Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The quietest day of our first week landed yesterday, with very little deviation from our normal lives into the world of celebration. Turns out we enjoy celebrating a lot more than our normal lives – alas, we have yet to find a gregarious benefactor with a few million to throw our way, so the daily grind must grind on.

National Tempura Day

We both arrived home around 6:00, a day’s worth of toil dragging down our spirits and an evening filled with homework (for Jodie) and video editing / writing work (for me, Marty) ahead. We were missing a couple of key ingredients to make our own tempura from scratch (also, given that we’d never tried it before, there was a possibility it would have been a disaster anyhow). So off we went to T&T Supermarket – a fantastic store – to buy what we needed. Then we noticed they had tempura-battered fish and chicken in their little buffet area, so we opted for simplicity: we let them do the work.

Tempura comes to us from Japan, but it’s really an adaptation of a European technique. The Japanese were all about breading and frying foods, but in the late 1500s some Portuguese missionaries in Nagasaki introduced an egg-flour batter that changed the game. This method was meant to keep the missionaries true to the fasting and abstinence rules for Catholics during the Ember Days, which happens four times per year. These are known as quatuor anni tempora in Latin – “four seasons of the year”. Tempora, of course, is where the term Tempura came from. After its introduction, the Japanese took hold of the recipe and mastered it.

The beautiful thing about tempura is that it works on meat and veggies, either on its own or with a dipping sauce. It’s a versatile batter that doesn’t mask the flavour of the food within, but enhances it. We were happy to celebrate this one yesterday, and even happier that there was no cleanup necessary.

Shop For Travel Day

We took this day literally, as Jodie scanned prices for flights to Vancouver to visit our daughter. Does this count as a celebration? I’d say yes.

How did we shop for travel before the age of travel apps and online bookings? Did everyone use a travel agent? Did people have to phone each airline one at a time to get the best deal? Would people go to the airport and go from desk to desk like some massive food court with ultra-long lines? No matter – this is a glorious age for travel bookings. It’s easy, it’s quick, and while it’s not always a guarantee that a deal will be found, it’s a lot more user-friendly.

So yes, this is a celebration, and it ties in neatly with National Technology Day yesterday, since technology is the key to making travel shopping almost fun.

We’ve got a full menu today, and none of it dictates what we eat. Today is all about celebrating sensation: peace, joy, and rock ‘n roll.

  • National JoyGerm Day. Since 1981 a former advertising / PR lady named Joan White has been celebrating JoyGerm Day, which consists of simply spreading joy. We will dig a bit deeper into her story today, and spread as much joy as we can.
  • National Argyle Day. I have an argyle sweater. I will wear that sweater and point out to everyone with whom I make eye contact that I’m wearing it for National Argyle Day. That should go over joyfully.
  • National English Toffee Day. This is a happy little celebration itself. Who doesn’t love English Toffee? We picked up some of the real stuff this past weekend and we’ll be smashing and savouring it later on.
  • National Bubblebath Day. A bubblebath is an easy celebration to embrace. We have a soaker tub, we have a variety of bubble options, and if we can’t find any good bath toys, it’s likely the dogs will lend us some of theirs. Actually, scratch that. That’s disgusting.
  • Babinden. This is a traditional Bulgarian feast – which we won’t be preparing – which celebrates the midwife. This is quite a party, dating back to pagan traditions, and we will be delving into its beautiful history.
  • Midwife’s Day. This is about honouring what women do around the house, or having men do the “woman’s work” for a day. Since we split the cleaning and I do all the cooking, that won’t really work. But this fits in well with Babinden, so they will be celebrated together.
  • Winter Skin Relief Day. If we can talk about Babinden and Midwives in the bath, we’ll be blending three celebrations into one. Add to that a bit of moisturizing (which is crucial in this chalky, dry winter climate), and we’ve got a four-in-one happening tonight.
  • Elvis’s Birthday. The King would turn 85 today, so we’ll be listening to a lot of his music throughout the day. Hey, we could listen to some in the bath, which would be a five-in-one celebration. I doubt we’ll hit another one of those all year.
  • Show and Tell Day At Work. Jodie’s kids were eager to take part in a show and tell, which isn’t surprising because it beats doing actual schoolwork. My coworkers are also interested in showing and telling for a break today, again because it beats real life. This is the theme of this project so far: celebrating is better than the drudgery of every day life. If that holds true, then 2020 is truly going to be the greatest of years.