Saturday, January 11, 2020

Yesterday marked the end of a hard-fought week. It turns out the demons of anxiety, and the screeching banshee of stress don’t whither and fade just because a new project is tickling our muse. We clawed across the finish line, but we made it. Figuring out the balance of this extra-busy life will take some time. Luckily we had…

National Bittersweet Chocolate Day

This began at breakfast. Jodie, not interested in sucking back a bowl of Shreddies or wrestling with the stoic rigidity of our butter (as is often the case when the outside temperatures drop), opted for a Pure Nacional from local retailer Sweet Lollapalooza (not associated with the traveling music festival… or with Sweet, the power-pop band). These gems contain a rare type of cocoa imported from deep in the jungle. These chocolates are the stuff of legend, even before you taste ‘em.

And once you do… wow. I’m not a bittersweet chocolate aficionado, but when a morsel of rich creaminess stretches out its medley of ever-evolving flavours over ten to fifteen seconds, culminating in a crescendo of taste that you can feel in the back of your head… I’m in. These chocolates are the precise reason bittersweet chocolate deserves to be celebrated – even by those who lean toward the milkier or even white forms of chocolate.

People who prefer bittersweet chocolate, they tend to see themselves as the chocolate purists. Ever spend time talking at length with a vegan who wants to convert you, or one of those crossfit people who swear by their regimen? That’s the general idea here. But when you try the really good stuff, it’s hard not to see their point.

National Cut Your Energy Costs Day

It’s always good to look at the waste column in your expenses (assuming you stack these things in columns), and see what you can cut. Our energy bills are at their peak right now, and going into next week where the temperatures are not expected to rise above the level of excruciating, it’ll only get worse.

Fortunately we can get creative. We edged the house temperature down by two degrees – TWO WHOLE DEGREES – right before leaving the house for 10 hours yesterday, even taking the dogs to daycare so that nobody had to suffer in that horrific chill. This is another January outlier, something that would be better suited to springtime or autumn. The only other option is to shut the furnace off altogether, and resort to the flaming-trash-can method of keeping warm, ideally with fingerless gloves, a can of salvaged beans and some hearty and interesting characters familiar with riding the rails.

Screw it, we’re staying warm.

National Houseplant Appreciation Day

Yesterday’s video (available wherever fine Youtube videos are sold – like our channel, for example) tells the story of our favourite little plant, who was snipped from behind Jodie’s grandfather’s store, then divided by her grandmother between her mother and the three girls. Jodie has possessed this little creature for decades, and she is absolutely part of our family. Yet she doesn’t have a name, so if you’ve got a suggestion we are open to it.

Houseplants give off oxygen and quite literally breathe life into a home. If you don’t have one, if you travel a lot or feel you have a knack for killing plants by accident, get some silk ones. Even if their contribution to your home is purely visual, embrace it. I’ve got fake plants all over my outlandishly beige-grey cubicle at work and some days just looking at them can transport me to a healthier mental place. Houseplants – or office plants – are wonderful.

National Oysters Rockefeller Day

As anticipated, Jodie was somewhat lukewarm on the concept of raw oysters reposed on their shell, regardless of what’s sitting atop them. We headed to Da-De-O, a delightful Cajun diner that, because of the food, the atmosphere, and in particular the staff, has become our regular haunt. Oysters Rockefeller are on the menu, though it’s an appetizer we rarely try. So rare in fact, I think we’ve only ordered them once, and it was Jodie’s dad and I who finished them off.

Yesterday Jodie had no excuse – we are in this project with our whole hearts so down they went. Da-De-O makes them with spinach, red onion, parmesan cheese and Sambuca. Sure, the texture is disturbingly phlegmatic, but every bite was exploding with flavour. A little spinach, a little s’buca, and a splash of hot sauce made these little morsels sing. This day gets a hearty thumbs-up from me.

Sure, we probably won’t order them again since we tend to split our appetizers, and Jodie is not likely to re-indulge ever, but I will still sing the praises of the Rockefeller dish. Besides, it’s not like she suffered; we just came home and ate some more bittersweet chocolate, so everyone was a winner yesterday.

A busy day as we stock up on supplies for the next couple of weeks, and indulge in a bizarre menu of eclectic revelry.

  • National Girl Hug Boy Day. Why not? Girls should hug boys, provided both parties are consenting and have been medically cleared of cooties.
  • National Hot Toddy Day. We have rum. We have honey. We have lemon. What we don’t have is a cold or flu (thankfully), but we’ll get a practice toddy in before the ugly hits.
  • National Milk Day. It does a body good. Got some? I could quote dairy slogans all day, but I think the best way to enjoy milk is simply to enjoy some damn milk.
  • National Arkansas Day. Another state I haven’t been fortunate enough to visit, but Arkansas cuisine contains the delicacy known as fried okra, which I’ve never made before. Should be interesting.
  • Cuckoo Dancing Week. Not actual dancing, which is good – no one wants to sit through a video of the two of us dancing. But this week is to celebrate Laurel & Hardy, two brilliant comedians with heaps of shorts on YouTube for us to enjoy. I hope everyone follows along for this one.
  • National Step In A Puddle & Splash Your Friends Day. Hard to find a puddle in an arctic wasteland. This will take a bit of creativity.
  • National Vision Board Day. I guess I’m making a miniature vision board, though I don’t have a working printer at home. So I’ll be drawing, a skill for which I possess very little aptitude.
  • Kagami Biraki. A Japanese ceremony which translates to “Opening the Mirror.” People enjoy mochi on this day, which neither of us have tried before. Also, sake. We should get some sake.
  • Learn Your Name In Morse Code Day. This one is pretty obvious, isn’t it? Should be fun.

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