It’s a Fun Day of Napping in Public, Arranging Flowers, Eating Chili and Learning About Toothy Superstitions!

Feb 28th

Floral Design Day – I love flowers.  I love them especially when they are cut flowers.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing more beautiful than a yard that has gorgeous flowers growing in it, but I learned many years ago that I am pretty much the kiss of death to plants and flowers.  It’s sad really – the plants I have are only alive by default.  Both of my Grandmothers, my Grandfathers AND my Mom are GREAT with growing things.  The gift ended before I was born apparently, because I just can’t seem to grow much, and I think my daughter has pretty much inherited the same issues.  I created a system . . . I wait for my plants to nearly lay sideways from thirst, then I water them.  They perk up, and I wait for them to wilt again, and repeat.  If I water them weekly, they die.  If I feed them, they die.  Cut flowers are AWESOME because there’s no disappointment or guilt.  You know that they are going to die, so their beauty can be appreciated without unreasonable expectations of continuation of life.  Which brings me to Floral Design Day – this is the perfect day to appreciate and create floral arrangements. Because flowers are loved by most people, it seems only fitting that we have a day set aside to appreciate the creativity and artistic quality of flower arrangements. The perfect activities for today include:

  • Create a floral design with real, live, or dried flowers
  • Take pictures of floral designs.
  • View floral designs.
  • Draw pictures of floral designs.
  • Have the kids get in on the fun. Get out the crayons and let them draw floral designs for an aunt or a grandmother.

Guys: Get in touch with your feminine side and make some floral designs today. If you just can’t bring yourself to do this, you will be happy to know that today is also Public Sleeping Day.

Public Sleeping Day – Today is an opportunity to sleep in public. Believe it or not, there are many times that sleeping in public is something we are faced with doing, whether intentionally, or unintentionally.  Some people sleep on park benches – ok, the ones I’ve seen sleeping on park benches actually LIVE in the park, but that’s a different blog post someday.  Sometimes you can doze off on a blanket on the beach, or at a picnic in the park.  Some people sleep on the job – but I don’t recommend it.   Some people sleep on trains or airplanes while traveling and catching a little nap on a bus, ferry or subway when traveling to and from work is something that happens all the time – I used to do it daily!  I’d drive to the park and ride, catch the bus and sleep the 1/2 hr to the ferry.  I’d sleep walk onto the ferry, then settle in and fall asleep for the ferry ride then catch the bus to the office.  I didn’t sleep on the Seattle side of the trip more than once – too many different issues to deal with when traveling in the city – missing the stop being one, and ending up somewhere you really don’t want to be. (did it ONCE and that was all it took).  What it comes down to that sometimes sleeping in public is just something most of us do . . . so if the opportunity comes up catch a few zzzzz’s!

National Tooth Fairy Day – One of childhood’s favorite visitors, The Tooth Fairy is an American tradition with European and superstitious roots.    Centuries ago, in Europe, when a child’s tooth fell out it was common practice to bury the tooth somewhere in the garden or land near where they lived.  One reason they did this was so a new tooth could grow in its place, but another reason for this ritual or superstition was to prevent a witch from getting the tooth – sort of like getting someone’s hair or fingernail clippings – and placing a curse on the child.  By burying the teeth, the witch couldn’t find it, and the curse could be avoided.  As immigrants began coming to this country, many moved to the cities and land wasn’t something all of them had, so they started burying the tooth in a flower pot or window box.  Over time the tradition changed and they began putting the tooth under the child’s pillow and the tale of the Tooth Fairy was born to explain what happened to the tooth when it was removed from under the pillow and a gift was left in its place.  Today’s tradition is similar but with different reasoning.

Losing baby teeth can be a traumatic experience for children, but the friendly, smiling and soothing Tooth Fairy makes that easier for them.  As a child’s first baby tooth becomes loose, the child often fears losing it.  The promise of a visit from the tooth fairy and getting a gift, turns it from something to be afraid of to something to look forward to.  When the tooth finally falls out, Mom cleans it off and it is often put into a tooth box, or in a tooth pillow, and that is placed under the child’s pillow at bedtime.  The tooth fairy comes after the child falls asleep, she takes the tooth, and leaves a small gift – usually money.  The tooth fairy leaves a gift every time the child loses another tooth.  Children are sometimes afraid that if they lose the tooth – as in misplace where they put it after it falls out, the Tooth Fairy won’t come.  They needn’t worry. The Tooth Fairy always knows and will leave a gift anyway.  She magically knows each time a baby tooth falls out and will arrive later than night, even if the child is away at Grandma’s or on vacation.  There has been some debate as to whether the Tooth Fairy is a man or a woman, especially after that movie with The Rock, which has him as the Tooth Fairy.  Popular opinion is that the Tooth Fairy is most definitely a girl.  Now when I was a child we had a different tradition – my mother wanted to save our teeth – I know, that’s a little gross, but I did the same thing with my kids baby teeth – so she had a different rule.  The Tooth Fairy knew when we wanted to keep our teeth by the fact that the tooth was placed in a glass of water and the glass was set on the kitchen window sill or counter. If she didn’t find the tooth under our pillow she’d know to look in the kitchen.  This took care of a couple of issues at the same time . . . it wouldn’t wake us up if she went to find a tooth under our pillow . . . the tooth in the glass was a reminder to Mom to do her Tooth Fairy duties, and it did double duty cleaning the tooth for when she put it away.  The older my brother and I got, the more money was left in the glass (always change).  I remember when I had four molars pulled to get my braces when I was nine years old.  My goodness, the Tooth Fairy is EXCEPTIONALLY generous when the teeth have roots still attached.

National Chili Day – When it comes to the story of chili, tales and myths abound. Many food historians agree that chili con carne is an American dish with Mexican roots, Mexicans are said to indignantly deny any association with the dish. People who are enthusiastic about chili say that one very far-fetched starting point comes from Sister Mary of Agreda, a Spanish nun in the early 1600s who never left her convent, yet had out of boy experiences in which her spirit was transported across the Atlantic to preach Christianity to the Indians.  After one of the trips, her spirit wrote down the first recipe for chili con carne: chili peppers, venison, onions and tomatoes.  Another story was that the Canary Islanders who made their way to San Antonio as early as 1723 used local peppers and wild onions combined with various meats to create early chili combinations.  One thing that history does tell us is that the earliest written description of chili came from J.C. Clopper, who lived near Houston.  While his description never mentions the word chili, this is what he wrote of his visit to San Antonio in 1828.  “When they (poor families in San Antonio), have to pay for their meat in the market, a very little is made to suffice for the family, it is generally cut into a kind of hash with nearly as many peppers as there are pieces of meat – this is all stewed together.”

In the 1880s, chili stands were started in San Antonio where chili – or bowls o’red as they were called, were sold by women who were called “chili queens”.  A bowl o’red cost diners ten cents and included bread and a glass of water.  The fame of chili con carne began to spread and the dish soon became a major tourist attraction.  It was even a feature at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893 at the San Antonio Chili Stand.   The 20th century had chili joints making their debut in Texas and they became familiar all over the west.  By the end of the roaring 20s there was hardly a town that didn’t have a chili parlour.  It has been said that chili joints meant the difference between starvation and staying alive during the Great Depression since chili was cheap and crackers were free.
Today there are all sorts of different types of chili – red, green, with beans and without, made with beef, some with turkey or chili, vegetarian, hot, not so hot, and scorching-burn-your-throat-out hot.  My husband makes the best chili I have ever tasted in my life – and honestly, I think he could win hands down in some of the chili contests that take place around the country each year . . . but he likes keeping it close to home.   It’s always a meal to look forward to when he has a pot of chili simmering on the stove. Mmmmm

Well, there’s a lot to our day today – between finding a good place to nap in public, enjoying a bowl of chili, arranging flowers and paying our kids for teeth (or at least those of you who have kids that age), we will be busy.  May God be with you as you go about this day and may each celebration bring you joy.  See you tomorrow!

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