Thursday, January 9, 2020

Take seven individual celebrations, pack them into one day, then toss in a measure of work, travel time, and shoveling too many inches of snow in -20 temps and you’ve got one hell of a Wednesday. That’s a generous dollop of the mundane doing its best to derail this train of revelry. Fortunately it did not succeed.

National Argyle Day

We can thank Clan Campbell – and we do – for the tartan that birthed the argyle pattern we so love, consisting of diamonds and diagonal lines. It’s geometrically satisfying, which is always a plus for a nit-picky mind, and it lends itself to a swath of creativity by means of overlapping patterns, colour choices and interwoven motifs. Argyle is a funky look. It used to mean “grown-up socks” to me as a kid, but now that I can wrap myself in a cozy argyle cardigan and still feel wildly immature with my every breath, I am an argyle fan.

There are a pocketful of days such as this, where what we wear will encompass the entire celebration. I like that… mostly. I’m pretty sure there’s a day we’re supposed to go to work wearing large wigs and another workday in which pants are forbidden so this notion will cut both ways. But National Argyle Day gets a bonny thumbs-up from me.

National JoyGerm Day

As mentioned yesterday, this originated with a Syracuse woman named Joan White, who decided in 1981 to start a newsletter and to spread joy like a germ. The most recent article I could find about Ms. White comes from 2011 and she was 77 at the time, so I have a darkening suspicion that she may not be spritzing the joy unto this mortal coil anymore. I hope that’s not the case, as she was distributing her happy newsletter to 117,000 people around the globe as of nine years ago.

Yesterday we spread our own joy. Jodie reached out to a few folks with some kind words and uplifting tales (mainly about dogs), and I tried to send out some happy headlines to a few friends and family members. Joy is the heart, lungs and pancreas of this project. By immersing ourselves into hardcore goofery for hours of every day we’ve found joy to be an unavoidable side effect. I’m cooking, tidying, filming, editing, posting and writing until at least 10 every night, and slipping in only an hour and a half of downtime at the most. I should be exhausted. But all I feel at the end of the day is joy.

Well, joy and a little exhaustion.

I don’t know if JoyGerm Joan is still with us, but either way I feel that her legacy is indelible. It took little effort for us to unearth a handful of upbeat stories and spread them around. Did you know San Francisco defensive back Richard Sherman went to a local school and paid off the lunch debt for every student? You should – that type of news may not sell papers (or clicks) as much as White House drama, but it deserves our eyes and ears. There are a few other days this year where doling out joy and good vibes are on the menu, and we are both excited to feast as they roll up.

National Bubble Bath Day

Some celebrations will fall upon only one of us. This may be due to time constraints, money constraints, or because I doubt I’ll talk Jodie into enjoying some Oysters Rockefeller this Friday when the calendar states we must. Today the derailing culprit is the heap of snow that chose today to tumble from the sky. I had to shovel, and if I were to have a bubble bath I’d be unable to relax because there is always more to do on this project.

Bubble baths are a 20th century phenomenon, in particular around the 1960s when specific bubble products were marketed as a way to make bath-time fun for kids. The right soap scent and the right moisturizing bubble mix can make for a tremendously relaxing experience, but I suspect the best effect is psychological. A warm tub with thousands of delicate bubbles dancing tenuously upon the surface just looks like the purest realization of comfort and stress-ease. However it works, it just works. Bubble baths are the greatest. I hope I get to enjoy one someday.

National Winter Skin Relief Day

We live in a climate that actively gnashes at your skin, scaling it, chalking it, sucking dry any natural human moisture it tries to produce. The dry heat in the summer is nice – nicer than oppressive humidity anyway – but in the dead of winter the dead skin builds quickly. This is a good time to remember to slather some slop on your outtards and keep them natural juices flowing through your epidermis.

Cosmetic chemistry, which produces the magnificent emollients in moisturizer, has only been around for about a hundred years. Prior to that, if people made any effort to care for their flaky flesh it was done with natural sources, like castor oil, lizard bellies and pumpkin meat. Isn’t it great we don’t have to rub lizards on our skin anymore? Like I said two days ago for National Technology Day, we are living in the damn future.

National English Toffee Day

We picked up a slab of English Toffee from Carol’s Sweets, the finest confectionary within our city’s limits. Keep in mind that Americanized “English Toffee” is quite different from the toffee they enjoy in England. The yankee version is more buttery, often made with almonds. That’s what you find inside the Heath bar or the Skor bar. It’s glorious – perhaps the height of chocolate bar-dom, but it ain’t the real deal. The Brits call that stuff ‘butter crunch’.

We opted for actual English toffee from England, because we live in a beautiful between-ish country, where American Hershey treats and British delicacies share the stage. It’s weird – I’ve never not been disappointed by the American selection of candy bars. Here in Canada we’ve been spoiled by superlative sweets from across the Atlantic. This toffee was kept in the freezer overnight, so it smashed epically and went down super-smooth.

Elvis’s Birthday

I know, it was David Bowie’s birthday too, and even Shirley Bassey’s if we want to dig a little deeper. But Elvis is the King, and he would be hitting the big 8-5 yesterday. It gave us a great excuse to crank up his self-titled album (the one pictured above) and his early recordings at Sun Studios. We opted to skip over the Fat Elvis period – there’s just so many great performances he laid down in his prime.

Show & Tell Day At Work

Jodie had a blast with her students yesterday, swapping pictures of dogs and cats and showing off some of their Christmas bounty. At my work a bunch of folks showed up and shared relics from our office, personal arts and crafts from their kids, and a bunch of other goodies. Myself I shared a clump of metal that had been sitting on my dad’s desk (and used like some prototype fidget spinner) for as long as I’ve been alive. He passed away in ’07, but yesterday would have been his 75th birthday. I’d like to think he’d have gotten a kick out of this project, though I suspect he’d chastise me for not first figuring out a way to monetize the whole thing. Oh well. Money ain’t the point.

A show & tell day at work – and here I’m talking about those of us who work exclusively among adults – is a surprisingly great way to get to know your co-workers, and to swap some laughs. I’m grateful that I go to an office filled with people who would indulge something like this, and even have a blast doing it. I highly recommend this one to everybody. Everyone has stories to tell.

A pretty light roster today, which might allow us to catch up on laundry, tidying up, and maybe even let us sneak in an episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. We can only hope.

  • National Apricot Day. Apricots are grand! They are also notoriously difficult to find in this climate at this time of year, so we’ll be fishing ours out of a can. That’s okay – the flavour will still be centre-stage and it will be glorious.
  • National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. We tried to book a ride-along with the police, or perhaps a tour of the precinct. It didn’t happen – they never got back to me. But I work with a few law enforcement professionals and I’ll show my appreciation to them tomorrow.
  • National Static Electricity Day. We have socks. We work with carpet underneath our feet. Our coworkers (and students, in Jodie’s case) best beware.

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