Happy Birthday To My Mom! Lots Of Fun Celebrations Today!

May 17th

Good Morning and Happy Saturday.  I slept in a little.  After not getting much sleep on Thursday night (long story), I was so exhausted last night that I was dozing off on the couch not long after 8:30.  The result? I didn’t even get a head start on today’s post! Yikes! I’ll try to be quick so you hopefully get this before noon.  After I get today’s fun stuff posted I have more fun stuff!  Tomorrow is my Grand Daughter’s baby shower!  She’s not due to be born until next month, but I do hope she can feel how much she is loved already.  Today I will be making cupcakes and some side dishes to take to the party.  It will be so much fun!  You know how much I love being in the kitchen anyway, so it isn’t like this feels like work.  For the sake of saving some time, if things to seem somewhat familiar as you read, I will be taking bits here and there from last years celebrations, with a few tweaks.  Saves time and honestly, why reinvent the wheel?

I am going to start out this day with a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Mom!  I won’t be able to see her today, but we will be celebrating tomorrow at the baby shower.  Mom is 70 years old today . . . it is because of her that I have my absolute love for celebrating the day that each of us was born.  She has always made each of our birthdays special and full of fun and meaning.   My Mom loves to laugh, she has a tenderness of spirit and a love in her for others that is like a big hug all of the time.  .  . unless you cross her or hurt one of her own . . . then she’s a Mama Bear all the way.  Getting on her good side again once you’ve done harm to someone she loves is definitely not an easy thing to do, and for some, completely impossible.  It’s the protective instinct of a mother for her young, and that has always been a comfort to me.  It feels really odd, and somehow wrong, not to be able to see her today – though I did just get off the phone with her.  Dad took her out to breakfast on their way to another family function, and it sounded like they were having a good time.  Nice!  Happy Birthday Mom!  I love you!


Armed Forces Day  – Think about your life and the people in it.  Among those people who surround you, how many of them have either been in the military in the present, or in the past?   I’m betting that most of us have someone we love, perhaps lots of someones, who have proudly served our nation in one of the branches of the armed forces.   These brave men and women protect our country, and can be called upon in a moment’s notice to perform a risky and perilous mission for our freedom.  They train diligently, both physically and mentally, so they are prepared at all times for any mission they are called upon to perform.  Each branch of the military used to have their own celebration, but on August 31, 1949, then Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of Armed Forces Day.  President Harry Truman announced the holiday by presidential proclamation, and the first Armed Forces Day was celebrated the following year on May 20, 1950.  My family is represented by men who have been in all branches of the military, and I am so proud of each one of them! Today is the day to acknowledge our military – past and present – and all of their service, sacrifice, loyalty and patriotism. Thank you to all of our men and women in the Armed Forces.  We salute you and humbly thank you for all you do.

Pack Rat Day-  Hi.  My name is Karina and I am a pack rat.  I admit it.  Your turn . . . are you a pack rat too?  You might as well fess up that you have a lot of “stuff” that you just can’t bear to part with and celebrate today!  It’s really easy to let things pile up.  Everything we acquire along the road of life has some value to use, or perhaps some sentimental attachment.  Making the decision to discard something can be really difficult!  You may need it someday!  Thing is though, that there is a fine line between collecting and being a pack rat, and being a hoarder.  You don’t want to cross that line or you’ll find yourself on one of those crazy shows where we all feel true horror at what we are seeing!  Getting organized can help with that of course, and really deciding to keep just the stuff that is truly good, and toss the miscellaneous we really know we’ll never, ever need.  If it saves you from being the star of that show, it’s worth it!        
In keeping with the intent of Pack Rat Day, here are some Do’s and Don’t’s:

  • Don’t clean your room, basement, garage or any other area today.
  • Don’t discard anything today…It may be valuable.
  • Don’t even empty the trash today. You might have accidentally thrown out something useful.
  • Do keep an eye out for useful stuff being discarded by others.
  • Do go to garage and rummage sales. They can be pack rat gold mines.
  • Do look around your belongings and be thankful for what you have.
  • Do spend time thinking of uses for your things. Justification for saving is satisfying.

Tomorrow . . . out comes the trash can and the boxes to put things to take to Good Will. 

Mike, The Headless Chicken Day – Alright, this one had me scratching my head (sorry Mike – no insult intended), and I had to do quite a bit of looking before I found out what it was all about.  There were plenty of references to the day, and events ABOUT it, but not what got it started in the first place.  Is this story believable?  I’ll let you decide for yourself, and at the end, let you know what I think . . .As legend has it, on September 10, 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, CO was sent out to the yard by his wife to bring back a chicken for her to prepare for dinner, as her mother was coming to visit.  Olsen chose a 5-1/2 month old Wyandotte rooster named Mike (also known as Miracle Mike).   The axe missed the jugular vein, leaving one ear and most of the brain stem intact.  In spite of Farmer Olsen’s lousy aim, Mike was able to balance on a perch and walk clumsily around.  He even attempted to preen and crow, though he could do neither.  When Mike didn’t die, a surprised Olsen decided to continue caring for him permanently, feeding him a mixture of milk and water with an eyedropper directly into his throat.  He was also able to be fed small grains of corn in this way.  Once Mike got used to his new and very unusual center of mass, he could get himself to the highest perches without falling.  His crowing though, consisted of a gurgling sound he made in his throat, though he did give it a valiant attempt each morning at dawn. He spent a great deal of time preening and attempting to peck for food with his neck.  Because everyone thought this was a big hoax, Olsen took Mike to the University of Utah to have him studied and to establish the truth of the story.  Mike’s fame was now established and he began a career of touring sideshows, accompanied by such other creatures as the two-headed calf.  He was photographed for dozens of magazines and papers, featured in Time and Life magazines.  He was on display to the public for an admission cost of twenty-five cents.  At the height of his popularity Miracle Mike earned about $4,500 per month ($48,000 in 2010 dollars!) and was valued at $10,000.  Farmer Olsen’s success resulted in a wave of copycat chicken beheading, but no other chicken lived for more than a day or two (that’s AWFUL!)  In March of 1947, in a motel in Phoenix, on a stopover while traveling back home from a tour, Mike started choking in the middle of the night.  The Olsen’s had accidentally left their feeding and cleaning syringes at the sideshow the day before, and they were unable to save Mike.  Olsen claimed he had sold the bird, resulting in stories that Mike was still touring the country as late as 1949.  Other sources said that the chicken’s severed trachea could not take in enough air to breathe properly, and therefore choked to death in the motel.  So, how could this have happened – and is it actually possible?  Well, post mortem it was determined that the axe had missed the carotid artery, and a clot had prevented Mike from bleeding to death.  Though most of his head was severed, most of his brain stem and one ear were left on his body. Since basic functions like breathing, heart-rate, and reflex actions are controlled by the brain stem in a chicken, Mike was able to remain quite healthy.  Today Mike the Headless Chicken is an institution in Fruita, CO, with an annual “Mike The Headless Chicken Day”, which is the 3rd weekend in May, starting in 1999.  Events held include the “5K Run Like A Headless Chicken Race”, egg toss, “Pin the Head on the Chicken”, the “Chicken Cluck-Off” and “Chicken Bingo”, in which chicken droppings on a numbered grid choose the numbers.  (OK, now that’s just gross).   hahaha I just read also that in a “cheep” bid for attention, the city of Fruita had announced that Mike the Headless Chicken would be running in the 2012 elections as a write-in candidate.   Too bad he didn’t win!   Soooo, do we believe this story?  I call fowl.

Morel Mushroom Day – This one always lands on the weekend after Mother’s Day.  I’ve never gone Morel Mushroom hunting, but I have known people who have.  Quite honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever actually EATEN a Morel mushroom, but after reading about this day, maybe I should!  I found out that hunting Morel mushrooms is an extremely popular outdoor activity.  Once spring hits, the people who love Morels head for the woods with high hopes of finding a bunch of these edible mushrooms.  I know I saw some in the store the other day – EXPENSIVE little morsels – no WONDER people head out to find them on their own!  From what I am reading it takes more than a little bit of luck to find them, and some hunters come up empty year after year, which proves that maybe a little research should be done before heading out to the woods.  For starters, you’ll need some equipment.  It isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money for this, you probably have most of what you need at home already.  You’ll need a pocket knife; bug spray (I prefer the natural stuff – why poison yourself to get out in nature? Hubby smoking a cigar on the trail helps with bugs too . . . as long as I stay behind him where the smoke does the most good as he walks.);  comfortable hiking clothes – make sure that the pants are long to protect from ticks;  good hiking boots or shoes – they don’t need to be fancy, but make sure they are supportive; paper or mesh bags to hold the mushrooms – if you use plastic the mushrooms could get mushy.  Now that you have everything all together, it’s time to head out to the woods.  If you are new to this, or have moved to a new area, it can be hard to find morel spots.  If you don’t have a mushroom hunting friend or relative that is familiar with your area, it could be tough going to find them on your own.  It doesn’t work to ask OTHER hunters where they find them, since most morel hunters want to protect their secret spots – and who can blame them?  You could TRY asking, but seriously, it’s likely just a waste or breath. You could find yourself lost in the wilds without a morel within miles.  Most likely you’ll need to look for natural clues as to the whereabouts of the elusive morel mushroom.  There are NEVER guarantees that you’ll find them, but they do prefer certain habitats, so begin with these places:

*  Near or at the base of an elm (better if it is dead or dying), ash, tulip or old apple trees.

* Near areas where the ground has been disturbed, like washes, downed trees, logging areas, old flood plains and burn sites.

Here is a link for a complete list of tips for hunting the morel mushroom with a lot more information on how and when to find these spots.

Keep in mind that hunting for morels takes a lot of patience, so check these spots slowly, starting at the base of the tree, or in the middle of the burn site and make your way very slowly around the area in a widening circle.  When you’ve found a few, now you need to know the best way to pick them.  You’ll be eating them, so you want to minimize the amount of dirt that you pick with them.  Here are a few tips:

*  Don’t pick the mushrooms when they are too young – if it looks like a small button it is too young.  It won’t be big enough to make a meal, which would be a waste.  They do grow quickly, so keep checking until it is more mature, and hope that it will still be there.

* Don’t pick one that is too mature.  At that point you’ll end up with an old or rotting morel and that would be gross.

*  Cut the mushroom from the bottom of the stem with your knife, instead of just picking it. This minimizes the dirt.

Don’t give up if you don’t find any the first time you look. It could take a few seasons, and you’re out in the fresh air enjoying nature.  It’s not a loss even if you don’t find any!

World Hypertension Day – This one is an educational event that is designed to raise awareness of the conditions and issues that surround hypertension – or high blood pressure.  Awareness is vitally important, so life style changes can be made, to avoid being a statistic that is connected to deaths leading to heart attacks, kidney disease and strokes that are caused by hypertension.  The World Hypertension League (I had never heard of them) believes there is a lack of awareness in the general public, and this is what they wish to change.  One of the ways to help avoid hypertension is by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and reducing stress in your life.  Sometimes that last one is easier said than done . . . but we should all try!

This Day In History

1875 – “And They’re Off!” as the first Kentucky Derby is held at Churchill Downs.

Food Celebration of the Day

National Cherry Cobbler Day – The U.S. grows about 370 million pounds of sweet cherries each year — of that annual harvest, 175 million pounds are packaged into frozen, canned or maraschino cherries. That’s a LOT of cherries!  Sounds like a delicious way to end the work week, doesn’t it?

Well, here I am, nearly noon again.  Oh well.  Taking it a bit slow on a Saturday is always nice.  I got caught up in a couple of ridiculous news stories that had my blood boiling, which of course took up some time.  So, let’s get to celebrating!  I will get to the kitchen, and fun will be had by all!  God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!

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