Puzzles and Pups, Curmudgeons and Cornchips, and a Little FreeThinking As Well

Jan 29th

National Puzzle Day honors puzzles of all sizes, shapes and forms.  Jigsaw puzzles are what come to my mind when I think of something to do on National Puzzle Day, but there are so many other sorts to choose from!  There are crossword puzzles, which are by far the most common by the way. Word Search puzzles – my Grandad LOVED word search puzzles! Sudoku, a number puzzle, one that I just cannot seem to master, is the most recent popular puzzle on the market. There are easy puzzles, and there are puzzles for experts. There are puzzles that fit the needs of every person and every skill level.  They fit the needs of every person, and every skill level. It turns out that puzzles are a favorite pastime of millions of people, boty young and old.  Why the fascination? There are lots of reasons.  For many people doing puzzles is fun.  Some love the challenge of completing them and going on to even more complex and difficult puzzles, which helps their problem solving skills.  Some folks just kill time with them, eliminating boredom.  And yet others keep their minds shart, learn new words, keep their fingers nimble, etc.  Remember those little metal twisty pieces that you had to try to take apart?  I hated those as a kid – never could get them apart.  Dad always could though!  How many different kids of puzzles can you think of that I didn’t list? There are LOTS!

Today is the day to celebrate the cornchip!  National Corn Chip Day celebrates this crunchy, tasty treat.  As recently as fifty years ago few Americans knew what Corn Chips were. Today, most American cannot imagine life without this munchy, delicious holder of salsa, cheese and dips. Its even sprinkled on top of salads, making them even more crunchy.   On National Corn Chip Day, enjoy eating one of your  favorite snacks. I read on one site that some folks celebrate this day by taking a corn chip challenge – they eat corn chips for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.  I don’t know about you, but that’s way beyond my calorie intake for a day, but it sure is fun to dream about!   A bit of trivia . . . Fritos Corn chips were first marketed in 1961.   What’s your favorite way to enjoy corn chips?  I have to say, I do love mine with my husband’s delicious chili. MMMMMM – chili nachos!

Curmudgeon’s Day – How many of us know someone who has a perpetual frown on their faces? Someone who is just always grouchy, growly, generally has a downturned tilt to their mouths and a deep frown groove etched into the foreheads?  Well that would be a Curmudgeon and today is the day to honor them.  Without Curmudgeon’s I don’t know if we would appreciate the cheerful people in our lives quite as much.  So if you rolled out of bed on the wrong side of the mood, then today you are in good company.   My favorite curmudgeon would have to be Jeff Dunham’s ventriloquist dummy – Walter. Now there’s a guy who’s grumpiness just makes him funny all the time.

Freethinkers Day/Thomas Paine Day – This day celebrates the life and work of Thomas Paine – born this day in 1737.  Paine came to American at the request of Benjamin Franklin in 1774.  Mr. Paine wrote many influential books and pamphelts throughout his life, including The Age of Reason, The Rights of Man, and Common Sense.  Each of these works brought public attention to important key issues, and helped to establish the philosophical foundation for the American Revolution.  The writings of Thomas Paine inspired many people to strive for economic, social and political advancement.  He was one of the first people to call for an end to slavery and for universal human rights.  Freethinkers Day has been celebrated since the 1990s, and its purpose is to educate people about Mr. Paine’s work and importance of freedom and free thinking.  To celebrate this occasion, take a moment to appreciate your civil liberties and take a stand against those who are striving to take them away from you.

God created an amazing creature when He gave us the dog.  This incredible animal is so intelligent, kind and generous spirited, that they are the perfect choice for the job of seeing eye dog.  Today is National Seeing Eye Dog Day and in honor of all the hard working seeing eye dogs, here is some background on what makes these furry friends so amazing.

Seeing eye dogs are special pups trained to help their blind or visually impaired owners safely get around in a seeing world.  The top three breeds for seeing eye dogs are Labs, Golden Retrivers and German Shepherds, mostly because of their calm demeanor, intelligence and their natural tendency to wish to please their owners.  Guide dogs are allowed to go with their owners whever life takes them, to work, the mall or even on an airplane.  Most guide dogs are trained to tell the difference between work and play time through wearing their work harness.  When a dog is out with their owner in public it is very important not to disturb the dog by walking up to pet it.  The dog is working and reaching out to talk to it, or pet it may distract it from what it needs to be doing, and confuse them.  When the owners are at home though, they usually get to hang up their harness for the day and be a normal dog with lots of attention, pets and treats.  Owners are specially matched to their dog and they go through training together before going out to live every day life.  Even before a dog meets its owner though, it must go through extensive training with a foster family and then at a specialized facility for 4-6 months to make sure they have the personality, demeanor and abilities necessary for being a seeing eye dog.  Most dogs will work for their owners until 8 – 10 years of age, sometimes longer, if the dog is still healthy and able to carry out his/her duties.

I have to add though, just in case service dogs for other types of service aren’t mentioned later in the year, that incredible dogs are also trained to help our veterans deal better with PTSD, there are dogs who are trained to sense when someone who is dealing with seizure disorder, or other illnesses, are getting ready to have an episode, and they know how to alert their owner ahead of time and avoid injury or further damage.  These dogs are incredible in every way and should be honored for their incredible service.  The picture with this one just tugged at my heart – I’ve seen the news story on this dog before, but the picture pretty much says it all.  This dog is buddy and helper to a dog who doesn’t have eyes! How absolutely heart tugging is that??? Like I said before, we are blessed by our canine friends, whether they are just pets in our homes, or work for us as service dogs, they are wonderful creatures and I have to be honest, not all people are worthy of having a dog. But that’s another blog.

No matter how you celebrate today – munching on corn chips and salsa, putting together a puzzle (or both at the same time), frowning with your favorite Curmudgeon, admiring the hard work of a service dog, or standing up for your civil rights – do it with an open heart, and a smile. God is with you and there’s nothing more worth smiling about than that.  Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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