Beautiful Day

Beautiful Day

I get a kick out of Awareness Days.  Beautiful Day is observed every November 20th.  The U2 Song, the Muppets,  a Christian pop song, and a (probably forgotten) Beach Boys Song… Who knew?


So I wandered over to Holiday Insights.  This site contains all kinds of holiday information – traditions, trivia, recipes and more.    And this is what they say about Beautiful Day:

“The world is filled with ugliness. So, as day like today is refreshing, and eye appealing. It’s filled with beautiful sights, sounds and smells.

But, wait a minute. Just what was Beautiful Day created for? We have yet to find the creator. In addition to what we found in our research, we can only speculate as to the intent of this day.

Here is our part fact, part speculative reasons this day was created:

A song by the band U2 is titled Beautiful Day.

The Beautiful Day monster appeared on Ed Sullivan and later Sesame Street. The monster created mayhem and chaos, in his attempt to ruin a beautiful day.

It’s creator wanted to create and enjoy the perfect, beautiful day.

The Beach Boys song It’s a Beautiful Day

As for this author’s choice? Well, I’m just gonna kick back and enjoy this beautiful, God given day!

Have a lovely Happy Beautiful Day!”

Now, about that Beautiful Day Monster… First seen on The Ed Sullivan Show and then later on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.  I found out all about him on Muppet Wikia:

“Beautiful Day Monster is a blue Muppet monster best remembered from his appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1969, ruining a girl’s beautiful day. Three years before, he began life as The Crown-Grabber in an unaired commercial for Wheels, Crowns and Flutes. He has made several appearances in the early years of Sesame Street, on The Muppet Show, and several other Muppet projects. Wherever the Beautiful Day Monster goes, destruction and mayhem soon follows.

Although the monster was known as “Beautiful Day Monster” behind the scenes, he had many names on Sesame Street, such as “Fred,” (in an early Sesame Street skit) “Harold,” “Snookie,” “Lulu,” and “Windy.” He was also a contestant on a 1969 Sesame Street game show, “The Mr. and Mrs. Game,” where he was named “Ralph” and had a wife, also a contestant. For a few sketches, the monster was turned into a female character with a dark black wig, a necklace and a pink ribbon. After the first season, Beautiful Day Monster and most of the other early Sesame monsters were replaced by friendlier looking monsters with brighter colors.


A small Beautiful Day Monster (used in the original Ed Sullivan sketch when the monster has shrunk) was used alongside the regular-sized monster to demonstrate the difference between ‘little’ and ‘big’, where he was known as “Frank.”

For The Muppet Show, the Beautiful Day Monster puppet was reconstructed and his teeth removed to give him a less frightening appearance. In one memorable sketch in episode 108, he asked a travel agent (Paul Williams) about the cost of a trip to Pittsburgh. No matter what the travel agent offered, Beautiful Day Monster asked “You got anything cheaper?” until the agent dropped a weight on him, flattening him enough to send him by mail. This was his only major appearance in a Muppet Show sketch, although he appeared several times behind Gonzo during the final moment of “The Muppet Show Theme.” The flattened version of the puppet would appear in the At the Dancesketch in the next episode, wearing a wig and dancing with Rowlf.”


Points to you if you can remember the Beach Boys song.  I couldn’t until I gave it a listen on on youtube: A Beautiful Day, Beach Boys.  Oh yeah… that song!  Now I remember…. umm, sort of.  Well, okay, not really?  Wonder why?

Okay, here’s the scoop.  This was not a Beach Boys hit, and it wasn’t even released on a Beach Boys album.  Mike Love and Al Jardine wrote it, and the band recorded, but it wasn’t until 1979 it was released as part of the soundtrack of the 1979 movie Americathon a prophetic comedy. This flick  which featured an impressive comedic cast (John Ritter, Harvey Korman, George Carlin), some great cameos (Jay Leno, Meat Loaf, Tommy Lasorda), and a soundtrack including tracks by Eddie Money, the Beach Boys, and Elvis Costello.   Sadly, Americathon was not all that memorable, even though the writers kind of correctly predicted the demise of the Soviet Union, the prevalence of reality television, and the sale of public assets to the private sector.  But, hey, we have another song to attach to today, Beautiful Day, so not an entire waste of my research time.


jamie-grace-beautiful-day-facebook-cover1Christian pop artist, Jamie Grace, released her Beautiful Day (featuring one of my faves, Toby Mac) a couple of years ago.  Hard to listen to this and not smile?  Beautiful Day, Jamie Grace.  Seriously, you don’t even have to be a follower to enjoy it.

And of course, we can’t have Beautiful Day without Bono and U2’s iconic track.

The heart is a bloom
Shoots up through the stony ground
There’s no room
No space to rent in this town
You’re out of luck
And the reason that you had to care
The traffic is stuck
And you’re not moving anywhere….

….It’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away
It’s a beautiful day

So, there you have it.  Today.  A Beautiful Day. Have one yourself!

Beautiful Day, U2



I Got This Email….

Today I received an email asking if I had video to be included in a surprise for Martin Clunes when he’s on the iTV daytime show “Lorraine”.

Here’s an excerpt from the email:

“Yes it is a surprise for Martin!  He loves the Clunatics – I spoke to him on the phone yesterday and he is so fond of you all. He said you are ‘a force to be reckoned with” and are very generous be reckoned with’ and are very generous and have raised thousands for charity too – as well as being massive fans of his show.”

Shame I don’t actually have any video – never met the man.  And granted, the email likely went out to everyone who subscribes to a fan blog.  But still – I feel slightly special

I do find myself wondering about increased inclusion of North American fans.  I’m thinking there is a carefully crafted clever marketing plan afoot.

Oh, now I will be dreaming about going to England and meeting Himself.  Wonder if Martin and Philippa would accept an invitation to visit stunning Colorado?



Source: Urgent Request for Videos to Surprise Martin Clunes | “Doc Martin” with Martin Clunes Fan

I’ve (sort of) Been Blogged!

I’ve (sort of) Been Blogged!

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 9.39.21 AMMy friend Lisa was interviewed for a piece in the Doc Martin Online Blog.  She is truly a super-fan!  Not only does she know pretty much everything about Doc Martin and Martin Clunes, but she designed and sold Clunatic t-shirts to raise money for a charity Martin Clunes (and I) support- Julia’s House Children’s Hospice in Dorset.  And… they used the photo of the three of us in our Clunatic shirts at our Rocky Mountain Gathering this past summer.  How cool is that?


Meet Lisa Fenderson! Where do you call home? Virginia, USA. Basically the East Coast between New York and Florida. Tell us a little about yourself? I was born in Puerto Rico but moved to Virginia, when I was 11. My Dad was in the TV and Radio broadcasting industry, and I followed in his footsteps. …

Source: Lisa Fenderson – Doc Martin Online

Why I’m a Fan of Martin Clunes

Why I’m a Fan of Martin Clunes

It is no secret that I’m a big-time fan of Martin Clunes.  For those who don’t know (there are lots of you, no doubt), Martin Clunes is an accomplished actor who’s  practiced his craft for a few decades now.  Much of his work can be found on British television, and lately he’s best known for Doc Martin, a ridiculously popular comedy drama that has aired in Great Britain for nearly 15 yea12185454_970029023040726_77162566738904240_ors.  As an actor, Martin Clunes is a master of physical comedy and subtle facial expression, and he’s a joy to watch on Doc Martin.  He’s portrayed a cartoon puppy, a swinger, a sad bachelor, and a serial killer (chillingly) and lots of other things.   I admire his tremendous talent, but also his professionalism.  His long career didn’t just fall in his lap.

Doc Martin is produced by Buffalo Pictures, which is a partnership between Martin and his wife, Philippa Braithwaite.  He says she’s the brains and details.  I think this man is slightly more savvy than many think, and the work he and his wife have done together is first class.  I’m hoping to see more documentaries, even though I’m sure they’re not huge money-makers and may be hard sell to networks focused on the bottom line.  Regardless, these two people work clearly compliment one another professionally.  As far as I can tell, their personal life is far more normal than some of our celebrities here.  I admire the groundedness of this family. Its cool that they don’t seek the spotlight.

My friends say he’s not the most attractive man.  Those who’ve met him tell me he’s incredibly charismatic.  Pretty standard for an actor – that presence is kind of necessary on the screen, isn’t it?  Well, he’s tall and has green eyes and graying blond hair, neither of which I’d complain about. The man loves dogs and horses and children and has a silly streak – how could anybody not like that? And yes, he’s got those ears and self-proclaimed “child-bearing lips” (remember I said savvy…?).

But, well, I’ve always been taken by the doing rather than the being.  Martin and Philippa hold an annual fair on their property, raising huge amounts of money for three charities.  Two of those charities are hospices.  Those who know me well are aware that hospice has a special place in my heart.  I’ve volunteered with a local hospice for years.  My dog was a therapy dog and wagged her tail through all kinds of places and solicited pats and hugs and smiles and joyful eyes from all kinds of folks.

Take a look at these photos, recently taken at Julia’s House Children’s Hospice in Dorset. Martin Clunes brought Heidi, Arthur, Penny and Jim by for a visit with some of of the residents.

Martin and his Dogs Visit Julia’s House

So, I know, you’re saying yeah, yeah, what celebrity doesn’t support charity – they need the tax write-off and the PR.  I get that.  So here’s the deal… I get to decide whether I think Martin Clunes does all this just for the photo-op (and yes, there was a photographer there) or because he genuinely enjoys what he’s doing.  I’ve  decided to go with… both.   Yes, the reality is that his job requires him to be visible. But hey folks, he showed up at the Julia’s House Children’s Hospice (one of the charities he and Philippa support) with his four dogs in tow, wearing ordinary-people clothing and a smile.  And the photos we see show the kind of interaction I would love to manage when I visit patients.  Even naysayers who claim he’s a talented actor and that’s what he’s doing – even they cannot tell me those kids aren’t engaged and exited and enjoying themselves.  The man brings joy to sick children.

How can I not love that?

Now you know why I am aMartin Clunes fan.

This Day

This Day

Each day, my calendar pops up a bunch of reminder notifications – and amongst all the appointments and actual things I need to know, there are always a few “tomorrow is national something or other day”.  I decided to explore today, October 15th.  Wow.


Today is National White Cane Safety Day

Did you know that The National Federation of the Blind supplies a white cane free of charge to anyone in the United States who is significantly visually impaired?  This day was first proclaimed in 1964 by President Lyndon B Johnson at the urging of the National Federation for the Blind.

2015 1015 white cane safety day“The white cane in our society has become one of the symbols of a blind person’s ability to come and go on his own. Its use has promoted courtesy and special consideration to the blind on our streets and highways. To make our people more fully aware of the meaning of the white cane and of the need for motorists to exercise special care for the blind persons who carry it Congress, by a joint resolution approved as of October 6, 1964, has authorized the President to proclaim October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day.

Now, therefore, I, Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States of America do hereby proclaim October 15, 1964 as White Cane Safety Day.”

There is some real history here.  Back in 1930, the first state law regarding the right of blind people to travel independently with white canes was passed.   Back then, few knew that a white cane signified independent mobility for the blind.  Back in the 1978, a young woman testified before congress that she regularly encountered folks who had no clue of the significance and purpose of her white cane.   These days, we are generally more aware of individuals with disabilities, and now every state has a White Cane Law.

According to the National Federation of the Blind, White Cane Safety Day is intended to make everyone aware of the significance of a white cane and to encourage people, especially motorists, to take extra care when they see someone with a white cane. It has also become a day on which the achievements of the blind and visually impaired are celebrated and offers the chance to educate and raise awareness of the blind and visually impaired.

Since we pretty much all know what a white cane means, these days, I’d say they’ve don a good job of it.


Today is National Chicken Cacciatore Day

2015 1015 national chicken cacciatore dayThis one makes me smile. I love Italian food.  Cacciatore means “hunter” – and this dish finds its origins way back in the 15th century or so.  Back then, the hunters would head out for days at a time tracking big game.  They’d make a tasty, fill
ing stew out of smaller prey they’d picked off on the way, cooked in a pot over a fire. These days, we like chicken in a tomato-based sauce, but in the 15th century, more likely there would be a rabbit or such in the pot, some parsley or oregano for interest, and no tomatoes.
These days we consider tomatoes an integral part of Italian cuisine, but in the 1400s, tomatoes had not yet made it across the ocean from the New World.

Here’s a pretty simple Chicken Cacciatore Recipe, enough to serve two for a lovely romantic dinner:

  • 1-1/2 pounds of chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, washed, seeded, and sliced thinly
  • 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup nice dry red wine, Chianti is good
  • 1-1/2 cups peeled and chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry flat leaf parsley (or 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano (or 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped)

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Place the chicken pieces in the pan and brown on both sides, remove and set aside. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat out of the frying pan, and then add the  onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Increase the heat to medium high. Cook until the onions are translucent, and the mushrooms have become limp.  Add the garlic to the pan and cook a minute or so longer. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, and then add the tomatoes. Add black pepper, parsley and oregano.  Simmer uncovered for another 5 minutes , and then put the chicken pieces on top of the tomatoes and onions, skin side up. Lower the heat and cover the frying pan with its lid slightly ajar so some of the steam can get out. Simmer for about half an hour, or until the chicken is cooked through.   Serve with a nice salad, good crusty bread for soaking up the juices, and the rest of that Chianti.


Today is National Grouch Day

oscar the grouch scramNational Grouch Day was first mentioned in Sesame Street Magazine years ago.  I suspect Childrens’ Television Workshop, who produced Sesame Street, had something to do with it.

My dictionary defines a grouch as a person who complains frequently or constantly; a habitual irritable or complaining person.  Know anyone like that?  Well, don’t we all.  Today is the day that the rest of us can sit back and put a little of our own Grouch on.   And, of course you knew this – National Grouch Day honors – who else – Oscar the Grouch.


Today is International Conflict Resolution Day

Yes, seriously, there is a Conflict Resolution Day.  Even better, there is also an actual Association for Conflict Resolution, who created this global event in 2005.  The purpose is to increase awareness of peaceful, non-violent methods of conflict resolution. such as mediation and arbitration.

The Association for Conflict Resolution and many independent organizations host informative events all over the world today.   I hope they invited lots of world leaders.


Today is Global Handwashing Day

I anticipate this one makes a bigger difference in daily lives than that conflict resolution one.  Global Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, andis endorsed by a wide array of governments, international institutions, private companies, and schools throughout the world.  This day is designed t2015 1015 global handwashing dayo foster and support global and local cultures of hand washing with soap, highlight the state of hand washing around the world, and raise awareness about the benefits of regular suds-and-rub.

Tons of events, seminars, lessons, presentations and educational opportunities happen worldwide.   I know, Mr. Obvious-Man, but there are places in our world that don’t have the resources and knowledge available to us.

And, you know what else I discovered?  My 40-second web search showed that many graduate students have and continue to do research on the value of washing your hands to help prevent the spread of disease. Your mother was right!


lucy meta-vita-vega-minToday is National I Love Lucy Day

Know what?  I Love Lucy debuted on October 15, 1951.  Of course, I only ever watched it in reruns.  At one point, Lucy was the most syndicated human being on the planet.  Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, that is, DesiLu Productions, were genius trendsetters.  They were the first scripted tv show to be shot live on 35mm film in front of an audience.  The won five Emmy Awards and 40 million people still watch the reruns each year.  Wow.  Though born nearly half a century later, our daughter is well aware of I Love Lucy and can readily quote the most important lines and plots.  Chocolate Factory?  Vitameatavegamin? The hair?  The facial expressions?  The wail?  Yup, she knows them all.  We brought her up right, you see.



Today is National Cheese Curd Day

cheese curds againBest and most shameless for last.  So, today is the very first annual National Cheese Curd Day, to my knowledge.  Founded by Culver’s, who insisted that Cheese Curds deserve their own day, just like hamburgers and chocolate.

You know Culver’s – a fast food restaurant, based out of Wisconsin.  They happen to have deep-fried cheese curds on their menu.How, regardless of origin, I’m good with this one.  I love cheese curds.  I have yet to find a cheese curd I didn’t relish.  Culver’s serves theirs deep-fried with marinara or ranch.  Or I can stay truer to my usual lifestyle and pick up some raw-milk curds, squeaky fresh, from the farmer’s market.  All good, either way and anything in between.

We are talking cheese here, after all.



Well, that’s it for today.  Not so sure about tomorrow, folks.  What do you think?



study music

Music to Work By

The right ambience makes a huge difference in my ability to concentrate.

Just lately, I’ve discovered  Spotify’s playlist Intense Studying.  Nice choice of classical music that doesn’t distract and keeps me in a productive groove. Seriously, this playlist makes paying bills less painful. It helped me get through that seemingly endless email organizing frenzy yesterday.   I seem to get more accomplished at my desk when this is playing, and I hear classical music will make me more creative and smart.  I’ll take that any day.

Sign me up.



National Coffee Day & Dutch Bros

National Coffee Day & Dutch Bros

September 29th is National Coffee Day and Dutch Bros is giving you nine punches with a large drink.  A freebie is ten punches, so that’s almost like getting a free drink!  I’ve marked my calendar.  How can you go wrong? Dutch Bros is, I think, the very best drive-through coffee – and my favorite.  Here’s why:

Dutch Bros National Coffee Day 2015

  1. They actually pull shots, rather than using some concentrate syrup.  My coffee is freshly made for me, every time.
  2. The culture at Dutch Bros is the best.  The owner claims to be “just an old hippie”.  I’d be happy to call him friend.
  3. Dutch Bros empowers their employees….  if they think you need a hug, or a free drink, or a sticker, they don’t have to go ask the manager.
  4. They respect customers  and  employees. Recently, baristas started coming outside to take orders ahead if the lines were long.  Faster service for us, and it was suggested by a worker.
  5. Dutch Bros intends to remain awesome – to open a stand, you must have worked at a Dutch Bros, so you get how they do things.
  6. They have amazing blended Rebels – energy drinks with flavored syrup blended into the slushy thing.  Amazing in a super-hot summer day.  Sometimes you just need something besides coffee.
  7. Did I mention stickers?  Love the stickers!
  8. The baristas play great music, loud.  And they talk to you.  And they remember you, even if you only stop by once a week or so.  The baristas are the best.
  9. They know what I mean when I want to pay-it-forward to the next car.  That green emblemed place hires people who need an explanation.
  10. T-shirts and march – first class!
  11. Dutch Bros supports local communities.  Not all the time which is annoying, but often enough that you know they care. And they care about truly worthy groups in out community.
  12. They like us, they really like us!  Once, a barista actually steamed goat milk for a customer (not me,  I promise!).
  13. I’m always a rock star when I turn someone on to Dutch Bros.
  14. They have the greatest promotions.
  15. Oh, of course, they make the very best coffee drinks.  Sincerely.  The. Best.  Treat yourself to an Annihilator.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 7.27.38 AM

There is a downside. Started in Oregon, and going from there, Dutch Bros is still found in only seven states. Not for long, I’m certain.