread Day – You needed to plan ahead to make a loaf of this because it requires a starter, so I recommend you find a really good bread store and buy a fresh loaf.

April Fools' Day – A day for practical jokes and tricks all over the world. Different countries may have some different traditions such as the “April Fish” in France, the Pigasus Award in Canada, and “April Gowk” in Scotland.

Poetry & The Creative Mind Day – Writing poetry requires a creative mind. There are many different forms of poetry and many different rules for writing poems, but beyond that, you need to be able to come up with just the right words to say what you want to say.

National Fun Day – This goes hand in hand with April Fool's Day because today is a day to reminisce about past fun that you have had with April Fool's jokes.  Once, when I was a kid, a local radio station had many people wrapping their telephones in plastic bags for the day because the DJ said the telephone company was going to be cleaning the lines by blow air into them which would cause dust to come out the telephone receivers.

International Fun At Work Day – Back in January we had National Fun at Work Day, well today we get to do it again but this time we can share it with the rest of the world. Just make sure you don't have so much fun that you get fired. We celebrate this day on April 1st as long as it falls on a weekday, otherwise we will celebrate on the First Thursday in April. This day was created in 1996 by the people at Playfair and they stress that humor should be fun for all, so please avoid put-downs or pranks that make someone look foolish.

International Tatting Day – For those of you who are like me, and do not know, tatting is the making of intricate lace for doilies or trim using needles or a special shuttle. If you want to learn how to do this and you have the patience, I recommend taking a class so you have someone to help you get started with this complicated craft.

Atheist Day – I don't think this is a real day but I’m not sure so I put it in here. It seems to have started as a joke – something like an atheist sued someone to get a special day and the judge told him he had a special day, April Fool's Day because anyone who doesn't believe in God is a fool. From there, it spread that Atheist Day is on this day.

National Walking Day – Also celebrated on the first Wednesday in April, this is a day to lace up your shoes and step out.  It’s good exercise and very environmentally friendly. What more could you ask for?  Oh yeah, it’s also great for your heart and is sponsored by the American Heart Association.

Whole Grain Sampling Day – Celebrated on the first Wednesday in April and sponsored by the Whole Grain Council, the goal here is to have numerous opportunities, at numerous locations, all day long, for people to try different whole grains they may have never tried before. Experiment and see what is out there that you can add to your diet.

St. Stupid Day – This day was founded by Ed Holmes in the 1970's. It is celebrated in San Francisco by a parade. It's a celebration of stupidity and anyone can join in dressed in whatever silly costume they wish.

National Day Of Hope – Celebrated on the first Wednesday in April, this is a day to remember children who have been victims of child abuse and neglect.

Paraprofessional Appreciation Day – A paraprofessional is a person trained to assist a professional. You find them in lots of different organizations like schools, lawyer's offices, doctor's offices, etc. Today, on the first Wednesday of April, we appreciate all of the paraprofessionals out there.  This day was created by the governor of Missouri.

To celebrate today, you're going to need to do some traveling. Work on your tatting and poetry while you fly out to San Francisco in time to see the St. Stupid parade.  Then, when you get back, stop in at wherever you work long enough to have some good-natured fun and sourdough bread with an atheist paraprofessional at your office. Finally, play an April Fool's trick on your kids before you reminisce with them about some great tricks you've played in the past while you eat some interesting whole grains for dinner.  After dinner, take a walk and think about the children who are abused on a regular basis.

March 31, 2015

Today we celebrate:

Eiffel Tower Day – On this day in 1889, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, was dedicated. It took two years, two months and five days to complete. It was built by Gustave Eiffel for the International Exhibition of Paris in that year. The tower had the distinction of being the tallest structure in the world until 1930.

National Bunsen Burner Day – On this day in 1811, Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen was born in Germany. He was a professor of chemistry and created the Bunsen burner which has made life so much easier for chemists and chemistry students. I'm not sure how they conducted their classroom experiments before then.

National “She's Funny That Way” Day – Today is a day to celebrate women and all the ways we make everyone laugh. Some women make a living out of being funny, such as Ellen Degeneres, one of my favorite comedians  For others it's a pleasant hobby, and for the rest, like me, it's a happy accident.

National Clams On The Half Shell Day – These are clams that are served on an open shell. They are usually raw but I think if you look hard enough, and you better believe that I will, you just might be able to find a recipe for cooked clams on a half shell.

International Day Of Prayer And Remembrance For Terri Schindler Schiavo, And All Our Vulnerable Brothers And Sisters – You probably remember the big controversy regarding Terri Schiavo. I'm not going into details and taking sides here, I'll just say that today is a day to remember her and everyone else who is or has been in her and her family's heartbreaking position. It was on this day in 2005 that she died.

National Tater Day - Today we celebrate potatoes and the vitamins, minerals and fiber they provide us.  They have been a staple of Americans ever since the early 1600’s.  Of course, back then potatoes were shipped in from Europe because Idaho hadn’t been discovered yet.

To celebrate today, pray for the people who have to make difficult, life and death medical decisions, then get out your Bunsen burner and use it to cook some clams on the half shell and potatoes. Lastly, take the funniest woman you know to go see the Eiffel Tower.

March 30, 2015

Today we celebrate:

Seward's Day – Always on the last Monday in March, this day celebrates the purchase of Alaska from Russia by Secretary of State William Henry Seward on March 30, 1867 for $7.2 million. Most people at the time thought that was a ridiculous thing to do and called it “Seward's Folly”. Mr. Seward suffered a great deal of criticism until they discovered gold in Alaska in 1897. Sadly, Mr. Seward died before that happened so he never knew the full extent of what he did for the United States.

Turkey Neck Soup Day – This is a soup made from stock which is made with turkey necks. Fun facts about turkeys can also be found here.

Pencil Day – The pencil has been around for hundreds of years, but on this day in 1858, the first patent was granted for a pencil with an eraser at the end of it. I guess they didn’t make mistakes before then.  Did you know that 75% of all pencils are yellow?

National I Am In Control Day – You decide what you are going to do today. Be in control of your own destiny, at least for today. It is possible that whoever created this chose the 30th for the celebration because on this day in 1981, Secretary of State Alexander Haig was interviewed and said, “I am in control here.”

Grass Is Always Browner On The Other Side Of The Fence Day – All too often we go through life looking at what other people have that we do not. Then we're not happy because we think we need to have what they have, or we think that their lives are better than ours. Well today, focus on the good things about your life and think about how fortunate you are to have whatever it is that you have. Your neighbors aren't nearly as happy as you think they are anyway because they're looking at you and wishing they had what you have.

National Doctors Day – Created in 1991 by President George Bush, this is a day to recognize the contributions of doctors to society. We all depend upon our doctors whenever we get sick or hurt because they have dedicated their lives to helping people.  They have saved countless lives over the years and are the primary reason why our life expectancy is as high as it is.

Take A Walk In The Park Day – I don't think that you necessarily HAVE to walk in a park today. This day seems to be about focusing on your physical and mental health, which would be improved with some exercise like walking. If you have a park handy, go walk in it. If not, walk somewhere else. Just get some exercise. Walking is one of the best activities you can do because it is both exercise and relaxation at the same time.

To celebrate today, take control of your emotions, grab a pencil and write down all of the great things about your life that your neighbors should be jealous of. Then take control of your health and go visit your doctor for a physical. Walk home and make turkey neck soup for dinner.  Over dinner, tell your kids all about William Henry Seward and Alaska.

March 29, 2015

Today we celebrate:

Neighbor Day - Always on the last Sunday in March, this is a day to celebrate communities in Australia. So today, gather with your neighbors and build relationships that will last a lifetime.  You will all benefit in many ways.  

Palm Sunday – Celebrated on the Sunday before Easter, this is a Christian holiday commemorating Jesus' triumphant arrival in Jerusalem riding on the back of a donkey.

National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day – Cleanse your palate from yesterday's chocolate with this delectable lemon cake which I actually prefer over chocolate, as crazy as that sounds.

National Mom And Pop Business Owners Day – This day celebrates small business owners. This country was built by small businesses and although it looks like it has been taken over by the larger businesses, there is still a place for the little Mom and Pop stores especially if we all make it our mission to ensure they get enough business to stay in business.

Smoke And Mirrors Day – This is a day for hiding things you do not want to be seen by using illusion and distraction just like Magicians do. Be very sneaky today.  But don’t tell your kids about it ahead of time.  Otherwise, they will be watching very carefully and it will be very difficult to fool them.  Especially if they are jaded pre-teens. 

Knights Of Columbus Founders Day – On this day in 1882, Connecticut approved the charter of the first Knights Of Columbus. The Knights are dedicated to a variety of volunteer projects that help their communities all over the country.

Niagara Falls Runs Dry Day – On this day in 1848, people were shocked when Niagara Falls stopped flowing. The reason? Too much ice. I’m a little surprised it didn’t happen this year as well considering that it was the coldest, snowiest winter the Northeast has seen in quite a while.  But maybe it was was worse in 1848.  Back then, the ice in Lake Erie blocked the water at the start of the river leading to this great landmark for more than a day. People walked out onto the river bottom to pick up treasures that had been at the bottom of the river for years. In my opinion they were pretty darn lucky the water didn't suddenly come back while they were out there.

Texas Loves The Children Day – Every child needs to be loved, although to be loved by a whole state is a little different. Talk about pressure. Fortunately, Texas only loves the children today, the rest of the year it could care less.

To celebrate today, get some Lemon Chiffon cake from a Mom and Pop bakery in your area then distract your kids and trick them into thinking that you made the cake while they were watching television. Invite the Knights of Columbus and all of your neighbors over for a party and ask if any of them knew why Niagara Falls ran dry back in 1848. Then, on the way to church for Palm Sunday, reassure your children that they are loved by Jesus and Texas, and who could ask for more?

March 28, 2015

Today we celebrate:

Brother & Sister Day - Always on the last Saturday in March, this is a day to celebrate the bond between siblings.  Most of us grow up hating or at least barely tolerating our siblings. There are a few who love each other from day one, but they are pretty rare.  However, something almost magical happens as we grow and mature and see our siblings as people instead of rivals for the last scoop of ice cream, our love for each other grows as well.  My sister and I fought constantly when we were very young, then as teenagers we began to really get to know each other and now I love her like crazy and can’t imagine life without her.

National Black Forest Cake Day – Layers of chocolate cake, whipped cream and cherries. What could be more delicious? This cake can have a surprising number of calories, but I know that if you look carefully, you'll find a delicious low-cal recipe.

National Something On A Stick Day – Corn dogs and popsicles are not the only things that can be put on a stick and eaten. Kebobs are probably a little healthier, but you could take quite a few foods and put them on a stick so you don't need to use utensils today.

Earth Hour – On this day at 8:30 PM local time, turn off your lights for one hour. No, I am not crazy. This is a time to focus on our planet. This is a day to think about the resources that go into our daily lives and how we can best conserve them in order to save this planet for our grandchildren. 

Barnum And Bailey Day – On this day in 1881, P.T. Barnum and James A. Bailey merged their circuses and created the “Greatest Show On Earth”. The Ringling Brothers purchased it in 1907 and in 1919 added their name to the title.

Weed Appreciation Day – Weeds are just not given enough credit. People are always pulling them up and throwing them aside but did you know that you can eat some weeds? Young dandelion greens are good in a salad, I hear. Even weeds serve a purpose in the circle of life.

To celebrate today, have some Black Forest cake on a stick with your siblings while you wander your garden appreciating your weeds and imagining where you will put the Big Top when the circus arrives a little later. Oh...did I forget to tell you that they're coming? My bad. At 8:30 turn off your lights for an hour.  Then put them back on and go online to see what else you can do to help the earth.

March 27, 2015

Today we celebrate:

National Spanish Paella Day – There are an amazing number of very different recipes out there for this traditional dish from Spain, so you should have no trouble finding one that fits the ingredients you already have at home.

National “Joe” Day – This is just a silly and fun day. If your name is Joe, you're golden and you don't have to change a thing. If your name is anything else, today it's going to be “Joe”. And you don't have to worry about remembering anyone else's name either because everyone is “Joe” today.

Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day – There are some country songs that have some very odd titles to say the least. I find it interesting that there are enough of them that someone felt the need to make a day for the subject.  I’ll give you a quick example: ‘Dixie Rose Deluxe’s Honky-Tonk, Feed Store, Gun Shop, Used Car, Beer, Bait, BBQ, Barber Shop, Laundromat’.  Yes, that is the name of a song.  Here are some more.

Celebrate Exchange Day – Created by The National Exchange Club which was founded on this day in 1911 by businessmen who wanted to exchange ideas. The members advised each other and shared information and arranged activities to benefit their communities such as supporting the youth, preventing crime and helping senior citizens, members of the military and more.

To celebrate today, have a quirky country music party during which you can exchange ideas for paella recipes and call all of your guests “Joe”.

March 26, 2015

Today we celebrate:

National Make Up Your Own Holiday Day – Well, someone needs to create all these crazy days that we celebrate, they don't make up themselves and apparently whoever is doing it is running out of ideas. So today you'll just have to make up your own. Make it a good one.

National Nougat Day – Nougat, a part of many of our favorite candy bars, is thought to be thousands of years old and possibly originated in Rome. There are many different recipes for it used by many different candy makers. So pick the one you like the best or make up your own and stick with it.

National Spinach Day – Spinach is an excellent source of iron, calcium and folic acid and scientists are investigating reports that it is useful in preventing a few different kinds of cancer. Now, aren't you sorry you have turned up your nose at it for so long? Spinach is actually quite delicious if you cook it correctly. If you don't like it, perhaps you just haven't tried the right recipe.

Legal Assistants Day – This is a day to recognize the hard work of legal assistants everywhere who do everything they can to make the lawyers look good.  Lawyers would have a tough time helping as many clients as they do if they had to do their work and the work that they assign to their legal assistants as well.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day and the libraries full of law books are tedious to wade through.

To celebrate today, make up your own holiday and call up the legal assistants at your lawyer's office to tell them all about it. Then have a spinach salad for lunch and a nougat filled candy bar for dessert.

March 25, 2015

Today we celebrate:

Old New Year's Day – Until 1752, when the Gregorian calendar was adopted, this day was celebrated as the beginning of the New Year in England because of Archangel Gabriel's message to Mary. I think this was before the whole waffle craze started.

National Medal Of Honor Day – This is a day dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients. Medals of Honor are given to citizens who have displayed courage and heroism beyond what you normally see. This day was chosen for the celebration because on this day in 1863, the first Medals of Honor were awarded to 6 brave men.

Tolkien Reading Day – Created by the Tolkien Society in 2003 for the purpose of encouraging people to read J. R. R. Tolkien's works. This day was chosen because it was on this day in the Lord of the Rings that Sauron fell in defeat.

International Waffle Day – Not to be confused with National Waffle Day on August 24th, this day originated in Sweden and is supposed to commemorate the day the Archangel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary that she was pregnant. I am not sure how waffles connect to that momentous occasion, but I'm sure someone in Sweden could answer that question.

Maryland Day – This is a legal holiday in Maryland commemorating the landing of the first European settlers on this day in 1634. Approximately one hundred and fifty settlers from “The Ark” and “The Dove” landed at St. Clement's Island in the Potomac river.

International Day Of Remembrance Of The Victims Of Slavery And The Transatlantic Slave Trade – This day honors the lives of all those who suffered and/or died as a result of slavery and those who endured the horrors of being transported across an ocean in slave ships. The transatlantic slave trade lasted for four hundred years and is a serious blight on the history of mankind.  While this was not the first time that the forced slavery of almost an entire race has happened, it is the most recent episode that I can think of.  

Greek Independence Day: A National Day Of Celebration Of Greek And American Democracy – Every year on this day we celebrate Greek Independence Day because democracy was born in Greece and it is the world's oldest republic. The President of the United States issues a proclamation to that effect every year.

National Lobster Newburg Day – In 1876, Sea Captain Ben Wenburg, showed Chef Charles Ranhofer and Charles Delmonico, of Delmonico's restaurant, a new dish that they altered a little then named after the Captain, “Lobster a la Wenburg”. Alas for the Captain, Mr. Delmonico and Captain Wenburg had an argument and Wenburg was kicked out of the restaurant and never allowed to return. Delmonico then renamed the lobster dish to Lobster Newburg.

Manatee Appreciation Day – Celebrated on the last Wednesday in March, this is a day to promote, appreciate and protect manatees. These are large mammals that live in saltwater bays, rivers, canals and along the coasts. They live in Florida in the winter, because who doesn't? Then they migrate to different areas as far away as Virginia and Texas during the summer months. They are very calm creatures that live on plant-life but their numbers are dwindling due to poaching and coastal development.

Pecan Day – Native Americans used pecan trees as a major source of food in the fall. They are also said to be the first to have purposefully cultivated this particular tree. Not very surprising, they were very good at cultivating lots of different sources of food.

To celebrate today, have waffles for breakfast and wish your family a Happy Old New Year. Then, find out where the Medal of Honor ceremony will be held and go and help honor the hero recipients. On the way home, drive through Maryland and see what St. Clement's Island looks like now. Next, munch on pecans while you read one of J. R. R. Tolkien's books. Finally, have some Lobster Newburg for dinner, toast the Greeks and pledge to never have anything to do with slavery of any kind.

March 24, 2015

Today we celebrate:

National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day – These delectable treats were first created in 1927 by Blumenthal Brothers Chocolate Company in Philadelphia and named Raisinets. While covering fruits and nuts with chocolate was occurring long before then, it was purely a homemade endeavor, not a branded and publicly sold treat. They changed hands over the years and surprisingly, at least to me, the brand wasn't acquired by Nestle until 1984.

American Diabetes Association Alert Day – Celebrated on the 4th Tuesday in March, this is a day for everyone to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if you are at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. This is something that I take seriously because of the high rate of diabetes in my family. I encourage you to take it seriously as well.

World Tuberculosis Day – Today is a day to remind everyone that tuberculosis is still a huge health problem in many parts of the world. On this day in 1882, Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the cause of the disease, the TB Bacillus. This paved the way for a cure to be found. Well, the cure that was found is not enough for everyone and even in this country, people die from TB. In many other countries, this disease runs rampant and it is difficult to get lifesaving medicine where it is most needed.

Argentina National Day of Memory for Truth and Justice - According to the Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary by Cherie D. Abbey, this is a day for the citizens of Argentina to remember the 30,000 or more people who were kidnapped, tortured and killed during the 8 years after a military dictatorship seized power on this day in 1976. They continue to seek justice for the atrocities that were committed during that time.

To celebrate today, take the Diabetes Risk Test before you grab a box of Raisinets and head to Argentina so you can tell them about the problems with getting medicine to those with Tuberculosis.

March 23, 2015

Today we celebrate:

National Melba Toast Day – Believed to have been created in 1897 by Auguste Escoffier, it was named by Cesar Ritz after Dame Nellie Melba, the stage name of an Australian opera singer.  It is a very thin and crunchy bread that is usually eaten combined with something else like a salsa topping.

Near Miss Day – On this day in 1989, a large asteroid missed hitting the Earth by only about 500,000 miles. Which is just a little farther away than the moon. In space terms, it was pretty close, but close is way better than a direct hit, so it's all right.

National Puppy Day – Created by Colleen Paige, today is a day to celebrate puppies and the joy they bring to the people who love them, and also to fight against the puppy mills and the tragic plight of the dogs within them. If you wish to get a puppy, look for one at your local animal shelter. If you're looking for a specific kind of dog and your shelter doesn't have that breed, there are websites such as petfinder, that will help you find one from another shelter or a foster family.

National Chip and Dip Day – The original party food, I often serve these as one of the hors d’oeuvres at our parties. It's easy and delicious.

OK Day – There are many stories about the origins of this slang word.  One of the stories is from English professor, Allan Metcalf.  Mr Metcalf believes that this slang word was first used on this day in 1839 by a journalist, Charles Gordon Greene, who, following the craze of the time of abbreviating everything possible, used OK to abbreviate 'all correct'. It was just fine, except for the fact that he misspelled his abbreviation.  So if Mr. Greene had been a better speller we would all be using AC instead of OK, which I don’t think would have stuck around for as long as OK has.  Interestingly, OMG is also older than the kids today would probably imagine, having been first written by a British Naval Officer in 1917.

World Meteorological Day – On this day in 1950, the World Meteorological Organization was created. There is a theme every year and this year's theme is, “Weather and climate: engaging youth.” The WMO is hoping that young people will learn more about weather and climates since they will be living through some of the biggest impacts of global warming.

To celebrate today, check that the weather is OK before you cuddle your puppy while you have some chips and dip with your melba toast to celebrate the near miss 25 years ago.

March 22, 2015

Today we celebrate:

Def Leppard Day – Declared by the Mayor of Las Vegas in 2013, this is a day to celebrate the fact that two years ago Def Leppard moved to Las Vegas.

National Goof Off Day – This is a day to relax and do absolutely nothing, otherwise known as goofing off.  I’m sure you don’t need any advice on how to accomplish that.  We all have a need to goof off now and then so feel free to indulge yourself today.

World Water Day – This is a United Nations sponsored day, that began in 1993, to bring attention to the danger our freshwater supply is in because of  pollution. This year the theme for the day is “Water and Sustainable Development”. The UN says that, “It’s about how water links to all areas we need to consider to create the future we want.

As Young As You Feel Day – This day goes well with National Goof Off Day. You are as young as you feel, so do things that make you feel younger. Play with some kids, run outside, go for a hike, play some video games, take a nap. Whatever it is that you like to do that makes you feel younger than your age.

International Day Of The Seal – Created by Congress in 1982, there are some who believe it is celebrated on different days, but the most reliable looking information I could find says it is today. This is a day to bring attention to the problem of seal hunting. If people keep killing these beautiful creatures for sport, there won't be any left which would be very sad for people but will cause even bigger problems for the animals that hunt seals for food.

To celebrate today, listen to Def Leppard music all day, goof off by grabbing your kids and going to visit a zoo like you used to when you were a kid. While you're there, watch the seals play in their pool of water.