Friday, February 14, 2014

Holidays and Observances for February 14 2014

Valentine's Day

Each year on February 14th, many people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” The day of romance we call Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century, but has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia.

The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

Frederick Douglass Day

Frederick Douglass (1818-95) was a prominent American abolitionist, author and orator. Born a slave, Douglass escaped at age 20 and went on to become a world-renowned anti-slavery activist. His three autobiographies are considered important works of the slave narrative tradition as well as classics of American autobiography. Douglass’ work as a reformer ranged from his abolitionist activities in the early 1840s to his attacks on Jim Crow and lynching in the 1890s. For 16 years he edited an influential black newspaper and achieved international fame as an inspiring and persuasive speaker and writer. In thousands of speeches and editorials, he levied a powerful indictment against slavery and racism, provided an indomitable voice of hope for his people, embraced antislavery politics and preached his own brand of American ideals.

An abolitionist, writer and orator Frederick Douglass was the most important black American leader of the nineteenth century. Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, he was the son of a slave woman and, probably, her white master. Upon his escape from slavery at age twenty, he adopted the name of the hero of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake. Douglass immortalized his years as a slave in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845). This and two subsequent autobiographies, My Bondage and My Freedom (1855) and The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881), mark his greatest contributions to American culture. Written as antislavery propaganda and personal revelation, they are regarded as the finest examples of the slave narrative tradition and as classics of American autobiography.

Douglass’s life as a reformer ranged from his abolitionist activities in the early 1840s to his attacks on Jim Crow and lynching in the 1890s. For sixteen years he edited an influential black newspaper and achieved international fame as an orator and writer of great persuasive power. In thousands of speeches and editorials he levied an irresistible indictment against slavery and racism, provided an indomitable voice of hope for his people, embraced antislavery politics, and preached his own brand of American ideals. In the 1850s he broke with the strictly moralist brand of abolitionism led by William Lloyd Garrison; he supported the early women’s rights movement; and he gave direct assistance to John Brown’s conspiracy that led to the raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.

Rhetorically, Douglass was a master of irony, as illustrated by his famous Fourth of July speech in 1852: “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn,” he declared. Then he accused his unsuspecting audience in Rochester, New York, of mockery for inviting him to speak and quoted Psalm 137, where the children of Israel are forced to sit down “by the rivers of Babylon,” there to “sing the Lord’s song in a strange land.” For the ways that race have caused the deepest contradictions in American history, few better sources of insight exist than Douglass’s speeches. Moreover, for understanding prejudice, there are few better starting points than his timeless definition of racism as a “diseased imagination.”

Douglass welcomed the Civil War in 1861 as a moral crusade against slavery. During the war he labored as a propagandist of the Union cause and emancipation, a recruiter of black troops, and (on two occasions) an adviser to President Abraham Lincoln. He viewed the Union victory as an apocalyptic rebirth of America as a nation rooted in a rewritten Constitution and the ideal of racial equality. Some of his hopes were dashed during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, but he continued to travel widely and lecture on racial issues, national politics, and women’s rights. In the 1870s Douglass moved to Washington, D.C., where he edited a newspaper and became president of the ill-fated Freedman’s Bank. As a stalwart Republican, Douglass was appointed marshal (1877-1881) and recorder of deeds (1881-1886) for the District of Columbia, and chargé d’affaires for Santo Domingo and minister to Haiti (1889-1891).

Brilliant, heroic, and complex, Douglass became a symbol of his age and a unique voice for humanism and social justice. His life and thought will always speak profoundly to the meaning of being black in America, as well as the human calling to resist oppression. Douglass died in 1895 after years of trying to preserve a black abolitionist’s meaning and memory of the great events he had witnessed and helped to shape.

League of Women Voters Day

The League of Women Voters is a citizens’ organization that has fought since 1920 to improve our government and engage all citizens in the decisions that impact their lives.  We operate at national, state and local levels through more than 800 state and local Leagues, in all 50 states as well in DC, the Virgin Islands and Hong Kong.  

Formed from the movement that secured the right to vote for women, the centerpiece of the League’s efforts remain to expand participation and give a voice to all Americans. We do this at all three levels of government, engaging in both broad educational efforts as well as advocacy. Our issues are grounded in our respected history of making democracy work for all citizens.

The League is nonpartisan, which means we don’t support or oppose candidates for public office. However, we are well known for hosting candidate debates and forums.  We undertake this, and other important election work, because we believe deeply that the public should hear different views on the issues facing our communities and our nation. An honest and respectful sharing of ideas is vital to the functioning of American democracy.

Leagues at all levels conduct educational activities – whether they are related to understanding candidate views and ballot initiatives, or on a range of specific critical public policy issues. At the national level, the League of Women Voters Education Fund, a 501 (c )(3) organization, coordinates all of our elections and educational work.

But being nonpartisan does not mean we lack opinions, or the willingness to express them.  Our opinions are formed after research, study and consensus. We are passionate advocates – both women and men – who work to influence policy on specific issues by speaking out and putting pressure on our elected leaders.  

The League is a national organization, with strong and respected ties in states and localities around the country.  Members are volunteers who work in their communities to help the realities of the America system of government live up to its ideals.

The League of Women Voters was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1920 during the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The convention was held just six months before the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote after a 72-year struggle.

The League began as a "mighty political experiment" designed to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. It encouraged them to use their new power to participate in shaping public policy. From the beginning, the League has been an activist, grassroots organization whose leaders believed that citizens should play a critical role in advocacy. It was then, and is now, a nonpartisan organization. League founders believed that maintaining a nonpartisan stance would protect the fledgling organization from becoming mired in the party politics of the day. However, League members were encouraged to be political themselves, by educating citizens about, and lobbying for, government and social reform legislation.

This holds true today. The League is proud to be nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public. The League has a long, rich history,that continues with each passing year.

Library Lovers Day

Everybody is familiar with Valentine’s Day, the day for lovers, and how it is celebrated. But not all people have lovers, at least, in the romantic point of view. So for such somewhat unlucky people, there’s still something to celebrate in lieu of Valentine’s Day. If you’re not yet aware of it, it’s the Library Lovers Day.

A library is a sanctuary far from the hustle and flurry of everyday existence. It is a place in schools and communities where people go to gain knowledge through reading of books and other paraphernalia. Though this is possible to do through the web, online materials are yet not as complete as books found in the library.

In February 14, 2006, the first Library Lovers Day in Australia was launched to support love for libraries and to remind politicians and law makers on the value of libraries to the entire community. This event had giveaways for the participants in the form of green, blue and orange wristbands. Since then on, it had been observed annually and had spread to my many countries as well.

This special day gives the library lovers the chance to advertise their sanctum of security, peace and quiet. Participation in its celebration may be through making donations to the local library in cash, volunteer service or in kind. The matter may be in the form of giveaways for the special day, such as, bookmarks, book-shaped mini cakes, little chocolate hearts or postcards.

Other forms of celebration may be to lend or barter books with friends, dressing in red and joining a writer’s workshop. Hosting a reading session among friends, with love as the topic, is also a creative form of observance. A simple changing of one’s Facebook cover and avatar featuring the event is also acceptable.

National Call In Single Day

Valentine's Day is great for those in a romantic relationship, however, if you're single, do you really want to be in the office watching the constant flow of incoming flowers, candy, teddy bears and the accompanying "oohs", "ahhhs" and "how sweet!"? Maybe if you like hearing the sound of fingernails on the chalkboard. That's why we have National Call in Single Day, as being single should be a legitimate reason for not coming into the office on Valentine's Day. Today's the day to find your way out of the office to enjoy some precious "me time" that likely proves elusive for your non-single counterparts.

National Condom Day

National Condom Day originated from an AIDS support group in America during the late 1980's, with the purpose of promoting condom use and educating people about the need to practice safe sex.

FPWA Sexual Health Services coordinates National Condom Day as an annual state-wide health initiative. The campaign falls on February 14, Valentine's Day, and is an ideal opportunity to promote healthy and safe relationships, and remind people about the risks of Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies.

Many people are unaware that STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and herpes can be easily passed on through unprotected oral sex. National Condom Day (NCD) is a timely reminder for people to always use condoms to protect themselves and their partner/s, and flavored condoms are available if they're looking for something different.

Since its inception in 1972, the Family Planning Association of WA (Inc) has evolved as a provider of specialist services in sexual and reproductive health. The aspirations of the Association are compatible with those of its counterparts both nationally and internationally.

FPWA Sexual Health Services is partially funded through the Public Health Outcome Funding Agreements (PHOFA), administered by the Department of Health, WA. With this funding, FPWA Sexual Health Services provides a comprehensive range of clinical, counselling, educational and training activities around sexual and reproductive health. Other programs are funded through project grants from the Department of Health, Disability Services Commission and the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH).

FPWA Sexual Health Services also raises revenue through self-generated income and other specific project grants.

National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day

As if you didn't already have an excuse to plow through heart-shaped boxes of candy confections today, February 14 also happens to be National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day!

There is something about that moment when you bite into a cream-filled chocolate and the rich flavors all meld together in perfect harmony. Who knows? It could almost be described as some kind of love, but it's definitely some kind of wonderful.

Giving a satiny box of chocolates to the one you love on Valentine's Day didn't become a tradition until the second half of the 20th century, and typically those boxes were bursting with more than just uniform rows of little round chocolates.

Each bite will have you marveling at raspberry cream, praline nougat or a waterfall of caramel ... while others may have you questioning the flavor hiding in that green-colored marzipan. (Hint: it's most likely pistachio, and not a sneaky trick to make you eat kale). Not willing to tempt filling flavor fate? Make cream-filled chocolate chip wafers instead.

So whether you purchase chocolates filled with sweet (and mysterious) surprises for a loved one or yourself, enjoy the loving rewards of today's food holiday even if you don't observe Valentine's Day. After all, life is like a box of chocolates...

National Ferris Wheel Day

Ferris Wheel Day is celebrated annually on February 14 in the United States. This holiday celebrates the Ferris Wheel. On this holiday you are encouraged to take a ride on a Ferris wheel and remember how fun it is to be up high while the wind blows over your face.

What is a Ferris Wheel?
A Ferris wheel (also known as an observation wheel or big wheel) is a non building structure, consisting of an upright wheel with passenger gondolas attached to the rim.

"The original Ferris wheel was designed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., as a landmark for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago." "The name later came to be used generically for all such rides."

"The Ferris wheel is named after George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr.. "He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and he was a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania bridge-builder. He began his career in the railroad industry and then pursued an interest in bridge building." "Ferris understood the growing need for structural steel and founded G.W.G. Ferris & Co. in Pittsburgh, a firm that tested and inspected metals for railroads and bridge builders."

"Ferris designed and built the first 264 foot (80 m) wheel for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois in 1893." "The wheel was intended as a rival to the Eiffel Tower, the centerpiece of the 1889 Paris Exposition." "This first wheel could carry 2,160 persons. The Ferris wheel was the largest attraction at the Columbian Exposition, standing over 250' tall and powered by two steam engines." "There were 36 cars, accommodating 60 people each (40 seated, 20 standing). It took 20 minutes for the wheel to make two revolutions—the first to make six stops to allow passengers to exit and enter; the 2nd, a single non-stop revolution—and for that, the ticket holder paid 50 cents. When the Exposition ended, the wheel was moved to north side, next to an exclusive neighborhood. William D. Boyce filed an unsuccessful Circuit Court action against the owners of the wheel, to have it moved. It was then used at the St. Louis 1904 World's Fair and eventually destroyed by controlled demolition in 1906." "At 70 tons, its axle was the largest steel forging of the time." "It was 26 stories tall, only a quarter of the Eiffel Tower's height."

"Sections of this Ferris wheel were used to construct a bridge across the Kankakee River, about 45 miles (72 km) south of Chicago, just north of Tefft, Indiana."

"The Travels of Peter Mundy, 1608–1667, describes and illustrates "Several sorts of Swinginge used in their Publique rejoyceings att their feast of Biram" in the Ottoman Balkans. Among means "lesse dangerous and troublesome" only for children was a Ferris wheel "like a Craine wheele att Customhowse Key", where the passengers swing on short swings, sometimes sitting, sometimes hanging trapeze fashion." "The illustration here is of a different Turkish design, apparently for adults."

"Another Ferris wheel, with a height of 65 meters (213 ft), dating back to 1897, is the Riesenrad in Vienna's Prater, in the second district of Leopoldstadt. It was designed by Hubert Cecil Booth."

"London, UK had its very own 'Gigantic Wheel' built at Earls Court in 1895, which was modeled on the original one in Chicago. This wheel stayed in service until 1906, by which time it had carried over 2.5 million passengers." "It was built by two young Australian engineers, named Adam Gaddelin and Gareth Watson and was the first of over 200 Ferris wheels that they built."

"For the 1900 Paris Exposition, a 'Grande Roue', of similar size and design to Ferris', was constructed. It was demolished in 1937." "The wheel had 40 cars (as opposed to Chicago's 36), and is clearly visible in photos of the 1900 exhibition."

National Have A Heart Day

National Have a Heart Day helps promote awareness of our food choices so as to get or maintain a healthy heart. According to the CDC "Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; one in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke". What you eat is important but so is how much you eat. Portion size for pasta is a 1/2 a cup or about the size of a hockey puck and for meat is 2-3 ounces or the size and depth of a deck of cards.

Some of the foods that are ideal for a healthy heart include: salmon, flax seed, oatmeal, almonds/walnuts, blueberries, black or kidney beans, and soy.

According to the National Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Every single day, on an average of every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event. The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease, which often appears as a heart attack.

The chance of developing coronary heart disease can be reduced by taking steps to prevent and control factors that put people at greater risk. Additionally, knowing the signs and symptoms of heart attack are crucial to the most positive outcome after having a heart attack. People who have survived a heart attack can also work to reduce their risk of another heart attack or a stroke in the future.

Know the Signs and Symptoms
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense; however, most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often, people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help.

Remember, most heart attacks involve shortness of breath and discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. There can also be discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

Healthy Lifestyle: Diet and Nutrition, Exercise and Fitness
A healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons you have to fight heart disease. Many people make it harder than it is. It is important to remember that it is the overall pattern of the choices you make that counts. As you make daily food choices, base your eating pattern on these recommendations:

  • Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.
  • Select fat-free, one-percent fat, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
  • Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol. Aim to eat less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day.
  • Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
  • Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Aim to eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. All persons who have hypertension, all middle-aged and older adults, and all blacks should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
  • Physical activity in your daily life is an important step to preventing heart disease. You can take a few simple steps at home, at work, and at play to increase the amount of physical activity in your life.

Women and Heart Disease: Quick Facts
Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man’s disease,” it is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States, and women account for nearly 50 percent of heart-disease deaths. Heart disease is also often perceived as an “older woman’s disease,” and while it is the leading cause of death among women aged 65 years and older, it is the second leading cause of death among women aged 45 to 64 years.

Diseases and Conditions That Put Your Heart at Risk
While conditions that are most frequently associated with affecting your heart or increasing your risk of death or disability include arrhythmia, heart failure, and peripheral artery disease (PAD), other risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, secondhand smoke and depression.

National Organ Donor Day

February 14 isn't just a day to celebrate your main squeeze -- it's also National Organ Donor Day, raising awareness for a way to spread love to someone who really needs it.

In the U.S. alone, 18 people die each day day waiting for an organ, and every 10 minutes someone new is added to a waiting list of 117,112 nationwide according to

Focused on five points of life: organs, tissues, marrow, platelets, and blood. Many nonprofit health organizations sponsor blood and marrow drives and organ/tissue sign-ups across the nation. National Donor Day was started in 1998 by the Saturn Corporation and its United Auto Workers partners with the support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and many nonprofit health organizations.

Organ donation is the donation of biological tissue or an organ of the human body, from a living or dead person to a living recipient in need of a transplantation. Transplantable organs and tissues are removed in a surgical procedure following a determination, based on the donor's medical and social history, of which are suitable for transplantation. Such procedures are termed allotransplantations, to distinguish them from xenotransplantation, the transfer of animal organs into human bodies. As of June 21, 2013, there are 118,617 people waiting for life-saving organ transplants in the U.S. Of these, 96,645 await kidney transplants.

Pet Theft Awareness Day

Besides Valentine’s Day and Read to Your Child Day, today is also an important day for our special four-legged friends. Today is Pet Theft Awareness Day (PTAD).

This annual “holiday” has been observed on February 14th since the Last Chance for Animals (LCA) launched the campaign back in 1988. The event not only brings attention to the issue of pet theft, but also helps educate pet owners on how to protect their beloved pets before it’s too late.

Some people are unaware how often the thefts of beloved pets occur. In fact, pet theft is a “nationwide crisis” according to the National Association of Pet Sitters (NAPPS). It is estimated that about 2 million pets are stolen each year.

Top Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe
  • One of the most effective ways to protect your pet is to have him or her micro-chipped.
  • Consider tattooing your pet.
  • Have up-to-date information on your pets including medical information, physical description and recent photographs.
  • Before something happens, register Fido & Fluffy with Amber Alert for Pets. The cost of registering all your pets is less than $25 plus annual renewal is well worth the money. And be sure to visit the website for images of pets that are currently missing.
  • Letting your animal have free reign of the neighborhood is not only a potential hazard to their well-being, but also gives thieves easy access to your pet.
  • Don’t leave your pet unattended while you run into a store or run errands.
  • While dogs usually tolerate collars, many cats do not. Considering using abreakaway collar to avoid potential chocking or strangulation hazards in case the collar gets tangled in something.
  • Never leave pets unattended in vehicles and open yards.
  • Natural and man-made disasters can wreak havoc on all members of your family, including pets. Be prepared before an emergency happens to your family.
  • Whether you are travelling cross country or across town in a plane, train or automobile, make sure you are prepared. Many animals are lost during transit.
  • Keep your pet safe from Wildlife Dangers.
  • Check out the many Holiday Hazards & Dangers for Pets.
  • Consider purchasing pet insurance for your favorite furry friends.
  • Please spay and neuter your pets.
Important Tips to Locate Lost Pets
  • As soon as you notice your pet is missing, contact your local animal shelter/pound, humane society, radio stations, newspapers and law enforcement agency. Some newspapers allow free postings for missing/stolen pets. Time is of the essence.
  • Canvas the neighborhood, repeatedly calling your pet’s name.
  • Be sure to contact vet’s offices in your area and place posters or notices there as well.
  • Contact your neighbors.
  • Put up posters around your neighborhood, stores, and businesses.
  • Check Petfinder.
  • Utilize social media – post photos, information on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Some devote special pages to find lost pets.
  • Keep searching and don’t give up!
  • The sooner you get the word out, the better.
International Quirkyalone Day

International Quirkyalone Day is a do-it-yourself celebration of romance, friendship, and independent spirit. It's a celebration of all kinds of love: romantic, platonic, familial, and yes, self-love. International Quirkyalone Day is not anti-Valentine's Day. It's NOT a pity party for single people. It's an alternative--a feel-good alternative to the marketing barrage of Valentine's Day and an antidote to the silicone version of love presented in shows such as Hooking Up and The Bachelor.

Above all, IQD is a celebration of romance, freedom and individuality. It celebrates true romance (as opposed to the fake versions presented to us in reality dating shows), independence, creativity, friendship, and all kinds of love--including love for yourself.

If you are single, International Quirkyalone Day is a call to arms to celebrate the possibilities available to single people today. If you are partnered, IQD is a vital reminder to value yourself and develop your individuality even when in a couple.

Couples (especially quirkytogethers, of course) are welcomed to attend. After all, many a partnered person complains about the contrived nature of Valentine's Day.

Quirkyalone Day is based on the ideas in Sasha Cagen's book Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics. It's an invitation to create a great day for yourself, whatever that means to you (and your partner if you have one and choose to celebrate with him or her). It's a day to celebrate the things you love to do alone and the things you love to do with your friends. Ways to celebrate include: throwing a dinner party, buying yourself new underwear, rearranging your furniture, taking a long walk without your cell phone, exploring a new part of town, organizing a card-making party, trying a new recipe, or coming to or hosting a quirkyalone party.

The first-ever celebration of IQD in 2003 featured parties in San Francisco, New York, Providence, Rhode Island, and Glasgow, Scotland. The parties resulted in worldwide media coverage, beaming the quirkyalone message of love and empowerment around the globe.

The second annual International Quirkyalone Day was celebrated in bars and cafes in Bristol, U.K., London, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Providence, Albuquerque, St. Paul, Atlanta, Madison, and San Francisco.

The third annual IQD was even bigger. It was celebrated in 24 cities around the world: Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Chicago, Illinois; Edwardsville, Illinois; Eldridge, Iowa; Houston, Texas; Las Vegas, Nevada; Los Angeles, California; Lynwood, Washington; Madison, Wisconsin; New Delhi, India; New York, New York; Norristown, Pennsylvania; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Ontario, Canada; Owings Mills, Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Rock Hill, South Carolina; San Francisco, California; Sedalia, Missouri; St. Paul, Minnesota; Sterling, Colorado; Sydney, Australia; Utica, New York; and Washington, DC.

Plans are now underway for the ELEVENTH ANNUAL International Quirkyalone Day 2014. If you are interested in hosting your own soiree, we have resources to help you. Check out the party tips and the downloadable party pack online.

Be creative. The possibilities for your party are endless. In 2005, in Eldridge, Iowa, a librarian organized a quirkyalone party at her library and invited a minister to come talk about her solo travels throughout the world. In Baton Rouge, a group of quirkyalone friends sang karaoke. North of Seattle, the bookstore manager at Barnes & Noble organized a quirkycrafts party at her store. Madison quirkyalones have gone "Cosmic Bowling"-- bowling with strobe lights!

In San Francisco, we have developed our own traditions--we always have a quirkyalone-card making table, an alone-time table (that usually attracts social activity), a name-that-quirkyalone classic party game, and a raffle. This year we'll raffle off copies of the new paperback Quirkyalone. To check out the 2005 SF party, watch this short movie How to Start Your Own Holiday by Sasha Cagen and Kara Herold.

On the party tips page, we give you more ways to spread the word, but for starters, go to the online community of this site to post the time and place of your gathering, and mail us at so we can help.

Read To Your Child Day

As far as holidays go, February 14 is a big day in holiday land! This special day has something for everyone – sweethearts, children, parents and our four-legged friends. Besides Valentine’s Day and Pet Theft Awareness Day, today is also Read to Your Child Day.

Spending a few minutes a day reading to your children is one of the best things you can do for them. In fact, there are many benefits to reading to your kids.

Benefits of Reading to Children
  • Reading to your children is a quiet, one-on-one bonding experience that shows them just how important they are in your life.
  • Not only will you get to spend quality time with your children, but you will play a pivotal role in helping them develop critical learning, language and listening skills.
  • Reading helps to stimulate their curiosity, imagination and expression.
  • Reading to your children also helps their concentration.
  • It can help develop their social skills and compassion.
  • It can improve hand-eye coordination.
  • Reading opens up new and exciting worlds.
  • It also encourages them to enjoy books and the earlier you begin, the better.
  • It’s fun!
And while traditional book reading provides a plethora of benefits, the Internet has opened up a whole new world when it comes to reading. Today, children and parents can access thousands of interactive books, in an instant.