Thursday, March 19, 2020

Fresh from a supply run to Costco, and we are happy to report that it in no way resembles in the apocalypse there, unless you’re looking for toilet paper or flour. Unfortunately they were also lacking a few other items we’ll need for the next two weeks, so some of our food-related parties may wind up on ice. But our spirits are soaring, and the celebrations keep on rolling.

National Awkward Moments Day

If you’re like me – and I have absolutely no reason to believe you are in any way – you instinctively reach for your phone or for some sensory distraction whenever Larry David turns a situation painfully awkward on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Awkward, cringey comedy is a staple of the genre, from David Brent or Michael Scott on The Office to the girls on Broad City. It’s funny – we laugh at those situations because we are thankful we are not in those situations.

But we have been. We relate, because we have experienced these moments. These are the memories which pop into our minds like a shitty car dealership jingle at the most undesired times. We might be feeling good about ourselves, perhaps enjoying a snack of pork rinds and cottage cheese (your tastes may vary), when suddenly we’ll remember that time in the fifth grade when our pants fell down in the middle of a dodgeball game. Why not just leap to a time we got an A+ on a paper, brain? How about a sudden recall of the 2015 AFC Championship that saw Peyton Manning and the Broncos send the Patriots to the off-season? No, it’s always something unpleasant and embarrassing. Thanks, brain. You’re the dick of the head, you know that?

So yesterday we put those memories to bed, or at the very least simply acknowledged that they are fairly typical. For Jodie, she recalled the time she accidentally referred to one of her kids as “dingletwat” – a long and weird story. Me, I remembered the time I was interviewed and hired by a guy, only to show up for work on the first day and completely forget that I’d met him. It was a shitty first impression.

But so what? We’ve all left shitty impressions. Shrug ‘em off and move on to the next celebration.

Forgive Mom & Dad Day

This one is a bit more personal. Yes, even more personal than horrible embarrassing and awkward moments from our past. This was a celebration that required no celebrating – only honesty, reflection, and hopefully a bit of emotional closure.

I have spent a good deal of my adult life working my way toward forgiveness for my father. He left us when I was a teenager, and was less of an emotional rock in my younger days than most TV dads, which is why it hurt so damn much when Tom Bosley passed away. He was judgmental about my choice in spouse (I know – fucking crazy, right?), and very much an absentee grandpa from my kids’ lives. When his cancer took hold in 2006, I had the breakthrough forgiveness moment everyone hopes for, and I think when he departed this mortal coil the following year, forgiveness had been achieved. That is, until I saw his medical records, which indicated that he could have smacked that prostate cancer early if he’d followed advice and gotten a biopsy when it was recommended. That has taken some extra time to forgive.

As for my mom, there’s nothing to forgive. Every parent scrambles to figure their shit out, but my mom has been a solid rock of support and awesomeness in my life for the last 45 years of my planetary existence. Okay – one thing. Mom, I officially forgive you for raising me to believe that lasagna contained no meat, only spongy mushrooms and soggy zucchini.

Jodie’s need to forgive her dad isn’t really a thing either. He had his flaws as a father, and certainly spent a lot of time away from the family, but she had forgiven him for all that years ago. In the last quarter-century he has been nothing but supportive and terrific. Her situation with her mom is a bit more complicated, and we’ll just leave it at that.

Holding grudges and harsh condemnation for one’s parents is hardly a novel concept. But it’s unhealthy. Forgiveness doesn’t mean sweeping people back into your life, especially if it might invite new reasons to need to forgive them. But it cleans out the creaky corners of your own soul, and might bring a bit more peace and serenity to your life. It’s truly worth it.

National Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day

The lacy oatmeal cookie is a thing of utter beauty.

It’s not like a plain ol’ oatmeal cookie (which is delightful as well, and gets its due on April 30). It’s super-thin, and sweet as all hell. My mom, our team baker, did an incredible job, and I’ll be savouring every last one of these little beasts. Jodie likes them, but after having one she feels they are a bit sweet. Me, I could eat 30 in a sitting. Fortunately I have exquisite willpower.

Some folks drizzle icing or chocolate overtop lacy oatmeal cookies. Others serve them with a scoop of ice cream or sorbet, both of which sound like a great idea. Others will use the cookies as decorations on top of a cake, as they are so wafer-thin they won’t weigh down any cake structure.

I find them to be ideal just as they are, in all their lacy goodness. So far this is the best national cookie day of the year. Fortunately we have many more coming up, because in spite of all its inherent awfulness, 2020 will continue to deliver the treats for those of us who open up our gullets to accept them.

National Sloppy Joe Day

We… we didn’t have sloppy joes last night. We had planned to, but we are finding an increasing abundance of leftovers in our kitchen, and it wouldn’t do for a household in the midst of quarantine to start throwing away food. Besides, we still had plenty of Lou Belle’s meatloaf left from National Kansas Day on Sunday, and a sloppy joe is extremely similar, though the meat is generally loose and not in a loaf form.

The noble joe has gone under many pseudonyms in cookbooks: toasted deviled hamburgers, Hamburg a la Creole, minced beef Spanish style, Beef Mironton, etc. They are believed to have originated in 1930s Sioux City, Iowa, marketed as loose meat sandwiches, created by a cook named Joe. No last name provided.

The term ‘sloppy joe’ used to refer to any cheapo diner selling mediocre food quickly, but by the 1940s the joe had taken the form we know today. The sauce – mostly consisting of a tomato base with some Worcestershire sauce and seasonings – has been sold in grocery stores since the 1960s. I was surprised to learn that Manwich – a favourite from their 70s and 80s TV commercials – is still being sold today.

We don’t regret skipping actual proper joes yesterday, but we’re thankful they get a day of tribute. It’s a great, albeit messy sandwich. Thanks Joe, whoever you are.

Wellderly Week

This week is meant to encourage the elderly to get some exercise, and to do things to promote good health and a positive lifestyle. This has become increasingly difficult given current global goings-on, so for 2020 the week may have to be seen from a modified perspective.

With a mother who is 70 and not in the least bit ‘elderly’, I can honestly say I don’t know a lot of actual elderly people right now. But if you do, this is a good week to remind them to get some exercise, and that walking outside – while still full of pitfalls like ice and slush around here right now – is still safe and permissible during this massive quarantine operation.

Unfortunately there are no seniors events happening right now in which we can participate or volunteer. We are caring for the elderly in our society by staying home and behaving like we’ve already caught this virus and don’t want to pass it on. But pop a bookmark into this one – when the frantic panic passes, those old folks are still going to benefit from getting their heart rates bumped, and remaining healthy.

National Bubble Week

Let’s reflect on some of the most important bubbles in our bubbly little lives, shall we?

  • Bubbles in water make for a much more delightful experience. Big thanks to my friend Nicole for gifting me with a Sodastream. It’s getting a lot of use.
  • Bubbles are what separates beer from the more earthly delights.
  • National Bubblegum Day reminded us last month of the pristine, meditative pleasure of concocting a floppy pink sphere next to our faces.
  • Bubble Bobble was the second video game I ever completed, after Super Mario Bros.
  • There’s something fascinating about soap bubbles being blown through the air, whether you’re a baby, a dog, a stoned guy, or… really anyone. But especially those three.
  • Shout-out to our insular political bubbles on social media, which keep the scuffles and kvetching down.
  • How about Glinda, the Good Witch’s lovely little bubble which doubles as a means of transport? Pretty neat.

Hooray for bubbles.

Another day of improvising with quarantine conditions. Jodie may be on the mend, so most of these may get their full appreciation.

  • National Poultry Day. My initial plans had us… visiting a poultry farm in the evening after work? Instead we’ll enjoy some chicken for lunch. Makes more sense.
  • National Chocolate Caramel Day. Again, initial plans changed. First it was getting some top-notch chocolate caramels from a local chocolatier. Now, Rolos may have to do.
  • National Let’s Laugh Day. We’ll be spending our time enjoying comedy.
  • National Corn Dog Day. This one might be tricky. We’ll see if there are any places open with corn dogs on the menu.
  • Absolutely Incredible Kid Day. I guess we ask some friends if they have absolutely incredible kids? Surely we can’t brag about our own, can we?

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