Cheer Up the Lonely Day

July 11 is a day to remember those who are lonely. All different kinds of people can be lonely, from those who know no one because of being in a new situation, to those who have lost a significant loved one, to those in nursing homes, to empty nesters. Whatever the reason, today is a day to remember them. Francis Pesek of Detroit, Michigan created this special holiday. His daughter, L.J. Pesek reports that he “was a quiet, kind, wonderful man who had a heart of gold. The idea came to him as a way of promoting kindness toward others who were lonely or forgotten as shut-ins or in nursing homes.”

All of us have been lonely at some time in our lives. Surely, we all know someone right now who is lonely. Today is a day to look around and think about those we interact with each day. A new neighbor might welcome a plate of cookies. A newcomer at work might welcome a lunch invitation, or just someone to talk to. A person who fights depression can especially use a listening ear. If no one of your acquaintance fits the bill, plenty of folks in nursing homes would welcome a visit. My Mother lives in a nursing home, and all of us siblings are too far away to visit very often. She has friends there, but she misses family. Though we can be lonely at any age – children too – older folks have a different loneliness, as they have seen so many friends and family pass away. New friends are good, but you never stop missing the old ones.

So the assignment today is to acknowledge someone who is lonely, preferably in person, but a card, phone call, or email is also a way to show you care. As an introvert, however, I do feel the need to point out that there is a world of difference between solitude and loneliness. Some of us cherish that alone time, and do not need cheering up! But all will welcome a kind word and a plate of cookies – or healthy food if you must.

Quotes about loneliness

The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.–F. Scott Fitzgerald

We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.–Albert Schweitzer

The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness.–Norman Cousins

Loneliness is the ultimate poverty.–Pauline Phillips

The trouble is not that I am single and likely to stay single, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely.–Charlotte Brontë

There is no loneliness like that of a failed marriage.–Alexander Theroux

I’m lonely. And I’m lonely in some horribly deep way and for a flash of an instant, I can see just how lonely, and how deep this feeling runs.–Augusten Burroughs

This world that I live in is empty and cold
The loneliness cuts me and tortures my soul.–Waylon Jennings

Loneliness is my least favorite thing about life. The thing that I’m most worried about is just being alone without anybody to care for or someone who will care for me.–Anne Hathaway

Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering—and it’s all over much too soon.–Woody Allen

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.–Maya Angelou

What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.–Kurt Vonnegut

The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.–Mother Teresa

Loneliness is about the scariest thing out there.–Joss Whedon

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National Sugar Cookie Day

July 9 is the day to celebrate sugar cookies. One of my earliest cooking memories is helping my mother cut out and decorate sugar cookies. We did it at Christmas time and had a bell, a star, a tree, and, of all things, a chicken cookie cutter.

Sugar Cookie Day can be traced back to the Nazarene (or Amish) sugar cookie, created in the mid-1700s by the Moravians in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. The invention of the cookie cutter in 1875 helped to make cookies easier with more variation and complicated shapes. In those days, tinsmiths made the cutters by hand. The cookies are so popular, that in 2001, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted this as its official cookie. By the way, the word cookie comes from a Dutch word meaning little cake.

One thing that makes sugar cookies so popular, it that it is an easy recipe. Traditional sugar cookies are made with just six ingredients: sugar, flour, butter, eggs, vanilla, and baking powder. The primary flavor in the cookies is vanilla. And yet they are also infinitely adaptable since you can make them in various shapes, with various decorations. And they are an easy cookie for children to help with. Of course, you must remember to put out a plate of decorated sugar cookies and a glass of milk for Santa on Christmas Eve.

All the suggestions I saw for celebrating this day said to pick up some sugar cookies at the store, or some dough to cut and bake your own. However, with such a simple recipe, I think it’s a much better idea to make them from scratch yourself. (Though by all means buy them if you that’s the only way you will get any.) In case you don’t have that recipe, here is a link to a basic, easy one on Food.com.

Quotes about cookies

America ships tons of sugar cookies to Denmark and Denmark ships tons of sugar cookies to America. Wouldn’t it be more efficient just to swap recipes?–Michael Pollan

I like cookies, any cookie you put in front of me – animal cookies, sugar cookies, anything crunchy.–Maria Shriver

Cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food. They are very bite-sized and personal.–Sandra Lee

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.–Barbara Jordan

Sometimes me think, “What is Friend?” Then me say, “Friend is someone to share the last cookie with.–The Cookie Monster

My grannies would both bake things like shortbreads and cookies. I think whenever I smell those kinds of things it really takes me back to my childhood.–Curtis Stone

I absolutely love making chocolate chip cookies. I mean, it’s fun. It’s exciting. Beyond the fact that I love making them, I love eating them.–Debbi Fields

I think cookies are sort of the unsung sweet, you know? They’re incredibly popular. But everybody thinks of cakes and pies and fancier desserts before they think cookies. A plate of cookies is a great way to end dinner and really nice to share at the holidays.–Bobby Flay

People have got to learn: if they don’t have cookies in the cookie jar, they can’t eat cookies.–Suze Orman

Every cookie and candy I put in the fridge, it always manages to taste better when it’s cold.–Hilary Rhoda

Don’t expect too much from yourself. What I like to do when I have a day off is make various cookie doughs and freeze them. Then I always have that on hand if I need it.–Giada De Laurentiis

I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas.–Hillary Clinton

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Roswell UFO Incident

Though today is Chocolate Day, I decided to feature the Roswell UFO sighting instead, as 2017 is the 70th anniversary of the occurrence. Before I do that, though, I must point out, as a person who used to live in Washington State, that although the Roswell incident became famous, the first UFOs were sighted on June 24 of that year near Mount Rainer. Private pilot Kenneth Arnold claimed that he saw a string of nine, shiny unidentified flying objects flying past Mount Rainier at speeds that Arnold estimated at a minimum of 1,200 miles an hour. He was the first to compare the objects to saucers, and so the term flying saucer is credited to him.

Meanwhile, Roswell, New Mexico got all the fame, partly, I think, because the government was involved. According to the History Website, on July 7, “about 75 miles from the town, a rancher named Mac Brazel found something unusual in his sheep pasture: a mess of metallic sticks held together with tape; chunks of plastic and foil reflectors; and scraps of a heavy, glossy, paper-like material. Unable to identify the strange objects, Brazel called Roswell’s sheriff. The sheriff, in turn, called officials at the nearby Roswell Army Air Force base. Soldiers fanned out across Brazel’s field, gathering the mysterious debris and whisking it away in armored trucks.” The Air Force claimed it was only a weather balloon, but the explanation seemed suspicious at the time and the rumors about an alien ship crashing continued to swirl. The interest in the site has ebbed and flowed through the years but never gone away.

The Army stepped forward in the 1990s to explain that the crash had actually been a highly secret project called Project Mogul, which had to do with Cold War espionage. Some call the Roswell incident the most definitely debunked UFO story of all time, but others continue to believe the government is still covering up the truth. It certainly has been fodder for many speculations and movies and TV shows through the years, and Area 51 is synonymous with government secrecy. What really happened that day? Most likely, the mundane answer is the truth, but the alien story is much more interesting!

Quotes about UFOs. Some surprising people believe the saucers do or could exist.

I happen to be privileged enough to be in on the fact that we have been visited on this planet, and the UFO phenomenon is real.–Edgar Mitchell, astronaut

I have had UFO experiences, and yet, at the same time, I can easily be convinced that none of it is true. It’s hard to say whether or not you’re a believer. I’ve been interested in that subject matter, like lots of people. Perhaps foolishly, I’ve allowed some of that stuff to creep into my music.–Frank Black

‘UFO’s’ attitude toward the subject is very similar to mine. It’s not an advocacy; its philosophy is more ‘I want to believe this, but I want it proved.’–Dwight Schultz

I don’t laugh at people any more when they say they’ve seen UFOs. I’ve seen one myself.–Jimmy Carter

I occasionally think how quickly our differences, worldwide, would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.–Ronald Reagan

I feel that the Air Force has not been giving out all the available information on these Unidentified Flying Objects. You cannot disregard so many unimpeachable sources.–John McCormack

Unidentified Flying Objects are entering our atmosphere at very high speeds and obviously under intelligent control.–Rear Admiral Delmar Fahrney

While flying with several other USAF pilots over Germany in 1957, we sighted numerous radiant flying discs above us. We couldn’t tell how high they were. We couldn’t get anywhere near their altitude.–NASA astronaut, L. Gordon Cooper.

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National Apple Turnover Day

On July 5, we celebrate apple turnovers. At their most basic, turnovers are pies you can hold in your hand. They are made by putting filling on dough, folding it over, sealing it, crimping it with a fork, and baking. Yum! By the way, did you know the only apple native to North America is the crab apple? Now you do!

You can make turnovers with regular pie dough or as it probably more usual, on puff pastry. I found recopies for many kinds of apple turnovers on the Web.

Here is a nicely basic on using puff pastry from AnydayGuide:

Peel and core 1 large apple, cut it into 1/4-inch dice. In a bowl, stir together apple chunks, 3 tbs dried cranberries, 3 tbs heated apple jelly, 1 tbs cornstarch, and 1/8 tsp cinnamon.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out puff pastry and cut into 6 parts. You need roughly 4-inch squares. Divide the apple filling among pastry squares, leaving a 1-inch border. Brush border with lightly beaten egg. Cut 2 tbs cold unsalted butter into bits and dot filling with it.

Fold each square into a triangle and crimp edges, using a fork. Cut a couple of slits in top of each turnover. Brush lightly with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 °F until puffed and golden. Let cool to warm and enjoy.

There are links to different recipes at cdkitchen. Here are a couple. You can find the full recipe for those and others on the Website.

Loretta Lynn’s Apple Turnovers
Made with confectioners’ sugar, apple pie filling, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, shortening, water

Apple Cinnamon Turnovers in Sour Cream Pastry
Made with cinnamon, brown sugar, flour, butter, sour cream, water, salt, apples

So whatever you do, enjoy an apple turnover today!

Quotes about apples.

I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream… I know how the nuts taken in conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people’s tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting.–Mark Twain

You cannot sell a blemished apple in the supermarket, but you can sell a tasteless one provided it is shiny, smooth, even, uniform and bright.–Elspeth Huxley

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.–Carl Sagan

Why not upset the apple cart? If you don’t the apples will rot anyway.–Frank A. Clark

Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.–Robert H. Schuller

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.–Martin Luther

When the apple is ripe it will fall.–Irish proverb

Almost all wild apples are handsome. They cannot be too gnarly and crabbed and rusty to look at. The gnarliest will have some redeeming traits even to the eye.–Henry David Thoreau

Why do we need so many kinds of apples? Because there are so many folks. A person has a right to gratify his legitimate taste. If he wants twenty or forty kinds of apples for his personal use…he should be accorded the privilege. There is merit in variety itself. It provides more contact with life, and leads away from uniformity and monotony.–Liberty Hyde Baily

I’m not smart, but I like to observe. Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.–William Hazlitt

With an apple I will astonish Paris.–Paul Cezanne

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Disobedience Day

Each July 3 we celebrate Disobedience Day. It is an international holiday. This day will mean different things to different people. For some, it will be more individual, especially for those stuck in situations where they have to do what is expected of them all the time. If this is you, I sympathize. I have been in your position when I thought if I had to be the good and obedient one another minute, I’d burst. For you, this can be a day to step away from the routine or the oppression, and do something different without anybody’s permission.

For many, however, this day celebrates civil disobedience. It is a day to remember all those who challenged unjust laws, putting themselves on the line. We have many modern examples of non-violence disobedience to look up to. Gandhi in India challenged the British rule there and eventually won freedom for his people. There was Nelson Mandela in South Africa, who led the fight against apartheid with peaceful protests. In the United States, we have Martin Luther King, Jr., who was an icon of the African-American civil rights movement. Probably the most prominent civil disobedience of recent years has been the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which shows that too often might and power win over right.

But civil disobedience didn’t start in the twentieth century. According to National Whatever Day,  “One of the oldest depictions of civil disobedience is in Sophocles’ play Antigone, in which Antigone, one of the daughters of former King of Thebes, Oedipus, defies Creon, the current King of Thebes, who is trying to stop her from giving her brother Polynices a proper burial. She gives a stirring speech in which she tells him that she must obey her conscience rather than human law. She is not at all afraid of the death he threatens her with (and eventually carries out), but she is afraid of how her conscience will smite her if she does not do this.”

So whether this is a day for you to rebel against your circumstances, or a day to get involved in more general movements, it is a time to remember than unjust situations and laws don’t change until somebody stands up and say “No.”

Quotes about Civil Disobedience

Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.–Howard Zinn

An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.–Henry David Thoreau

Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state becomes lawless or corrupt.–Mahatma Gandhi

We cannot, by total reliance on law, escape the duty to judge right and wrong… There are good laws and there are occasionally bad laws, and it conforms to the highest traditions of a free society to offer resistance to bad laws, and to disobey them.–Alexander Bickel

Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.–Albert Einstein

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. –Desmond Tutu

I believe that Gandhi was correct. Non-violent civil disobedience is the only way to bring about change that allows people to enjoy the change and not get killed in the process.–Edward James Olmos

Dare to do things worthy of imprisonment if you mean to be of consequence.–Juvenal

Civil disobedience has an honourable history, and when the urgency and moral clarity cross a certain threshold, then I think that civil disobedience is quite understandable, and it has a role to play.–Al Gore

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Canada Day

Originally called Dominion Day, Canada Day is always July 1, though if it falls on a Sunday, it is celebrated the next day. In French, the day is called la Fête du Canada. On July 1, 1867, the British North Americas Act created the Dominion of Canada as a federation of four provinces. We call this event the confederation of Canada. The four original provinces were created from the former British colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada, which was divided into the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. We often refer to this day as the birth of Canada, though that is partly symbolic, much as July 4 is in the United States.

This is called a statuary holiday in Canada, which means much of the country is closed, such as government offices, and most businesses. Buses are free, but run on a holiday or Sunday schedule. Canadians fly the flag today, and there are marches and festivities. These include pancake breakfasts, parades, concerts, carnivals, festivals, firework displays, and citizenship ceremonies for new Canadian citizens. The celebrations often have a patriotic mood.

I used to go up to Toronto a couple of times a year, back when it was difficult to obtain British books in the States. One year my brother and I arrived on Canada Day, not thinking about it at all, and were very surprised to find most things closed. I have become much more internationally aware of things since!

According to various sites around the web, here are some reasons Canada is the best country in the world.

  • Beautiful clear and pure tap water
  • You can call the government direct. They have an 800 number
  • Canada has the highest proportion of college graduates
  • Canadians are known for their politeness
  • Canadian chocolate is of a higher quality than American major companies
  • The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau
  • Universal health care
  • Affordable education (college costs $3000-$4000 a year)
  • Montreal, which is like being in Europe without having to leave the continent

Celebrating this special day with our neighbors to the north. Happy Canada Day!

Quotes about Canada

My dream is for people around the world to look up and to see Canada like a little jewel sitting at the top of the continent.–Tommy Douglas

Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world.–Jack Layton

Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity.–Marshall McLuhan

Canada will be a strong country when Canadians of all provinces feel at home in all parts of the country, and when they feel that all Canada belongs to them.–Pierre Trudeau

Canada has always been there to help people who need it.–Justin Trudeau

I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given to participate in that work as a representative of my country, Canada, whose people have, I think, shown their devotion to peace.–Lester B. Pearson

Canada is like a loft apartment over a really great party.–Robin Williams

I love being Canadian. I think growing up in Canada gives you a world perspective that I certainly enjoy.–Ryan Gosling

Canada is the homeland of equality, justice and tolerance.–Kim Campbell

Every country is like a particular type of person. America is like a belligerent, adolescent boy; Canada is like an intelligent, 35-year-old woman.–Douglas Adams

It is incomprehensible that drug companies still get away with charging Americans twice as much, or more, than citizens of Canada or Europe for the exact same drugs manufactured by the exact same companies.–Bernie Sanders

I have a maple leaf tattoo over my heart, quite literally, and my two favorite things on Earth are being in Canada and making movies.–Jay Baruchel

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