One of the most difficult things about Wednesdays for me is not being able to just have fun baking yummy things. Being on a healthy eating plan is great for the body, but sometimes it leaves the spirit longing for something else. Since one of the things that makes me happiest in life is baking, I feel like I am in a desert lately, parched for that which will quench my thirst. Fortunately today I have a cookie order to fill, so at least I can be in the kitchen doing what I enjoy most, even if I don’t get to sample any of the results. Well, that’s not quite accurate. While I’m in there I will make healthy cookies for us to eat . . . they don’t satisfy the taste buds QUITE as much, but they fit in with our eating plan, and they are somewhat sweet. I’ll take what I can get. Last weeks sugar free, gluten free experiment didn’t turn out quite like I would have wanted it to . . . it didn’t kill us, but it isn’t something I’d make again. Back to the drawing board . . . or the kitchen . . .
Carnival Day – Is there anything more exciting to a kid than a carnival? I remember when I was little, a rickety carnival would come to town once in the early summer, and my poor Mom would take such pains to make sure that we didn’t see the rides, because she knew if we saw the rides (let me correct that, if I saw the rides – my brother was too little to know what they were), the begging and pleading would commence. We didn’t have extra cash flow for that sort of thing, so when we got to stop for a ride on the Merry-Go-Round, it was a special treat. I remember when I was about 7 years old, I was with my Grandma H when we passed the carnival. I didn’t even need to beg! She asked me if I wanted to go on the rides and of course I said yes! It was amazing! She took me on all the rides I wanted to go on, til I was nearly dizzy from excitement. She went on them with me, laughing her special laugh (all of our family members can hear her laugh just by thinking about it), the whole time. She got me a corn dog, cotton candy and popcorn. It’s a wonder I didn’t get really sick. The best thing about the entire day? She took me on a helicopter ride! There’s not a chance on this planet my Mom would have been willing or able to do this, but Grandma took me up on the ride, and the pilot flew us over our house, and all over the town. I don’t have any idea how long the ride was, but I remember pressing my face up to the glass, shocked by how many swimming pools were in our town! Who knew??? I lived by a lake, so the thought of having a pool was pretty foreign to me. I know that this small town carnival doesn’t compare to some of the big ones that I’ve seen since then – usually connected to a big fair, but that was the most special Grandma and Me outing that I can remember with her. We spent quite a bit of time together after my Grandfather passed away, but that one time was the most special to me. It was just the two of us, and for once I didn’t have to share her with anyone. There are all sorts of carnivals, so we shouldn’t limit our thoughts to just the commercial ones. There are the BIG tent circus type carnivals which people flock to watch death defying acts, clowns, big animals and a huge show, and there are the small town carnivals that often start with a parade, followed by fun on the rides and playing games at the booths and eating a lot of food that is really bad for us, but tastes SO good! There are carnivals in the winter and the summer, carnivals put on by schools and churches, for charities and fund raisers. They are all fun for what they are, so maybe find a carnival near you today, and enjoy! We all need a little distraction as winter comes to an end, and this would be a good one.
Fairy Tale Day – When I was a kid, and learned to read, it opened up an entirely new world to me. Since the first hesitantly sounded out words, I was in love with the written word, and with the amazing lands that opened up from the words on that page. Some of my favorites were Fairy Tales! And of course they would be! Fairy Tales are filled with fantasy, color, heroes, and princesses. Most of them start out with Once Upon A Time, and end with And They Lived Happily Ever After . . . though that isn’t a requirement . . . well, the Once Upon a Time isn’t a requirement, but they all need a happy ending. Today is a great day to cozy up under a blanket with the kids or grand kids, and read the classic Fairy Tales that colored our worlds when we were growing up. What a wonderful celebration!
National Personal Chef’s Day – I’ve always wondered about people who hire a personal chef to cook for them every day. Considering that my husband and I both love to cook, it just didn’t make any sense to me. I have to acknowledge though that there are people out there who either lead busy lives, or are abysmal in the kitchen, who hire someone so they don’t have to eat out every day, but don’t have to cook. Sort of like eating out in your own home! If you think about it, each of us who are home cooks are personal chefs in a way . . . we prepare meals for our families every single day, we plan them and put effort out to make sure that what goes onto the table is pretty, tasty and hopefully healthy. Often we do this day after day without recognition or much appreciation – sort of like it is an expected part of our day, even if we’ve worked hard out of the home all day long. Growing up I remember my Grandma K always in the kitchen, constantly preparing food, didn’t seem to matter what was going on, she was ALWAYS fixing something to eat. As the family came and went they’d grab what she’d prepared and go on their merry way, and she’d quietly and with a happy spirit, clean up the mess and begin again. To all the personal chefs (i.e. home cooks) out there, today is not just for the professional personal chefs, this day is for you.
For Pete’s Sake Day – I say this . . . my Dad has said it my whole life, so I’m sure that’s where I got it, but I’ve often wondered, WHO is Pete and why, oh why, do I feel compelled to say things for his sake? It’s an awesome question, right? Well, not sure I can answer it with any degree of certainty, but I’ll do what I can. For starters, this celebration was registered and trademarked by the folks at www.wellcat.com. I want to give credit where it is due, and acknowledge them for it. Now, as to why “For Pete’s Sake” came about . . . This was a phrase commonly used in place of something the more offensive phrase, “for God’s sake”, or “for Christ’s sake”, and was often said when someone was surprised, annoyed, frustrated or irritated. As to who Pete is, well, some believe that Pete refers to the Apostle Peter, and others think it was an evolution from other, older phrases, such as “for the love of Mike”, or “for pity’s sake”. Nobody seems to really know, but I found it to be interesting as I was searching, that there are a LOT of famous phrases and idioms from long ago days that were often used in daily conversation. Some still are! Here are some that you may find to be interesting, from a list I found on the topic:
Honest to Pete * Heavens to Betsy * A Doubting Thomas * Cup of Joe * Peter Out * Moaning Minnie * Debbie Downer * Johnny on the Spot * Jack of All Trades * Charlie Horse * Round Robin * The Bee’s Knees * The Cat’s Meow * Cat Got Your Tongue * It’s Raining Cats and Dogs * Barking Mad * Something to Crow About * Bats in the Belfry * A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush * For the Birds * As Cute as a Bug’s Ear * Snug as a Bug in a Rug * Chew the Cud * ‘Till the Cows Come Home * Stubborn as a Mule * When Pigs Fly * In a Pig’s Eye * Pig in a Poke * Straight From the Horse’s Mouth * To Hell In A Hand Basket * Shake a Leg * A Foot in the Door * Put Your Best Foot Forward * Goody Two-Shoes * Chip on Your Shoulder * Play it by Ear * Wet Behind the Ears * Red-Handed * By the Skin of Your Teeth * Short End of the Stick * A Sticky Wicket * No Rest for the Wicked * Your Name is Mud * Cool as a Cucumber * As Keen as Mustard * Spill the Beans * A Penny for Your Thoughts * A Watched Pot Never Boils * Get Your Dander Up * Lose Your Marbles * Bite the Dust * Hit the Hay . . . I’m sure I could have listed more, but that’s a LOT and many are so familiar to me! How about you? This will be an entirely different blog post, but I think I need to track down what each of these means one of these days – should be really interesting!
Levi Strauss Day – Levi Strauss changed the way that the world thinks of jeans . . . so on this day we celebrate his birth. He was born in Buttenheim, Bavaria (which is now Germany) in 1829. He moved to New York in 1846, where his brothers owned a dry goods business. He moved again in 1853, to San Francisco, CA, and opened his own dry goods business, calling it Levi Strauss & Co. Years later, he and a business partner invented a new kind of work pants that were held together at the pockets by metal rivets. Gold miners loved the durability of these innovative pants, which were called “waist overalls” at that time. Funny name! Now we call them “blue jeans”, and they have remained popular since Strauss invented them in 1873. This may sound silly, but I’ve never owned a real pair of Levi’s. When I was skinny enough to wear them, I couldn’t afford them (yes, the good ones were too spendy when I was growing up), and now, well, now I’d just look ridiculously wide in a pair of them. My ultimate goal, in the sense of clothing I’d like to someday be able to wear, would be to get into a pair of reasonably sized Levi’s shrink to fit jeans. I have always really wanted a pair, and doggone it, someday I will fit into some!
Inconvenience Yourself Day- Have you ever observed how your actions affect other people? We live in a face-paced world where we are always Go-Go-Going! Our schedules are overflowing with commitments, and we run around living our lives, very often not even realizing that what we do impacts other people. People have stopped holding doors open for others (how often have you had a door whap you in the face because the person in front of you just let it go?), and we hear “thank you” very rarely when someone DOES hold open a door! People use turn signals when they are driving less often than not, which can be really frustrating and dangerous even, and we don’t see very many smiles as we go about our days, running our errands. People bring traffic to a stop by crossing multiple lanes of traffic, because they aren’t in the correct lane, and put the safety of others at risk because of their own mistake and lack of attention. Inconvenience Yourself Day is not intended to make people become completely self-sacrificing, but as an encouragement to pay attention to your own actions, understanding how those actions affect other people, and adjust them to have a positive impact, rather than a negative one. Today, take the opportunity to Inconvenience Yourself instead of someone else, and give acknowledgement to people who inconvenience themselves for others. In some ways, this is like a different version of Random Acts of Kindness Day. Letting someone know that you appreciate their inconvenience on your behalf could be as simple as thank you, and if you know them, maybe a kind note or small token of appreciation. Today we embrace a broad concept that includes encouraging other people, while showing common courtesy and good manners, being kind to others, doing what is right, and letting someone know when they are doing something positive. Smiling! How simple is THAT? Just smile at other people! THAT should not be an inconvenience, but looking around at the world we live in, it certainly seems to be for a lot of people. Take responsibility for your own behavior, and set a good example for others by helping other people, perhaps by volunteering for a cause that means something special to you. You can focus more on recycling, or doing other things that are kind to the environment – I may not be a raging tree hugger, but doggone it, we can take care of the world we live in! Drive courteously! This is HUGE! Be positive with your words and actions, and along the way if you can make someone laugh, that would be awesome! Laughter is so healing! Hold the door open for someone, rather than letting it slam shut on them. This is something we should do EVERY day! Spend time with your family or your significant other, really paying attention to what they are telling you! The gift of listening may take up some time, but this is an inconvenience that may very well cost you the least with the most positive result. I’m sure you are getting the idea, and will do GREAT today! I ran across a quote when I was researching this one that is so fitting for this day . . . “The best index to a person’s character is (a) how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and (b) by how he treats people who can’t fight back.” *** Abigail Van Buren (Ahhh, Dear Abby -she is missed)
This Day In History –
A bomb explodes at the World Trade Center killing 6 people (1993)
National Pistachio Day – What a nutty day! OK, bad pun. Pistachios are delicious so it will be an easy one to celebrate, but we can not just enjoy eating them, but perhaps learning something about them! Here are a few Pistachio facts that I ran across:
- Pistachios grow on trees. They are native to the Middle East.
- Its a long wait to get the first nut. A pistachio tree takes 7-10 years to mature.
- California is the major producer in the U.S.
- Pistachios are harvested in September by machines that shake the trees. It takes less than a minute for them to be shaken off. WOW!
- The red dye is added to the nuts is only due to consumer demand for the color. (I don’t personally like red pistachios)
- Its open hull is unique. The nut is ripe when the hull splits open.
- People in the Middle East call it the “smiling nut” and in China its called the “happy nut”.
- Pistachios are nutritious, so eat them up!
They are great plain as a snack, in ice cream, and in a wide range of desserts. Myth holds that it’s good luck to hear pistachio shells cracking. So get cracking and boost your fortune with these yummy dishes.
Well, that’s a lot to celebrate today! Turns out to be a good day all the way around, with something for everyone. Enjoy this day, celebrate with all of your heart, putting a smile on your face. It’ll make others smile, warm the heart and create the framework for an awesome day. God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!