Sunday, February 22, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Feb 22 2015

Be Humble Day


Humility may be the most difficult of all the virtues to truly attain. There seems to be a paradox in that claiming to have humility may be an act of pride. Some people might be prideful in their humility… or something like that. Either way, Be Humble Day focuses on humbling yourself. There is no boasting allowed on Be Humble Day. Choosing not to brag about your successes and abilities can prove to be much more difficult than one might anticipate, as the culture surrounding us is often centered on self and the successes achieved by an individual. Throughout the ages philosophers and the average Joe alike have pondered humility and what it means to be truly humble. It is a difficult question to answer and the final answer may never fully present itself. But perhaps the seeking of humility is more important than the achieving.

In a fascinating twist of irony, the person responsible for the founding of Be Humble Day is unknown. Whoever it was clearly took humility seriously and didn't bother to brag about starting a recognized day of celebration. Perhaps the person was so humble that they didn't even stop to think they might have instigated something that would reach so far.

The observance of Be Humble Day can be gone about in many ways, but all the avenues of observance should maintain the quietness associated with humility. There should be no loud proclamations of the fact that you're celebrating Be Humble Day, as that would ruin the point. The first step is simply to bear in mind to be humble. If you keep that focus then the rest may follow along after quite simply. Remember: don't focus on your own greatness and the achievements you've made. Be Humble Day is also about encouraging others and focusing on their achievements, and giving a friend or co-worker the props they deserve is an excellent way to keep in the spirit of Be Humble Day.

If you’re looking for further inspiration and more ways to dig deeper into humility on Be Humble Day then perhaps considering these quotes from some great minds (a title foisted upon them by others, not one they themselves took in keeping with humility) will assist you in your journey.

The Christian thinker C.S. Lewis, best known for his beloved Chronicles of Narnia book series, said that “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” A perfect quote for Be Humble Day. Criss Jami, an American poet and philosopher observed that “The biggest challenge after success is shutting up about it.” And if you think you know something then stop for a minute and consider the words of Albert Einstein: “A true genius admits that he/she knows nothing.” If Albert Einstein can admit that he knows nothing then perhaps there is hope for all of us to be more humble in our everyday lives. Opportunities to humble ourselves pass us by every day, and Be Humble Day is the perfect inspiration to sit and up and notice these chances to better ourselves and to make the world a more pleasant place for the people around us.

George Washington's Birthday


George Washington (1732-99) was commander in chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War (1775-83) and served two terms as the first U.S. president, from 1789 to 1797. The son of a prosperous planter, Washington was raised in colonial Virginia. As a young man, he worked as a surveyor then fought in the French and Indian War (1754-63). During the American Revolution, he led the colonial forces to victory over the British and became a national hero. In 1787, he was elected president of the convention that wrote the U.S. Constitution. Two years later, Washington became America’s first president. Realizing that the way he handled the job would impact how future presidents approached the position, he handed down a legacy of strength, integrity and national purpose. Less than three years after leaving office, he died at his Virginia plantation, Mount Vernon, at age 67.

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, at his family’s plantation on Pope’s Creek in Westmoreland County, in the British colony of Virginia, to Augustine Washington (1694-1743) and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington (1708-89). George, the eldest of Augustine and Mary Washington’s six children, spent much of his childhood at Ferry Farm, a plantation near Fredericksburg, Virginia. After Washington’s father died when he was 11, it’s likely he helped him mother manage the plantation.

Few details about Washington’s early education are known, although children of prosperous families like his typically were taught at home by private tutors or attended private schools. It’s believed he finished his formal schooling at around age 15.

As a teenager, Washington, who had shown an aptitude for mathematics, became a successful surveyor. His surveying expeditions into the Virginia wilderness earned him enough money to begin acquiring land of his own.

In 1751, Washington made his only trip outside of America, when he travelled to Barbados with his older half-brother Lawrence (1718-52), who was suffering from tuberculosis and hoped the warm climate would help him recuperate. Shortly after their arrival, George contracted smallpox. He survived, although the illness left him with permanent facial scars. In 1752, Lawrence, who had been educated in England and served as Washington’s mentor, died. Washington eventually inherited Lawrence’s estate, Mount Vernon, on the Potomac River near Alexandria, Virginia.

In December 1752, Washington, who had no previous military experience, was made a commander of the Virginia militia. He saw action in the French and Indian War and was eventually put in charge of all of Virginia’s militia forces. By 1759, Washington had resigned his commission, returned to Mount Vernon and was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses, where he served until 1774. In January 1759, he married Martha Dandridge Custis (1731-1802), a wealthy widow with two children. Washington became a devoted stepfather to the children; he and Martha never had any offspring of their own.

In the ensuing years, Washington expanded Mount Vernon from 2,000 acres into an 8,000-acre property with five farms. He grew a variety of crops, including wheat and corn, bred mules and maintained fruit orchards and a successful fishery. He was deeply interested in farming and continually experimented with new crops and methods of land conservation.

By the late 1760s, Washington had experienced firsthand the effects of rising taxes imposed on American colonists by the British, and came to believe that it was in the best interests of the colonists to declare independence from England. Washington served as a delegate to the First Continental Congress in 1774 in Philadelphia. By the time the Second Continental Congress convened a year later, the American Revolution had begun in earnest, and Washington was named commander in chief of the Continental Army.

Washington proved to be a better general than military strategist. His strength lay not in his genius on the battlefield but in his ability to keep the struggling colonial army together. His troops were poorly trained and lacked food, ammunition and other supplies (soldiers sometimes even went without shoes in winter). However, Washington was able to give them the direction and motivation to keep going.

Over the course of the grueling eight-year war, the colonial forces won few battles but consistently held their own against the British. In October 1781, with the aid of the French (who allied themselves with the colonists over their rivals the British), the Continental forces were able to capture British troops under General Charles Cornwallis (1738-1805) in Yorktown, Virginia. This action effectively ended the Revolutionary War and Washington was declared a national hero.

In 1783, with a peace treaty signed between Great Britain and the U.S., Washington, believing he had done his duty, gave up his command of the army and returned to Mount Vernon, intent on resuming his life as a gentleman farmer and family man. However, in 1787, he was asked to attend the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and head the committee to draft the new constitution. His impressive leadership there convinced the delegates that he was by far the most qualified man to become the nation’s first president.

At first Washington balked. He wanted to, at last, return to a quiet life at home and leave governing the new nation to others. But public opinion was so strong that eventually he gave in. The first presidential election was held on January 7, 1789, and Washington won handily. John Adams (1735-1826), who received the second-largest number of votes, became the nation’s first vice president. The 57-year-old Washington was inaugurated on April 30, 1789, in New York City. Because Washington, D.C., America’s future capital city wasn't yet built, he lived in New York and Philadelphia.

The United States was a small nation when Washington took office, consisting of 11 states and approximately 4 million people, and there was no precedent for how the new president should conduct domestic or foreign business. Mindful that his actions would likely determine how future presidents were expected to govern, Washington worked hard to set an example of fairness, prudence and integrity. In foreign matters, he supported cordial relations with other countries but also favored a position of neutrality in foreign conflicts. Domestically, he nominated the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Jay (1745-1829), signed a bill establishing the first national bank and set up his own presidential cabinet. His two most prominent cabinet appointees were Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), two men who disagreed strongly on the role of the federal government. Hamilton favored a strong central government, while Jefferson favored stronger states’ rights. Washington believed that divergent views were critical for the health of the new government, but he was distressed at what he saw as an emerging partisanship.

In 1796, after two terms as president and declining to serve a third term, Washington finally retired. In his farewell address, he urged the new nation to maintain the highest standards domestically and to keep involvement with foreign powers to a minimum. The address is still read each February in the U.S. Senate to commemorate Washington’s birthday.

Washington returned to Mount Vernon and devoted his attentions to making the plantation as productive as it had been before he became president. More than four decades of public service had aged him, but he was still a commanding figure. In December 1799, he caught a cold after inspecting his properties in the rain. The cold developed into a throat infection and Washington died on the night of December 14 at the age of 67. He was entombed at Mount Vernon, which in 1960 was designated a national historic landmark.

Washington left one of the most enduring legacies of any American in history. Known as the “Father of His Country,” his face appears on the U.S. dollar bill and quarter, and hundreds of U.S. schools and towns, as well as the nation’s capital city, are named for him.

National Cook a Sweet Potato Day


National Cook A Sweet Potato Day is celebrated across the United States each year on February 22nd.  The sweet potato is eaten and loved, each day, by millions of people across the nation.

National Cook a Sweet Potato Day celebrates these tuberous roots that should not only be eaten during Thanksgiving and Christmas but year round. Sweet potatoes are a very good source of beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, and vitamin B6. The natural sugars are released slowly into the bloodstream so you don't have to worry about any spikes. Sweet Potatoes are typically baked or boiled and are extra tasty served with cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, brown sugar, or melted marshmallows. They may also be eaten as sweet potato pie, fries, or chips.

When the Spanish explorers first came to the New World they were searching for an ocean route to India and its fabled treasures of gold, silver, spices and jewels. They found them on these two new continents, North and South America, but they found many other things far more valuable, including three of the world' s most important food plants: corn, the white or Irish potato, and the sweet potato.

Being a tropical plant, the sweet potato probably was found before the Irish potato -- by Columbus in the West Indies, by Balboa in Central America, and by Pizarro in Peru. Like corn, it was not found growing wild, but it had been cultivated by the Incan and pre-Incan races for thousands of years. They had developed many varieties, as is shown by their ancient pottery. In most places in Latin America, the sweet potato is called "camote", but the Incans called it "batata" and that is apparently the origin of our word "potato".

The sweet potato was carried back to Spain and thence to Italy, from where it spread to Austria, Germany, Belgium and England before the first Irish potatoes arrived. It took 200 years for the English to accept Irish potatoes as being fit for human food, but the sweet potato immediately became a rare and expensive delicacy. Now it is widely grown in Asiatic lands, including Japan and southern Russia, in the warmer Pacific islands, in tropical America, and in the United States as far north as New Jersey.

Outside of the tropics, sweet potatoes thrive only in the warmer temperate climates, and do best in a loose sandy soil that is well drained. They produce seed only in the tropical climates. In northern climates, new plants are obtained by planting roots, or cuttings of the vines, in beds. The sprouts that form are pulled and transplanted to fields one sprout to a "hill". Once well started, they require little moisture and, unless attacked by the numerous diseases and insect pests to which they are subject, develop many potatoes in each hill.

Sweet potatoes produce more pounds of food per acre than any other cultivated plant, including corn and the Irish potato. More nourishing than Irish potatoes because they contain more sugars and fats, they are a universal food in tropical America, and in our southern states where they are baked, candied, boiled and even fried. Vast quantities are canned for consumption in the United States. Of the 200 or more varieties there are two main types. The "Jersey" and related varieties having dry mealy flesh are favored in the northern states. The other type, more watery but richer in sugar and more soft and gelatinous when cooked, is favored in our southern states where they are called "yams". The true yam, however, originated in China and is a different plant related to the lilies. The Irish potato, believe it or not, belongs to the Nightshade Family.

The sweet potato botanically, belongs to the Morning Glory family. There is another member of this family, a native weed known in Illinois and Indiana as "wild potato vine", "wild sweet potato" or "man-of-the-earth", with an enormous fleshy root much esteemed as food by the Indians. Above ground, the sweet potato develops creeping twining vines with pink or purple blossoms like those of the morning glory. Its thick starchy roots develop into the tubers we call "sweet potatoes". These contain carotene, the chemical which produces the orange colors in autumn leaves and in carrots. The Indians in Latin America make a beautiful permanent red dye from the mixed juices of limes and sweet potatoes.

National Margarita Day


We pay tribute and honor the margarita on this special day of celebration.  We so deeply respect and value its place in our history that we have set aside Feb. 22 of every year as National Margarita Day.

Loved and consumed by millions, friends and families around the world honor this sacred tequila, triple sec and lime drink every year on February 22.

The exact origin and inventor of the margarita is unknown.

One of the earliest stories is of the margarita being invented in 1938 by Carlos "Danny" Herrera at his restaurant Rancho La Gloria, halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, Mexico, created for customer and former Ziegfeld dancer Marjorie King, who was allergic to many spirits, but not to tequila. This story was related by Herrera and also by bartender Albert Hernandez, acknowledged for popularizing a Margarita in San Diego after 1947, at the La Plaza restaurant in La Jolla. Hernandez claimed the owner of La Plaza, Morris Locke, knew Herrera and visited Mexico often.

Hussong's Cantina in Ensenada, Mexico, has also been cited as the place where the margarita was created, in October 1941, by bartender Don Carlos Orozco. He concocted a mixture of equal parts tequila, Damiana (Cointreau is used now) and lime, served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass for Margarita Henkel, daughter of the German Ambassador to Mexico.

There are also claims that the margarita was first mixed in the El Paso-Juárez area at Tommy's Place Bar on July 4, 1942 by Francisco "Pancho" Morales. Morales later left bartending in Mexico to become a US citizen, where he worked as a milkman for 25 years. Mexico's official news agency Notimex and many experts have said Morales has the strongest claim to having invented the margarita.

Others say the inventor was Dallas socialite Margarita Sames, when she concocted the drink for her guests at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948. Tommy Hilton reportedly attended, bringing the drink back to the Hilton chain of hotels. However, Jose Cuervo was already running ad campaigns for the margarita three years earlier, in 1945, with the slogan, "Margarita: It’s more than a girl's name." According to Jose Cuervo, the cocktail was invented in 1938 by a bartender in honor of Mexican showgirl Rita de la Rosa.

Another common origin tale begins the cocktail’s history at the legendary Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas where, in 1948, head bartender Santos Cruz created the margarita for singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee. He supposedly named it after the Spanish version of her name, Margarita, and it’s been a hit ever since.

The first known publication of a margarita recipe was in the December 1953 issue of Esquire, with a recipe calling for an ounce of tequila, a dash of triple sec and the juice of half a lime or lemon. A recipe for a tequila-based cocktail first appeared in the 1930 book My New Cocktail Book by G.F. Steele. Without noting a specific recipe or inventor, a drink called the Tequila Daisy was mentioned in the Syracuse Herald as early as 1936. Margarita is Spanish for Daisy, which is a nickname for Margaret.

A later story is that the margarita was invented in October 1961, at a party in Houston, Texas, by party goer Robert James "Rusty" Thomson while acting as bartender. He concocted a mixture of equal parts tequila, orange liqueur, lime, and crushed ice in a salt-rimmed glass. However, Thomson's recipe was made with Damiana Liqueur, not Cointreau orange liqueur. It is said that the idea was an experiment after running out of rum while making frozen daiquiris.

Another explanation, however, is that the margarita is merely a popular American drink, the Daisy, remade with tequila instead of brandy, which became popular during Prohibition as people drifted over the border for alcohol. There is an account from 1936 of Iowa newspaper editor James Graham finding such a cocktail in Tijuana, years before any of the other Margarita "creation myths". Hence National Margarita Day!
Are out looking for the best margarita?  Best is relative!  The margarita has developed into so many different flavors and varieties, each differing slightly depending on region.  A few of the more popular flavors include Strawberry Margarita, Mango Margarita, Limeade Margarita, Watermelon Margarita, Pomegranate Margarita, Raspberry Margarita and Blackberry Margarita.

National Margarita Day was started to celebrate the margarita, plain and simple.   Friendship, good times and memories of somewhere warmer are all great reasons to enjoy a margarita.

Open That Bottle Night


Whether it’s the only bottle in the house or one bottle among thousands, just about all wine lovers have that very special wine that they always mean to open, but never do. This is why “Tastings” columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher invented Open That Bottle Night, the world-wide celebration of friends, family and memories during which all of us finally drink that wine that is otherwise simply too special to open.

On OTBN, which is celebrated on the last Saturday of February every year, thousands of bottles all over the world are released from prison and enjoyed. With them come memories of great vacations, long-lost loved ones and bittersweet moments. The whole point of the weekly “Tastings” column is that wine is more than the liquid in the bottle. It’s about history, geography, relationships and all of the things that are really important in life.

If you plan to participate in Open That Bottle Night, here are some tips to help you make the most of it.

  • Choose the wine. This is the all-important first step. You don’t necessarily want to open your “best” wine or your most impressive wine, but the wine that means the most to you, the one that you would simply never open otherwise. Maybe it’s Grandpa’s garlic wine. You’re looking for a bottle full of memories. On the other hand, if you have, say, a 1929 Lafite that’s just sitting there, it’s tough to argue with that.
  • Stand older wine up (away from light and heat, of course) for a few days before you plan to open it — say, on Wednesday. This will allow the sediment, if there is some, to sink to the bottom.
  • Both reds and whites are often better closer to cellar temperature (around 55 degrees) than today’s room temperature. Don’t overchill the white, and think about putting the red in the refrigerator for an hour or two before opening it if you've been keeping it in a 70-degree house.
  • With an older bottle, the cork may break easily. The best opener for a cork like that is one with two prongs, but it requires some skill. You have some time to practice using one. Be prepared for the possibility that a fragile cork may fall apart with a regular corkscrew. If that happens, have a carafe and a coffee filter handy. Just pour enough through the coffee filter to catch the cork.
  • Otherwise, do not decant. It’s safe to assume that these are old and fragile wines. Air could quickly dispel what’s left of them. If the wine does needtobreathe, you should have plenty of time for that throughout the evening.
  • Have a backup wine ready for your special meal, in case your old wine really has gone bad.
  • If you are having an OTBN party, ask everyone to say a few words about the significance of the wine they brought. This really is what OTBN is all about, sharing.
  • Serve dinner. Open the wine and immediately take a sip. If it’s truly, irretrievably bad — meaning vinegar — you will know it right away. But even if the wine doesn't taste good at first, don't rush to the sink to pour it out. Previous OTBN participants have said they were amazed how a wine pulled itself together and became delicious as the night wore on.
  • Enjoy the wine for what it is, not what it might someday be or might once have been.

Walking the Dog Day


February 22 is “Walking the Dog Day.” Not only is walking the dog great exercise for you, but it is one of the best activities you can share with your dog. According to i-love-dogs.com, most dogs have the ability to travel up to 15 miles a day.

A dog who does not get enough exercise may exhibit signs of frustration and destructive behavior such as barking, chewing, digging, and running away.

Furthermore, walking the dog is great exercise for you, gives you an opportunity to socialize with the people in your neighborhood, and also allows you to bond with your dog. Make sure to respect your neighbors’ yards by carrying plastic bags to pick up your dog’s waste while you are out walking.

In celebration of National Walking the Dog Day, we're giving you 5 reasons why you should walk your pup EVERY day!

  1. Dogs need an outlet to release their tremendous amounts of energy. Too much built-up energy can result in destructive behavior or separation anxiety. Taking your pooch for a 20-30 minute walk every day is not only good for their physical and mental health, but will also help spend their energy in a productive way. Learn more about the health benefits of an active dog.
  2. Walking your dog is an excellent training activity. Using the proper methods, this exercise can reinforce the bond between you and your dog. Make sure to be in control during the walk, as this will help establish you as the alpha dog in the relationship.
  3. Dogs have natural roaming and exploring instincts. Walking fulfills this need by providing mental and physical stimulation. Your pooch will be exposed to a variety of sights, sounds, and smells, and exploring these will give your dog a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
  4. Dogs are social animals, and it is believed that humans were able to domesticate them due to their social nature. That’s why it is imperative that your pet be properly socialized. Going for walks will help your dog learn how to interact with other dogs and people in your neighborhood.
  5. Best of all, walking will keep your dog healthy and happy for longer. It will also enforce healthier habits in your own life. What could be better than exercising for 20-30 minutes with your best friend?!

Today we challenge you to take your dog for a long walk. Do you notice any immediate benefits of their health or behavior?

World Thinking Day


World Thinking Day is a day of friendship, advocacy and fundraising for 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world.

On 22 February each year, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world celebrate World Thinking Day by:
  • Learning about their international sisters in designated focus countries for the year
  • Read more about international Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting
  •  Doing fun and educational activities based around an advocacy theme for the year
  • Find out about this year’s theme
  • Fundraising for the World Thinking Day Fund
  • Find out more about fundraising on World Thinking Day
  •  Earning the World Thinking Day badge
  • Find out more about the badge program
Girl Guides and Girl Scouts have been celebrating World Thinking Day since 1926 and it has been an important fundraising day since 1932. Read all about the history of World Thinking Day.

In 1926, delegates from around the globe met in the USA and agreed that 22 February would be known from then onward as a special day for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world.

Camp Edith Macy – now called Edith Macy Conference Center – in New York state, USA, was the venue for the fourth World Conference of the Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting Movement in 1926.

A special day
Conference attendees agreed that year that there should be a special annual day when Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world think of each other and express their thanks and appreciation for our international Movement. This was called Thinking Day.

The delegates chose 22 February as the date for Thinking Day because it was the birthday of both Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout Movement, and his wife Olave, who was World Chief Guide.

A birthday gift
Six years later in 1932, the seventh World Conference was taking place in Bucze, Poland, when a Belgian delegate pointed out that a birthday usually involves gifts, and so girls could show their appreciation on Thinking Day by offering gifts to our international Movement by fundraising or making a donation.

Olave Baden-Powell wrote to all Girl Guides and Girl Scouts later that year to tell them about this idea and to ask them to spare a penny to help support Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting around the world. Scroll down to read Olave’s letter.

International aspects
Much later in 1999, at the thirtieth World Conference in Dublin, Ireland, delegates from around the world decided to change the name of the day from Thinking Day to World Thinking Day, to better emphasise the international aspects of the day.

The fundraising aspect of World Thinking Day that began in 1932 is still an important funding mechanism for WAGGGS today, and it helps to keep the Movement going.