Whoooo, what a week! How quickly we forget how busy five-year old girls can be, right? For anyone who has had an empty nest for a lengthy period of time, when children come to stay for a bit, life speeds up. We had a taste of it when Baby R came to hang out with us last month when his Mommy and Daddy were on vacation, but it was just a few days and the energy is different with toddler boys than it is with little girls. Not in a bad way at all, just in a different way.
Life with little girls has ecstatic highs of giggles, squeals and high-pitched excitement, followed by lows of sadness and tears – a taste of what is to come someday in the pre-teen and teen years. We had one such episode that, to a little one, was heart wrenching and took me back to when my daughter was a small child. Miss B has two items that she has had since birth that she sleeps with for every nap and every night. They travel with her when she goes somewhere and are her faithful companions always. We had packed them in the motorhome with her things, but we ended up leaving for our camping trip Tuesday afternoon later than what we had planned, so a nap was in order to offset the probability of a late night. I trekked out to the RV to get Blankie and Bunny and brought them back inside. In the shuffle and bustle to get out the door later on, they were forgotten in the bed and not remembered again until bedtime that night. Oh, my heart . . . her lower lip started to quiver, a low wail started in her center and worked its way up, and, with heart wrenching sobs, the tears flowed, and the grief began. She cried so hard that I was afraid for a moment she would make herself a little ill. After giving her a few minutes to get the worst of it out, I gathered her to me, mopped up her face, and we talked about how she could be brave and get through this camping trip like the big girl she is, and that sometimes sad things happen, but we can get through them, even if they make us feel bad. We hugged for a while and ultimately, I had a blanket/robe that was soft and fuzzy in the RV for cold nights by the fire that was cuddly enough to be a decent substitute. We wrapped her in that, snuggled her down with her doll, turned on some quiet music for her, and by the light of the little electric fireplace we have in the motorhome, she fell asleep. When she woke up in the morning, all smiles and giggles, she was very proud of herself for being so brave. We had to go to the grocery store nearby to get a couple of items I had forgotten, and Papaw gave her some money to find a new cuddle toy for that next night, and though her choice was an interesting one – a mermaid doll with rough feeling sequin scales on her tail – it was one that made her very happy. Trauma of this sort is short-lived. When we got home from the camping trip, she did hug her toys, but when she went to bed on Thursday night Bunny was put into the crib with the doll, and mermaid snuggled down in the bed with Blankie and Blue Bear.
Amazing how resilient kids are, isn’t it? What a wonderful thing it would be if grown-up traumas and setbacks could be so easily solved and worked through! I suppose some of them could be, depending on what they are and how damaging the hurt is from them. We’ve all been through something that puts us in a place that feels like our hearts are breaking and that we will never get through it, but we keep going forward, taking one step at a time, and eventually, the sun will come up, and we will smile again. Maybe not the next day, maybe not for quite a few days to come, but the day will dawn when the hurt isn’t quite so big, and we can smile and even laugh. The hurt is less and sometimes we can find an alternative situation that makes the old one feel not so bad after all. Children are perhaps in possession of more wisdom than we older folks, because their innocence and ability to rebound keeps them on an optimistic life, seeing that glass as perpetually half full, rather than being down in the mouth with that glass always verging on half empty or worse. Though I don’t suggest being more like kids to the point of throwing tissy fits or bursting into tears over every little thing, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from them if we just pay attention and appreciate that they do work through things when they are allowed to, and if we don’t wipe away the hurt the moment something makes them sad. It’s all part of learning to get through life, and that means accepting that disappointing and sad things do happen. That’s a guarantee and something we can’t change, but we can control how we deal with those situations – we can be brave, like Miss B was, or we can just give up and stop moving forward.
Monday – August 26
National Dog Day – This one is for everyone who loves our canine companions and know how much they deserve to be celebrated, not just today, but every single day. Dogs are said to be man’s best friend, and this is true! They don’t judge us, no matter how we look, what we say, how much money we have – or don’t have. They don’t care what our jobs are, how fancy our house is, or whether we are popular. They accept us just as we are, without question or hesitation. Isn’t that wonderful? Dogs can perform amazing work, helping those in need of physical, emotional or mental assistance. Dogs are awesome and though there are many days to celebrate these 4-legged gifts from God, there can never be too many in their honor. Today was created not to just honor the dogs in our lives, but to put some focus and attention on the importance of rescuing dogs from homelessness and abuse. I cannot imagine what causes a person to be so horrible that they would abuse a precious animal or a child, but there are so many dogs (other animals too of course!) who need someone to get them out of a bad situation and give them a loving, forever home! The goal of the National Dog Day foundation is to rescue 10,000 dogs a year. Please do whatever you can, not just today but every day, to help a dog in need. These incredible furry friends deserve the best lives they could possibly have. Take today to give your buddy extra attention and hugs. Treat them to a spa day, a new toy or a special treat. A play date with friends at the dog park may be a fun idea too! My Moose will get extra play time in the hose – he loves that so much and it’s going to be a hot day so his reward will also be his relief.
National Toilet Paper Day – This is something that we take for granted. Seriously, how many of us use this product multiple times in a day and only pause to think about how grateful we are for it AFTER the roll is empty and there isn’t one within reach? Right? Did you ever think about how tough it was for folks BEFORE this was invented? The first written record of toilet paper dates back to 6th century China, but a man by the name of Joseph Gayetty actually introduced modern toilet paper to the United States in 1857. It was called Gayetty’s Medicated Paper and sold in flat sheets. Over the past 150+ years it has evolved quite a bit, showing up in different plies, colors, textures, patterns and scents. One thing hasn’t changed over those years though, and that is that we all think of toilet paper as being a necessary item in our lives. The Toilet Paper Encyclopedia (seriously? This is a thing? Apparently, it is!) says that 49% of people choose toilet paper as what they would think is their #1 necessary item to have if they were stranded on a deserted island – even more so than food! This is pretty unreal to me. I think we take for granted that we have such a convenient item to take care of a necessary function in our lives, and possibly should think of what we would do if suddenly we didn’t have toilet paper anymore. I thought it was interesting that the world record for the largest roll of toilet paper was manufactured by Charmin, and had over 1,000,000 square feet of paper, measuring more than 9 feet in diameter! That’s a LOT of T.P.! I had to giggle when I saw this celebration today. While we were camping a few years ago, I struck up a conversation with a couple of sisters who were tent camping with 2 huge dogs at the other end of our little street. (Dogs are the universal conversation starter, aren’t they?) Their kids were across the way in more tents. These two ladies had thoroughly TP’d the tents of their kids so when they came out in the morning they ran into streams of the paper. I was there when the kids woke up and I got to laugh along with them at the joke. It seemed like they were having a really good time.
Women’s Equality Day – Today we commemorate the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. In 1971 Congress designated August 26th each year as “Women’s Equality Day”, to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution on August 26, 1920. This amendment granted women the right to vote and was the culmination of decades of effort that date back to the first women’s rights convention in 1848 at Seneca Falls, New York.
Tuesday – August 27
Just Because Day – Do you ever want to do something Just Because? No reason except that it’s something you WANT to do! Our lives are so scripted, scheduled and regimented that Just Because struggles to find its way into our daily repertoire. We do so many things because we have to, we are expected to and there are always goals to reach and time limits keeping us on the straight and narrow. That just doesn’t apply today! Take today and do something just because – without a reason, without logic. Pick something that will be even better because it is uncommon or unexpected, something you may have had in mind but just didn’t have the time to do. Indulging in a whim may be just thing for you today. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Take an unplanned day of vacation
- Visit someone you haven’t seen in a while
- Pay an unexpected compliment to someone
- Skip – don’t walk
- Buy something you don’t need.
- Jump in a puddle
- Walk backwards
- Buy flowers for yourself, or someone you love, for no other reason than JUST BECAUSE!
The Duchess Who Wasn’t Day – Today we celebrate the life of Irish novelist Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, who was published under the pen name “The Duchess” in the United States. It was also the name of her most popular novel, which was published in 1887. Margaret is responsible for the popular phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” in her book Molly Bawn. The Duchess had at least 57 works written under her name, but there could have been many more because much of her early work was published as Anonymous, and later as Mrs. Hungerford, before “The Duchess” became popular in the United States. In addition to all of her books, she wrote many newspaper articles and had a large family – four daughters and two sons. She was born on the 27th of April in 1855 in County Cork, won prizes in school for writing stories, and after the death of her first husband in 1876, she began writing more seriously to support her three daughters. It was shortly after this that her first book “Phyllis” was written, and a short time later, “Molly Bawn”. She remarried in 1882, had two sons and daughter with her second husband, and sadly, died of typhoid fever in 1897. She is an amazing example of how working hard and being determined can help us reach goals that we set for ourselves, whether by necessity or merely desire.
Wednesday – August 28
National Bow Tie Day – Today is the day for anyone who loves wearing a bow tie. It takes a very special sense of style and confidence to wear a bow tie, and today people who wear them all over the world will be wearing them in celebration. Did you know that there is a world record for fastest speed tying a bow tie? I didn’t either! Dhani Jones, former University of Michigan and NFL linebacker, holds the Record Setter World Record for bow tying – set as part of a fundraiser for young adults with cancer. He tied a bow tie in just 13.59 seconds! That’s fast! If you do wear a bow tie, or perhaps know someone who does, well, you (or they) are in good company! Here are a few names of celebrities known for wearing a bow tie: * Winston Churchill – This British statesman inspired the Blenheim, a navy bow tie with white polka dots named for his birthplace. * Pee-Wee Herman – Actor Paul Reubens is best known for his comic character Pee-Wee Herman, who always wore the same outfit which included a red bow tie. * Donald Duck – This lovable Disney cartoon character also wore a bow tie, along with one of his best Disney buds, Mickey Mouse.
I used to have a math teacher who wore a bow tie. Sadly, the kids in my class, actually the whole school, called him Elmer Fudd. He really did bear a striking resemblance to Elmer – no hair and always wearing a bow tie. Kids can be so cruel. Of course, in retrospect and with the knowledge of an adult, he also dropped his pencil near girls with skirts on, so he could look up them. Maybe he deserved to be made fun of – he was apparently a pervert and we weren’t to a point where these things were reported and taken seriously at the time.
Radio Commercials Day – I have a personal pet peeve with a lot of radio commercials. Well, OK . . . it’s not just radio commercials . . . TV commercials bug me too. The worst offender? The Progressive commercials featuring Flo and her horrible, off key singing, the IQ insulting lyrics and the brain cell killing banter. It makes me NUTS every time one comes on and I instantly turn down the radio at work, so I don’t have to listen to it. A lot of commercials irritate me, but those are the worst. So . . . when did the first radio commercial air? In 1922 the very first one ever was broadcast by Queensboro Realty. It lasted 10 entire minutes and cost just $100. Thankfully radio commercials are now much shorter, but they certainly aren’t cheaper! In 2011, more than $17 billion was spent on radio advertising in the United States alone. That’s a lot of money, for a lot of commercials, most of which should have gotten the ad execs fired. But that’s just my personal opinion.
Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day – Not a day goes by that we don’t miss our Tibbi Girl or my Pepsi Kitty. The day they crossed the Rainbow Bridge were horrible, awful days and ones that I will mourn forever. The death of a pet is a deep loss, one that we feel forever. Mourning the loss is an individual thing and this day helps provide a way to help heal that loss. Today look at pictures and remember the happy times with your furbaby that was lost. If you are ready, maybe it’s time to adopt a new baby and give them a happy, caring home. So many pets do not get that and every one of them deserves it.
Tug-of-War Day – I’m sure we have all seen a game of tug-of-war, and perhaps you’ve even played! It is a competitive sport with ancient roots from all over the world. The game is simple in theory – there are two teams and a long rope, often stretched over water or mud, during which both teams pull on the rope with the goal of pulling the other team into the water or mud. Of course, the game wasn’t always played with the losers landing in the mud and suffering some indignity! Nope, the Vikings used to have a pit of fire in between the two teams. Gives an entirely new sense of urgency to the enterprise, doesn’t it? As long as the teams are even, pretty much any number of people can participate, with the world record being 1574 participants. That’s an awfully long rope! Tug-of-War – the closest I get to playing this game is having a bit of a pull with Moose and a toy, but if this is the sort of competition that intrigues you, perhaps you can find a game celebrating THIS day in your area! Good Luck! Contests often take place over bodies of water or muddy areas so that the losing team suffers the indignity of falling in, which is preferable to the Viking version of tug-of-war when teams competed over a pit of fire. The number of people taking part can vary from just a few to a large crowd, with the world record for a single tug-of-war standing at 1,574 participants. It is not surprising that such a popular event has its own annual day; Tug-of-War Day. Cries of ‘heave’ are heard around the world on a day when numerous matches take place, giving a chance to take part or cheer on this timeless team game.
Thursday – August 29
According to Hoyle Day – We’ve all seen the Hoyle books on card games, but have you ever wondered who wrote them? Or why? Well, in the 1740’s Englishman Edmond Hoyle earned some extra money by tutoring people in high society at the game of whist, which was a forerunner to the modern bridge game. He found out there wasn’t a published set of rules for the game, so he wrote “A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist”. It quickly became a best-seller, so he published other books . . . “A Short Treatise on the Game of Backgammon”, “An Artificial Memory for Whist”, and “Short Treatises on the games of Piquet”. Eventually his books became the leading standard in game instruction manuals, and he became the final authority on the official sets of rules. August 29th, 1769 is the anniversary of the passing of Edmond Hoyle, so today is observed as “According to Hoyle” Day in his honor.
Individual Rights Day – Today we spend a few minutes honoring a man by the name of John Locke – an author whose philosophical writings argued for the rights of every single human being. This day was chosen for this celebration because it was his birthday. According to Locke, “Anything that a man has as a matter of human rights or civil rights is to remain inviolably his,” and even though he conceded that sometimes people surrendered some natural rights in exchange for the protection we have by living in societies, he still felt that basic individual rights include life, liberty, property, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to petition the government. I have to say, I agree! And any red blooded, Constitution loving, patriotic American should agree! Isn’t that the very foundation on which this nation was built?
Friday – August 30
Cow Chip Throwing Days – Every small town seems to have its fun festivals, and Cow Chip Throwing Days is one of these fun weekends celebrated in Beaver, Oklahoma. Cows apparently outnumber the people in the town by 16 to 1, so there are plenty of chips to gather for the throwing event. I don’t know about you, but even if I didn’t want to celebrate by throwing a piece of cow poop, I do love a fun country festival!
Frankenstein Day – It feels a little odd to celebrate this one today, but there’s a good reason for it! Today we honor the author Mary Wollenstone Shelley who was born on August 30, 1797. She wrote “Frankenstein” in 1818. What a forward-thinking woman, and how incredible that her work was so popular that we still read books and watch movies featuring this famous imaginary creature! I must admit, that my favorite movie with Frankenstein as the theme would be “Young Frankenstein”. One of the funniest movies ever made, and I never get tired of giggling at it.
National College Colors Day – Today there is an annual celebration that is dedicated to promoting the traditions and spirit that embody the college experience by encouraging fans across America to wear the colors and logos of their favorite college or university on Friday – with this year’s being today, August 30. I can picture my friend S, in her freshman year of college, enjoying this day to the fullest and with all of the team spirit she has in her!
National Grief Awareness Day – Grief is different for everyone. Some people internalize their pain, others cry a lot without being able to stop. I’m a crier. I can’t seem to stop the tears, even when I want to. I try, but they just seem to come all on their own. Being there for someone who is grieving is all we can really do, just offering to lend a helping hand, an ear to listen or just someone to be quietly nearby is everything to someone who is hurting so deeply. Grief is usually a response to the loss of someone or something that is important in our lives. I have heard that there are 5 stages of grief, and that helping someone go through these stages is very important. 1 – denial, where the person grieving does not believe that the reason for their grief really happened. Being there during this time is very important because at some point reality will come to the surface and it’s going to be really difficult for them to deal with. 2 – Anger where the one grieving is angry with anyone and anything around them. Sometimes this can come out in violent outbursts, so caution is necessary during this stage. 3 – Bargaining – this is when the person grieving “what-if’s” themselves, trying to convince themselves that if only they had done or said this, or that, that none of this would have happened. 4 – Depression, not to say that there wasn’t sadness or depression before, but this stage is when the reality really comes crashing in and the pain gets intense. 5 – Acceptance, it is time to look to the future while appreciating the past and cherishing the good memories. What is important to remember is that some people race through these stages over a period of years, some in months or even weeks. Not everyone is the same, so we should never impose how we would individually deal with grief on someone else. Just be there for them, for as long as it takes.
National Holistic Pet Day – This is a one I can get behind 100%. Pet owners need to start looking at their pet’s diet, lifestyle and environment and make it as natural and healthy as possible! There is so much junk in commercial pet food, in the poisons put into their skin to kill fleas, in the cleaning products we use in our homes (unless we make our own natural products!) that they lick, walk on and sleep on. We all know that people shouldn’t be exposed to unhealthy toxins, but how many of us think of that when it comes to our little furry family members? You can celebrate this day by buying your dog or cat some natural treats or supplements, exercise with your pet, or give them a little massage! Minimize the chemical use in your home to reduce not only their exposure, but yours too.
Saturday – August 31
Love Litigating Lawyers Day – Society loves to hate lawyers, doesn’t it? Yet, who do we call when there is trouble and we need help negotiating the ins and outs of the law? Yep, we call a lawyer! They are the butts of jokes, hated for many reasons, yet they continue to do their jobs (granted they charge a great deal of money for their services) in spite of all of the negativity. If for no other day of the year, today love the lawyers for what they do. Never know when you may need the services of one to guide you through a sticky situation.
National Cowgirl Day – This one was celebrated for the very first time in 2018, and in my opinion, it’s been a long time coming. Women have been making contributions to the west and cowboy culture for many decades, so why not put the focus where it belongs when it comes to their part of that by celebrating cowgirl culture too? Women have ridden the range, participated in ranch life alongside their cowboy counterparts, been rodeo competitors, broken horses, rounded up the herds, etc. for many, many years. My own Grandma K. rode the range with her brothers every single day when she was a teen, rounding up the cattle for long hours, then coming home to do chores around the farm. In her years as a Grandma we all only saw her in the kitchen, in her always present apron, but she was made of the tough stuff required to do the hard work she grew up doing. This past weekend we took our Granddaughter to a friend’s farm to see horses and chickens and get a first taste of this type of life. She had the time of her life.
National Diatomaceous Earth Day – a diatom is a single-celled plant form diatomaceous earth. That doesn’t clear things up for those of us who don’t know what that is, does it? Well, Diatomaceous Earth – also known as DE – is a sedimentary rock that is found in large deposits worldwide, and mined primarily in the United States, Mexico, Chile, Peru, France, Spain, Denmark and China. Even though new DE is being formed now, some of the deposits found around the world are millions of years old. As diatoms die the fall to the bottom of bodies of water and as the organic parts of the diatoms are washed away, the remaining parts form the DE. So, what is it used for? It is used to filter swimming pools, or for its natural insecticide properties to control insects in homes or gardens. Ancient people used it as a building material and an abrasive, and even as an ice-age cave painting medium. There are many health uses for DE as well! Look it up, get some to keep at home. You never know when something may come up and you require some.
National Matchmaker Day – So many of us are hopeless romantics who always want the single people in our lives to be happily with someone that they love. They tend to play matchmaker – which sometimes works out and sometimes doesn’t. There are so many professional matchmakers these days, in the form of online dating sites, that it seems an old-time method of finding mates for your friends and family has turned into a big business – and it works! I met my hubby online and I don’t regret it for a moment.
Sunday – September 1
Building and Code Staff Appreciation Day – I’m betting that the building code folks don’t get a lot of appreciation, and we all need some of that to keep getting up and going to work, don’t we? These folks are out there not only telling us what permits we need but making sure that the buildings we enter each day to complete our business transactions are safe! That’s pretty important, don’t you think? If you are having an inspection performed today, try not to be grumpy with him/her. They deserve at least ONE day of appreciation, don’t you think?
Calendar Adjustment Day – This one is FASCINATING to me! I hope it is to you too. After the passage of the British Calendar Act of 1751, Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752. Now there was a problem! The Julian calendar system required that they drop eleven days so that they could sync themselves with the proposed Gregorian calendar, SO on the evening of September 2nd, 1752, when the population of Britain and its American colonies went to sleep, when they woke up the next morning it was September 14th, 1752. As a result of this adjustment, there was rioting in the streets by those who felt that they had been cheated and demanded the eleven days back. This calendar adjustment is also responsible for New Year’s Day being celebrated on January 1st, because before it had been celebrated on March 26th.
Chicken Boy’s Day – Today we celebrate the birthday of Chicken Boy. No, it’s not a cruel nickname. Chicken Boy is a roadside icon that was erected in the 1960s on top of a fried chicken restaurant in Los Angeles, a 22-foot boy with the head of a chicken holding a bucket of deep-fried chicken. This fiberglass statue was a famous landmark on Route 66 for many years. When the restaurant closed in 1984, Ellen Bloom and her friends decided that Chicken Boy was worth saving and made arrangements for him to be moved to her house. Chicken Boy was kept at her house for 23 years, knowing that someday she would find a special place for him. She was so convinced about it, that she published a catalog that included gifts like Chicken Boy logo merchandise and things that Chicken Boy would be proud to have, if he were a real boy. I miss those iconic landmarks that you could see when driving down the road from one place to another.
Emma M. Nutt Day – In January of 1878 the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company had started hiring men as telephone operators, starting with George Willard Croy. Men had been very successful telegraphy operators, but their attitudes (lack of patience) and behavior (pranks and cursing) was not acceptable for live telephone. To take care of that issue the company began hiring women operators instead. So, on September 1, 1878, Emma Nutt was hired, the first female telephone operator, starting a career that lasted somewhere between 33 and 37 years. She retired in 1911 (or 1915). A few short hours after Emma started work her sister Stella Nutt became the world’s second female telephone operator. Stella only worked as an operator for a few short years, rather than making it her whole career like Emma did. The customers responded to Emma’s soothing, cultured voice, and her patience, and customer approval was so overwhelmingly positive that all of the men were soon replaced by women. Emma was hired by Alexander Graham Bell, changing her job from the telegraph office to the telephone company. She was paid a salary of $10 per month for a 54-hour week. Reports say she could remember every number in the telephone directory of the New England Telephone Company. That’s AMAZING! For a woman to qualify for the position of telephone operator she had to be between the ages of seventeen and twenty-six, be unmarried, look prim and proper, and have arms long enough to reach the top of the tall switchboard. **The scene from “Bold Experiment – The Telephone Story” shows Emma and Stella Nutt, working alongside a male operator at the Edwin Holmes Telephone Dispatch Company.
National No Rhyme (Nor Reason) Day – A lot of things seem to happen without any rhyme or reason, but today we celebrate the actual English words that do not rhyme with any other words. These are all words that poets should try to avoid if they write the sort of poetry that is supposed to rhyme! One word without a “perfect” rhyme is the word ORANGE. The words MONTH, SILVER and PURPLE are also without a perfect rhyming match. That’s pretty interesting! As someone who occasionally writes poetry, I know those words make me crazy! Does anyone have any other suggestions for words that don’t have rhyming matches? We should get a list going!
Random Acts of Kindness Day or Be Kind Day (Also in February. Also, RAK Friday in November.) – We never know when someone may be having a bad day, bad week, or a bad year. It’s sad really, we hurry scurry through our lives passing by strangers as we go without making eye contact most of the time, and they do the same to us. We are all so busy that it just doesn’t dawn on us on any run of the mill day that sometimes a random act of kindness could make someone’s life feel a little brighter and give them hope where maybe they didn’t have any. It doesn’t have to be something big, or expensive. Just knowing someone cares is often enough. This may have started as a day to celebrate, but it is actually a little contagious – or a lot contagious. It feels so good to show a little kindness that when we see the happiness on the other person’s face, it makes us want to do it some more! The person who is the recipient feels so good that they, in turn, want to do something kind for someone else. I know we’ve all received at least one kind deed from a stranger, and we’ve all done some as well. I’d like it very much if anyone reading would be willing to share some ideas, or some experiences. I’ll start . . . Received – I used to commute to and from Seattle. At that time commuters had the choice of buying a monthly pass or buying books of tickets. The tickets were easier to budget, so I went with the tickets. One time I’d changed purses, and somehow missed my ticket book when I was making the change, I had no money on me, and it was before payday, and I got to the ferry to go home and didn’t have a ticket. I was standing there, near to tears, saw nobody I knew to ask to borrow one, when an older lady came up to me and offered to pay my way across the boat. I was mortified, but so grateful at the time, and asked her if she would be on the boat the next day so I could repay her kindness. She wouldn’t let me give her back a ticket, but sweetly helped me out. I got home safe and sound that night, thanks to that lady. I hope she knew how grateful I was. Performed – This was also back when I commuted to Seattle. I would cut through Pioneer Square on my way from the ferry to my office – this was before I was as familiar with the area and figured out a better route. The homeless guys would sit around in the square on all of the benches, all of their worldly possessions around them. I became familiar with one of them, this very elderly man, who always had a smile on his face. He had snowy white hair and was always bundled up in everything he could bundle in, his dark skin and deep brown eyes would crinkle around the edges with his happy smile. I’d wonder sometimes what made him so happy, considering his situation. He always had a can out in front of him for any random passerby who wanted to toss in some change, but he never actually asked for anything. I wouldn’t give money to the street people, since I didn’t want to have it spent on booze or drugs, but I would return his smile and go on my way. I had one day a week off, so I’d miss that day, and the following day he would always tell me he missed me and had been worried that I was ill. One day I offered him a leftover banana I had not eaten for breakfast on the ferry. I asked him if he’d like it and he grinned big and wide, and told me he’d never turn down a lovely potassium filled banana. I started packing him a lunch on my workdays and leaving it on his bench next to him in the mornings if he was asleep or handing it to him if he was awake. He got familiar with my schedule and would watch for me. I felt safer because I “knew” someone, and he looked forward to our brief morning conversations. After some time, I began also bringing him a cup of coffee from the McDonald’s downstairs from the ferry terminal and a friendship of sorts was born. One day, about a year into starting my commute, he was no longer there on his bench. I began noticing that his belongings were dispersed amongst the other homeless guys who sat in the square. I asked around and it turns out that he’d gathered enough change to go across the street to Starbucks for a coffee and had a heart attack and died while he was inside. It hurt that he was gone, but I was glad I’d helped him out while I could. Another guy who sat down there told me that Bill (that’s what he called him anyway) always looked forward to seeing me, even when I didn’t bring lunch, and called me the lady with the happy smile. That maybe wasn’t a single random act of kindness, but it started out that way. It hurt to go by after that, without Bill on his bench, and honestly the other guys in the square were scary – it really wasn’t the safest neighborhood. I figured out a different route that was quicker and safer, but to this day every time I go through Pioneer Square I think of Bill and miss his happy face. What can you share about Random Acts of Kindness? Big or little, they all add up to making others feel good and putting a smile on people’s faces. Jesus was a big one on random acts of kindness, as He was the embodiment of love, kindness and compassion. It really doesn’t hurt us to reach out to others with something as simple as an encouraging word, or a smile. Doesn’t have to cost anything but a moment but can pay huge dividends in someone else’s life.
Toy Tips Executive Toy Test Day – This is so much fun! Every year on September 1st in New York City the senior executives of different companies get together to play with toys. They call it “testing” the toys, but seriously, I’m betting it is all just playing. The purpose is said to be learning how to incorporate creativity into their workplaces. This reminds me of when I worked in downtown Seattle. Occasionally my boss and I would go to Game Works – a HUGE video game arcade- to hang out. There would be rows of suit clad men playing video games, playing their lunch hours away. They always seemed to have smiles on their faces and appeared to be pretty relaxed after their play time lunch. Therapy for the workplace? Sounds good to me!
Food Celebration of the Day –
Monday – August 26
National Cherry Popsicle Day – In 1905 there was an 11-year old boy, Frank Epperson, who was sitting outside the house on his porch mixing water with a powdered white flavoring to make soda. He left it outside on the porch when he went into the house with the stick still in it. Overnight the temperature dropped to a record low and when he got up in the morning his drink had frozen to the stick. When he grew up, he introduced this treat at a fireman’s ball – this was in 1922 – and it was a big success! The following year he made his treat and sold it at an amusement park in California and it did so well that he applied for a patent in 1924 – calling it an Epsicle Ice Pop – it was later renamed Popsicle. They are one of the favorite frozen treats for kids of all ages when the weather gets hot, and today we honor one of the most popular flavors. I make low-carb, delicious cherry-cola popsicles using Zevia soda. They aren’t quite just cherry flavor, but they are pretty yummy!
National Eat Dessert First Day – “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first,” is the quote attributed to American writer Ernestine Ulmer. Think about it. How often do we have a delicious dessert in mind but having been raised that we have to eat dinner first, we end up being just too full to have dessert at all! Well, today is the day to break out of that rut and eat your dessert first! If you have any room, go for dinner afterward.
Tuesday – August 27
National Banana Lovers Day- Bananas are one of the first fruits we learn to love as babies. Their soft texture, sweet taste and high nutritional value make them perfect for making baby food. One small banana has only 90 calories and zero fat! That same banana will supply you with 15 percent of your daily value of Vitamin C, and 10 percent of your potassium. Here are some interesting facts about bananas: * Bananas contain potassium-40, which is a radioactive isotope of potassium. * Almost all commercial banana plants are clones of a single plant originating in Southeast Asia. * There are more than 1,000 types of bananas in the world, although many are inedible. * Bananas help produce serotonin, a natural chemical that helps alleviate depression.
Fun fact: The banana tree is not technically a tree at all, but the world’s largest flowering herbaceous plant. It dies back and grows anew each year.
National Burger Day – I’m sure many, if not most, of us love our burgers, and we have for a very long time! Did you know that the oldest fast food restaurant in the world is White Castle? I didn’t – not that we have any around here. I’ve never tried White Castle because of it. It opened in 1921. They say that more people in the United States eat more burgers in restaurants than they do at home – though I can say that for us it is about equal. Burgers are loved so much that at a burger festival in Wisconsin they created the largest burger ever, topping out at over 8,000 pounds. HOW? I want to know HOW?
National Pots de Crème Day – Yum . . . Pots de Crème – little pots, or dishes, or custard made with eggs, egg yolks, cream, milk and a flavor like vanilla or chocolate. Rich, creamy and utterly delicious.
Wednesday – August 28
National Cherry Turnovers Day – I copied and pasted this from www.thenibble.com. They went to a lot of work for this information about cherry turnovers, so I figured I’d pass along that knowledge to you. Check them out sometime. They have a great food calendar, all sorts of fun recipes, and some incredible historical knowledge about food. I know that takes a lot of work to put together, so good job www.thenibble.com !
Most people have never had a fresh cherry turnover. We make this statement categorically, because turnovers are not a commonly found or -made food; and fresh cherries are ephemeral. Add these facts together, and the sum is that the cherry turnovers you’re likely to encounter are made with frozen cherries or cherry pie filling. So today, buck tradition and make cherry turnovers. The cherries are waiting for you in the produce section; and the cream cheese pastry pocket is so delicious, you’ll want to use this as your signature turnover recipe, with seasonal fruits. Seasonal Variations Summer Fruit: berries, figs and stone fruits in (a magical combo with the cream cheese dough) Fall/Winter Fruit: apple, banana, blood orange, pear, pumpkin/squash and quince turnovers in the fall and winter Spring Fruit: kumquat, rhubarb and strawberry turnovers We adapted this recipe from one in Country Living. When you taste your first batch, there’s a good chance you’ll be back at the store for more cherries and cream cheese. You can leave out the crystallized ginger if you’re not a ginger fan, but it’s a wow factor.
RECIPE: FRESH CHERRY TURNOVERS
Ingredients For 15 Turnovers
For the Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter
4 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling
1 pound bing cherries
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ tablespoon salt
- MAKE the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, ginger and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until well blended; then add the butter and cream cheese and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor running…
- ADD the water slowly and mix just until dough comes together. Form dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
- FORM the turnovers: In a medium bowl, mix the cherries, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt together. Set aside.
- ROLL out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out 6-inch circles. Invert a 6″ diameter plate or bowl atop the dough and cut out with a pizza cutter or knife; if it’s a little larger or smaller, that’s fine. Gather and re-chill the dough scraps and repeat until you have 15 dough circles.
- Evenly divide the cherry filling among the dough circles, leaving an edge to fold and crimp. Dampen the edge of each dough circle and fold in half over the cherry filling. Lightly press the edges with the tines of a fork to seal each half-moon-shaped turnover. You can also cut squares or rectangles. For a triangular shape, follow these guidelines for spanakopita, making the triangle as large as you like.
- PLACE the turnovers on two parchment-lined baking sheets and chill for at least 30 minutes. While they chill, position the oven rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 400°F. When ready for the oven…
- USE a sharp knife to cut 2 or 3 small vents on top of each turnover. Place the baking sheets on the middle rack of the oven and bake until the crust is golden and cherry juice begins to ooze from the vent holes, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool turnovers on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
The concept of cooking fruits and meats in pastry is thousands of years old. Given the lack of bakeware at the time—especially among the less affluent—it is easy to envision cooks of ancient eras filling squares of dough with whatever, folding the dough to seal the filling, and baking them in the fireplace. Turnovers can be sweet or savory and can be folded into half-moons, rectangles, squares or triangles. Savory varieties are often used as a portable meal, as Americans grab a sandwich (think around the globe, from calzones to dosas to empanadas to spanakopita). In England, printed recipes start to appear around 1750. But given the paucity of printed cookbooks (and the literacy level of the general public), they may have been popular for centuries. Add to that a challenge: Turnovers were often called apple pies (apple being the most popular and widely available fruit filling). Sweet turnovers typically have a fruit filling and are made with a puff pastry or shortcrust pastry dough. Savory turnovers generally contain meat and/or vegetables and can be made with any sort of dough, although a kneaded yeast dough seems to be the most common in Western recipes. Turnovers are usually baked but may be fried. Savory turnovers are often sold as convenience foods in supermarkets.
Thursday – August 29
Lemon Juice Day – It’s a given that we, as a nation, eat far too much salt. Lemon juice, according to Sunkist, makes a great alternative to salt. If you reduce your salt by 75% and replace it with lemon zest, then top off the finished food with 2.5 teaspoons of lemon juice, “they” say that you won’t miss the salt. Well, let’s give that a try. I love lemon zest, so this could make food even MORE delicious!
More Herbs Less Salt – Is there anything more fragrant than freshly picked herbs? Most herbs belong to either the mint family, which includes basil, oregano, rosemary and sage, or the carrot family, like dill, parsley and cilantro. We as a society depend too much on salt to bring out the flavors in food, so today try more herbs, and put away the salt. We don’t usually add salt to much in our house, and we don’t miss it. We can actually pick out salty flavors very quickly because we aren’t used to it.
National Chop Suey Day – I’ve always thought of Chop Suey as something that came about as a Chinese-American dish to appeal to American taste buds, sort of like the fortune cookie is. According to the research done by www.thenibble.com that is a myth that won’t die. Chop Suey is a prominent dish in Taishan, which is a city of 95 islands and islets in the Pearl River Delta of SE China. It’s a stir-fry recipe, and the name literally means “assorted pieces”. Well, that makes sense, doesn’t it? The pieces can include beef, chicken, eggs, fish, pork and/or shrimp, plus vegetables like bean sprouts, cabbage, celery and snow peas. A starch is added to make a thick sauce from the oil and drippings from the wok. In China this will be served with rice. If you have it with noodles then you no longer have Chop Suey, you have Chow Mein! Good to know!
Friday – August 30
National Toasted Marshmallows Day – Marshmallows are an abundant and cheap summer treat, but that was not always the case. They were “once so rare that that only pharaohs could eat them” according to Campfire Marshmallows. Ancient Egyptians mixed the sap of the marshmallow plant that was mixed with honey to create a sweet treat in 2000 B.C. Today’s marshmallows are made from corn syrup, sugar, water, dextrose and air. “The marshmallow plant is native to salt marshes and shorelines in Asia and Europe and is now grown in the eastern United States. The plant, specifically the skin of the Althaea officinalis plant, can be used to treat irritated skin.
Saturday – August 31
National Eat Outside Day – Here we are, at the end of August, and how better to celebrate the quickly waning summer than with eating outside!? Pack a picnic, take your dinner out on the deck, or maybe grab some take-out and head to the lake. Wherever you are, enjoy the outdoors before summer is completely gone.
National Trail Mix Day – Whether you need a snack to keep your energy up for a big hike or you just want a bowl of something to munch on during your favorite TV show, these mixes will satisfy. I’d be very careful though. It doesn’t take much for the calories to add up!
Sunday – September 1
National Cherry Popover Day – Popovers are the American version of Yorkshire pudding — an eggy batter that puffs up and over when baked in a muffin tin. They work great with a sweet or savory filling or topping!
National Gyro Day – The Nibble says that today is Gyro Day. First off, for anyone confused about the pronunciation of this delicious sandwich is that it is pronounced YEE-ro, not JY-ro. Very important distinction, so remember that. And what is it? Well, it’s a Greek lamb sandwich on pita bread. The meat is roasted on a vertical spit, or rotisserie, and served with tomato, onion and a sauce called tzatziki (yogurt/cucumber sauce). Wrapping food in a pita bread is an ancient Greek tradition, making the pita a plate that was edible.
I wish I could share every moment of our visit with Miss B with you, but it would likely be a bit boring to anyone who doesn’t know and love her, or who wasn’t there. We had a very good time with her and will cherish our time together. Today we are back to reality, a regular work week, and a routine that will hopefully at least get our meals back on a normal schedule. We gave Miss B all the choices, for the most part, curbing excessive treats of course, and seriously, I’m ready for some less child-friendly fare!
May your week be blessed, along with the end and beginning of the month. God bless you and I’ll see you next week.
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Celebration list sources: