April 30th

TODAY has a crazy amount of observances.  Its as though the April celebrants were all procrastinating so the national day governors had to cram as many things into the last day as possible.  I could not choose just one and am therefore listing them all.

Here goes:

National Oatmeal Cookie Day – Yum.  Cookies.  Yum.

National Raisin Day – Put them in the oatmeal cookies.  Double yum.

National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day – Been there, done that.  His name is Henry.

National Military Brats Day – The United States has around 1.4 million military personnel.  If they all have two or three kids … that’s a lot of brats.  No wonder it is a US observance.    I am Canadian.  I don’t know any military brats but I salute you wherever you are!

National PreparAthon Day – Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods be damned! I have some juice boxes ready and waiting.

National Bugs Bunny Day – This crazy wabbit has been chased around by Elmer Fudd since 1938.  Go Bugs Bunny!

National Honesty Day – Really?  We need a day for that?

National Sacroidosis Day – mostly affecting the lungs, this immune system disease is nasty. Be aware. Avoid like crazy.

National Pet Parents Day – If you own a pet, isn’t that everyday?

National Hairstylist Appreciation Day – I appreciate mine every seven weeks.

April 29th

#NationalZipperDay

TODAY IS:

NATIONAL ZIPPER DAY – We really only notice zippers when we either get something caught in them or they don’t zip or unzip.

This wildly popular clothing closure was named the zipper in 1923 by B.F. Goodrich but it’s history began much earlier.  The inventor of the sewing machine, Elias Howe, invented a rudimentary version called the “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure” in 1851.  He never marketed this item so the design went nowhere.

In 1893, Whitcomb Judson marketed his footwear version of the clasp at the Chicago World’s Fair but there were only …. well, crickets.  However, Judson’s company, the Universal Fastener Company plugged along. One of their electrical engineers changed the fastener’s course.  A patent was filed in 1913 for Giden Sundback’s changes to the zipper design.

Further modifications in 1917 led to military use of the fastener thereby increasing the popularity of these little strips of wedges.

BF Goodrich released rubber boots with zipper closures and the rest is history.  Appreciate your zippers today.  Wear clothes with zippers.  Wear shoes with zippers.  Put your lunch in zipper pouches.  The possibilities are endless.

 

 

April 28th

#NationalHairballAwarenessDay

TODAY IS:

NATIONAL HAIRBALL AWARENESS DAY – Really?  Who thinks this stuff up?  If you have a cat, you are always aware of hairballs.  They are weird lumps that are usually found on your favourite carpet as opposed to easily cleaned smooth flooring.

Cats are prolific groomers and therefore ingest a silly amount of fur.  Brushing your feline will go a long way in helping them avoid the undignified hacking that precedes the hairball ruining your poorly placed slacks.

As my veterinarian friend says, hairballs require constant vigilance as there is nothing like stepping on a fresh one in bare feet.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

April 27th

#NationalTellAStoryDay

TODAY IS:

NATIONAL TELL A STORY DAY – Everybody has a story.  Some people will tell you their story within minutes of meeting them.  Others will keep their story hidden.  And others will concoct a story that sounds better than the truth.

Today is a day to tell a story whether it be factual or fictional.  Stories can be entertaining, disturbing, comforting and even healing.  They can tell us a lot about the storyteller and their mindset. Stories can elevate us and they can bring us to our knees.

If you have ever seen the movie Big Fish, you will understand the power of stories.  My father’s funeral was rather like the final scene in Big Fish.  Not only did many of the people in Dad’s plentiful stories come to give their condolences, I was able to relay the stories that they shared with Dad.  Many old friends were amazed not only that he told his children about them but that I was able to remind them of days past.  It was incredible.  I would love to hear some of those stories again.

 

 

April 26th

#NationalPretzelDay

TODAY IS:

NATIONAL PRETZEL DAY – Amazingly, there is a bit of controversy surrounding the origin of the pretzel.  Who knew?

Most sources do, however, agree that the origin is based in Christianity and that they were developed by monks.

One account suggests that an Italian monk in 610 AD created them as a reward for children learning their prayers.  It is even suggested that the shape of the pretzel resembles crossed arms.  Other accounts claim that the monk was French or that they were created by bakers held hostage in Germany.   There are no official records to confirm any of these stories but pretzels are documented as early as 1111 AD, in a crest for German bakers.

Pretzels have been called the “official food of Lent”, hung on Christmas trees as ornaments and used in Easter hunts as the prehistoric Easter egg.

The largest pretzel on record weighed 40 lbs and they are most popular in the US state of Pennsylvania.

How do you prefer your pretzel?  Plain, salted, hard, soft,  dipped in mustard, chocolate or cheese?

 

April 25th

#DNADay17

TODAY IS:

NATIONAL DNA DAY – It would be so easy for me to write an essay today on this subject but I will keep it short.

DNA, the short form for Deoxyribonucleic Acid (say that 10 times) is nature’s storage system for biological information.  It is a molecule that contains genetic information for development, growth, reproduction and function of all living organisms.  It usually consists of two entwined molecules in a double helix formation.  DNA can even be found in some viruses.

This double helix was discovered on this day in 1953.  Sixty years later, the Human Genome Project (HGP) completed its successful mapping of the human genetic blueprint, estimating that there are 20,500 human genes. This looking inward has forever changed biomedical research in the study of disease and human development.

The National Human Genome Research Institute has a terrific website full of DNA information and a link to DNA Day information and activities.

Tweet #DNADay17 to join the conversation.

For me, learning of the Human Genome Project has led to an on-going interest in  Epigenetics which literally means above the genes.  Epigenetics focuses on the changing expression of genes without underlying changes in DNA.

The website What Is Epigenetics has a great analogy:

“Think of the human life span as a very long movie. The cells would be the actors and actresses, essential units that make up the movie. DNA, in turn, would be the script — instructions for all the participants of the movie to perform their roles. Subsequently, the DNA sequence would be the words on the script, and certain blocks of these words that instruct key actions or events to take place would be the genes. The concept of genetics would be like screenwriting. Follow the analogy so far? Good. The concept of epigenetics, then, would be like directing. The script can be the same, but the director can choose to eliminate certain scenes or dialogue, altering the movie for better or worse. After all, Steven Spielberg’s finished product would be drastically different than Woody Allen’s for the same movie script, wouldn’t it?”

http://www.whatisepigenetics.com/what-is-epigenetics/

Epigenetics explores how chemical tags related to lifestyle turn genes on and off.  Fascinating stuff.  Learn about your body from the inside out.

April 24th

TODAY IS:

NATIONAL PIGS IN A BLANKET DAY – I am confused. A mini wiener wrapped in baked dough is called a Pig In A Blanket. A longer wiener wrapped in a bun is called a Hot Dog. Why the difference in animal references? If the wiener is made from beef, would they be called Cows in a Sleeping Bag?

I think Pigs In A Blanket are delicious so I decided to check out Pinterest to see the different recipes for these popular appetizers. I did not expect the variations of piggies.

There are:

cheesy
jalapeño
nacho
bacon (of course)
bacon and cheese
french toast
cinnamon roll
pretzel dough
carrot (vegetarian)
low carb
ones that even look like little pigs
You can use cocktail wienies or full sized franks. You can dip them, coat them with spices or line a plate and fill the center with chili-cheese.

I have a new-found respect for the versatile Pigs In A Blanket appetizer. How do you serve them?

 

Creativity In Balloons

#balloontwisting

I recently completed a series workshops at an elementary school in a nearby town.  The workshops were classified as electives which is a fancy way of saying that they were purely for fun.  My elective was titled “Be A Real Scientist” and it included science, art and lots of balloons.  There was a cooking elective across the hall from my room and an art session down the hall.  Many of the kids in the school rode buses to either bowling or roller-skating.

I had complete creative freedom for the two and a half hour workshops. Twenty-eight students, from the third to sixth grades, joined me for three fun and, at times, truly chaotic afternoons.

The first workshop revolved around roller coasters.  We used pipe insulation, paper, toilet paper rolls, tape and marbles. Lots of marbles.  In fact, marbles were everywhere!

In the second workshop, we used  household objects to create sound.  Popscicle sticks, elastic and balloons can make some pretty awesome noises!  Students created musical compositions within their groups and performed for the whole class.

The final workshop was all about air pressure.  We blew up windbags, combined balloons and CDs to create hovercrafts and folded paper airplanes.  Unsurprisingly, the craziest of all activities was balloon twisting.

I had never twisted a balloon prior to preparing for this workshop.  It is not for the faint-hearted but is very addictive!  A friend of mine is a professional balloon twister so I contacted her when I first thought of including this activity for the kids.  Although I did buy some balloons at the dollar store, the professional balloons that my friend so kindly sent me are` far superior.

Blowing up a twisting balloon is nearly impossible for me so pumps are a necessity.  I used online videos to learn how to twist a most basic dog and soon graduated to twisting a sword and a flower.

It was pure insanity twisting balloons with groups of seven or eight kids at a time.  We all had a great time and most of the kids left the workshop with a dog or sword or both.

Yesterday, I was cleaning my supply cupboard and found the extra balloons.  I grabbed a pump and within minutes had made an orange dog and a purple flower.  My random act of creativity was spontaneous and satisfying.

I was reminded that it is so simple to do something that makes me feel like a kid.  And when I feel like a kid, my heart smiles.

April 23rd

#NatioanlTalkLIkeShakespeareDay

TODAY IS:

NATIONAL TALK LIKE SHAKESPEARE DAY – Not for the faint hearted, talking like Shakespeare may cause you to become the laughing stock.  But come what may, wear your heart on your sleeve because you can never get too much of a good thing.

Say “Good Riddance!” to your green-eyed monster as the world is your oyster.  Break the ice with a “Knock, knock! Who’s there?” joke and your fears will vanish into thin air.

Although this may make your hair stand on end and set your teeth on edge, lead your audience on a wild goose chase of metaphorical wonder.

If you want to speaker even more authentically, the website Shmoop.com will translate any sentence into Shakespeare speak.  For example I typed this into the website’s Your Speak box: 

Hey, dude! Speaking like Shakespeare will be a fun and challenging challenge that can lead to belly laughs and new skills.

It translated to:

Ho, broth’r! Speaking like Shakespeare wilt beest a excit’ment and challenging dare that can leadeth to belly chuckleth and new skills.

Have fun with this today!  Happy Talk Like Shakespeare Day!

April 22nd

#earthday

TODAY IS:

EARTH DAY – Unless you live under a rock, everyone knows that today is Earth Day.  It is the global celebration of the third rock from the sun and all it’s glory.

This year’s Earth Day campaign is for Environmental and Climate Legacy.  According to the official Earth Day website: “Environmental and climate literacy is the engine not only for creating green voters and advancing environmental and climate laws and policies but also for accelerating green technologies and jobs”.

Many people celebrate Earth Day by turning off all (or most) of their lights at dark for an hour or two but there are many more celebrations to be found.  One huge event is the March for Science in Washington DC.  Planting trees and avoiding the use of plastic are also encouraged.

Visit this link to learn more about Earth Day and what you can do to benefit our planet:

Earth Day – April 22