Saturday, November 1, 2014

Holidays and Observances for November 1 2014

Extra Mile Day

On November 1st, over 500 cities from across the United States will proclaim Extra Mile Day...a day recognizing the capacity we each have to create positive change in ourselves, families, organizations and communities when we "go the extra mile." According to Extra Mile Day founder Shawn Anderson, the message of the unique day has the power to change everything about our lives.

"Imagine if you asked your boss 'What more can I do to help us succeed?' Imagine if you asked a friend, 'What can I do to help you reach one of your goals?' Imagine if you reached out to a service organization in your community and said 'I'm available,'" says Anderson, the Founder of Extra Mile America, the organization behind Extra Mile Day. "It's this sort of extra-mile imagination and effort that has the power to change everything about our lives."

Whether it is in encouraging others to continue to pursue fading dreams or uplifting people to not let life's tragedies derail hope, Anderson dedicates his life to inspiring others to maximize their potential and contribution. His message is consistent and to the point: "Want a better life? Go the extra mile."

First spreading the "go the extra mile" message across the U.S. in 2009, Anderson used a symbolic 4,000-mile ocean-to-ocean solo bike ride. On the ride, the 47-year-old non-bicyclist held motivational events in 21 national cities. At these events, Anderson interviewed over 200 people who had been recognized as going the extra mile in overcoming personal setback or who had risked everything in order to accomplish something extraordinary. After the ninety-day tour, Anderson, a motivational speaker and author, personally gave away $10,000 to those people whose stories he found especially inspiring.

"We complain about all the things we don't like in our lives, and we spend time wishing for better jobs, more money, and happier relationships," says motivational guru Anderson. "But all the complaining and wishing in the world won't change things. It's when we do more and give more than we currently are that we push the envelope of change in a different and positive direction. The Extra Mile Day movement reminds us that the positive change we seek in our own lives and in society begins with the person in the mirror."

Give Up Your Shoulds Day

  • ”I should read more books.”
  • “I should keep my room neater.”
  • “I should do sit-ups while I watch TV.”
  • “I should be a doctor.”
  • “I should study math harder.”
  • “I should eat healthier food.”
Today we are urged to give up the word “should”—at least for the day. That word, especially if it isn't tied to action, can keep us down-in-the-dumps about ourself or our lives.

The family therapist who invented the day said that “people generally live more calm and fulfilled lives if they give up the word“should.” 

Don't tell yourself you “should” exercise—do it! Find a way to get exercise that you really enjoy and look forward to. Ditto for eating healthy foods—look for something healthy that really appeals to you, like a juicy piece of fruit, rather than gnawing through some “health-food” bar you don't enjoy. When it comes to exercise and nutrition and keeping healthy, action really is way more important than words. Find the things you love that are healthy. Do them. Do them because you love them AND you love being healthy.

As to all of those other shoulds I list above, reading, keeping your room/house/ neat, studying, planning a career—all of these things are wonderful things. Read the stuff you love to read—and try reading new stuff, because maybe there are all sorts of other wonderful thing you would love reading just waiting out there. Study things that make your heart sing, and explore lots of “subjects” and ideas, because your heart might be waiting to play an entire symphony! Think about what's worth doing, and how your particular passions might lead you to your calling. (A calling is something you feel a strong urge to do. It's a career or way of life or vocation.) Explore your own gifts to see how you can contribute to the world.

One thing about the word “should”: it's often what other people think you should be doing, right? We live in groups—in families, communities, organizations, nations—so we definitely have to do our share of the not-so-fun work of being alive. We have to work together at times and compromise at times. For sure.

However, there are a lot of times when you can be your own master. You decide what you think about, what you dream about, what you want to do with much of your time, who you want to spend time with, how you want to react to things that happen to you. And other people's “shoulds” can get in the way of you becoming your most authentic self!

Here are some more not-so-great things about the word "should":
It can keep us focused on the future rather than on right now. But if we never enjoy now, we miss out on life (which is just a series of "right now" moments, right?)...

It can keep us focused on some unobtainable perfect ideal. The perfect person might be rich and accomplished, even tempered and healthy, with lots of good habits and no bad ones. In this society, the perfect person would have straight white teeth and little body fat; she or he would get straight As in school and a progression of raises and praises at work. And we should be that, we should work for all of that, we should, we should, we should... Working for perfection can cause people to put a lot of pressure on themselves.

National Author's Day

The idea of setting aside a day to celebrate American authors came from Nellie Verne Burt McPherson, president of the Bement (Illinois) Women's Club in 1928. McPherson was a teacher and an avid reader throughout her life. During World War I, when she was recuperating in a hospital, she wrote a fan letter to fiction writer Irving Bacheller, telling him how much she had enjoyed his story, "Eben Holden's Last Day A'Fishin." Bacheller sent her an autographed copy of another story, and McPherson realized that she could never adequately thank him for his gift. Instead, she showed her appreciation by submitting an idea for a National Author's Day to the General Federation of Women's Clubs, which passed a resolution setting aside November 1 as a day to honor American writers. In 1949 the day was recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Sue Cole, McPherson's granddaughter, was largely responsible for promoting the observation of National Author's Day after her grandmother's death in 1968. She has urged people to write a note to their favorite author on this day to "brighten up the sometimes lonely business of being a writer." Flying the American flag on November 1, according to Mrs. Cole, is another way of showing appreciation for the men and women who have created American literature.

National Deep Fried Clams Day

In 1865 fried clams were found on the menu of the Parker House hotel restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts so it is known that fried clams have been served and enjoyed for more than 140 years.   Now today we celebrate National Deep Fried Clams Day.

According to legend, it was 300 years ago that the modern deep fried, breaded version of clams is credited to Lawrence Henry “Chubby” Woodman from Essex, Massachusetts.  It is believed that his first batch was cooked on July 3, 1916 in his small roadside restaurant, now Woodman’s of Essex.

It was later on that Thomas Soffron of Soffron Brothers Clam Co., based in Ipswich, Massachusetts, created clam strips, which are made from the “foot” of hard-shelled sea clams.  Soffron sold these to Howard Johnson’s in an exclusive deal and as the chain expanded, they became popular throughout the country.

In themselves, clams are low in cholesterol and fat,  however, when fried they absorb cooking fat. 

National Family Literacy Day

National Family Literacy Day, celebrated across the U.S., focuses on special activities and events that showcase the importance of family literacy programs. First held in 1994, the annual event is officially celebrated on November 1st, but many events are held throughout the month of November. Schools, libraries, and other literacy organizations participate through read-a-thons, celebrity appearances, book drives, and more.

Kick off National Family Literacy Day by inviting parents, grandparents, and other family members to your classroom for a family-school reading day.
  • Invite students' family members to read a favorite story from their childhood, or their child's favorite bedtime story. (Grandparents can share both their child's and their grandchild's favorites!)
  • Provide a collection of books for families to share during a group reading session. Invite families to get comfortable by bringing a cushion, beanbag chair, or pillow.
  • Introduce families to some of the games & tools provided by ReadWriteThink. Encourage them to use these engaging tools at home to enhance their reading and writing experiences.
  • Provide each family with a certificate of participation or a bookmark at the end of the event. Ask a local bookstore for a donation, or print certificates and bookmarks from your computer.
  • At the close of your event, be sure to remind parents about other National Family Literacy Day events in your community.
Remember that family literacy is something that should be encouraged all year round. Invite students and their families to brainstorm ways they can keep their family engaged in reading on a regular basis!

National Go Cook For Your Pets Day

Our pets bring us so much joy and give some much of themselves shouldn’t we give back?

This November 1st show your pets how much you care by focusing on their health and nutrition and cooking for them. You can make a day of meals or a simple treat, what ever you make they are sure to love it!

With all the pet food recalls and tainted food ingredients pet parents are paying more and more attention to what they feed there pets, but with all the information out there it can be hard to know where to start.We are not suggesting that the only way to make sure your animal is well fed is cooking for them everyday, the best diet for you and your pet is best decided by you and your veterinarian, but we want to raise awareness about your pets nutrition.

It can all see daunting at first and that’s how National Cook for Your Pets Day came into being if you start with focusing on your pets nutrition just one day it’ll be better for you both, and of course they will love you all the more for it!

Now for the fun part. National Cook for Your Pets Day has some free recipes and moreover they want you to send in your best home cooking inspirations. 

Natural Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Doggie Cookies


2 c whole wheat flour, plus flour for dusting
1/2 c rolled oats
1/4 c grated carrot
1 4 oz jar winter squash baby food
3/4 c canned pumpkin
3 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1/4 c water

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine all ingredients in stand mixer with paddle attachment. Mix until ingredients combined. Flour work surface. Roll dough to 1/4″ thickness. Cut into squares 2" x 2" or for more fun use a favorite cookie cutter.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes (depending upon size). You want them firm but still a little chewy.

National Vinegar Day

Pucker up - November 1 is National Vinegar Day!

It has been said that balancing flavors makes great food, and vinegar is the kind of ingredient that can help achieve this balance. Most of us use vinegar in a salad dressing, but vinegar is also what gives barbecue sauce its tang and it’s essential to making mayonnaise.

If products were people, then vinegar would have good reason to lie about “her” age: “she” is over 10,000 years old! Vinegar has a legacy that goes back—way back—to ancient times, where it was inadvertently created alongside its alcoholic forbears—wine, beer, and other spirits. Vessels with traces of vinegar dating back to 6000 B.C.E. have been found in Egypt and China.

First written about in Babylonian times circa 5000 B.C.E., vinegar made with dates* found its way to kitchens and campfires everywhere. One legend has Cleopatra, to win a bet with Marc Antony, dissolving a pearl in a glass of vinegar and quaffing the mixture.

What we can be sure of, however, is that vinegar is mentioned—twice—not in a mere ancient cookbook but in the mother of all books, the Bible (in both the Book of Ruth and in Proverbs). It is specifically called for in the Talmud, to make the haroseth for Passover.

Hippocrates prescribed a watered-down vinegar drink to his patients. Caesar’s army, drank it too; although as a preventative medicine, not as a palliative. Some scholars believe that Jesus, while on the cross, was given a drink of vinegar with water as a painkiller.

In 1896, Henry J. Heinz founded a condiment company selling prepared horseradish, pickles and various sauces. The company also manufactured vinegar to preserve the pickles. Soon enough, Heinz was the first manufacturer to package vinegar in individual bottles for home use. In the early 1880s, the “paneled” bottle with the keystone label appeared.

Previously, all vinegar was fermented in barrels or crocks that were stored in barns or basements. According to a 1901 H. J. Heinz Company employee newspaper: “The old vinegar barrel lying in the cellar, or at the side of the barn for three or four years, has been supplanted by appliances that retain the natural flavor of the fruit and keep it free from impurities of all kinds. Cleanliness, purity and wholesomeness—the secret of HJ Heinz Company’s great success in making vinegar.”

Vinegar requires a fermentation of sugar, and can be made from almost anything that contains it: fruits (apples, berries, coconuts, grapes, melons, peaches), grains (sorghum, rice, barley malt), whey, sugars (molasses, sugar cane, honey, maple syrup), or vegetables (beets, potatoes). The most commonly used varieties—not necessarily by foodies—are apple cider vinegar and distilled white vinegar.

While most people think of vinegar as something that is made from wine, it can be made from the fermented juices of virtually any plant material, including rice, grain and fruit. Thus, while European vinegar is basically an alcoholic beverage that has gone sour, and the word vinegar that we use today is French for sour wine (vin is wine and aigre means sour), around the world vinegars are made from a broad variety of bases. Any liquid containing sugar and starch can conceivably be made into vinegar once alcohol fermentation has begun. Different cultures make vinegars made from their local produce, fermenting dates, honey, raisins, rose petals, sorghum and sugar cane.

Whatever language one speaks, cultures the world over use vinegar in meals as part of marinades, sauces, salsas, mustards, ketchups, relishes, chutneys, sambals, jellies, jams, and preserves—not to mention as a cleaning agent, disinfectant, and medical treatment (which we won’t be dwelling on any more in this article—we’re here to eat). Unopened bottles of vinegar can be stored indefinitely. Producers recommend that opened bottles should be used up within 6 months to enjoy peak flavor; although we have kept vinegars much longer than that (years!). All bottles should be kept in a cool, dark place—including those gourmet bottles with sprigs of herbs inside. You need to choose if they’ll be food or decor, since daily exposure to bright light can alter the flavor over time.

Vinegar is made via a fermentation process. Different fermented foods result in different types of vinegars and different flavors. Whether you’re dousing freshly fried potatoes in malt vinegar or macerating strawberries in balsamic vinegar, the options for taking ordinary food to new heights are endless.

Aside from its culinary uses, vinegar is a helpful cleaning agent and can also be used to help ease the pain of jellyfish stings.

Prime Meridian Day

You know how the world is divided up into different latitudes and longitudes? This makes sense, because we can use these numbers to communicate about, and map, and travel to very precise locations. 

 But did you ever wonder who divvied up the world in this way?

When people explored regions, even back in ancient times, they often drew maps of what they saw. Many people used coordinate systems on their maps—numbered or lettered lines running both vertically and horizontally, as an aid to finding and talking about features on the map. However, mapmakers' systems were different from one another, and that could be confusing!

The wealthiest and most powerful nations in the world used some of that wealth and power to explore faraway places, and so the latitude/longitude systems they used became widespread. Still, many different nations counted longitude with a different starting point, a different line of longitude being zero, a different “Prime Meridian.” For example, geographers in France counted the line of longitude running through Paris as the Prime Meridian, but geographers in England counted the line of longitude running through Greenwich (just outside of London) as the Prime Meridian.

And when you are traveling all over the world, and writing letters to people all over the world, and doing cooperative science experiments with people all over the world, that is really confusing!

By the way, it was obvious to everyone where the zero-line of latitude should be—the equator. The equator is an imaginary line that runs around the planet's “waist,” the mid-point between the two poles that serve as the axis of rotation, and it's a very obvious and “fair” location for the starting point of latitude. But there just isn't an obvious and objective spot to start longitude. Should it be the line that intersects Tokyo, Japan? Cairo, Egypt? New York, United States?

Any of these lines would work as well as any other line—so how did people choose the Prime Meridian?

On this date in 1884, representatives of 25 nations around the world met in Washington, D.C., to set up a standard latitude/longitude system (and also standard time zones). Probably because Great Britain was an important colonial power, but also because the United States of America already used it, the British system of longitude, with the Prime Meridian running through Greenwich in Great Britain, was finally chosen. One nation (Haiti) voted against this, and two nations (Brazil and France) refused to vote on the issue, but 22 “yea” votes carried the day, and the world finally had one standard Prime Meridian.

World Vegan Day

World Vegan Day (WVD) - are you thinking about becoming vegan? WVD has been celebrated since 1994 and did you know it also heralds the start of World Vegan Month.

Veganism is a great alternative to eating meat, which we can only get by killing animals! Furthermore, vegan farming can help us to banish world hunger - it helps protect water reserves, fertile lands, and cuts out greenhouse gas emissions.

Did you realise that forests are destroyed not only to provide sources like wood and paper - but also so animals have land to graze from and growing crops to be fed from?

So what's happening on November 1st? Well this year WVD is hoping that a record number of people will pledge to try 'plant based eating' at least for one day. But, there are other pledges that you can take so why not visit the official website for more information about how you can take part in a meat free diet.

The Vegan Catering for All booklet can be downloaded and it will provide you with veggie recipes and lots of options for making tasty vegan meals.

People really are taking part all over the globe. In Paris World Vegan Day will be celebrated with stands, workshops and debates.

Much emphasis is on utilising World Vegan Day to celebrate a shared for the issues surrounding food and a respect for animals. Young businesses will be getting involved in the conferences and events of the day, which are described as being 100% vegetable!

In previous years the 'Compassionate Living Fair' has taken place in Edinburgh. With over 700 people attending the day's events, which included themed activities, free herbalist sessions, hair wraps and of course food to encourage you to try a vegan diet!