Wednesday, December 2, 2020

We have entered the final act in this whimsical farce, the ramp-up to the inevitable end… or is it? Will we pull an M. Night on all of you and announce that we’re actually going to keep celebrating all the way through 2021? No, I can promise you that will not happen. In fact, I kind of want to punch myself in the face for even writing that sentence. We have made it through more than 2,000 celebrations in a year that has tested the patience and sanity of just about every human on the planet. I’ll take that win and ride into the proverbial sunset, thanks. Speaking of sunsets, here’s what we did prior to the one yesterday:

National Pie Day

To be perfectly fair, National Pie Day lands on January 23, and has done so since it was started by teacher Charlie Papazian in 1975. For some reason, which my research can only uncover to be ‘some reason’, there is also a flag for National Pie Day on December 1. I don’t see the need for two pie days, but then I don’t see the problem with having two pie days either. Pie is great.

We also celebrated Pie on March 14, better known as ‘Pi Day’. But let’s have a look at the more official National Pie Day from January. On that date we celebrated with a chocolate pecan pie from Sunterra Market, and I still remember it was fantastic. I suppose a celebration can be deemed a success if we can still remember it after a few hundred other dessert celebrations over the ensuing months.

Yesterday we defrosted something we’ve been waiting to enjoy for quite some time: a key lime pie from Da-De-O, made with real key limes from the Florida Keys, and packing such a gratifying punch of flavour it felt almost sinful. Come on, calendar – you want to throw another Pie Day at us this month? Because we’ll totally be on board.

National Day of Giving / Giving Tuesday

After a weekend of pouring one’s available funds into the tilt-o-whirl of modern capitalism, this is a day to remind us that December is also the season of giving, and if all we’re doing with our money is buying stuff for ourselves and others, we’re missing the point. The day’s official website offers a number of opportunities for folks to donate their money and their time where it’s needed.

Here’s something fun. We are all likely somewhat hesitant to head out and volunteer ourselves, given that the world (and Edmonton in particular) is currently over-run by this insidious virus. But the above website can also connect us with virtual volunteer opportunities, like grant writing, moderating a Facebook group for human rights, or serving on a board that only meets through virtual means. This is right up my alley: I have time to donate, but a deep aversion to leaving my house, unless it’s for groceries and/or doughnuts. I threw my name in to help out with a virtual volunteer scenario. I also took note of a few charities that could use some assistance this year.

If your time is short and you’ve got some money to donate, look at local charities and you’ll find a bevy of options to choose from. I recommend selecting carefully, as there are always scam charities trying to race to the bottom of the ladder of humanity. I’d also suggest looking into some arts-based charities. As a society we have been subsisting on streaming services and the few movies that have tumbled onto those services this year, while giving up completely on live music and live theatre. The people who make that type of art are struggling and could use any support they can get. We want there to be a viable arts community when all this is over.

So if you took some time to Black Friday it, to Small Business Saturday it, to Small Brewery Sunday it, or to Cyber Monday it, please take some time and/or money and Giving Tuesday it just a little. We all need to help each other out.

National Christmas Lights Day

When is it appropriate to flick on the Christmas lights and start truly celebrating the season? That depends on who you ask.

We’ll start with Costco. Goddammit, Costco. I’ve seen you start sprinkling the Christmas decoration displays in late July. That should be punishable with jail time. We are not ready for the holiday season when we are still in the midst of hammock season.

Some folks (and I’m looking at you, Linda Belcher) will string up their lights and get all Christmas-ish right after Halloween. This is too soon. Even this year, when we will happily forego our stuffiness and embrace the fact that people are desperate for the feel-goodery of the holiday season and doubly desperate to get this year the hell over with, November 1 is too soon. Others tend to pick November 12, which respectfully allows us to dedicate the early part of the month to remembering and honouring our veterans. For my judgmental frown, this is 100% acceptable in 2020.

I tend to believe the Christmas season should begin once Santa makes his way down 5th Avenue in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. That day is, after all, followed up by the biggest weekend in retail, and the definitive start to the shopping season. Alternately – and here’s where our research backs us up – December 1 is also an appropriate start. We don’t need to celebrate Christmas for more than a month. We have demonstrated clearly that there are well over 2,000 other things we can celebrate if we are that desperate for revelry.

We did not decorate yesterday, as Jodie is far too busy to tackle something like that on a weeknight, and I’m far too Jewish to do all that without her. But we began our preparations, which this year includes setting up our tree in our front room for the first time since we’ve moved to this house some 14 years ago. And our son decorated his apartment in festive cheer, the results of which are pictured above. Let the season begin, folks.

Just keep that insipid music away from me. There is no time, not even on the 25th, when I want to listen to Jingle Bell fucking Rock again.

National Eat A Red Apple Day

Jodie, happy to contribute to this journey of mayhem whenever her frantic schedule permits it, ate a red apple. There’s really not much to say here. That’s the point of the day. We nailed it.

Having blasted through our final frantic first-of-the-month, we will be grateful to see what comes next. December isn’t just about Santa and candles and Kwanza; we’ve also got this fun stuff:

  • National Package Protection Day. This can be interpreted a number of ways. Should I wear a jockstrap today?
  • National Fritters Day. The restaurant where we order our favourite fritters is closed today, but I’ll bookmark this one for the weekend.
  • National Mutt Day. A day to honour all great mixed-breed pooches out there.
  • Business Of Popping Corn Day. We have already celebrated popcorn… are we supposed to open a popcorn business today?
  • Choose Women Wednesday. Feminism ain’t dead, folks. The fight ain’t over. This sounds delightfully empowering.
  • Play Basketball Day. My only ball is deflated at the moment, but we still have a net up in the back yard.
  • Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting. This is Jodie’s favourite tree in the world every year. She will be celebrating this one.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

As we dance all down-geared-like into our final month of this project – the quietest month for arbitrary celebrations, thankfully – we do what we can to block out the realities of this oft-twisted timeline that has made up our 2020. History books will be written about this year. At the very least, more sweeping texts will require an entire chapter for this global shift from the normal. And this is the year we happened to select for celebrating just about everything in the known universe. Coincidence? Cruel fate? Maybe we should simply be welcome for the distraction. Speaking of distractions, here was our Monday:

Stay Home Because You’re Well Day

So Thomas and Ruth Roy, those curiously prolific holiday-inventors from Pennsylvania whose musings have provided at least six dozen acts of celebration from us this year so far, came up with this call to arms for folks to play hooky from work. Call in sick. Stay home. Do it because you’re healthy and you deserve another day off.

I like this sentiment, and the plan had been that I would celebrate it (unless I happened to be sick, which would have been a shame) by watching TV and enjoying the peace and quiet of a day off. But this is 2020, the year when nothing goes quite as expected. Yesterday found me working at home for the gazillionth day in a row, while Jodie indulged in her PD Day in the new temporary environment in which teachers are severed from their standard in-person teaching activities. Specifically, her staff was advised to do their professional development from home.

So here we were, both tucked inside our weekend walls, both still working, but both utterly well, health-wise. This celebration has taken on an entirely new directive: simply show up and work from home as expected. Not nearly as triumphant, but if this is the way normal is going to stay for a while, I’m on board. Our office companions (pictured above) make it a lovely place to be.

National Mississippi Day

Our culinary journey through American cuisine and history finally drops us into the Magnolia State, one of the deepest of the deep-south states. Mississippi, while I’m sure it’s beautiful and picturesque and full of good, noble people who would throw out their backs in feats of southern hospitality to help their neighbours, has spent a lot of time on the wrong side of history. As such, it would be really easy to paint it with a brush of disgust and derision. But let’s try to look at both sides.

On the down side, Mississippi features more black people per capita than any other state. I call this a down side because black folks have suffered immensely in this state. In 1860, as the state was packing its bags to become one of the first to hook up with the Confederacy, a full 55% of their population was made up of slaves. There have been riots, murders and fantastic feats of oppression to keep racism alive and well there over the years. Further to these efforts, you’ll find more poverty, and worse health, education and development here than pretty much anywhere else in the country.

But let’s look at the other side of the coin too. Over half the state is covered by gorgeous forest. There are over 200 native fish species in the region, more than most anywhere else in the country. In short, wherever there are no people in this state, it’s quite fantastic. If you’re a big fan of mandated sobriety, this is the state for you. Mississippi went dry in 1908, more than a decade before the rest of the country. Apparently it remained dry until 1966, so that’s something. I don’t know – so much of this state’s post-colonial history is drenched in the blood of racism; it’s hard to extract the good parts.

Perhaps a list of accomplished Mississippians will shed some light onto this situation. There’s Fred Armisen from Hattiesburg, Jim Henson from Greenville, James Earl Jones from Arkabutla, Gerald McRaney from Collins, and Tig Notaro from Jackson. Then you’ve got the musicians. If there’s one thing Mississippi does right, it’s produce great musicians: J.B. Lenoir, Little Milton, Charlie Musselwhite, B.B. King, Albert King, Robert Johnson, Jimmy Johnson, Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Son House, Junior Parker, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Reed, Jimmy and David Ruffin, Otis Rush, Pop Staples, Barrett Strong, Willie Dixon, Eddie Taylor, Rufus Thomas, Ike Turner, Conway Twitty, Britney Spears, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson (the second one), Mary Wilson, Tammy Wynette, Mose Allison, Eddie Boyd, Big Bill Broonzy, Eddie “Bongo” Brown, Jimmy Buffet, Otis Clay, James Cotton, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup and the great Sam Cooke. It’s a who’s who of brilliance. Mississippi is clearly at its best when set to music.

And they love their shrimp. So we made some shrimp pasta last night and listened to some fantastic old blues. That’s how you celebrate a quandary like Mississippi.

Cyber Monday

I will hold off on yet another rant about the evils of mandatory capitalism around this time of the year, as my wife is ready to throw something at my skull for bringing it up so much, and honestly, so am I. My point is made. I’m not a fan. But still, I indulge because… tradition.

This year, I imagine more people will be doing their shopping online than ever before, given that malls and retail spaces are festering germ-dens these days. I am doing everything I can to use Amazon as little as possible, but it won’t be fully avoidable. And yesterday I did my part to contribute to this crazy day of electronic retail by picking up a few stocking-stuffers online. I would include a photo of this endeavour, but since my wife is one of my few diligent readers and also intended to be the recipient of everything I bought yesterday, I’ll go with the still shot from the 1995 Sandra Bullock vehicle The Net instead.

I hope you all took part, found some good sales, and didn’t blow your monthly bill-payment money on gifts. Gotta keep it responsible. We know what 2020 gave us; we should try to save up a little in case 2021 has a sucker-punch or two waiting for us.

National Personal Space Day

This one is a heartwarming, yet weirdly-timed little tale. Carol Winner was taking care of her mom, who was battling cancer. Her mom was a fighter, but Carol became aware that even a well-intentioned hug from a well-wisher could muck with her mom’s immune system and make things worse. She came up with a campaign that promoted giving space to those who need a bit of time to get their immune systems up and running again.

Now the weird part. This day was created in 2019. Its first appearance in any celebration-tracker calendars was for November 30, 2019. Within only four months, we were all watching supermarket floor stickers and copious signage telling us to maintain a decent personal space from others, sick or not. I’m sure Ms. Winner had no expectations that her well-meaning attempt to preserve the lives of those who are battling for their health would become the societal norm within such a short time.

But here we are. Keeping our space from one another en masse, apart from the moronic few who feel the need to protest such notions. Yesterday we simply celebrated the irony of this one and kept our distance from strangers. This is remarkably easy when you don’t leave the house.

Perpetual Youth Day

Yesterday would have been Dick Clark’s 91st birthday. For those of us old enough to remember him pre-stroke and pre-Ryan-Seacrest-takeover, he was the guy who wouldn’t age. Some said his forever young face was due to the rock ‘n roll that surrounded him. Some said it was because he was devoted to youth culture for all of his days. Others credited plastic surgery. Never underestimate plastic surgery.

That said, Dick always denied having plastic surgery. Comedian Bill Hicks felt that the obvious reason Dick never seemed to age was because he was the antichrist. I know Dick denied the plastic surgery, but I’m not sure if he ever addressed this particular rumor. Let’s let our suspicions roll for this one.

I’m happy to celebrate perpetual youth, for while grey hair and increasing face-lines may keep me from looking forever youthful, I can proudly boast a consistent level of immaturity and silliness that keeps me feeling young – well, younger – every day. Yes, I still enjoy drinking from time to time, and I love my legal cannabis. I also get to visit my actual youth every week with brand new Star Wars and Star Trek content to drink in. I’ve got video games to play. Even the way I look at the world has not aged in that crusty and gross way that leads so many adults to turn to conservatism.

I may not be young by any standards but those of the elderly, but I’ll play with my perpetual youth every day. It’s a good way to keep sane.

National Mason Jar Day

John Landis Mason – no relation to John Landis, director of Animal House, but it’s an interesting coincidence – died in poverty in a New York tenement house in 1902. 44 years earlier, he was the darling of the jar set, having patented a wide-mouth fruit jar with a threaded screw-cap. Everyone was using these things. The Supreme Court ultimately decided Mason had abandoned the patent, and by the late 1870s he was making no additional money from it. Yet still we see those jars today, and many of them bear his name and the patent date of November 30, 1858.

It’s an outlier in free market history, I’m sure, for an inventor’s name to be so closely tied to his product 162 years later, yet the guy died in poverty. He also came up with the world’s first screw-top salt shaker too, but we don’t call those Mason shakers.

Pictured above is my preferred water glass – a plastic Mason jar replica that won’t break when I sleepily knock it off my bedstand (and yes, that has happened). I took some hearty sips and toasted the man who made it all possible.

The first of the month is usually a pretty packed day, but this one accurately foretells of a manageable December: busy, but not insane. Here’s what’s up for today:

  • National Pie Day. Very generic, and we are not without a pie to do it justice.
  • National Eat A Red Apple Day. A very specific celebration with the instructions right in the title. I love those.
  • National Day of Giving. Not Thanksgiving, just plain old giving. Not a bad sentiment for a day.
  • World Trick Shot Day. I’d hoped to hit a pool hall today to try to invent some sort of trick shot, but given that I’m Covid-stranded, that won’t happen.
  • National Christmas Lights Day. The day when it becomes truly acceptable to mount and light up your decorations.
  • Day Without Art. Why on earth would we do this?
  • Wear A Dress Day. Jodie will have to do this one, as none of my dresses fit my full figure anymore.
  • Rosa Parks Day. Certainly someone worth celebrating.

Friday, January 24, 2020

The flicker of illusion that passed between the sunsets yesterday elicited a hot pint of reflection for both of us. As our cyber-sky precipitates more and more festivities upon us, we found ourselves pondering those dreaded seven letters we’d never thought we’d worry about only one-score-plus-three days into this project: Burnout.

This is not to suggest that our primordial wicks were nearing their final flame-wiggle, not at all. The perpetual party rages on and our coats remain firmly upon the bed – we aren’t going anywhere. But the manic nature with which time scootches by was beginning to make itself… heard.

As such, we decided we’d pop our camera onto the shelf and slow down our video entries on Youtube. Each 7-10 minute video is accompanied by 60-90 minutes of editing, music selection, uploading and processing. Tack onto that the articles I lovingly pry from the insides of my fingertips and our time to appreciate our celebrations languishes upon the backburner. And those celebrations are the warm fruity centre beneath the pie crust of pics, vids and word-globs that we serve up to the world.

So please forgive our gearing down with the video entries. We still aim to recap our weeks, and to pop in with fresh content when the act of a celebration lies in our discussing the topic (as we did with International Fetish Day back on the 17th). These daily scribbles will keep on keeping on, and we shall continue to document the guts of the revelry on social media. But let’s turn our attention back one paragraph to that lovely and tasty metaphor.

National Pie Day

“But wait,” I hear you imploring, “isn’t Pie Day on March 14, as a tribute to the number pi?”

“Yes it is,” I reply in a soothing, some may even say dulcet tone. “But National Pie Day on January 23 is officially endorsed by the American Pie Council.”

“But what,” you reply sharply, “is the American Pie Council, and why should I care what they endorse?”

Well, you have a point. The APC is an industry organization for the pie racket, and you can choose to follow their rules or those of Congress, which officially recognizes Pi Day on 3/14. National Pie Day was concocted by a nuclear engineer and expert home brewer named Charlie Papazian. He first ascended to glorious fame (and probably fortune) as the founder of the American Homebrewers Association in 1978. Eight years later he decided National Pie Day should fall on his birthday every year, and he must have pulled some serious weight with Big Pie because that’s exactly what happened.

How mighty is the Pie lobby? The APC actually partnered with Paramount Pictures six years ago to promote the Kate Winslet / Josh Brolin flick Labor Day, which features pie-making and which was released right around National Pie Day that year. The pie people are so mighty they are taking over show business. We’d best keep them happy.

After all, pie is all about being happy. Our pie yesterday was generously donated by our talented friend Deb, whose illustrations brighten up the joint in our Sunday articles. This baby was built upon the grand-daddy of southern pies, the pecan variety. Pecan pie is either a concoction of the French down in New Orleans, though some dispute that claim. Whatever its origin story, the pecan pie (and bonus points for walnuts and chocolate joining the dance) is a thing of beauty.

And you know what? We’ll celebrate Pi Day on March 14 too. Maybe with another pie fight.

World Spay Day

As I hinted yesterday, my original plans for this day involved attending a veterinarian’s office and witnessing an actual spaying, as though they had an operating theatre for just such an event. Alas, this rang as silly to me, as it would necessitate cashing in a vacation day just to watch a dog or cat have an operation. Also, it’s possible this would violate some ethical vet code, and I didn’t want to put any animal healer in that position.  

If you follow the right people, literally every day on social media you’ll see stories and sad-eyed photos of pets seeking a home. There is no shortage of domesticated beasts up for human grabs, so failing to spay or neuter your four-legged family member means you may be adding to those stacks of barkers and meowers who have no place to call home. Please. I’m sick of those posts. Do it for your pet, but do it for Facebook. Let’s free up timeline real estate for more conversations about the Masked Singer and Baby Yoda memes. If you won’t do it for the poor kitties and pups, do it for society.

National Handwriting Day

An argument I’ve witnessed (though never participated in) is whether or not it’s tragic that kids today are not taught cursive in school. We all went through it: we mastered our letters, learned to draw lower-case ‘t’s that don’t wobble, ‘b’s and ‘p’s and ‘d’s and ‘q’s with puckish little circles and correctly-swiped straight lines. Then our teacher told us we had to re-learn all of it, but link all the letters together. And the letter ‘f’? Forget everything you know about that bastard – he’s changing his tune completely.

Cursive was a pain in the ass, but when done correctly it’s quite pleasing to the eye. And given our perpetual connection to keyboards and touch-screens, even longhand printing is becoming a novelty, so National Handwriting Day embraces both.

To be clear though, this is another celebration concocted by an industry association – in this case, the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association. The WIMA invented this day in 1977 to promote the use of pens, pencils and paper. I don’t see that those were endangered items in ’77, but I suppose no one in Star Wars used a pen, so maybe WIMA was worried they’d fall out of fashion with the young set. Why January 23? That’s the birthday of John Hancock, the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence, and… well, that’s kind of all John Hancock is famous for, isn’t it?

National Hot Sauce Day

We were a day late in getting the post up for this one, as a last-minute shift in dinner plans skewed our intentions this week. But we celebrated this one with a few splashes of Frank’s into our homemade burgers. We couldn’t allow this one to slip by us – I (Marty) in particular am a huge fan of hot sauce. Not to the extent where I’ll spray it on ice cream or dunk my Oreos into it, but in the right context that nudge of spice is divine.

Our relationship with hot sauce is fraught with curiosity and a dash of mild morbidity. Hot sauce causes us pain, sometimes outright agony, yet we persist in steering our mouths toward another bite. My friend Stew and I used to plead with our waitress every Monday night at Kelsey’s to enlist the chef’s help in mangling our munch-holes with the most vicious and sadistic heat he could slather upon our chicken wings. Every week we left in a pool of sweat, beneath a glow of sizzling air, but never quite pushed to the madness we both sought.

Hot sauce only rears its ugly side when it doesn’t allow itself to be tempered by the digestion system, and it leaves the body with the same curdled rage with which it had entered. Our hot-sauce-infused burger patties offered no such threat. But that little bite, that precious hint of its fiery tenor, was perfect. Hot sauce can be cruel, but it is life-affirming. It’s a voluntary pain but the brink it presents is one of delicate whoop and capsaicin-riddled exhilaration, not one of mortal peril. Hot sauce is the sauce of life, cranked to 11 and roaring to a perfect sizzle.

Get Organized Month

For the most part, Jodie and I live relatively organized lives. We no longer cower beneath the raging chaos of parenthood, and our jobs require a certain level of consistent order to keep us afloat. But never have I experienced such an urgency for proper allotment of time and resources until this month. We have taken tremendous steps to ensure we can continue to live and breathe this perpetual party without losing a step. Well – I suppose we did lose a step today by axing our daily video updates, but that was an item we could sacrifice. That’s part of organization – having a plan for where to cut back when things get out of hand.

To concoct the bones of this project I employed Google calendar. This was back in the spring of 2019 – I simply added a new entry for each celebration, using the notes section to detail how we could take part. A color-coding system was put into place: orange for celebrations involving food, yellow if we need to head to a restaurant for it. Red meant a field trip (bird-watching or museum selfie-ing), blue meant a topic solely for writing, and purple represented everything else.

I have an entry on each Sunday which details a grocery list for all the dishes we’d be eating during the upcoming week for a simpler shopping experience. I also created an entry on the first of each month for things we need to look ahead to prep, like tracking down where we can buy Mochi, or finding out how Edmonton will be ringing in the Chinese New Year. Each day also contains an entry with writing topics commemorating historic events (yesterday was the 45th anniversary of Barney Miller!) and famous birthdays (Richard Dean Anderson turned 70!). I also researched hundreds of famous albums to commemorate their birthdays (yesterday Tone Loc’s Loc-ed After Dark album turned 31!) Alas, those portions of the project were the first casualty, as I was writing in excess of 2,500 words every day in order to include everything.

Organization is key to accomplishing anything big. And since January is a great month for renewal and refocus, it’s the perfect time to take stock of your own organizational planning and shape it up a little.

Clashing Clothes Day

No clue about the origin of this one, but apparently the fourth Thursday of January is the day to strain the eyes of your associates with some poor color choices. We opted not to torment our coworkers (especially since they had to endure our commitment to ultra-casualness earlier this week on Sweatpants Day), but upon coming home, decorum was shuffled out the door.

Today will be our first grand return on this trippy little voyage, as we venture once again to the opposite end of our city and the Yang Ming buffet we visited on January 2. Tonight’s repast is just a family get-together, not part of a celebration. But here’s what else will be going down today.

  • National Compliment Day. We will smatter the air with kind words and genuine praise. No compliments for the sake of meeting our quota; our words will carry the heft of genuine sentiment every time.
  • Beer Can Appreciation Day. I’ll do a bit of research about the beer can for tomorrow’s article, but come on. The only way to really celebrate this is to enjoy a beer can close-up.
  • National Peanut Butter Day. Toast and peanut butter is a fine, fine way to launch a Friday. Maybe something with a Reese label will help to close it off.
  • Belly Laugh Day. We will experience several of these today, whatever it takes.
  • Talk Like A Grizzled Prospector Day. I mean… I guess?
  • National “Just Do It” Day. Another day with no discernable origin, but probably some Nike low-level employee, trying to make it a thing. We’ll find something we’re on the fence about and… just… make it so?

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The waters of this party river are gushing by at a rate we’d never anticipated. We are at least ankle-deep in the throes of this manic mission and we’re finding ourselves feeling every little strain it had threatened to throw at us. Time strain? Sure, I’m working until 10 or 11 every night on these articles and our goofy videos. Energy strain? Yep – sleep can’t come soon enough. Priority strain? Busy days make for busy jugglers, and the notion of boredom is on a year-long hiatus, as expected. Financial strain? Absolutely. Grocery bills have been higher, and the post-holiday January crunch is hitting us right between the fiscal gonads. But still… we’re having fun. So we ain’t stopping now.

National Polka Dots Day

Call this one a demonstration of the slippery harmony of a celestially-tuned universe. Having found a new resource chock full (and you know it’s full if it’s at chock-levels) of new National Days no one has heard of, I started out this day not knowing polka dots were on the menu. As luck would serve it up, I’d already selected the one pair of dotted socks from my drawer. Like the guiding hand of cosmic woohoo, steering me deftly into the next festivity.

So what the hell is a polka dot then?

We all know polka dots, of course. Apparently the pattern can be traced back to Medieval Europe, back when no machinery meant dotted clothing looked uneven and a bit wonky. These clothes were also frowned upon, as the dots made people think of other common dots… like the bubonic plague or smallpox. Over in Africa dotted patterns were all the rage – it should be noted that the bubonic plague was not.

The dots pattern, unsurprisingly, became associated with the polka dance craze of the 19th century, right when the clothing came into style. That’s it – there is no cozier connection between dancing the polka and the polka dot; they just happened to hit the zeitgeist in tandem, and so they’ll be forever linked.

Library Shelfie Day

It’s a “shelfie”… ha ha. Thank you, New York Public Library for coming up with a pun in the title of today’s celebration.

There are many ways to commemorate the Library Shelfie – organize your books by author, by size, by chronological date of release – whatever works for you! I suggested we sort our books by colour, but Jodie didn’t see the point. Instead we have our books clumped together into vague genre groupings, which means we’d probably be searching our shelves just as much for a specific title as we would if they were sorted by hue.

Yesterday was about poking our attention into our book collections, to remind us of what we owned, to encourage us to pick a few to donate, and maybe to inspire a re-read or two. Most of our books are electronic these days, and many of the actual paper beasts we flip through wind up given away so someone else can experience the joy. But it’s always a fun travel through the literary countryside of our adult lives.

Come In From The Cold Day

This was another surprise from that new site I’d found. Come In From The Cold? What could that mean? I investigated.

And… I found nothing. I found at least two websites who will confirm that this is indeed Come In From the Cold Day, but no history, no origin story, no reference to a Joni Mitchell song, no link to a 1963 novel by John le Carré. Nothing. So… I came home from work, went out to shovel for 90 minutes, and subsequently Came In From The Cold. If I can’t speak to the source with authority, I can simply take the name literally.

National Blonde Brownie Day

Lastly yesterday gave us another opportunity to enjoy some delicious baked treats, courtesy of my mother. She volunteered to be this project’s official baker, and so far she has hit every treat out of the park, past the parking lot, and right smack-dab through a picture window into a dimension of pure delicious bliss. We’d never tried out the blonde brownie before, and they were all kinds of magnificent.

Blonde brownies are just like regular brownies, except they use vanilla instead of cocoa, and they also use brown sugar. So you lose some of the chocolatey gooeyness (though the chocolate chips in these babies filled that void), and you get a wholly different flavour experience. Blondies have quickly become one of my favourite treats we’ve tried this year, and this is certainly one of the better holidays of the 110+ we’ve sampled so far. So what could top it?

Today poses a few challenges. With precious little free time, a scant amount of usable daylight and no pie in the house, we’ve got a few hurdles to leap.

  • National Pie Day. Will we have time to pick up some pie? It’s not looking good. We may postpone this one and tie it in with a celebration we’ve got this weekend. We’ll see.
  • World Spay Day. Originally I’d planned for us to visit a vet and witness a spaying, just like those theater-style operating rooms we’ve seen on TV and in the movies (Junior Mints sold separately). But that seemed silly upon reflection, so we may simply discuss the joys of having two spayed pups instead.
  • National Handwriting Day. A good day to get some cursive practice in.
  • National Snowplow Mailbox Hockey Day. This is just like it sounds: hockey played with a mailbox puck while driving a snow plow. We don’t have access to a snow plow, and even doing this with our vehicles will seem silly, given that we get home after the sun has gone down and we couldn’t even capture this on film. Another solid maybe. This will be a tricky day – let’s just work on keeping the strains at bay.