NATIONAL FRAGRANCE DAY – did you know that our memory for smells could be the strongest due to the location of the olfactory bulb? Researchers, with the help of the FMRI, have determined that this important piece of our brain is located next to the hippocampus. The hippocampus is involved in processing emotions and making new memories and lights up when exposed to a new odour.
Smell is the strongest sense with over 1000 receptors whereas vision and touch have four or so receptors each. Fragrances require much more processing by the brain, having even a chemical component. Aromatherapy uses this chemical component to help our bodies with a miriad of targeted uses.
We can usually conjure up unpleasant smells much easier than pleasant smells. Certain fragrances can be wonderful anchors taking us back to childhood memories and feelings in an instant.
Food smells are among my favourites although the smell of fresh cut wood is one of my top pleasant anchors. My family business was lumber so this fragrance brings back wonderful memories of my father and our family. What is your favourite fragrance?
NATIONAL PROPOSAL DAY – Needless to say, there is a food celebration today (Ravioli) but Proposal Day intrigued me. This day marks both the vernal equinox (first day of spring) and the day to declare to a suitable candidate that you are marriageable.
A website for this day suggests that you use New Year’s Day to show a special one your charms. Valentine’s Day is the time to declare your love and Proposal Day is when we … well, propose marriage. The author went one step further to suggest that you make a holiday weekend of your proposal, beginning with St Paddy’s Day.
I feel as though this timeline is mostly ignored in this day and age, especially with the epic proposals that take time, creativity, and often money.
If this day were to become as commercial and celebrated as Valentine’s Day, would the day after Proposal Day become National Breakup Day? All those ladies expecting their man to pop the question might not be too happy if he didn’t put a ring on it.
LET’S LAUGH DAY – Laughter, whether it be a tiny giggle or a hearty guffaw, creates positive physiological changes. Our immune system is boosted, our stress hormones are reduced and we are left with a feeling of euphoria. Laughter is also contagious. Watch a video of a baby laughing and it’s so easy to feel yourself smiling and chortling as well. We all have great stories of extreme belly-laughter but today is about seeking out that wonderful feeling.
No one to laugh with? Author James Hazlerig, suggests that unconditional laughter can change our brain chemistry resulting in more positive feelings and a happier outlook. When we decide to laugh we decrease Intense Chronic Seriosity, a condition Hazlerig describes as smiling too little or frowning too much. And the best part, we can laugh alone.
Hazlerig’s book “The Little Book of Laughnosis: Using the Hypnotic Power of Unconditional Laughter to Change Lives ” is a highly recommended read. One of his exercises suggests laughing like Santa … tap your belly while saying “Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho” or hands in the air with a “Woo Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo”.
A couple of my girl friends will be coming to my house today so I know I will be laughing a lot today. Have fun with your snickers today. Happy March 19th!
Here is a great podcast if you are interested in hearing Hazlerig speak on this:
Podcast #77: Laughnosis with James Hazlerig and the Return of the Guinea Pig Laugh!
NATIONAL AWKWARD MOMENTS DAY – there are a lot of National Day designations for today but this one caught my attention. I intensely dislike awkward situations and have had my fair share. The awkward trip, handshake and use of a wrong name are inevitable. I have even had the back of my skirt stuffed in my pantyhose at my workplace.
But the awkward moment that comes to mind is when I am saying hello to a male acquaintance. I reach my hand out for a standard shake and realize that he is moving in for a kiss on the lips. It then becomes an incredibly awkward dance of avoidance. I end up holding my arm as straight as possible to maintain distance at all costs. This straight-arm technique is handy but it really sends a message, “you just made this weird”. That weirdness lasts the whole time we are chatting. Awkward!
What is your favourite awkward moment?
It is also:
NATIONAL BIODIESEL DAY
NATIONAL LACY OATMEAL COOKIE DAY
NATIONAL SLOPPY JOE DAY
NATIONAL SUPREME SACRIFICE DAY
NATIONAL QUILTING DAY
NATIONAL CORN DOG DAY
Happy March 18th!
ST. PATRICK’S DAY – If there is anyone in the English speaking world (or at least Canada) who doesn’t know about this celebration, I would like to meet them. On this day, even people without a smidgeon of Irish DNA wear green and head out to consume green beverages.
A public holiday in Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador, this day marks the death of St Patrick in 461 AD. But it was a story written about this saint in 1726 that inspiried people to wear green and use the shamrock as a symbol of the trinity.
Having an ancestry that is mostly Irish and British, I am celebrating this year with quiet vigour. I will cook a batch of Irish stew and we will wash it down with a beer. And I will wear green.
Happy St Paddy’s Day!!
NATIONAL ARTICHOKE HEARTS DAY – I would like to meet the person who looked at an artichoke and thought “that looks delicious”.
Artichokes may be the weirdest looking vegetable but they are dense with antioxidants, vitamin C, magnesium, protein and folate. Artichokes are not actually a vegetable though … they are a flower bud. As a member of the thistle family, artichokes grown atop large spiky leaves and can bloom into a large purple flower.
In North America, artichokes are grown in California and are in season between March and May.
I have never cooked an artichoke so I decided to research the best method. They can be baked, steamed or boiled and, according to Chef Jamie Oliver, are easy to prepare. Cheers to the artichoke!
Happy March 16th!
NATIONAL PEARS HÉLÈNE DAY – When deciding what to post about today, I looked at all of the National Day designations. National Everything I Think Is Wrong Day just seemed … wrong. National Kick Butts Day is a US designation concerning smoking cessation and National Shoe The World Day seems bigger than a day long celebration. Perhaps it should be called International Shoe the World Decade.
This has left me with Pears Hélène, another day celebrating food. Today’s food is a fruit (which is healthy) and has less allergens than most other fruit (which is good news). Here is a fun fact: there are over 3,000 varieties of pears grown throughout the world. I know of two off the top of my head: Barlett and Bosc. Wow, do I have a lot of pear studying to do!
Pears Hélène is a poached pear with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. Sounds delicious and worth celebrating, much better than the one about being wrong.
Happy March 15th
NATIONAL PI DAY – Having a National Day designated to celebrate a mathematical concept is a dream come true. I have celebrated Pi Day in the past eating pie, playing math games and teaching math. What could be better than playing Math Golf while eating a piece of apple pie? Don’t ruin my fun.
Pi is a constant in life, it’s always there for us. Whoever is in your radius of fun today, help them become a well-rounded person with infinite patience. If they are irrational about the importance of this day, tell them to get real. Pi is an integral part of our circle of life.
Happy Pi Day!
An honourable mention must go to these other fantastic National Day observances:
NATIONAL POTATO CHIP DAY
NATIONAL LEARN ABOUT BUTTERFLIES DAY
NATIONAL CHILDREN’S CRAFT DAY
NATIONAL NAPPING DAY – the day following the return to Daylight Savings Time is designated as a day for napping. Apparently, the lost hour can have a huge affect on sleep patterns. Does that mean, for one day, our sleep disturbances have nothing to do with technology, television or a “just one more thing” mentality?
My husband is amazing at napping. He can fall asleep 10 seconds after he closes his eyes. It’s so unfair. It takes me the optimal maximum nap time (20 minutes) to fall asleep and then waking me is like rousing a 16 year old at 5:00 am.
I think I will celebrate NATIONAL EARMUFFS DAY instead. I can put them on in the same time it takes my husband to fall asleep. It’s a win-win!
NATIONAL PLANT A FLOWER DAY – Oh, this takes me back to the days when my daughters were little. We had a fluorescent light mounted from the ceiling in a basement storage room and we would keep it trained on trays of seeds throughout the depths of winter. Everyday we would mist the trays with water and celebrate when the plants began to grow. Once the ground had thawed and temperatures were warm we proudly planted our flowers.
The seeds were often ones that we had collected. I would lurk in the garden throughout late summer and into the fall to look for seeds. I would even case other people’s gardens to find even more seeds. Thank goodness I have a new card-making addiction now and it keeps me out of people’s yards.
Four o’clock seeds are easy to find and collect as they are black pea-sized seeds. They sit right on top of a newly opened pod. Impatiens seeds are found in little exploding pods. Making them explode is the best part. Marigolds are part of the dead flower head.
Plant a flower today and celebrate March 12th!