Everything From Smiles To Unusual Breakfast Treats – Celebrate February 1st With Me!

Feb 1st

Good Morning and welcome to the first day of February!  As with the beginning of all new months, this first couple of days is super busy with a LOT of different celebration choices.  Something for everyone!  Good thing it is Saturday since it is going to take me a little while to research all of these!

American Dental Association – Give Kids A Smile Day –  In 2003 The American Dental Association started the “Give Kids A Smile” program.  It was a way for dentists to join with others in their communities to make sure that the children who weren’t getting regular dental care because of financial restrictions, the services they needed.  In the beginning the program started as a one-day event in February, but it has grown to include local and national events year round.  Dentists and other dental team members volunteer their time, and their services, to provide screenings, treatments and dental education to children throughout the United States each year.  Approximately 450,000 children are benefiting from more than 1500 events each year, all due to the efforts and generosity of more than 40,000 volunteers.  How wonderful! 


Car Insurance Day – This one is listed as a celebration on the lists I use, but I can’t find a single thing about it!  I did find LOTS of insurance companies out there vying for my business.  Today make sure you have insurance.  It’s not only the law, it’s a good idea.  Wouldn’t it be nice if, rather than the travesty that we’ve been settled with that they so falsely call Affordable Care Act, if we had the same choices for our medical coverage as we do car insurances?  Tell us we have to have it, not great, but I can live with that, then open it up for the insurance companies to battle it out with specials, deals and plenty of options for the consumer!  We’d have a choice and feel like we have some control over what we do with our health!

Change Your Password Day– Today is officially the day to change your password, and the day was started with the tech bloggers at Gizmodo.com.  Everyone knows that changing our passwords is something we should do, but we don’t always do it.  Heck with as many sites as all of us are on, it’s hard to remember what they all are!  But it’s a good thing to do to protect yourself, so maybe make a list and keep it with you until you can remember them all.  I think I’ll get started on that today!  Changing your password isn’t just a matter of changing a character or two – something I’m guilty of doing – but actually changing the entire thing and making it difficult for someone to hack.  The worry isn’t the kid next door, or some random neighbor trying to get free Internet off of you, its from those evil people who would hack into your info and take over your finances, your life, and steal the lists of contacts so they can do the same to them.  The people like this are running programs that can, according to Gizmodo’s Rachel Swaby, “run thousands of encrypted passwords by dictionaries of several languages, everything in the World Fact Book, and Wikipedia in a matter of minutes.”  Here are 10 suggestions for setting up a very secure password and how to protect yourself.

Use Different Passwords – We all have a lot of different accounts, and I’m sure most of us use the same basic password with a few little changes for each, to make it easier to remember.  You should have a different password completely for each one.  If someone hacks into one of your accounts, just think how easy it would be to get everything from your OTHER accounts!

Avoid the Obvious – Yes, obvious words are easy for us to remember, but computers and people are very good at guessing these.  A “brute-force” program can hack a common password like “monkey” in about 3 minutes.  Uncommon words, or anagrams, can be hacked in a bit over an hour.  Any program or person can get a list of birth dates, anniversaries and phone numbers very quickly just by a few minutes online.

Complexity – Non-word, random characters can be hacked by a brute-force program in about a month.  If you add some numbers to those random characters, that time frame increases to about eight months.  Pick numbers and letters that mean something to you but that aren’t found online or obvious.

Make it even MORE Complex – If you add just a little bit MORE difficulty to your password,  you can make it secure for life.  It would take a brute-force program 219 years to hack a password that contains just 6 random characters with mixed letter cases, numbers and symbols.  If you add a symbol or two to a short password, you increase your security quite a bit!

Use a Pass phrase- experts say that easily remembered, random, multi-word phrases are ten times more secure than the most secure random character, mixed cased, number and symbol passwords.  This is true because the phrases are only in your mind!

Longer Is Better – no matter whether you are using characters, symbols and numbers, or pass phrases, the longer it is, the better it is!  Use at least 10 characters if you can because it adds more time to a program’s ability to hack them.

Make It Weird   – It doesn’t matter which type of password you use, if you add strange characters or symbols and numbers, it will throw any brute-force program off the trail.  Even if you add spaces to a password, it will help.  If you can’t add a space, add an underscore or some other punctuation.

Don’t Use These Passwords – Whatever you do, don’t use common passwords. These are actually passwords people used that were utterly useless, and the ones that topped the list of 25 worst:  password, 123456, 12345678, qwerty, abc123.  Also on the list were: letmein, iloveyou, password, 654321 and trustno1.  Um . . . yeah.  They didn’t need to bother with a password at all if they were going to use any of these.

Change It Often – Some have said that passwords are like toothbrushes, don’t let anyone else use it, and change it every 6 months.  Experts say that, depending on how much you use the Internet, that you should change your passwords every three to six months.  And even though it’s a bother, you should really change it completely, not just make slight adjustments (I’m so guilty of this!).  If you keep in mind that a hacker can only access accounts with that password for as long as you use it as your password, changing it limits what can be hacked.  Think about it – if it takes a brute-force program eight months to hack a minimally complex password, if you change it in six, you’ve solved a problem before it is one.

Get a Password Management App – I don’t have a smart phone, or one that gets apps, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable having a program keeping track of my passwords, but some folks might like to use them.  Password Management Apps just keep track of your passwords for you and you don’t have to worry about it.  For me? A slip of paper tucked into a secure spot will do it for me and nobody is going to hack that.

Decorating With Candy Day – How fun is this???  Today create and enjoy all of your favorite sweets and have fun doing it!  Decorate cookies, cakes, cheesecake, or whatever you have with your favorite little candies!  It’s fun, it’s festive and it’s tasty!  Be creative!

National Freedom Day – Today we celebrate freedom from slavery, and recognize that America symbolizes freedom.  This day was set up in 1948 to remind us what we stand for, and comes from the signing of the 13th amendment outlawing slavery.  Celebrate this day by thinking about, and appreciating your own freedoms and realizing how fortunate we are to live in America.  Now let’s take our country back!  We have gone far astray from what our forefathers intended, and we have left the path of freedom, that path is being obliterated daily.    Stand up and make your voice heard before we lose all that we are, and become like those other millions of people in the world who are not free! 


G.I. Joe Day -Toys are definitely for children to play with and enjoy, but they can also be educational!  G.I. Joe is a line of action figures from Hasbro that came out after WWI.  Initially the products were modeled after the four main branches of the armed forces: The Action Army Solder, Action Navy Sailor, Action Air Force Pilot and the Action Marine.  In 1967 they introduced the Action Nurse to the collection, but it didn’t do as well as the other figures.  G.I. Joe was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame in 2003.  I didn’t know there WAS a toy hall of fame!  My brother had G.I. Joe, he used to date my Barbie when my brother wasn’t looking and screaming at me to leave his toys alone!  hahaha


Hula in The Coola Day – Alright, this one may get the FUN FUN FUN award of the day!
Hula in the Coola Day was created because folks in the northern states were pretty sick and tired of the cold weather during the winter, and by February they were really ready for some heat.  They bought some hula skirts, tossed the coats, mittens, pants and scarves aside for the day and went outside and did the hula like folks who don’t care if they catch their death out in the cold! hahaha   They figured a hula party would trick themselves into pretending it wasn’t cold, and give them some fun in the process.  It may not have felt like summer, but I bet it was a lot of fun!  The trick to fooling themselves that it wasn’t winter could come from drinking cold, Bahama style drinks with little umbrellas in them. 

Ice Cream For Breakfast Day – Well, darn, we don’t have any in the house.  What else is there to say about this one besides YUMMMMM!!!!! Every once in awhile live it up and have dessert for breakfast!  Besides, it’s balanced, dairy . . . and um . . well, dairy.  If you add bacon you at least have the salty to contrast the sweet.  Sounds good to me!



 

Robinson Crusoe Day – This day has been designated as Robinson Crusoe Day to commemorate the anniversary of the rescue of Alexander Selkirk in 1709.  Selkirk was a Scottish sailor who had been set ashore in September of 1704 on the island of Juan Fernandez after he’d had an argument with his captain.  What he experienced on the island are said to have formed the basis for Daniel Defoe’s book “Robinson Crusoe”.  The novel Robinson Crusoe has attracted the attention of literary historians, economists, political scientists and philosophers over the years, and opened up many discussions about basic human needs and the consequences of civilization crashing into primitive cultures.  Today’s reader may be horrified by Crusoe’s opinions about slavery and his attitude towards his man Friday, but you have to put into perspective WHEN this was written, and the social norms of the time.  We can’t re-write history, no matter how hard some may try, and that’s what people thought at the time.  Get your panties unwadded and just view it as what was, and not what is.  Many books and movies have come out of this novel – such as Gilligan’s Island – which I still enjoy even as a grown-up.  It may be silly, but it’s not filled with swearing and smut – but that’s another blog post.  If you haven’t read Robinson Crusoe, please, pick up a copy from the library and take in a little classic reading.

 

Serpent Day – Today is National Serpent Day, and though I am certainly NOT a fan of snakes, I’ll give it a spot since there are so many who do love them.  In Latin, serpent is “something that creeps”, which is so appropriate!  Serpents are famous throughout mythology and come in all sizes and shapes from dragons to sea serpents.  One of the most recognized serpents throughout the ages, and from the beginning of Biblical times, is the snake.  I wouldn’t have one in the house, or anywhere near me for that matter, but many people do have them as pets in their homes.  If you can tolerate snakes learn something new about them today, and if you’re a fan . . . celebrate your scaly friends.  (shiver)


Spunky Old Broads Day – Do you know a spunky old broad?  hahaha ARE you as spunky old broad?  You qualify if you are over 50 (whew, not quite there yet), and march to your own beat no matter what anyone says or thinks.  My Grandma Jewell has fit into this category for my whole life.  I will never, ever forget the first time I introduced my ex husband to my Grandma.  We’d eloped because I was not only a pregnant teenager, but my family really didn’t approve of him.  We walked into Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncles house and there was Grandma, greeting us at the door.  She hugged me, looked him up and down, pulled back her right arm and slapped him hard enough across the face to leave a print.  She snarled “welcome to the family”, and stomped back into the other room.  She never did like him, turns out for good reason and I should have paid attention!  When she met my 2nd (and final) husband, she nodded in approval and welcomed him sincerely to our family.  Gotta love those spunky old broads, especially when they love you with all their heart.  (you can’t tell it here, but apparently Grandma was focusing on making the puffballs on the hat swing back and forth – she’s always been pretty willing to play along . . . or instigate the party.)


Take Your Child To The Library Day – I actually had someone ask me not that long ago if there really were libraries still open! Seriously?  Apparently they hadn’t been to one for years, and downloaded all of their “books” online.  I was shocked and a bit sad by this.  I love libraries.  I especially love the big, old ones. There’s something about the hush in the air, the sense of all of that knowledge, entertainment and lands of the imagination between all of those covers, in all of those books.  It was always my favorite place in school, and honestly, I still feel that sense of awe when I walk into a library now as an adult.  Take your child to the library, let them sit and listen to kids story hour, introduce them to the world through books.  As books disappear from our society to be replaced by online information, it is more important than ever to preserve this medium for future. There’s NOTHING quite like a good book, held in  your hands, opening the door to new worlds.

 

Working Naked Day – Well, this is it.  We’ve now seen a holiday for just about everything.  Today says that IF YOU WORK FROM HOME, that you should work naked, be free of the constrictions of clothes all day.  Hm . . . interesting.  Well, I can’t honestly say I will partake.  Part of my work at home today involves cooking and to be honest, that could get painful very quickly.  You are free to do as you choose, but please, no pictures.  I just can’t “bare” it!  (hahahaha – couldn’t resist).

 

Food Celebration of the Day

National Baked Alaska Day – Many claim they invented baked Alaska, but its name comes from Delmonico’s Restaurant, which served the dish in 1876 in honor of America’s newest state.

Baked Alaska
Faux Baked Alaska-ettes
Baked Grapefruit Alaska

See what I mean? LOTS to choose from today!  It’s now time for me to get up, stretch my legs (the cat has been putting it to sleep for the last couple of hours), and go make some brunch.  I can hear hubby in the kitchen making blackberry syrup for the pancakes.  Delicious! God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!

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