Saturday, October 10, 2020

With Remembrance Day falling on a Wednesday this year, we are entering our final “long weekend” of 2020 (until Christmas) with a voracious appetite for celebration and mirth. To be specific, our appetite is for rest and recreation – those are what we wish to celebrate. Jodie’s first six weeks of school have lasted about six months. My 2020 has been quite different than most 2020s out there in the world, and for that I’m grateful. But we are being rather choosy about the indulgences we select now, since we are well ahead of our target and able to bask in such comfort. Still, we were able to find time for this:

National Sneakers Day

As someone who cares almost not at all about fashion, the most interesting thing about sneakers to me is how many names they can go by. We call them running shoes or runners. In Australia (and also around here) they call them tennis shoes. The Brits go with trainers or training shoes. I guess that’s because you wear them while training for athletic events, but that’s a very specific application most of us don’t use them for. Then again, I don’t run either. I do sneak, but only when I’m trying to grab some food I don’t want the dogs to beg me for. Because I’ll fold every time.

In northeast England they’re known as sand shoes, gym boots, or joggers. Joggers makes sense, or at least as much sense as running shoes. Gym boots? These aren’t boots, but okay, we’ll let that one pass colloquially. But sand shoes? We have sandals for sand. Over in Wales they call them daps. No context for why. One theory is that it was because of the Dunlop Athletic Plimsoles factory, which was known as the DAP factory, but apparently the term predates the factory.

In South Africa, the term of choice is ‘takkies’. In the Philippines, English-speaking folks call them ‘rubber shoes’, because I guess the sole is the only part of the shoe that matters to them. Anglophiles in Singapore call them track shoes – again, a very specific purpose that almost none of us will use them for. In Greece they apparently call them ‘sportex’, which is a conference building here in Edmonton. I don’t get that one. In India they’re called ‘canvas shoes’, because the sole means nothing to English-speaking Indians.

In Ireland, because the Irish have to have a clever term for everything, you can call them gutties, rubber dollies, and in Armagh they call them Marcel Marceaus, because I suppose the shoes are ideal for miming. Big mime community in Armagh.

Jodie wore her sneakers/runners/tennis shoes/trainers/sand shoes/gym boots/joggers/daps/takkies/rubber shoes/track shoes/sportex/canvas shoes/gutties/rubber dollies/marcel marceaus yesterday, since I could not, thanks to this hearty air-cast on my foot. And she rocked them, as she always does. Happy National Gutties Day to everyone.

National Fire Prevention Week / Fire Prevention Month

Okay, this weekend we are actually going to do something about fire prevention in our home. We have been without a charged-up, working fire extinguisher for a few years now, which is a little bit scary given how often I like to light up matches and flick them across the room. We’ll also be dealing with the lone smoke detector, which is conveniently stationed upstairs outside of the bedrooms that nobody uses. We have purchased new detectors, and I’ll be slapping them up around the house.

We already ordered those window decals for Pet Fire Safety Day, indicating that we have three dogs on the premises that the fire department should rescue, ideally before rescuing the humans. Those dogs are very necessary on this planet. But we haven’t filled them out yet, so this weekend we’ll also be doing that.

If we owned a flamethrower, this would be the week we get rid of it, since those are not safe to have lying around the house where someone immature and often intoxicated (that’d be me) might want to play with it. But we don’t own one, so this is already crossed off our list.

We will also be raking up the fallen leaves in our back yard, which will make our lawn less flammable. Fire is fire, wherever it’s at. I believe they call this “the wisdom of raking the forest.” Of course, the real achievement would be getting rid of our fireplace entirely and replacing it with a natural gas one, which would be safer, less smelly, and more efficient, but that’s a few thousand bucks so it’ll have to wait for a while.

Don’t mess around with fire. Now is as good at time as any – better, actually, since the calendar is already directing us this way – to check things out and keep yourself safe.

Gourmet Adventures Month

This entire year has been one big gourmet adventure. We have sampled a number of foods we’d never tried before – including haggis – and I’m sure we’ll try a few more before 2020’s last sand-grain slips down into the grain heap of history. Mostly it has been this project which has steered us into gustatory experimentation, but sometimes we just get a little funky, just for fun. Last night it was beef Banh Mi-style bowls, courtesy of Hello Fresh. Hello Fresh is an ideal choice for cooking when you have a broken foot and want a lot of the prep work already done so you can get the hell back to a chair.

Life is far too short and Canadian cuisine far too dull to limit one’s taste buds to the predictable and unadventurous. Not everything has to be a mouth-searing spice-fest – though it’s okay by me when that happens. And not everything new has to be grotesque and weird, like the little baby octopodes I had considered buying to devour yesterday. But the routine of burgers and sandwiches and boring-ass casseroles must be shaken up. If you don’t eat with chopsticks at least a couple times a month, you’re simply missing out on some great food. Or you just don’t like using chopsticks but still eat that food – I won’t judge.

Unless you wholly embrace the boring. Then I’ll judge you as guilty of unoriginality. And is there anything worse than that? Well, guilty of murder, I guess. Dumb question. But my point still stands: take a chance, try something new. Last night’s foray into Korean-style dining was a perfect example of this.

If there’s one thing that 2020 is not, it’s boring. And in a lot of ways, it’s non-boring in the worst possible fashion. So you may as well pepper it up with something non-boring and delicious.

National Cookie Month

I should point out that this month contains more National Month designations than any other month of the year. I don’t know why October gets this tribute, but it makes my job a lot easier, especially when the daily slate of celebrations is fairly week and unimpressive. But cookies? There’s always time for cookies. And our team baker (hi, Mom!) has come through for us on nearly every single cookie celebration this year.

And she’ll still pop over with a new batch of something, even when the calendar doesn’t demand it. For example, the above delicious morsels are dark chocolate, cherry, pistachio cookies she baked simply because Jodie is having a rough start to her school year, and our team baker felt she could use a bump in spirits. That’s the kind of person we’ve got on our team. She’s as dependably awesome as any of our three canine assistants.

Those cookies, which have only lasted this long because Saturday is doughnut day and for some inane reason we bought a Costco thing of cinnamon rolls last weekend, were terrific. Another successful baked goods celebration.

National Popcorn Poppin’ Month

We celebrated National Popcorn Day all the way back on January 19, a date that may have actually occurred five years ago. It’s hard to say; 2020 has been very distorting. But on that day we enjoyed some popcorn, and now, nine months later we get to do it again for this weirdly-named month. Why not simply National Popcorn Month? Well, according to Jolly Time, the popcorn company, you can also simply go by that name for October too.

What else needs to be said? We popped some popcorn into our mouths, as instructed. Thanks, October, for being so damn busy.

National Pet CBD Month

We have mentioned before that we were in possession of CBD puppy treats. Now we get to mention it again, so congrats to all of you readers who were dying to know more about the contents of our puppy treat cupboard.

We bought the treats for Trixie, as her stress level during a road trip to Vancouver last year was unreasonably high. Trixie is simply the kind of dog who gets stressed easily. It’s part of her schtick. So even though the science wasn’t 100% in on CBD application for dogs, we gave them a shot. They didn’t seem to work at all.

But there is more science rolling in on cannabis and canine use. This is undoubtedly a consequence of our loosened laws, which allow scientists access to that evil devil-plant for their mad experiments. CBD has been shown to help dogs with osteoarthritis. Epilepsy as well. Also, just like with humans, it has been shown to help with the symptoms one acquires during chemotherapy. There is also preliminary research that suggests the stuff might help with puppy anxiety. Might. It didn’t work for Trixie, but maybe she’s either super-anxious or we didn’t give her a high enough dose.

We gave each of the dogs a CBD treat yesterday, and they appreciated the treat-ness of it, if not the medical benefits. I’d encourage folks to do as much research as possible if they’re considering this as a medical treatment, and please don’t smoke a joint and blast your second-hand exhalations into your dog’s face. That’s not medicinal, it’s just cruel. Dogs already live in that perpetual state of bliss that pot-smokers chase. Just be happy we can join them there.

Another Saturday, but one which features two solid days off before our return to whatever sort of ‘routine’ we can call this mess. Here’s today’s menu – and holy crap, it’s huge:

  • Bonza Bottler Day. Our tenth Bonza day of the year. Bottles are picked out and ready.
  • National Chess Day. Do we play chess yet again?
  • National Costume Swap Day. We were going to go shopping for Halloween costumes, but non-essential shopping isn’t happening.
  • National Motorcycle Ride Day. We had a plan for this one too. Fuck you, Covid.
  • National I Love Yarn Day. Maybe a couple of my readers, who love yarn more than I do, can help out.
  • National Curves Day. Curves in the road? Fun, sexy curves? Parabolic graphs? Tune in and find out!
  • National Angel Food Cake Day. I feel like we’ve already celebrate this. I also feel like I don’t care, we’ll do it again.
  • National Cake Decorating Day. And this time we’ll decorate it!
  • National Handbag Day. As in hell-in-a? Because 2020 is perfect for that.
  • World Mental Health Day. This is something we’re always paying attention to, so it should be easy to celebrate.
  • National Hug A Drummer Day. I’ve never been paid to drum, but I’ve owned a couple of kits. That’s close enough. I want a hug.
  • National Stage Management Day. No theatre this year. Fuck you, Covid.
  • International African Penguin Awareness Day. We’ve celebrated penguins twice this year, but this is more specific.
  • National Kids Bowl Free Day. No kids, so we can’t test this one out.
  • National Love Your Hair Day. Perhaps I’ll pen an ode to my arm hair. It’s no Robin Williams arm hair, but it gets me by.
  • National Tuxedo Day. I don’t own one, but wouldn’t this be fun?
  • National Shift10 Day. No idea what this means, and the website that hosted it is gone. It’s not a keyboard shortcut, unless someone out there has a ‘10’ button.
  • Universal Music Day. Another day to listen to music!
  • World Porridge Day. I’ll let Jodie field this one.

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