Sunday, August 23, 2020

After a night of fair-to-poor sleep (it may be because our new mattress is akin to sleeping upon a kitchen floor) and a long day of shopping, cleaning, cooking and entertaining, we had little energy left for celebrating. Little, in this case, is a euphemistic way of saying zilch. And I’m the one was sitting here last night at 9:30, trying to fashion an article out of my deep, deep desire to not do this exact thing. We didn’t get up to much celebrating yesterday, at least not according to the calendar. We did, however, enjoy a wonderful visit with family we haven’t seen in ages, and that was celebration enough. Except now there’s all this:

National Be An Angel Day

This day was started in 1993 by someone named Jayne Howard Feldman, who felt we needed a day to remind us to be good, to do good for others, and to generally be a groovy cat or kitten, depending on how you identify. I like that. It’s sweet. It’s also the premise of at least two dozen days throughout this year.

Not that this should stop us from doing some good. Initially we’d considered volunteering on this day, but of course volunteer work is (a) limited in this pandemic, and (b) not entirely possible when most of your wife’s family are coming over for a barbecue, and it’s up to you to make the potato salad and grill all the meat. But we did… well, something. We loaded up our nephew with piles of food to get him through the next few days of work. We locked our dogs away and made sure our littlest niece and nephew had a safe and happy good time, complete with cookies, cake and ice cream. We may not have hit the level of ‘angel’, but we weren’t bad.

When a random puppy wandered over to our house, and even into our backyard to become a guest at our barbecue, Jodie figured out where the puppy lived and I brought him home to his grateful owners. I’m not entirely sure how this puppy has gotten out of the house unnoticed several times over the last week, but that’s not for us to figure out.

People are hurting this year, and charities are hurting even more, because it’s hard enough figuring out how to get people to donate their time and resources without having to factor in some potentially fatal virus. So if you can be someone’s angel, even if it’s just for a snippet of your day, please do. Be better than we were.

Never Bean Better Day

Something called the Drager Group created this day, and thankfully it has nothing to do with beans. I mean, if it did we would simply have obtained some of those great jelly beans again, as we have for at least two bean-related days so far. But this one was actually named after a dog who had the delightful moniker of ‘Bean’. Bean looks like a really cool dog. Plus, if you visit his website and purchase one of his plush toys (which you absolutely should), they will donate another one to an ill or disadvantaged child. The people behind this celebration are truly looking to make this world a better place.

Bean has appeared on Animal Planet, and he was featured in an issue of the Wall Street Journal. He’s a celebrity therapy dog, and his work brings attention and focus to the amazing work done by therapy dogs everywhere. This is seriously so much more worth celebrating than fucking lima beans.

Pictured above on the left is our little bulldog Becky (2008-2016), who was somehow given the nickname ‘Bean’. So we can relate on that level. Becky was never an official therapy dog, but there’s no question she would provide immense therapy to Jodie whenever she was down. The Bean knew when she was needed, and she never failed to amuse us and lift our spirits. At least two of our current canine companions are potential therapy dogs, but the one who has the chutzpah and (eventually, we’re told) the brains to get certified is Liberty, pictured on the right. She is very much in tune with our emotions, and we couldn’t get by without her.

So our Never Bean Better celebration was all about these puppies. I think most dogs are therapy dogs for their owners, as dogs seem to genuinely attempt to connect with their people emotionally. So big hugs to all the Beans out there. You are truly appreciated.

National Eat A Peach Day

We… we didn’t eat a peach. I know, this is a brutally easy day to figure out. Even if it was National Peach Day, that’s more vague and open to interpretation. This day literally states how to celebrate it right there in the title. And we appreciate that sort of blunt directness, especially seven and a half months into this project when our imaginations may be feeling a little bit of fatigue.

That aside, I’m still counting this celebration. Why? As I teased in yesterday’s article, we have one other option.

Released on February 12, 1972, The Allman Brothers’ third studio album was a revelation in rock music. They hadn’t yet released their most popular hit, “Ramblin’ Man” (which they apparently hated), and they were coming off of the success of the double-live Live At Fillmore East the previous year. They were known as brilliant musicians with a folksy, bluesy approach to music. This was an album of intense emotions, as many in the band were struggling with heroin issues, and founder/guitar legend Duane Allman died in the middle of the album’s creation.

But holy crap, what an album. This one is also a double, with two of the four sides dedicated to a single lengthy interpretation of Donovan’s “There Will Be A Mountain”, but with a lot more wailing Hammond organ and intense guitar. You’ve got “Blue Sky”, “One Way Out”, “Ain’t Wasting Time No More”, “Melissa”, “Les Brers In A Minor”, “Little Martha”, “Trouble No More” and “Stand Back”… it’s a packed collection of tunes.

So yeah, I listened to that last night. Or some of it – it was late, and I couldn’t get all of the way through “Mountain Jam” before I fell asleep. But it was a fine way to celebrate.

Earth Overshoot Day

I was hoping this was going to be some sort of space commemoration, maybe of when some space shuttle was returning to earth and overshot its mark. Then I remembered that no, I’d never heard of such a thing happening so it’s unlikely there’s a day to commemorate it. It turns out that this day is a bit more grim. It’s a bit more dreary.

This day apparently changes up its calendar location year by year. What it means is that we as humans have exhausted our budget for nature for the year. After this day we are drawing on ecological debt. We’re accumulating more CO2 in the atmosphere than we should be allotted. We’re using up the planet’s resources.

Just for fun (and because I had to figure some way to celebrate this very non-celebrate-ish day), I went to this site and calculated my own Earth Overshoot Day. Based on the questions they asked, my own day is actually April 5. This means we’d need 3.5 earths in order to accommodate my deviant lifestyle, at least if everyone was as ecologically crappy as I. I’m not sure if that’s true, but then I don’t always eat locally-sourced products (or at least I don’t keep track as much as I should), and we don’t get any of our power from solar, wind, or that giant hamster wheel I hooked up to the house. If only we could find a giant hamster to work it.

So we may need to live a bit more ecologically. And we are trying. We are certainly burning a lot fewer fossil fuels with me staying at home for work, and Jodie wrapping up a 5-month “summer break” of sorts. But we could do better. It’s good to have these days to remind us.

What a day. We felt guilty about our green footprint, felt guilty that we don’t do enough to be an angel to people, and we felt sad that our dog, The Bean, is no longer with us. How about something with a bit more joy?

World Plant Milk Day

Okay, this doesn’t sound particularly joyful on the surface. But I assure you, I had a wonderful time celebrating this one. Pictured above is my coffee intake for yesterday: a magnificent almond milk latte from Credo. Not cheap, but they make some of the finest coffee products in this city. And the almond milk was an easy pick.

Plant milk is vegan, which is great if you care about such things. We do not. I do, however, care about the lactose intolerance that crept into my innards right around when I turned 30. It now means that I either order some sort of plant milk in my lattes or else I down a bunch of pills. Yes, that is how I have been surviving all of these ice cream celebrations. I should have invested in Lactaid stocks years ago.

Horchata, first made in northern Africa from ground up, sweetened tiger nuts (it’s a nut – get your damn mind out of the gutter), is one of the first plant milks to have become popular. Almond milk has been around since at least the 13th century, and soy milk first popped up in China a short while later. Coconut milk is probably the next most popular type of plant milk, but its natural sweetness means it should be consumed as its own thing, and not as a substitute for plain ol’ cow milk.

You can also enjoy cashew milk, barley milk, rice milk, wheat milk, chia seed milk, peanut milk, quinoa milk, pistachio milk, pecan milk, and even potato milk if you’re so inclined. We aren’t, but I’ll keep swilling back the almond milk whenever the urge strikes. It has a precocious little flavour of its own, and it fills the milk gap for me.

So yes, this one was joy. Restrained joy, but you can’t take away from the glory of a person’s morning coffee, especially when it tastes this damn good.

It will be a quieter day, but I’m sure we can find heaps of stuff to keep us busy. For example, there’s all of this:

  • National Ride The Wind Day. This is a day to experience something exciting. I was hoping to ride in a glider for the first time – price: $125. That was pre-pandemic though, so maybe I’ll just juggle some knives or something.
  • National Sponge Cake Day. This one will be a bit easier to celebrate.
  • Cheap Flight Day. We will look into how pricy it is to fly right now, because we haven’t even considered looking into it.
  • Hug Your Sweetheart Day. Awww…. We can do this.
  • Daffodil Day. We don’t have any around the house, but we can learn about these flowers. Maybe we’ll pick up something interesting.
  • Buttered Corn Day. I guess we’d better pick up some corn.
  • Internaut Day. This is something computer-related so I’ll definitely look into it.
  • Valentino Day. I’m guessing it was his birthday. Happy birthday, Rudolph!
  • National Maryland Day. Off we go on our culinary adventure once more.

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