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October 13, 2015

Today we celebrate:

International African Penguin Awareness Day – This day is all about raising awareness around the world about the plight of the African Penguin, an animal which is on the endangered species list.  If you happen to be in South Africa today, head to Simon’s Town and enjoy their Penguin Festival.  They have all kinds of penguin related events along with other things. This day is apparently celebrated on the 13th of October every year.  But I have also seen sites that claim it is on the second or third Saturday in October or the second Monday in October.  So I am not really sure which is correct.

International Day for Failure - Normally I don’t like to dwell on failures.  I prefer to move on to more positive things.  However, this is a day to do just that.  Think about your failures.  If you do, you might realize that we tend to learn a lot more from our failures than we do from our successes.  So think about them, learn from them and then share what you have learned with others so they can learn too.

International Plain Language Day - the Plain Language movement encourages people to write clearly using easy to understand language.  A lot of the things we really should read these days are written in difficult to understand medical or legal language and the consequences of misunderstanding these documents can be pretty serious.  On this day in 2010, President Obama signed the Plain Writing Act of 2010 which states that all US government agencies must use clear language in their documents.  Many other governments have passed similar laws but that is only the start.

International Suit Up Day - This is a day to wear a suit to school, work, shopping, dropping the kids at preschool, or even just sitting on the couch to watch television today.  It seems to be a How I Met Your Mother  inspired day because of Barney Stinson’s catchphrase “Suit up!”  He even sang a song called, “Nothing Suits Me Like A Suit” on the show.

National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day - Thousands of women are currently living with advanced, stage IV breast cancer.  They suffer through the treatments that are many times as bad as the disease itself with a multitude of side effects.  There is no known cure for the disease yet.  This is a day to acknowledge the particular needs of the ones who have the advanced, incurable form of breast cancer which are different from those who are diagnosed with an early stage disease.  There have been many advances in treatment.  This disease is no longer an instant death sentence and even though it is incurable,  many women are living longer and better lives than ever before.

Ada Lovelace Day - Ada Lovelace is believed to have been the first computer programmer.  She was close friends with Charles Babbage, and inventor and she was very interested in his Analytical engine and she wrote several early computer programs, that I’m sure looked nothing like the computer programs of today, but you have to start somewhere.  Unfortunately she died of cancer at the young age of 36.  This day was created by Sue Charman-Anderson in 2009 in order to raise awareness of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

English Language Day - This day was created by The English Project, possibly in 2009.  The English Project is a Winchester based group that planned the first permanent English Language exhibition space.  They planned to open in 2012 or 2013 but I was not able to find out if that actually happened.  It was on this day in 1362 that the Chancellor of England opened Parliament by making a speech in English which was the first time that had ever happened, apparently.

National No Bra Day - This is a day that is associated with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  There is no research that links wearing bras to a higher risk of breast cancer, this is just a fun day to help raise awareness of the disease that about 232,670 women and 2,360 men have been diagnosed with in 2014.  About 12.3 percent of women will get the disease at some point in their lives.  It’s something that I have an acute awareness for because like many, because of a family history, my risk is higher than average.

Navy Birthday – This year marks the 238th birthday of the U.S. Navy. Happy Birthday to all of you sailors out there!

National Train Your Brain Day - This is a day to expand your mind’s limits by doing brain exercises, puzzles, trivia games, riddles, word games, and brain teasers.  I like to play Sudoku but I mix it up a little here and there with crossword puzzles and other kinds of puzzles.  You don’t have to live with your brain and memory as it is just because you are an adult.  You can exercise your brain and make it better no matter how old you are.

National Yorkshire Pudding Day - This is an British pastry similar to a popover that probably everyone in the world has heard of even if they haven’t seen or tasted it.  The earliest written recipes date back to the 1700’s but it is still very popular today.  Here’s a recipe to try.

Silly Sayings Day - This is a day to celebrate the popular catch phrases and odd expressions that people use periodically.  Some of them are as old as our great grandparents or even older, as hard as that is to believe, so the meanings are no longer common knowledge.  Such as “High on the hog” or “Knee high to a grasshopper”.  I’m sure you can think of many more.

International Skeptics Day – This is a day to be skeptical and untrusting of anything or anyone. Ask questions and don't believe anything unless you have irrefutable proof.  Some people place this day on January 13th and I’m not sure what the discrepancy is all about, but feel free to celebrate twice.

National Face Your Fears Day – Celebrated on the second Tuesday in October, this is a day to face and overcome whatever you might be afraid of. Do a little self introspection and think about what you are most afraid of and then come up with a way to face it today.

To celebrate today, put on a suit, minus a bra, and head to the nearest naval yard to say Happy Birthday and see if they will give you a ride to South Africa to celebrate penguins.  Don’t dwell on the failure if they refuse you.  When you get back, take your kids to the library to find some books written in plain English on Ada Lovelace, Native Americans and Christopher Columbus.  Encourage your kids to be skeptical about what they learn about Christopher Columbus in school because the truth is usually a little different than what is in the history books. Then, face your fears about breast cancer and train your brain to work better by thinking up new silly sayings while you eat Yorkshire Pudding.

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