Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Some days it feels as though the vast expanse of our imaginations serve only to reflect the peaks of our optimism or the depths of our depravity. And like a half-blind, three-quarters-drunk neophyte trying to figure out how to calibrate his personal sextant, we perilously claw through our daily diversions to figure out which one stands in the spotlight. Yesterday we sought to provide closure to cluelessness and answers to the unanswerable, all wrapped up in a handful of goofy (if sometimes unfulfilled) celebrations, but alas it was one of those days into which real life stuck its busy proboscis. As such, a couple of our more anticipated dives into the pool of revelry had to be postponed. Fortunately, we still had these:

National Upsy Daisy Day

I’m going to quote directly from nationaldaycalendar.com, the most info-packed and content-rich online source I used from this project. This day “is set aside to encourage you to face the day positively and to get up ‘gloriously, gratefully and gleefully’ each morning.”

Do you see my frustration here? Not that I disagree with the spirit of the day created by Stephanie West Allen in 2003, who aims to make a positive attitude “part of the Upsy Daisy Day way.” It’s just that there are only so many ways to spin “slap a smile on your face” concepts, and we seem to get multiple celebrations like this every week.

I suppose one interpretation of this would be to focus specifically on those first few minutes of every day, and to steer them toward a positive place in hopes that the rest of the day will fall into line. Well, here’s my bombshell surprise for the day: Ever since National Running Day last Wednesday, I have been popping straight down to the treadmill every morning. Well, not *every* morning – I let the weekend slide. But for five consecutive workdays now I have invested 20 minutes into getting some cardio, which is a longer stretch of exercise for me since… I don’t know, my early 30s?

Starting each work day with a brisk walk or run has certainly impacted my mornings. I have more energy and focus, and don’t get quite as frustrated by the repetitive perils of dreary office-drone work. Is this the upsy daisy epiphany I was meant to have? I’m going to say yes, because to suggest otherwise would simply be yet another exercise in generic positivity. And we’ve got enough of that this year. So perk up everyone, and start your day with a bit of heavy breathing and sweating. And if that means you have to leave your bed to get that (and it might not), then take part the upsy daisy way.

World Oceans Day

The proposal to the 1992 Earth Summit to hold an annual World Oceans Day came from Canada, so that’s a little feather of pride we can stick into our hats, or, if we’re not wearing hats, our hair. It took ten years for the day to come together, I guess because life moved more slowly in the 90s. The UN recognized the day in 2008, and here we are, a day for everyone to learn a bit more about the oceans on our planet and what we need to do to preserve them.

World Oceans Day’s official website offers a plethora of things to do. They’ve got links to online documentaries and TED talks. They’ve got a petition you can sign to lend your support to their 30×30 campaign, to save 30% of the planet by 2030. There are scads of teaching material, links to online ocean-related artwork, and even some cool science experiments you can do to learn more about oceans. Given that we had work yesterday and puppy class in the evening, we didn’t get a chance to do any of those.

But this day shan’t go to waste. If nothing else, let’s learn something.

First of all – and really, one of the biggest reasons we should all give a shit about our oceans – 94% of the world’s animal life exists within those waters. We have also only explored under 5% of it, so a lot of mystery still lurks down there. There are also treasures beyond compare beneath the waves. More than 1,000 shipwrecks are sitting off the Florida Keys alone, so if you fancy yourself a treasure hunter you may want to grab some scuba gear and get busy. Also, up to 80% of the oxygen we breathe is produced by the ocean, so if we don’t pay attention to how we’re treating that water, we’re really inviting some horrific consequences on human and other land-lubbing life.

So we all know the value of the ocean, and we also know there is at least one gigantic island of trash plopped in the middle of the Pacific, wreaking who knows what kind of damage upon the nearby ecosystem. I’m going to recommend everyone pop over to the link above and sign the petition. I don’t know if it will have any effect – I tend to be quite skeptical of online petitions – but it doesn’t hurt. And if you have the ability to take some more visceral action where you live, do it. We won’t get another shot at saving these oceans.

Healthcare Executives Appreciation Week

This one will be quick and easy. I think as a society we are all happy to drop what we’re doing and provide some quality appreciation to those poor, oft-neglected executives who get so little love, yet provide so much tireless and thankless work to the rest of us. Really… shame on us for not appreciating our healthcare executives more. They ask for almost nothing, apart from tremendous benefit plans, golden retirement packages and more pay in a year than most of us will see in a decade.

We have government-run healthcare in this country, which deprives us of the joyous experience of knowing there are men (and maybe a few women, if it’s allowed) buying Armani suits and fancy yachts all so you and I can spend $1500 to set a broken finger. If only we’d provide these folks with the opportunity to pay even fewer taxes, I’m sure the benefits from that would no doubt “trickle down” to the rest of us. Hey, someone should write that down. That idea has legs.

Okay, sarcasm aside, my American friends really need to take a good long look at their healthcare executives, and appreciate just how much they are profiting off of the very basic human right of health care. You know, that basic human right that is guaranteed by every other industrialized nation on the planet. Appreciate these people for what they truly are, and at what price they provide basic care to you. Then do what you can to change the system so that it benefits you, not them. No politics in this project… but there is an election coming up in November. Just sayin’.

National Headache Awareness Week

I suppose this is as good a week as any to remember that headaches exist. We all get them, and hopefully something as simple as a pill will take care of the problem most of the time. I’ve noticed that Jodie and I have both woken up with headaches more often than usual lately, which might mean some poisonous gas is seeping into our home (which is possible – we have angered Elton, the squirrel who lives in our shed, so maybe he’s exacting revenge), or perhaps we just need to buy new pillows.

Did you know that women are three times more likely to experience migraines than men? Also, as many as 50% of people who suffer from migraines don’t even know they are migraines. Feeling a sinus headache? Chances are it’s either a migraine or a tension headache. There’s no such thing as a ‘sinus headache’. Foods that can cause headaches are often chock-full of nitrates or MSG or sugar. Hot dogs are a big one, so is westernized Chinese food. Some folks are even sensitive to tyramine, which shows up naturally in bananas, avocados, aged cheeses, onions, citrus fruits and nuts.

Have you ever heard of a rebound headache? That’s a headache you’ll get if you take too many pills for your headaches. So how’s that for the body kicking itself in the nuts, so to speak? If you fast, that can bring on a headache, so that’s just one more reason not to. And if you suffer from migraines, you may wish to blame your parents – that is, if you’re the type of weirdo who blames their parents for everything in their DNA. Like their parents just sat down and hand-picked the crappy genes to pass on to you.

If you’re getting a brain-freeze, which is a headache caused by quick ingestion of ice cream or slurpee, press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Sometimes that works for me. Sometimes it doesn’t. If your headache is hangover-induced, drink lots of water, not coffee. And if you’re not sure why you have a headache, it’s most likely tension from your shoulders and neck. Get a massage or maybe lie down.

Headaches are a really common thing, and sometimes a bit of relaxation is the best cure. Or, you could just pop a pill and give those underfed, underloved health care executives a bit more pocket change. It’s up to you.

Teacher Thank You Week

Normally this would be the week you’d want to head out and buy the Starbucks gift card or sappy Hallmark card for your kid’s teacher, to let them know how much you appreciate their hard work in dealing with your monstrous brood over the last ten months. But this year there will be no kids showing up with gifts for their teachers (or sometimes for their teacher’s husbands if they have a Starbucks right in their office building). And honestly, teachers are okay without the goodies.

But a thank you is another matter. Over the last few months of a disturbingly weird school year, your teacher has most likely bent their brains in new and inventive ways to try to provide your kid with a learning experience wherein everyone involved may still be in their pajamas. It has been an uphill fight, in some cases just in getting these older teachers to work with technology that might have scared them before all of this. And some teachers have shined, creating new videos for their kids, keeping in close contact with them as questions arise, and even engaging with them one-on-one when they need it. Others have not. Still others, like gym teachers for example, haven’t had much they can do.

So drop an email to your kid’s teacher or teachers if you feel they have gone above and beyond to continue delivering knowledge and education through all this. If you’re old enough, you should be doing that yourself. Teachers love that shit, even more than Starbucks cards and homemade ashtrays. Alternately, send them some cash through e-transfer to their email. Or directly to their husbands if you’d rather.

Today we tread into deeper, more intense and focussed water, with all this goodness awaiting us like happy flotsam:

  • National Donald Duck Day. Don doesn’t get a lot of love. Also, did he ever let anyone – even Daisy – call him Don?
  • National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day. If we’re lucky enough to find some, we’ll be lucky enough to eat some.
  • National Earl Day. A day to give some love to folks named Earl, because that’s necessary. We don’t know a lot of Earls, but we’ll do our best.
  • Call Your Doctor Day. I will literally call my doctor, which I have to do anyway. How convenient!
  • World Pet Memorial Day. We’ll give some love to our long lost pets.
  • Writer’s Rights Day. This happened once in 1992, but we’ll see if the tradition has been carried onward.

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