Monday, March 23, 2020

After two consecutive days of writing 3000+ words, I finally get to ease up and keep things a little more swift and succinct today. Which will leave me more time for celebrating, and wow do I feel like celebrating. Mostly because of this:

National Goof Off Day

This one stems from Chase’s Calendar of Events, the book I invested in to research this project. The daughter of the book’s founder, a 10-year-old named Monica Moeller (now Dufour), came up with the idea for this day while her grandpa was conducting a radio interview. The idea was a hit, and it has been celebrated on March 22 ever since 1976. So here’s an example of a weird celebration with a bit of history behind it.

Like any sensible humans in this weird chapter of contemporary history, Jodie and I are self-isolated, which allows for an inordinate amount of goofing off. Sure, I’ve spent hours of the previous few days pounding at this keyboard for my astoundingly meagre audience, but yesterday I wrapped up my writing early to allow for more goof-offery. We played with the dogs. We watched TV. I even got to launch my first (and very possibly not last) game of Civilization VI during quarantine.

Were this a regular day… well, it would have been Sunday anyway, and I can’t say for certain we’d have done much differently. But next year, when March 22 lands on a Monday and we most likely won’t be in our individual exiles, the day dictates we take time off of work and get silly. Try a new food. Have a snowball fight. Dance to Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long (All Night)” until you pass out. If you’ve got a talent for celebrating this day, then you’re probably very capable of getting through quarantine with a big-ass smile. Congrats to all of us.

Bavarian Crepes Day

With all that goofing off on our plate, it seemed unlikely that we’d want to spend a heap of our Sunday in the kitchen. Alas, we had two food-related celebrations to attend to, so the goofing had to be reduced a bit. Bavarian crepes though? That was totally worth it. It’s not a brunch we’ve ever made, but it was shockingly simple and unsurprisingly delicious.

We followed this easy recipe to make the crepes. It was no more work than making pancakes or waffles. For the inside we took some of our Californian (or actually Mexican) strawberries from yesterday, diced them up and mixed them with some of our leftover chocolate sauce – I can’t stress this enough, that Pears Helene recipe from last week made a lot more chocolate than we needed, and that’s just awesome. Add a few berries and some whipped cream on top, and we essentially had dessert and called it brunch. A good way to start a goofy day.

A Bavarian crepe is similar to the French variety, though you have to let the French crepe batter set for a few hours before cooking it. The Bavarian crepe (also known as Palatschinken) can be rolled up with confectioner’s sugar, stuffed with fruit or cheese, or even with savoury foods for a main course. Some people eat them on their own, which sounds anticlimactic to me. I mean, if you have strawberries and chocolate laying around, why wouldn’t you stuff them into your crepes?

This was a profoundly tasty celebration.

Alas, our plans for National West Virginia Day had to be bumped – not cancelled, but bumped. We had planned to make pepperoni rolls, but neglected to purchase the necessary ingredients yesterday. Normally I’d make a run to grab some Pilsbury crescent dough to finish the job, but making a grocery run for one ingredient is bad quarantine etiquette. The rolls will go on next week’s shopping list, and this day will live on.

As Young As You Feel Day

How young did we feel yesterday? For a day of goofing off, I’d say we did pretty well. Sure, the act of cooking crepes wasn’t exactly kid’s stuff, but we ordered in burritos for dinner, which is pretty simple.

As previously mentioned, I played Civilization VI, which made me feel like I was 22 again, playing Civilization II on my roommate’s computer, barely noticing as the hours dripped away. The new version is considerably more in-depth and complex, and it only served to make the hours flow away even faster. I even upped the sensation with some alcohol and cannabis, because why wouldn’t I want to feel that age again, minus the uncertainty and lack of wisdom?

Jodie read, she watched TV with me, and now that her non-COVID pneumonia has faded into the ether, she felt pretty damn good. This was another concoction of Thomas & Ruth Roy, those affable goofs (or is it ‘gooves’?) who created 80+ holidays for Chase’s Calendar of Events just because they could. I like this one – very positive, and a great cure for the nagging fear and uncertainty prodding us from the headlines.

National Buzzard Day

There are dozens of birds who fall into the ‘buzzard’ category, but for the simple reason of needing one species to focus upon, I’ll go with the cathartes aura, also known as the turkey vulture. That’s the one we all call ‘buzzards’ in this part of the world.

The turkey vulture, which is also known as a carrion crow, is a scavenger that feeds primarily off the flesh of deceased animals. Imagine the life of a buzzard, swooping around the land, seeking out the scent of decaying flesh. At least they don’t have to put in much work. Instead of flapping constantly, these birds fly using the occasional flap, with thermal convection in the earth’s atmosphere picking up the slack. They make hardly any noise, only some grunts and hisses. There aren’t a lot of predators going after these birds, but US, Canadian and Mexican law protects them.

You’re not going to see a lot of buzzards in the city. They tend to keep to wide open spaces, of which there are still many in lower Canada and in the US. Sometimes they’ll even migrate as far as South America. I guess if you’re a buzzard, you go where the dead are, borders be damned. They’re social creatures, hanging out in large buzzard communities and only taking off to forage during the day. They don’t use nests, usually laying their eggs in crevices, hollow trees and in thickets.

If you’re wandering through the plains (and you shouldn’t – just stay at home and wash your damn hands for now) and you see some buzzards swooping about, you probably don’t have to worry. By the time you become an appetizing feast for them, you’ve succumbed to whatever you should be worrying about more. Just don’t try to take one home for a pet – owning one could cost you a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Just give them a wave and remind them that March 22 is their day to shine. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

Dolphin Awareness Month

Can we take a moment and honour the beloved dolphin? Dolphins are beloved for numerous reasons: they are revered as the next-most intelligent species, they make delightful clicky chirps to communicate, and they look like they’re always smiling. We had dolphins living at our local mall for nearly 20 years. Yes, at our mall. That mall is fucking weird. Anyway, watching those four creatures (Mavis, Howard, Maria and Gary) always filled me with a tinge of sadness. These were beautiful creatures who deserved more water in which to roam.

Dolphins have used tools. They have created unique cultures in their various regions. They care for one another and mourn their dead. They have also murdered porpoises – no one knows exactly why. They have protected humans in the water when sharks were about, and helped injured humans stay afloat until help arrived. Maybe we love dolphins because they have exhibited acts of love toward us.

Dolphins also only sleep with one hemisphere of their brain in sleep mode at a time. This allows them to stay alert for predators, and to keep swimming to avoid debris and counteract any currents. Some of the larger shark species are considered a threat for dolphins, but it should surprise no one that their biggest threat has been humans. It’s always the damn humans. As a kid I recall an unofficial boycott of tuna because some companies were allowing dolphins to get caught in their nets. I was on board, mostly because I always felt tuna smelled a little like a fish’s asshole.

In honour of Dolphin Awareness Month, I hope we all take a moment and send a little love to our seabound friends. After all, they’d do it for us.

Some stuff to do, even though Pakistan Day has been cancelled due to our inability to hang out with the local Pakistani community, as has National Tamale Day, which would have been a delightful dinner out. That’s okay, we’ve still got this:

  • National Puppy Day. Probably the easiest thing we’ll celebrate all year.
  • National Chip and Dip Day. We have both. We will eat both. It won’t be much harder than National Puppy Day.
  • National Chia Day. We have no Chiapet to grow, but we do have some food with chia in it. So there’s breakfast.
  • National Near Miss Day. Maybe we’ll throw some stuff at one another and just barely miss one another. This worries me – Jodie will end up nailing me in the face.
  • National Melba Toast Day. Woo…. hoo?

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