International Polar Bear Day – Today we celebrate the world’s largest carnivore. I know whenever I see a nature show with those adorable baby polar bears rolling around and playing with their mama, my first and instinctive reaction is “Awwwww, so cute and cuddly! I want one! ” However, a polar bear can grow up to nine feet tall (when standing) and 1200 pounds. From a BIG distance they are still cute, but not so cuddly any more. Polar Bears live in 5 nations – The U.S. (Alaska), Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia. People wonder how they live in such cold environments, but truth is that they’re built for it! Polar bears love the arctic climate, where winter temperatures can plunge to -45º C (-50º F). Polar bears are insulated by two layers of fur that help keep them warm. They also have a thick fat layer. In addition, their compact ears and small tail also prevent heat loss. In fact, polar bears have more problems with overheating than they do from the cold—especially when they run. Polar bear feet are furred and covered with small bumps called papillae to keep them from slipping on ice. Their sense of smell is powerful for detecting seals. And their powerful claws can haul out a 40-90 kg (150-200 lb) seal from the water for dinner. Polar bears have evolved to feed on seals, specifically seal fat, the highest calorie food source possible. When hunting is good, polar bears eat only the blubber in order to build up the fat reserves they need to sustain themselves between meals. They leave the carcass for scavengers, such as arctic foxes, ravens, and younger bears.All the other foods that polar bears may eat are opportunistic feedings. Most of these foods, with the exception of beached whales, don’t provide enough calories to sustain the Polar Bear’s massive body size or to build up the Bear’s own fat reserves. There’s a lot more to know about Polar Bears, but for today’s purposes, it’s enough to know that they are right there at the top of the food chain, and if you are ever in a country where there are Polar Bears and you see a baby somewhere . . . turn around and to the opposite direction. No matter how cute they are, Mama is close by and you truly don’t want anything to do with her! One great way to celebrate Polar Bears is a visit to a zoo that has some – in my area the Point Defiance Zoo has a couple – I was fortunate enough to see one of them right after it was born – SOOOO cute! If you don’t have any zoos nearby with Polar Bears, perhaps check out a show on one of the nature channels that talks about them. I’m watching one right now (oddly enough it came on while I was typing) on Animal Planet that just showed Polar Bears and a couple of cubs.
No Brainer Day – Well, isn’t this one interesting? Be definition a “no- brainer” is doing something that is simple, easy, obvious and/or totally logical. Today is a day to do all of those types of no brainer tasks and activities. If it is a project that will require thinking, studying, or analyzing anything, then it’s not the chore for you today. Some no-brainer activities that we do every day, simply because they don’t require deliberate decisions to do them – would be breathing, swallowing, blinking, sneezing or yawing. Of course, we all know someone who does JUST no brainer activities all the time . . which isn’t a very good life plan. Be selective in the days you choose to do ONLY no brainer tasks – limiting them to today, or holidays, vacation days, or weekends. Since most of us have jobs that require MORE than those limited tasks, I’d suggest not irritating your boss by sitting in your chair, blinking into space as you breathe and stare out the window . . . and yet again, I do know someone who actually does that most of the time! No Brainer day was created by Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith, who was called “America’s Premier Eventologist” per the Chicago Tribune – January 2001. WHY it was created isn’t something I could find.
Kahlua Day – Kahlua is a rum-and-coffee-flavored liqueur made in Mexico. With an alcohol content of 20%, it packs a pretty good punch when sipped as an aperitif or digestif. Kahlua can also be made at home – so check out this recipe for do-it-yourself yumminess. Kahlua is delicious in coffee, sipped over ice, or even baked in with treats.
I make 3 booze cupcakes sometimes – using Porter or Stout Beer in the chocolate cake, chocolate ganache infused with Irish Whiskey, and buttercream frosting with either Kahlua or Bailey’s Irish Cream. Mmmmm Delicious, decadent and very worth the calories.
Inconvenience Yourself Day – I know that all of us go throughout our everyday lives and we constantly see people who act as if they are the center of the universe and the rest of us must cater to their needs, whims and schedules. It is like they think they are more significant than the next person, that their lives and schedules are more important than yours, mine, or anyone else’s. Did you ever wonder if sometimes YOUR actions were perceived that way to someone else? I’m sure mine have. I get my brain set on doing something and I bulldoze my way through to get it done. Sometimes that could come out as not noticing if I’m racing by someone without giving them a chance to also move in the same direction, impose on someone to do something for me without asking if they were busy first, etc. We all do that from time to time. Well, the creator of this day – a woman by the name of Julie Thompson – believes that on the fourth Wednesday of February we should celebrate by doing something selfless and here are some ideas for getting into the spirit of the day:
* At the end of your movie, take your trash out of the theater and dispose of it properly.
* When driving, slow down to let a few cars from a parking lot ahead of you on a busy street.
* Take your cell phone outside to talk when you receive a call in a public place.
* Return your shopping cart to the corral instead of leaving it askew in the lot.
Ok, these were suggestions on the website where I get some of my information about celebrations – but to be honest, shouldn’t we do ALL of those things always? It’s called being polite. Our mothers and fathers should have raised us to automatically be that way. So, we should come up with some ideas of our own that AREN’T just basic consideration. Let’s see –
* You could let someone go ahead of you in line at the store if they don’t have many things and you have a cart full.
* Be kind and buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you at the coffee shop.
* Pick up a few things extra at the store and drop them off at the food bank
There are many ways we can step outside of our own self-importance today, and every day. Put your imagination to good use!
As you go about this beautiful Wednesday – whether you have rain, shine, snow, or grey – be happy in having something to celebrate this day, and every day. God bless your day while you learn about His amazing creation, the Polar Bears – sip at a decadent coffee drink with a little Kahlua in it for oompf – let your brain rest by doing only no-brainer activities, or set aside your own importance to inconvenience yourself for someone else. See you tomorrow!