A Reason to … Celebrate, Remember, Have Fun! (Dec 30th, 2011 – Jan 5th, 2012)

Friday, December 30th: Yea! Go team! Goooooo …. Let’s ‘root’ for the vegetables of the month; December is ROOT VEGETABLE MONTH. Although the month’s almost over, it’s not too late to celebrate these nutrient packed natural wonders. Celebrate the day, try out something new. Choose from: parsnip, carrot, beets, turnips, rutabaga, yams, sweet potatoes, celery root, horseradish or more. It’s a nice healthy treat amidst our sea of holiday snacking.

Saturday, December 31st: Alfred A. Montapert reportedly said, “In life, the first thing you must do is decide what you really want. Weigh the costs and the results. Are the results worthy of the costs? Then make up your mind completely and go after your goal with all your might. In life, the first thing you must do is decide what you really want. Weigh the costs and the results. Are the results worthy of the costs? Then make up your mind completely and go after your goal with all your might.” Perfect words for today; it’s MAKE UP YOUR MIND DAY. Celebrate life, celebrate today. Make up your mind and go for it!

Sunday, January 1st: Happy 2012! Besides the obvious New Years Day, January is designated CELEBRATION OF LIFE MONTH. We need to celebrate life, not just this month, but everyday. Every day we should do three things: learn, laugh, and appreciate. Learn something new everyday. Laugh everyday. Appreciate everyday; appreciate the little things in life, not just the large things. Celebrating the close parking space is just as important as celebrating the promotion. We’re here, we’re breathing, and we’re alive. Celebrate!

Monday, January 2nd: You can do it! You can! You can! Today is NATIONAL MOTIVATION AND INSPIRATION DAY. Most of us are still motivated and gung-ho with our New Years resolutions. But just wait …. Let’s see in two weeks who’s still going strong. Today’s a good day to remind ourselves that we can stick with it and accomplish our goals. Let’s stick together and inspire each other.

Tuesday, January 3rd: Thank you for today’s celebration, Marvin Chester Stone. It’s DRINKING STRAW DAY, a day I have to admit that I’ve never celebrated before. They aren’t new. The first drinking straws were made of dry, hollow, rye grass. Mr. Marvin, who worked in a factory making paper cigarette holders, thought it made beverages taste like grass. He developed the modern straw from a piece of paper from his factory wrapped around a pencil and coated with wax. On January 3, 1888, the path of drinking straws changed forever. Now the variety of straws available is mind-boggling. Celebrate the drinking straw tonight. Use straws at dinner. Discover fancy, whimsical straws for the children. Have a craft night using straws.

Wednesday, January 4th: A bear was the first living creature ever ejected from a supersonic aircraft. There are approximately 564,537,600 blades of grass in an acre of lawn. A 10-gallon hat holds 3 quarts of water. So what?

Today is TRIVIA DAY. Trivia is insignificant or inessential facts. I’ll probably never need to know any of this information (unless I get the urge to try out for Jeopardy). But I love to look for reasons to celebrate. So tonight, I’ll have to try out one of the many trivia games available.

Thursday, January 5th: Today is my kind of day. It’s NATIONAL BIRD DAY, hooray! My birdseed garden out back is a little ragged right now, showing winters effects. The birds were twittering away after I added some hay over the wood piles last week, to add a little warmth and shelter over the next two cold months. Celebrate Bird Day with me. Share a scoop of birdseed or some (unsalted) sunflower seeds or peanuts with our feathered friends. They’ll appreciate it and sing a song of thanks. See www.nationalbirdday.com for more information.

A Reason to … Celebrate, Remember, Have Fun! (Dec 23-29, 2011)

Friday, December 23rd: Happy Pffffer … happy pfeeee … Happy German Christmas Cookie Day. It’s NATIONAL PFEFFERNUESSE DAY and you won’t catch me saying that twice! These small gingerbread treats, covered in powdered sugar, look like Russian Teacakes or Mexican Wedding Balls, but don’t be fooled. They have a bite of black pepper in them, not the vanilla or almond flavoring used in the others. Lore has it that Saint Nicholas placed these tiny, spicy treats in children’s boots left out on the night of December 5th. I’ll celebrate the day and consume my fair share of these bite-sized cookies, as long as I don’t have to pronounce them.

Saturday, December 24th: Millions of people worldwide are celebrating Christmas Eve tonight. Many will also be celebrating another lesser known holiday, even if inadvertently. Today is also NATIONAL EGGNOG DAY. Traditionally, eggnog is a blend of milk, sugar, raw eggs and spices, usually nutmeg. The cup is commonly topped with a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon, chocolate curls or a dollop of whipped cream. For the older crowd, the cup may be a bit more ‘spirited’, containing whiskey, rum, brandy, bourbon or cognac. I even saw a Pumpkin Eggnog in the store last week. Whether you celebrate Eggnog Day or not, Merry Christmas Eve to all!

Sunday, December 25th: “It’s about time … it’s about space … it’s about time to …” Wait! That’s an old childhood song. That’s not a nice song to sing on Christmas Day. Today is also the beginning of IT’S ABOUT TIME WEEK. According to Chase’s Calendar, this “Innovative week encourages creativity and honors ideas and pilot programs for ‘A Better Way; A Better World’.” What a great idea. Let’s celebrate and borrow their idea. What is it about time for in YOUR life? Put on your thinking caps. This week, once a day, fill in the blank: It’s about time to _________.

Monday, December 26th: Danke, Gracias, Merci, do jeh, dank u wel, mahalo, arigato, wado, Pilamaya aloh, Ahéhee’ … however you say it, it means the same thing – Thank You! It’s THANK YOU NOTE CARD DAY. Maybe it’s not as exciting as Boxing Day or National Whiners Day, but it’s a celebratory day on its own merit. Thank you notes are losing their status in today’s world. We’re talking the good-ole-handwritten thank you card here; not an email or a Facebook post. Celebrate the day; write a thank you note or two. Write one for a gift received, or to tell someone how they’ve touched your life. No note cards? Fancy, formal note cards aren’t required. A simple piece of paper will do. Try one out; I think you’ll be surprised at how much the recipient enjoys it.

Tuesday, December 27th: Here’s a whole day celebrating a cake with a bad rap. It’s NATIONAL FRUITCAKE DAY. We’ve all heard the jokes at the expense of this maligned dessert. We joke that there’s only one fruitcake in the world, and it gets passed along from family member to friends and back. We tease that they make the ideal gift … because the Postal Service is unable to damage them. Or, what about everyone’s favorite fruitcake recipe? It’s nuts, dried fruit, eggs, brown sugar, salt and a couple of bottles of bourbon – for the chef. Fruitcake is a typical tradition, and you either like it or you don’t. I’ll admit, it’s not my favorite holiday dessert. But, I’ll still celebrate the day; it’s another way to celebrate life.

Wednesday, December 28th: Christmas is over and the hustle and bustle has died down. The mess is picked up (maybe). Schools out and the kids are already bored. It’s a perfect day to play. It’s CARD PLAYING DAY. Fish, War, Old Maid, Crazy Eights … there’s so many games to choose from. Poker, rummy, bridge: the list goes on. Plan an easy dinner tonight and sit around playing cards with the family. Invite a few friends over. Slow down, enjoy life, and celebrate the time spent with family and friends.

Thursday, December 29th: Tick, tock … tick tock … So goes the clock, counting down the hours till 2011 ends. December 29th is TICK TOCK DAY. Any goals you haven’t met yet? Errands or tasks not completed? Better get on it, times running out. Two days to go till 2012. What would you like to accomplish before the year ends? Is there anything you can check off your to-do list before the New Years bells start ringing?

A Reason to … Celebrate, Remember, Have Fun (Dec 16-22, 2011)

Friday, December 16th: It’s a great day today, it’s NATIONAL CHOCOLATE-COVERED ANYTHING DAY! Any day celebrating chocolate is my kind of day. I think it’s catching on. Today in the store we even saw chocolate covered Ritz crackers. We passed on those, but I’ve heard of worse things being covered in chocolate that will probably never pass my lips. I think I’ll go celebrate the day with a chocolate covered pretzel I got in a gift package. Happy chocolate-covered anything day!

Saturday, December 17th: Today we celebrate twelve seconds that changed our world.  It’s WRIGHT BROTHERS DAY, commemorating the day in 1903 that Wilbur and Orville Wright flew their infamous flight atKitty Hawk. 

The presidential proclamation states “As we pursue progress and prosperity in the 21st century, we remember the key to our success has always been our unparalleled ability to think up new ideas, create new industries, and lead the way in discovery and innovation–just as it was for the Wright brothers over a century ago.”

In the spirit of progress and innovation, here’s a big “thanks” to Wilbur and Orville Wright. Celebrate life, celebrate discovery!

Sunday, December 18th: Here a cookie, there a cookie, everywhere you look … a cookie. It’s BAKE COOKIES DAY! It’s a perfect day for this holiday time of year. Children adore baking and decorating sugar cookies with mom or grandma. Friends, neighbors and co-workers all appreciate a plate of freshly baked cookies. Stretched for time? The refrigerated, ready-to-bake cookies make it easier than ever. Sugar cookies, oatmeal cookies, gingerbread men, peanut butter, snickerdoodles …. So many cookies, So little time! Celebrate the day, celebrate the fresh baked cookie!

Monday, December 19th: Celebrate today in a healthy way – but it won’t TASTE healthy!  It’s OATMEAL MUFFIN DAY! Yummy; all these food holidays to celebrate in December. At least today’s celebratory feast is filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Oatmeal is good for you in so many ways. And if you make the muffins with whole oats, peaches, bananas, applesauce or pumpkin (Google for more recipes than you can make in a day)…. mmmmm, even better! Happy Oatmeal Muffin Day!

Tuesday, December 20th: “You see George, you really had a wonderful life.”

Sixty-five years ago, December 20, 1946, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE premiered. Initially a box-office disappointment, never coming close to achieving its break-even point on initial release, the movie has become a Christmas classic. Nominated for five Oscars, the film has been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made. It has also been placed number one on their list of the most inspirational American films of all time.

Yes George (and Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Henry Travers, Frank Capra and the rest of the cast), you really DID have a wonderful life! I’ll celebrate tonight by watching It’s a Wonderful Life …. Again.

Wednesday, December 21st: Will he make it in time? Will he win the money? Tonight’s the deadline, at 8:45 p.m. It’s PHILEAS FOGG WINS A WAGER DAY. Phileas Fogg had a wager, that he could make it around the world in eighty days. Twenty thousand pounds was riding on it. I have to admit that I’ve never read Jules Verne’s 1873 fictional book, Around the World in Eighty Days. Today’s celebration seems like a good time to amend this. Seems I’ll be making a stop at the library on my way home from work.

Thursday, December 22nd:

winter breeze
seasons passing by
spring memories

Today celebrates NATIONAL HAIKU POETRY DAY. Haiku is a popular Japanese poetry form.  Typically written in three lines, with 5-7-5 syllables, current recommendations have been shortened to 3-5-3 syllables, more in line with the Japanese vs. English content. An internet search of the haiku “rules” provides more than enough information. Beware; you may need some aspirin before you’re done. It’s more complicated than it sounds.

Usually celebrated on the winter solstice, 2011 is the last year of its winter celebration. In 2012, the day moves to April 17th, to coincide with National Poetry Month. So ‘Haiku it Up’ today, celebrating haiku’s last winter fanfare.

Believing in My Own Grandmother Face

“In these ‘senior adult’ years we have the time to explore, the experience to commit to paper, and the wit to balance emotions necessary to make writing more than a pastime or an escape from boredom.”     –Frances Weaver

Late bloomers … Coming into our own glory and majesty late in life.  I’m a member of this distinguished club.  I proudly wave my membership papers, at age 53.

Sometimes. On other days, I’m not as proud.  Those days I slide down a slippery slope into old age, faster with each passing day. On those days I feel the ‘end of my time’ breeze caressing my cheeks.

Then, I teeter on the edge of beating myself up. Why did I take so long to discover myself? Why did I wait so long to begin writing? Why did I waste so many years?

In 1993 (at the ‘ripe old age’ of 35) my then-counselor/now-friend, Dr. Barbara Sinor, encouraged me to write, saying I was a writer. It only took me 15 years to believe her.

I dabbled.  I wished and dreamed. I made many false starts, but mostly wished. Wishing doesn’t put words on paper, does it?

After 50, I finally got serious.  I’m inching along now, making more progress some weeks than others. But the magic is that I’m starting to believe it, to believe in myself.

Synchronicity. I discovered a lone paperback book, in the middle of a vendors booth filled with “collectibles”. I couldn’t pass up the intriguing title: The Girls with the Grandmother Faces: A Celebration of Life’s Potential for those over 55 (especially for a quarter!)

I devoured it.

Frances Weaver’s book, new to my radar, jumped right up to my favorites.

Frances herself started writing later in life … at age 53!  She wrote this book at age 60.  She had an impressive writing career. She was prolific author of many books and columns and spoke at writing conferences before her death in 2004. Her zest for life and learning is a beacon; encouraging and inspiring me to continue.

I send gratitude to her, across the divide separating this physical world from the souls of those passed. I’m not ‘getting old’; I’m gaining the assets of experience and maturity.

Francesasks at the end of her magnificent book, “Just who are you going to be for the last act, the last twenty percent of your life? How much will the rest of your life characterize your feeling for life itself?”

I shall continue. I’m a writer. This writer/girl just happens to have a grandmother’s face.

A Reason to … Celebrate, Remember, Have Fun! (Dec 2-8)

Friday, December 2nd: “Once you go mutt, you’ll never go back.” That’s what their web page claims and I’m inclined to believe it. Of course, coming from a household with four mutts reigning (currently, there have been more), I may be a little biased.  It’s NATIONAL MUTT DAY. Created in 2005 by Colleen Paige, the goal is to save 10,000 “mutts” from coast to coast. Can you save a mutt today? Can you donate to a local shelter, with either food, monetary donations or your time? (www.nationalmuttday.org)

Saturday, December 3rd: It’s CHESTER GREENWOOD DAY, also known as EARMUFF DAY. Who in the world, you ask, is Chester Greenwood and what does he have to do with earmuffs? He invented them. Chester invented his ‘Champion Ear Protector’s’ when he was only 15 years old.  He patented his invention on March 13, 1877.

Born inFarmington, Maine, the city is recognized as the “Earmuff Capital of the World” and they celebrate Chester Greenwood Day the first Saturday of December. Not bad Chester, still being recognized over a hundred years later in your hometown.

If the cold front keeps up in Texas, we’ll be looking for ours sooner than usual this year. Happy Earmuff Day everyone!

Sunday, December 4th: Snickerdoodles, macaroons, oatmeal, chocolate chip and sugar cookies; it’s a cookie kind of day. It’s NATIONAL COOKIE DAY! Celebrate the day by whipping up a batch of freshly baked cookies. The family will love you for it. If you’re too rushed with errands and frantic holiday chores right now, they’re easier than ever with the premade refrigerated cookies – ready to pop in the oven. I’m off to celebrate, see you in the kitchen!

Monday, December 5th: HAPPY BIRTHDAY WALT DISNEY! Born December 5, 1901, Walt Disney leaves a legacy of family fun extending far beyond the creation of Mickey Mouse and Snow White in the 1930’s. Countless movies and theme parks later, Disney is a common household name, revered by millions of adoring children (and adults too!) Celebrate Walt Disney tonight. Have a family night watching your favorite Disney movies, followed by birthday cake and singing Happy Birthday to an icon.

Tuesday, December 6th: Today’s celebration is almost lost to obscurity, its origins untraceable. Today is MITTEN TREE DAY. Stop by your local library and check out The Mitten Tree, by Candace Christiansen. The delightful story of a lady knitting mittens for mitten-less children is sure to warm your heart this cold December evening.

Wednesday, December 7th: Winding down but not forgotten, today is the last day of COOKIE CUTTER WEEK. Celebrated the first week of December, it’s a great time to celebrate by hauling out the cookie cutters and mixing up a batch of sugar cookies. Not in a cooking mood? Cookie cutters are great crafting accessories too. They’re adorable gift bag accessories and tie on to kitchen towels for a cute finishing touch. Celebrate today with the versatile cookie cutter.

Thursday, December 8th: Now here’s what I’m talking about! A day just to celebrate … brownies! Yum! NATIONAL BROWNIE DAY is everyday in my book.  Reportedly, in 1892, Bertha Palmer, of Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel, requested a dessert for ladies attending the fair. It was to be smaller than a piece of cake, and easily eaten from the boxed lunches popular at the time. The chef’s version featured an apricot glaze and walnuts, which is still being made at the hotel according to the original recipe. Thank you Bertha Palmer, I am indebted to you!

A Reason to … Celebrate, Remember, Have Fun! (Nov 25 – Dec 1)

Friday, November 25th: Celebrate today – dine with a view over the water. The water in the sink that is, it’s SINKIE DAY! Annually the day after Thanksgiving, leftovers provide the perfect excuse to enjoy a quick snack or meal over the sink. This day celebrates casual dining at its finest, with fewer dishes to clean up! Thanks www.sinkie.com.

Saturday, November 26th: Let your light shine! It’s the tenth annual INTERNATIONAL AURA AWARENESS DAY. Our aura, our energy body, reflects much about our physical, emotional and psychological health. Seeing it isn’t always easy. Some people can easily see the auras surrounding each of us. There are exercises, for those of us that can’t see them, that help increase our awareness of these beautiful colored energy fields. See http://realityshifters.com/pages/auraday.html for more information. Take some time out today to look at your aura and see what it has to tell you.

Sunday, November 27th: Today is the day. Are you ready? Are you prepared? Are you just on ‘Pins and Needles?’  Good! It’s PINS AND NEEDLES DAY! But, today is not really a day of nervous anticipation. Today commemorates the opening of the 1937 pro-labor Broadway musical, Pins and Needles. Written by Harold Rome, the play was produced by the International Lades Garment Workers’Union. Union members comprised the cast and the play once held the record for longest running play, with 1108 performances. Today, let’s celebrate and give thanks to the laborers keeping us clothed.

Monday, November 28th: Here’s a day to look to the sky. RED PLANET DAY celebrates the fourth planet in our solar system, Mars, the source of many alien movies, jokes and sitcoms. This celebration commemorates the day in 1964 that Spaceship Mariner 4 launched for a 228 day mission to study the mysterious “Red Planet”, Mars. It came within 6,118 miles of Mars on July 14, 1965.

Tuesday, November 29th: “Nose, Nose, jolly red Nose, And what gave you that jolly red Nose? Nutmegs and cinnamon, spices and cloves, And they gave me this jolly red Nose” (The Only True Mother Goose Melodies 1833) November is NATONAL FRAGRANCE MONTH. As the month nears its close, celebrate fragrances, especially the delightful holiday fragrances filling the air and our homes. Cinnamon, orange spice, cloves, pumpkin pie, pine, mulled cider …. What’s your favorite fragrance?

Wednesday, November 30th: Mmmmm…. Mousse … it’s my kind of day.  It’s NATIONAL MOUSSE DAY! No, NOT the mousse for your hair; mousse as in CHOCOLATE Mousse, made with chocolate, egg and cream. Relatively new to theUS, mousse entered our cuisine in the 1960’s. Created inFrance in the mid-1800’s, the French word mousse means “lather” or “foam.” I’ll celebrate today by consuming more than my share of this delectable dessert!

Thursday, December 1st: Jonathan McIntosh and Granny Smith are coming to the party today. No, they’re not friends or relatives. It’s EAT A RED APPLE DAY today. Red Delicious,Rome, Gala, orFuji; they’re just a few of the thousands of apple varieties available. Apples are an excellent natural food. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and have no sodium or cholesterol. They also contain Vitamins A & C, along with a plethora of trace vitamins and minerals. Maybe it’s true what they say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” I’m up for any party or celebration, especially if it keeps the doctor away!

December 2011

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