Sunday, August 16, 2020

Yesterday was a truly rowdy higgle-piggle of activity, in that we actually had plans to see someone. This has proven to be a unicornesque rarity in 2020, which has given us more than ample time for confounding celebrations, but has stifled our social lives into an inaudible whimper. On top of that we treated ourselves to a brunch in the real world, which when coupled with our daily dog-walking, food-cooking, and house-organizing left but a smidgen of time to celebrate, and an even smidgier sliver of time to write about it. Yet we troop onwards, boasting all this madness to add to the teetering pile:

National Honeybee Day

I had thought we covered this particular species with a special day earlier this year, but alas I was thinking of National Don’t Step On A Bee Day on July 10. We didn’t step on a bee on that day (or any other in 2020, to our knowledge), but this is the day to truly offer our heartiest of salutes to these magnificent creatures.

So why care about bees? They can sting you, they can bring about a panic attack (or allergic reaction), and that movie with Jerry Seinfeld was really quite mediocre. Let’s start with our food. Bees do more pollenating than any other creature, and it’s estimated that 1/3 of the food we eat exists because of bee pollination. They also pollinate clover and alfalfa, which gets fed to the bovines who then gift us with Quarter Pounders. Then you’ve got beeswax, or cotton – bees are also responsible for plenty of non-food substances we rely on. Bees are crucial to our existence; they’re the behind-the-scenes techs who are necessary for us to put on this little show we call life.

If you don’t care about the food angle – for example, if you subsist solely on Twinkies and you can survive that way – you probably care about the economy. That food and that other stuff that the bees are spurting into existence often gets sold to other nations. Even if a crop doesn’t come into contact with honeybees, it still benefits from the biodiversity that is created in a bee-heavy environment.

Bees are declining in number, and this should concern the heck out of us. I enjoyed a sampling of honey yesterday, but more than anything I celebrated this one simply by becoming bummed out by the plight of our planet’s bees. If you can hive it up, please do – we need more bee-lovers out there.

National Leathercraft Day

Leathercrafting is, without question, awesome. From the moment humankind learned that skinning those big mooing beasts can yield a workable material that can make anything from bracelets to belts to that tremendously inappropriate thong I was advised should never again be worn on casual Friday, we have let loose with our creativity. There are a number of day-courses we could have taken to learn the craft – or at the very least, learn to do it rather poorly over the course of six hours – but this world is not presently accepting such dalliances in casual education, masks or no masks.

But we do own some leathercrafts; I’m pretty sure everyone does, unless they have a definite moral objection to wearing cow-parts. Above are a couple of bracelets Jodie owns, which she was happy to model yesterday. Tandy Leather created this day just two years ago, in an effort to encourage people try directing their artistic leanings into the world of leathercrafting, and probably also to do so with Tandy quality leather products. I’ll happily shill for Tandy if they’ll supply me with some leather stuff. Hell, they made great computers back in the 80s, I’m sure their leather is top-tier.

It’s unfortunate that our celebration for this day involved wearing some leathercrafts and not actually fashioning any. I had a look at the tools used in this craft work, and some of them are pretty cool. Plus apparently anvils are a part of the process, and I have always wanted to own an anvil, just in case any cartoon antics should arise in my day-to-day life. But for now we’ll have to settle for showcasing the leathercrafting of others. Maybe next year we’ll dive in and create a few of our own.

National Relaxation Day

Some kid named Sean Moeller came up with this celebration back in 1985. He was a fourth-grader at the time, and he felt this should be a day with no clean-up and no work to be done. I’m guessing Sean had a list of chores at the time, and this was his way of getting out of it for a day. But he has a point. And as someone who was a fifth-grader in 1985, I am ready to jump on board and say that 35 years later, Sean couldn’t be more right.

And we did relax. Sort of. Our lives have been in a semi-perpetual state of relaxation since mid-March when the world did its presto-change-o thing. I still work, but from home. It’s hard not to be just a little relaxed when you have dogs sleeping at your feet, even when the workload is heavy. And this project has helped us to tune in to our inner peace, if only to prompt us to bitch about a lack of inner peace when we’ve got 20 celebrations to cover.

Yesterday didn’t actually feel like absolute relaxation. I can’t claim that having a beer with a loved one is “work”, and even walking the dogs is an act of enjoyment on our part, at least during these summer months. But we didn’t truly tune out and indulge in concentrated daytime relaxation. That is on the schedule for today, however, as we see the summer sun crank up its volume and lure us outside to our lawn furniture and/or hammock. So thank you Sean – you have provided one of the most sacred and special celebrations of the year. I hope you’re still celebrating it at 44.

National Lemon Meringue Pie Day

No, we did not consume a lemon meringue pie yesterday. We didn’t want one in the house; our team baker (hi, Mom!) baked us something called a peach dump cake, which was delicious and is taking up all of the space we have for dessert treats in our kitchen. We are drowning in sweets this year; we didn’t need another pie to deal with.

But I present to you the above doughnut, known as Ode to Sunshine, concocted by the extremely brilliant doughnut-Jedis at Destination Doughnuts on 124th street. The meringue is always fluffy and fantastic, leaving its remains upon my mustache hairs for a terrific post-treat treat, and the creamy lemon innards are sweet and sublime, just as they should be. That was how we celebrated, and I’m calling it a deep and thorough win.

It’s believed that Swiss baker Alexander Frehse came up with this recipe back in the 1800s. Lemon custards have been a thing for centuries, but meringue didn’t show up until the 17th century. How Mr. Frehse (or whomever) realized that the two belonged together like chocolate and peanut butter (a miracle mixing that wouldn’t occur until Mr. Reese showed up in the 20th century), we’ll never know. But we are glad he did; lemon meringue is a perfect pie. It’s fluffy, it’s creamy, and if the crust is made properly it’s an absolutely perfect dessert.

But, in a pinch, the doughnut will fill in nicely.

Chant At The Moon Day

I’m all about the celebrations in which I feel like just a little bit of an idiot whilst executing them. I mean, we had no problem sneaking zucchini onto our neighbour’s porches last week (and by “we” I mean “me” – Jodie had nothing to do with it). And I have written one of these articles in the nude for World Naked Day – thankfully this was after I’d started working from home, which is why I still have a job. But standing in my back yard and chanting at the moon? Why on earth would I do that?

Cherries. This celebration is all about cherries. Specifically, Stemilt’s, a cherry producer based near Wenatchee, Washington. They felt that harvesting their cherries just before a full moon would make them sweeter. Apparently there is some effect that the moon’s gravitational pull has on cherry tree roots, which sounds both dubious and delightful, as far as weird legends go. So they created this day to encourage people to chant vigorously at our little celestial friend, and perhaps to enjoy some cherries while doing so.

Well, we didn’t have any cherries lying about. And the moon is creeping quickly toward being a new moon, so at best it was a sliver in last night’s sky. And for the entirety of my awake-time last night, the moon was hovering below the northern horizon (I have an app that confirmed this), so I didn’t actually get to witness the moon at all. But, I’m devoted to these weird celebrations so I did let out a little chant toward the sky. I was a little unsure of what the moon might like (the Marcels’ “Blue Moon” seemed a bit too much on-point), so I just chanted the opening vocal line to the Beach Boys’ “With Me Tonight”, which no doubt appeased both the moon and any local wildlife who happened to be camping out in our yard. It was a weird, yet enjoyable little celebration.

National Best Friends Day

This day already dropped on June 8, yet here it is again. We have devoted roughly as many days to cherishing our friendships this year as we have to celebrating happiness. It’s a generic form of revelry, and honestly a bit disappointing, especially when you consider we literally snuck zucchini onto our neighbour’s porches last week.

But who am I to complain? Just the guy who has to write these articles, and come up with a new way to point out that Jodie is my best friend, and the one I want to spend every one of my days with until the great earthly shimmer that propels me into the next mortal coil. We spent our entire day together yesterday, ironically except for the period of time in which I wrote this article.

So I betrayed my quality best friend time in order to write about best friends. Is this right? Is this how we should be celebrating? I say no – and in saying no I’ll simply move on to the next item in an effort to speed things along. That is what true best-friendship is – plowing through all the bullshit so you can spend the time you need with that special person. Right?

National Failures Day

A day to celebrate our failures? Okay, I can see that. Failure is a necessary ingredient to success – that’s in the Bible. Or maybe I heard it on an episode of ALF, I honestly can’t remember. But the words are true, whether they were spoken by Solomon or Willie Tanner. We need to fall on our faces in order to rise to achievement. And I have made falling on my face into an art form over my 45 years.

I have written three novels, none of which were particularly brilliant, and none of which were published. I flunked out of high school due to a concentrated lack of common sense and a natural ease at being distracted. In fact, I somehow managed to score a final grade of 1% in my high school film studies course – an impressive little failure. I started a massive project to celebrate every holiday in existence, and failed to gain the attention of Oprah or Ellen or anyone else who would bankroll the remainder of these parties to the tune of at least six figures.

But let’s look at what those failures got me. No, I didn’t publish a book, but I became a better writer, and that led me to enjoying the everloving fuck out of the craft. I did flunk out of high school, but that led me to getting a shitty line-cook job at the age of 20 which introduced me to Jodie and ultimately defined my life’s purpose of domesticity and unfettered bliss. And I wound up going to university and getting a degree anyway – a film studies degree, which makes that 1% all the more laughable.

And I refuse to consider this project to be a failure, as the goal was never really to get that Oprah money (though that may be the goal of however I package this weirdness next year), it was to finish. If we decide to throw in the towel and give up on this project before December 31, then I will concede it was a failure. But that isn’t likely to happen.

Especially not with National Bacon Day landing at the very end of the year. We’ll stick it out for that.

On to a Sunday in which we will be celebrating National Relaxation Day more intensely. No national state cuisine this week; I guess we’re entitled to two weeks off in the year. But we’ve still got all this:

  • National Tell A Joke Day. Is this my chance to finally produce my own take on The Aristocrats? I hope so.
  • National Roller Coaster Day. Well, fuck. There are three roller coasters in this city, and they are all shut down due to Covid. This one hurts.
  • National Rum Day. I’m not going to say that this celebration was *not* the reason we undertook this entire project…
  • National Bratwurst Day. I was at my favourite German brunch spot literally yesterday, and I didn’t have bratwurst. But I eat it often enough, I should still be able to celebrate its magnificence.
  • True Love Forever Day. Awww….

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