Grumble . . . grumble. . . grumble . . . gripe . . . I went to bed cranky because I worked on taxes all day long yesterday, and I’m starting out the morning knowing that I have to work on it some more today. I am HOPING I will be done by this afternoon . . . I really don’t want to drag this out for very long. It wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t make it so darn hard to do! Seriously, one wrong number, or one missed line and you can change things for the really, really good (to be audited later if it’s a mistake), or really, really bad. I REALLY need to remember this and get 2014’s paperwork organized right away and keep it that way for the entire year! Yes, that’s what I need to do. Will I? Hope so. Let’s see what celebrations are afoot today . . . I could use some happiness and light!
Everything You Do is Right Day – it could be the PERFECT day! We all face ups and downs throughout our lives. Some days are good, some are bad. Most often you’ll find that there’s a combination of both good and bad every day. You just take the ups with a smile, and the downs with acceptance that it is just something that happens from time to time. There does come a day once in awhile where EVERYTHING you do is RIGHT, making the perfect day. Today is just the opposite of yesterday- – Everything you Think is Wrong Day. Sure, there is more than subtle differences in interpretation and meaning of the two days. But, you get the picture. Today is going to be your day… a good, errr make that great day! I hope everything you do goes right today and every day.
Freedom of Information Day – How many of you know (without looking it up) who the 4th President of our country is? Anyone? Well, I’ll tell you! Today is the birthday of James Madison, who is recognized as the “Father of the Constitution” and the chief author of the Bill of Rights. Freedom of information and individual rights were very important to James Madison and I’m betting he’s rolling over in his grave right about now. These days his dream and wonderful outlook about the freedoms for the citizens of this country he loved with all of his heart are being stomped on and torn apart. Recognize this great man today, and let’s all stand up for the freedoms he envisioned for us.
Curlew Day – The curlew is North America’s largest shorebird. It breeds in the grasslands of the Great Plains and Great Basin. I thought it was pretty nice to hear that both the male and female Long-billed Curlews incubate the eggs, and both are aggressive in defense of nests and young. The female seems to have parenting issues about two to three weeks after they hatch and leaves their care to her mate. He must not resent it though because they will pair with each other again the next year. The Curlew’s diet is pretty varied, but its bill is best suited for capturing shrimp and crabs that live in burrows on tidal mudflats – which is where they typically winter – or burrowing earthworms in pastures. The female has a longer bill than the male, and it’s shaped a little differently, being flatter on top with a more pronounced curve at the tip. The male’s is slightly curved along its entire length. In Oregon is an amazing sounding refugee that I’d like to talk my hubby into going to see. The Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is expecting the Long-Billed Curlews to start arriving in late March to begin their spectacular courtship flights, and the refuge celebrates Curlew Day with talks and tours. The refuge is an important wintering area for waterfowl and other birds along the Columbia River Basin, with up to 150,000 ducks and 30,000 Canada geese resting and feeding in its marshes and ponds throughout the fall, winter and spring. It looks like it will take three separate trips to see it though, because it is broken up into three distinct sections completely separate from each other by many miles. Doesn’t that sound like an amazing sight to see? Hmmm . . . I see the possibility of road trips in our future.
Goddard Day – On this day in 1926 a hope and a dream came true. The first man to have dreams of space travel was American Robert H. Goddard. He successfully launched the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket at Auburn, Massachusetts that day. The rocket traveled for 2.5 seconds at a speed of about 60 mph, reached an altitude of 41 feet and landed 184 feet away. The rocket was 10 feet all, made out of thin pipes and fueled by liquid oxygen and gasoline. Can you imagine his excitement when that thing took off? The Chinese developed the first military rockets in the early 13th century, using gunpowder. They probably built firework rockets at an earlier date. Gunpowder propelled military rockets appeared in Europe sometime in the 13th century, and in the 19th century British engineers made several important advances in early rocket science. In 1903, a little known Russian inventor named Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky published a treatise on the theoretical problems of using rocket engines in space, but it wasn’t until Goddard’s work in the 1920s that anyone began to build the modern, liquid-fueled type of rocket that would be launching humans into space in the 1960s. Goddard was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1882 and as he grew up he became fascinated with the idea of space travel after reading H.G. Wells’ science fiction novel “War of the Worlds” in 1898. While he was a student at the Worcester Polytechnic institute he began building gunpowder rockets, and continued his rocket experiments as a physics doctoral student then physics professor at Clark University. He was the first person to prove that rockets can propel in an airless vacuum-like space, and also the first to explore mathematically the energy and thrust potential of different fuels, including liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. He received U.S. patents for his concepts of a multistage rocket, and a liquid-fueled rocket, and was given grants from the Smithsonian Institute to continue his research. In 1919 he published a treatise called “A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes”, outlining his theories of rocket propulsion and he even proposed the future launching of an unmanned rocket to the moon. The media picked up on his moon-rocket proposal and The New York Times published an editorial in January of 1920, declaring that Dr. Goddard “seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools” because he thought that rocket thrust would be effective beyond the earth’s atmosphere. I definitely giggled when I read that three days before the first Apollo lunar-landing mission in July 1969, the Times printed a correction to this editorial. At least they admitted they were wrong! Goddard continued his research, testing and working, until his death in 1945. During his life he made 31 successful flights, including one of a rocket that reached 1.7 miles off the ground in 22.3 seconds. Meanwhile, while Goddard conducted his limited tests without official U.S. support, Germany took the initiative in rocket development and by September 1944 was launching its V-2 guided missiles against Britain with devastating results. During the war, Goddard worked in developing a jet-thrust booster for a U.S. Navy seaplane. Sadly, he would not live to see the major advances that would make his dreams of space travel a reality. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is named in his honor.
St. Urho’s Day – The legend of St. Urho originated in Northern Minnesota in the 1950s. There are different opinions about who actually began the tales, but the legend has grown among North Americans of Finnish descent to the point where St. Urho is known and celebrated across the United States, Canada and even in Finland. (must be why I had never heard of him, I’m not Finnish!) St. Urho is celebrated on March 16th, the day before the better known feast of “some minor saint from Ireland who is alleged to have driven the snakes from that island”. The legend of St. Urho says that he chased the grasshoppers out of ancient Finland, saving the grape crop and the jobs of Finnish vineyard workers. He did this by saying the phrase “Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen” – which, roughly translated means “Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to hell”. The feast honoring him is celebrated by wearing the colors royal purple and Nile green. St. Urho is nearly always represented with grapes and grasshoppers as part of the picture. He has been recognized with proclamations in all 50 states. The Minnesota Governor – Wendell Anderson – issued a proclamation in 1975, declaring Minnesota to be the unofficial home of St. Urho. If you decide to celebrate this mythical Finnish-American hero, please let me know how you decide to do it. I’d be truly interested to know!
Lips Appreciation Day– How often do we actually take a moment to appreciate lips? Oh sure, we notice them when we brush our teeth, put on lipstick, etc. but do we truly appreciate them? We should! Think about it! There are thin ones, fat ones, pouty ones and wet ones. There are red lips, pink lips, glossy lips and natural lips. No matter which lips you were born with, or prefer, today is about celebrating them. Think about how unappealing it would be if we didn’t have them? Our teeth would be exposed all the time, our mouths would dry out, it would be awfully uncomfortable using straws, drinking out of cups or kissing someone. Think about the difficulties of whistling! Heck, our food would fall out of our mouths when we ate! Yuck! Lips are one of the first features we notice on another persons face, probably after the eyes, so its important to keep them looking healthy. (though I have to add here that if people DIDN’T have lips, the eyes certainly wouldn’t be the first thing noticed on someone’s face) They are very vulnerable to drying out, and research suggests that you can lose up to 10 times more moisture through your lips than anywhere else! It’s a good idea to keep lip balm around to help them – especially in the dry and cold winter months. There are lots of recipes for homemade lip balms out there – I make my own sometimes even! It’s wonderful a wonderful treat. Keeping your lips healthy and kissable is pretty important! Appreciate your lips today and every day.
This Day In History –
1926 – Professor Robert Goddard launches the first liquid fuel rocket.
1968 – The Mai Lai Massacre takes place in Vietnam.
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Artichoke Hearts Day – So delicious they should be illegal, artichokes actually were illegal for one week in New York City in the 1920s. Officials declared the law to try to curb mafia-driven price gouging. The great artichoke wars? hahahaha funny!
Chicken Francaise With Artichoke Hearts
Spinach-Artichoke Mac & Cheese
Artichoke Pesto Spinach Lasagna
Hot Artichoke Dip
Cream of Artichoke & Mushroom Soup
Spinach-Artichoke Mashed Potatoes
Well, there you have it – great things going on today. I hope you enjoy them! As for myself? Well, I am hoping to have these taxes done by noon so I can clean up this mess. It really is messy, isn’t it? Stacks of papers and receipts everywhere. I am so ready to be done so I can celebrate! God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!