Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Holidays and Observances for March 11 2014

Dream Day

It is time to sit back and relax and enjoy Dream Day!

But do not use it as an excuse to slip back into bed – Dream Day was set up by an instructor at Columbia University in 2012 as a way of helping us all achieve our dreams and to make the world a better place.

You can organise a special dream event, where a gang of you get together and talk about your dreams, or you can stay at home and dream of what you most want from life. We are talking more about ‘achieve my full potential’ and ‘end world hunger’ here, not ‘lose 10lbs’ or ‘get revenge on my boss’!

Come up with an inspiring dream, then work out an action plan to make it happen, and to help everyone else achieve their dreams too.

It is so simple, and there lies its beauty: All you have to do is… dream!

Johnny Appleseed Day

John Chapman (September 26, 1774 – March 11, 1845), often called Johnny Appleseed, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, as well as the northern counties of present day West Virginia. He became an American legend while still alive, due to his kind, generous ways, his leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples. He was also a missionary for The New Church (Swedenborgian) and the inspiration for many museums and historical sights such as the Johnny Appleseed Museum in Urbana, Ohio and the Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center in between Lucas, Ohio and Mifflin, Ohio.

Johnny Appleseed is remembered in American popular culture by his traveling song or Swedenborgian hymn ("The Lord is good to me..."), which is today sung before meals in some American households. "Oooooh, the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the appleseed. The Lord is good to me. Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen."

Many books and films have been based on the life of Johnny Appleseed. One notable account is from the first chapter of The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan.[35] Pollan states that since Johnny Appleseed was against grafting, his apples were not of an edible variety and could be used only for cider: "Really, what Johnny Appleseed was doing and the reason he was welcome in every cabin in Ohio and Indiana was he was bringing the gift of alcohol to the frontier. He was our American Dionysus."

In 2003, North Carolina Playwright Keith Smith wrote a one act musical play entitled My Name is Johnny Appleseed, which is presented to school children to show that the true story of John Chapman is just as interesting as the mythical figure, who is shrouded in legend and fable.

The television series The Adventures of Jim Bowie presented a fictitious meeting between Jim Bowie and Johnny. The episode showed Johnny living a simple life on a small orchard, knowing he would be reunited with his true love after death.

One of the more successful films was Melody Time, the animated 1948 film from Walt Disney Studios featuring Dennis Day. The Legend of Johnny Appleseed, a 19-minute segment, tells the story of an apple farmer who sees others going west, wistfully wishing he was not tied down by his orchard, until an angel appears, singing an apple song, setting Johnny on a mission. When he treats a skunk kindly, all animals everywhere thereafter trust him. The cartoon featured lively tunes, and a childlike simplicity of message. This animated short was included in Disney's American Legends, a compilation of four animated shorts.

Supposedly, the only surviving tree planted by Johnny Appleseed is on the farm of Richard and Phyllis Algeo of Nova, Ohio. Some marketers claim it is a Rambo, although the Rambo was introduced to America in the 1640s by Peter Gunnarsson Rambo, more than a century before John Chapman was born. Some even make the claim that the Rambo was "Johnny Appleseed's favorite variety", ignoring that he had religious objections to grafting and preferred wild apples to all named varieties. It appears most nurseries are calling the tree the "Johnny Appleseed" variety, rather than a Rambo. Unlike the mid-summer Rambo, the Johnny Appleseed variety ripens in September and is a baking-applesauce variety similar to an Albemarle Pippen. Nurseries offer the Johnny Appleseed tree as an immature apple tree for planting, with scions from the Algeo stock grafted on them. Orchardists do not appear to be marketing the fruit of this tree.

References to Johnny Appleseed abound in popular culture. Johnny Appleseed is a character in Neil Gaiman's American Gods. Rock music bands NOFX, Guided by Voices, and Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros have all released songs titled "Johnny Appleseed". "Johnny Appleseed" also featured in a comic series in The Victor in the UK in the early sixties. In Philip Roth's novel American Pastoral, the central character imagines himself as Johnny Appleseed when he moves from Newark to a rural community; in this case the figure stands for an innocent, childlike version of the American pioneer spirit. The Japanese role-playing game Wild ARMs 5 mentions Johnny Appleseed as a central figure in the plotline.

Apple Inc. uses a "John Appleseed" character as a John Smith in many of its recent adverts, video tutorials, and keynote presentation examples; this was also the alias of Mike Markkula under which he published several programs for the Apple II. "John Appleseed" also appears as a contact in many of Apple, inc.'s application demonstrations. The name appears on the caller ID, as a sender in "mail" application demonstrations and screenshots and also in the icons of the "TextEdit" and "Logic Pro X" application.

Shelley Duvall's Tall Tales & Legends featured Johnny Appleseed, as played by Martin Short, in 1986. Also featuring Rob Reiner as Jack Smith and Molly Ringwald as his niece Jenny, the story- while entertaining- takes considerable liberties with the original tall tale.

Robert Heinlein's science fiction novel Farmer in the Sky, which depicts future colonists on Ganymede, and takes up consciously many of the themes of the 19th century American frontier and homesteading, also includes a character who is known as "Johnny Appleseed" and like the historical one is involved in planting and spreading apple trees.

John Clute's science fiction novel Appleseed (2001) centers on a character who may (or may not) be the immortal John Chapman.

John Chapman and his brother Nathaniel are characters in Alice Hoffman's novel, The Red Garden. They appear in the chapter "Eight Nights of Love" as passing through the small town of Blackwell, where they plant an orchard but also the Tree of Life, in the center of said town, a tree which is said to bloom and bear fruit in mid-winter. In Hoffman's book, John has a brief relation with a young woman called Minette Jacob, who was about to hang herself after having lost her husband, child, mother and sister, but who regains the joy of life after meeting the brothers. In the beginning of the chapter the author hints that John was reading Swedenborg's pamphlets and later in the novel, the characters actually refer to him as Johnny Appleseed. The variety of apples is called by the residents "Blackwell Look-No-Further."

National Oatmeal Nut Waffles Day

It’s National Oatmeal Nut Waffles Day! Waffles became a popular baked treat during the Middle Ages. The original recipe called for just flour and water, so vendors sold waffles on the streets during the religious fasting season. Bakers branded the waffles with coats of arms, religious symbols, and the traditional honeycomb pattern we are accustomed to today. Eventually people began adding other ingredients like eggs, butter, milk, and honey.

Looking for a healthier version of this breakfast classic? Make a delicious batch of oatmeal nut waffles with nutritious whole grain oats and chopped pecans mixed right into the batter. Top your oatmeal waffles with peanut butter and syrup, or pair with yogurt and honey for a complete breakfast.

Happy National Oatmeal Nut Waffles Day!

Organize Your Home Office Day

Having a home office is a big deal these days, but for some, organizing it to fit your needs can be even more of a problem.  Most of us have very busy schedules whether it comes to managing your home, finances, your family’s activities and schedules, your college schedules or even running a business.  Some of us may be blessed with a large home office while others may only have a corner in a room to work from.  The key is to create an environment that is efficient and works for you and whoever else you share with.  Whatever the size of your space, here are some very important things to keep in mind while organizing your home office.

What are your goals for your space?  What do you intend to accomplish there.  Do you pay bills?  Manage your family?  Do you run a business?  Do you study?  Does your family use the space?

How do you think you can accomplish these goals and achieve good results?  Write a list of things that you need to accomplish in your space.  If you do more than one activity in your office, then write a separate list for each one, and then you can proceed to the next step.

Is your office capable of serving your purposes?  Do you have the right tools to help you to achieve your goals, like a computer, printer, fax, scanner, phone, shredder, filing cabinet, etc?  Is everything fully operational?  Are you being practical about where they are placed or are you more concerned about the decorative aspect?  Remember, when it comes to running a productive office, efficiency is more important than how things look.  The big picture is not a perfectly clean and decorated office space, but one that functions properly.

This is one of the most important aspects of organizing your office space.  This is when you decide where everything needs to be placed.  This may be the hardest part for most, because some may have a very small space with a lot to accomplish.  This is where you would take the time to examine your space and create the flow for the activities taking place there.  This is where you refer to the lists you created and come up with solutions that will help you accomplish each goal.

Other considerations.
Here are some examples of things that you should take into consideration while planning your space:

Are you right or left handed?  What activities take place here?  Do you have to create or produce products or services?  Do you have children?  Do you study?  How many people will be using the space?  From which direction does the traffic flow in and out?

This will help you decide where to put things like your telephone, filing cabinet, printer, in and out boxes, etc.  If you are right handed, keep your phone to the left and vice versa.  If you have a small space, wall mounted in and out boxes would be ideal.  Always keep your active files or in boxes at arms reach.  If you don’t have a desk drawer, use a good desktop organizer for miscellaneous items like paperclips, stapler, etc.  Your printer should be kept as close as possible as well as your most commonly used filing cabinet.  Rolling open filing drawers are also great to move around the room or hide if need be.

Don’t forget storage.
Another thing to plan for would be storage for supplies.  If you have a small space, you can always use a space in a closet; otherwise, your drawers and cabinets are just fine.   Establish a place to keep trash and recycling. If you have a family keep an in box for each person and label them accordingly.  Keep a main in and out box for mail and separate in boxes for your business or school work.

Putting all of these things in place not only gives you a place for all the paper when it comes in but creates good flow and functionality. Just remember to refer to your list and create a place for everything you need to accomplish your goals. If things don’t work right, don’t give up or get frustrated. It’s okay to keep moving things around till you create your ideal workspace. Even the pros know that!

What is your personality type? Are you a Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic person (hands on)?

A visual person might get distracted by things on the desk and keep them from getting their work done, yet they still like to see things or post things for reminders. Desktop file organizers and bulletin boards are great for this type of person.

Auditory personalities may get distracted by sounds or noises, so having a quiet place to work free from distractions would be ideal, yet they also work better if they have someone to bounce ideas off of. A good tape recorder comes in handy for someone like this who needs reminders of things to do or takes notes.

The Kinesthetic person is the one who probably needs more workspace and doesn’t mind having piles here and there. These are the ones that are more able to multi-task and like to do things on their own. I would keep plenty of notepads available for taking notes.

Some of you may have characteristics of all three types.  (For more information on learning styles, try this link.)

Comfort and Style
Last, but definitely not the least in my book is establishing a comfortable workspace that fits is your personal style.

Choose appropriate lighting: Do you like it dim sometimes, but brighter at others?  A lamp would be ideal for someone who likes a little less lighting.

Make sure that you have a comfortable chair.  This might keep you from getting pain in your back or neck and help you sit for longer periods of time.

Surround yourself with things that you love, like pictures, favorite quotes, plants, books, etc.

Buy office supplies that fit your personal style and paint your space to make it feel cozier.

All of these things will help you want to be in your office more thus, help you to become more productive and efficient in your work space.

World Plumbing Day

World Plumbing Day is an international event on March 11 initiated by the World Plumbing Council celebrating the important role plumbing plays in the health and safety of modern society.

The aftermath of 2010’s devastating earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 tsunami in Japan reveals how easy it is to take for granted the availability of safe drinking water and sufficient sanitation systems — until those systems cease to function properly. History shows that great leaps in humankind’s advancement — both physically and socially — have been tied to advances in plumbing technology. 

The safety and abundance of drinking water is, of course, a concern for most people all over the world, but what is not often emphasized is the work the plumbing industry contributes every day to alleviate these concerns. We would like your help in bringing a better understanding of the largely misunderstood role plumbers play in keeping folks safe and healthy each and every day.

The United Nations declared 2005-2015 the International Decade for Action “Water for Life”, setting a world agenda that focuses increased attention on water-related issues. This initiative is of extraordinary importance in a world where preventable diseases related to water and sanitation claim the lives of about 3.1 million people per year, most of them children less than 5 years old. Of these, about 1.6 million people die each year of diarrheal diseases associated with lack of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.

By including access to a safe drinking water supply and sanitation in these international goals, the world community proposes 97 million additional people annually will have access to drinking-water services and 138 million additional people access to sanitation services through 2015. Working within the spirit of these initiatives the World Health Organization and the World Plumbing Council developed the “Health Aspects of Plumbing” publication noting that sustainable health, especially for children, is not possible without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation facilities.