Monday, October 5, 2020

With our eyes tilted ever precariously toward the glories of shedding this project and moving on to a career in our Canadian classic rock cover band (we call ourselves Honeymoon & The Suites), we remain ever-tethered to the perpetual present. This is where the magic lies, where the secrets of the universe are stitched into the lining, where the horizon meets our eyeline and introduces itself as Raoul. Our great lesson of 2020 has been to hold this present close and cherish it, since the future is not guaranteed and the past is subject to rampant subjectivity. This project has, I begrudgingly admit, helped. Here was yesterday’s offering:

National Taco Day

The history of the taco is immense. It predates the arrival of the Spaniards on Mexican soil, and it is ubiquitously interwoven with Latin cultures all up and down Central America. There are so many ways to prepare a taco I couldn’t possibly list them all here, and if I did, I would blame absolutely no one for not reading it.

The best tacos we’ve had in the city are from Tres Carnales downtown, but I’ve been advised the taco game in Edmonton is surprisingly good. There was no leaving the house yesterday for us, so I seasoned some beef and made my own. I prefer steak or chorizo tacos myself, but it’s really hard to do a bad taco.

That’s not to say I haven’t sampled some mediocrity in the taco game before. Taco Bell makes tacos I have yet to enjoy without a bit of an alcohol or cannabis buzz going on (and at that point they are fucking amazing), and I’ve also had some vegetarian tacos that I’d just as soon never think of again.

But it’s easy to stroll through the minefield of tacos without getting your meal blown up by a sub-par packed tortilla shell. Tacos are divine, and it’s about time they had their day.

Country Inn, Bed & Breakfast Day

Is this cheating? Nah, it’s not cheating.

We celebrated this one just over a week early. For brunch we like to dine at a few places, but none are more exceptional than Barb & Ernie’s Old Country Inn. It’s not technically an ‘inn’, as you can’t stay overnight there. Actually I’m kind of curious why they put that word in the name of the restaurant. Neither Barb nor Ernie are still involved with the business (their astoundingly capable and talented son and daughter-in-law took over a few years back), so they can’t help me with this nugget of info.

So this will have to count for our celebration – the same brunch that enabled us to celebrate National Pancake Day last month. Staying at a bed & breakfast sounds like a delightful way to holiday, and I hope the world shifts back into a somewhat normal state of being in the near future so that we can try it out, but for now we’ll have to settle for the kind you eat at, not the kind you sleep at.

But when the pancakes are this good – or the eggs benedict, which is our usual go-to – it’s most certainly a celebration. Even a double one, when necessary.

International Toot Your Flute Day

This is a day for people to boast about their accomplishments. Because apparently pride is at such a premium in this world with so much humility taking up all the space, we’re supposed to make a special day for it.

Well fine. For the purposes of notching this celebration into the wall (which is threatening to topple over from having so many notches carved into it), here we go. I consider myself a passably decent writer, with moments of exquisiteness. Calling racoons “nature’s Hamburglar” was a high point for me last week. I know that if my quality slips below what I’d like it to be, I can make up for it with readable quantity. I don’t know if that’s a prominent button on my flute (do they call those things buttons?), but there it is. I have learned the secret to eliminating writer’s block: create a stupid project that forces you to never have writer’s block.

I’m also a pretty decent cook. I’m an even better eater. I’m obviously fairly decent at raising children as I’m two for two on having awesome adults carved from my various teachings and poor examples. I have better taste in music and movies than anyone else I know, at least according to me. And since this is my flute I’m tootin’, that’s the only measure I need to go by. I also have a great memory, at least for things with almost no relevance like every episode of WKRP In Cincinnati, and the words to “One Night In Bangkok”, neither of which come up in conversation very often.

Most of all, I have great taste in women. I picked an absolute gem a quarter-century ago, and I had the good sense to hang on to her, and to keep her happy by occasionally saying really nice things about her in these articles. Not bad for a flute.

Improve Your Office Day

This was an easy win for the day. Before this project we had no offices in our home – Jodie had a sort-of office in the corner of her classroom and I had a beige cubicle downtown within which I learned the careful art of falling asleep while actually clicking my way through a spreadsheet. I kid, of course. I learned that skill years earlier in a different beige cubicle, but the skill has served me well ever since.

Now we each have an office in our home, having banished our children’s bedrooms into the pit of distant memory. Both of our offices are works in progress, with a particular need for window coverings, in particular as the sun sets earlier and earlier and we’d rather our neighbours not see what we’re up to. I mean, sometimes a guy has to play video games naked, right? No? Well, you’ll all be singing a different tune on National Play Video Games Naked Day, which is probably right around the corner.

So yesterday, in spite of having little time to specifically devote to celebration, I dove in and made a little tweak to improve my office. Specifically, I adjusted the position of my one colourful light so that it’s visible in my webcam. So now I can amaze and impress my coworkers with the 18 inches of the room that look “funky”.

National Vodka Day

This one needs no lengthy missive. Vodka is the water of existence herself, and intimately intertwined with numerous European cultures. It’s the most straightforward drink there is: it looks like water, and apparently it’s the drink you’ll want to consume when you aren’t looking for any traces of said drink on your lingering breath.

Vodka is a blank canvass, with so many different ways to savour it. Our method of delivery these days is mixed with soda and a splash of lime. There’s really nothing else that needs adding to the mix – that’s a perfect beverage.

And there was no way we’d let this day go by without a healthy nod. It was a Sunday, so indulging with any sense of excess was out of the question. But we enjoyed some with soda water and lime, and Jodie did her best to try to store the drink’s numbing effects in some sort of corporeal reserve to help her get through the next week.

Vodka is magnificence in a bottle. This was a perfect little party.

And here we go, on another carousel ride around the same 24-hour scenery, with a new menu of celebrations awaiting us to indulge or skip right over:

  • National Consignment Day. Are we going to a consignment store to buy used clothing today? Probably not.
  • National Get Funky Day. I literally do this every day, so celebrating this won’t be a problem.
  • National Rhode Island Day. This one might be tricky. We’re falling behind on our states again.
  • National Do Something Nice Day. Just one nice thing? I can probably handle that. Or get Jodie to do it.
  • National Apple Betty Day. I don’t think our team baker is on board with this one, and that means we probably won’t eat it.
  • World Teachers Day. I definitely feel that teachers deserve a massive shout-out of praise right now, and not even because I’m married to one.
  • National Kiss A Wrestler Day. Looks like I’ve got only a few hours left to learn how to wrestle.
  • International Day of No Prostitution. I will not prostitute myself at all today. Jodie won’t either, or so she tells me.
  • Blue Shirt Day. Bullying prevention. Okay, we can do this.
  • Chic Spy Day. Who wants to spy on a 1970s disco band?
  • Global James Bond Day. I guess we’ll see if this has something to do with the former entry.
  • World Architecture Day. I love architecture, so this might be worth a visit.
  • National Storytelling Day. And who doesn’t love a good story?

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Will this truly be a day of ramping down celebrations so as to enjoy the actual weekend? Or will I fake everyone out once again and plunk another 6 or 8 items onto the official record? At the time of writing this introduction I usually don’t know. It comes down to how much I can legitimately indulge in, given the limited remaining hours of the day. We spent most of yesterday out shopping for supplies, and I had a friend due just a few short hours from when we got home, so no – there won’t be much today. But there will be this:

National Kevin Day

Here’s an interesting Kevin fact for you – and no, it will have nothing to do with the origin of National Kevin Day, because I’m not sure anyone has properly documented that – the name peaked in popularity in the US (and possibly Canada) in 1962. I knew one Kevin personally from around that era, and he was a delightful fellow. I have also been great friends with two 1974 Kevin models, and while we’ve known one another for about 30 years they are still among my favourite humans on the planet.

Naturally, I couldn’t let a day like this go by, not when I had genuine Kevins to appreciate in my life. So I put up a post on Facebook, which I was quite sure they’d see, thanking them for their exquisite Kevinness.

I really can’t think of any other way to celebrate this one. Sure, we could have invited them over and thrown a Kevin party, but once again we find ourselves in the spiny claws of the pandemic when such shenanigans are discouraged. They’re shenan’tigans, if you will. Or maybe you won’t. At least one of the Kevins I know would though, because they don’t care if my jokes are occasionally frail and forced. That might be the secret ingredient that makes Kevins so wonderful.

Happy day to Kevins everywhere. I hope someone cheers’ed you.

National Poetry Day (UK)

This day – which Wikipedia is telling me I celebrated two days late – is a British celebration to encourage Brits to embrace the beauty of the language they created. There is no greater way to soak up the full limits of how magnificent this language can be than by experiencing it in poetry. I mean, Tom Robbins does a fine job as well in prose, but yesterday was all about the verse.

I did read a couple of poems yesterday, but the real joy came once again courtesy of Sir Patrick Stewart, who donned a tux to recite Sonnet 154, the final entry in his pandemic-year posts of Shakespeare’s sonnets. It was, as always, beautiful to hear the words of the Bard uttered in the calming warm tones of SirPatStew’s amazing voice. And that’s the true glory of poetry – we can let the words paint colours in our minds but when those glorious syllables are spoken aloud they become music.

I have a head for rhythm and rhyme, but never yearned to be a poet. That could be the result of my father’s insistence that I pursue a career with more lucrative potential, I don’t know. I have a friend who is pursuing a Ph.D. in poetry, which I find truly magical. That’s what poetry is – language infused with magic. And she’s in training to be a super-wizard.

I hope everyone got a taste of something that sparkled their eardrums yesterday. It’s never a bad time for some beautiful words.

Look At The Leaves Day

Yep, this is as far as we need to go for yesterday. We enjoyed some poetry, said hey to some Kevins, and we enjoyed the leaves. I think we just crested the hill as far as Edmonton’s autumn glory is concerned; from here it’s a quick path to barren trees and eventually snow. Normally that would darken my spirits, but this also means we’re careening toward the end of the year, and that suits me fine.

Besides, this year’s snow will see me working from home and equipped with a snowblower for the first time in several years. I don’t think I’ll hate it quite as much.

But for now we’ve got this glorious batch of colour to brighten our lives and enrich our hearts. It’s natural art, and ultimately it’s fleeting. So get out there and look at ‘em because it won’t be long before you’ll miss ‘em.

There’s still football to be watched, at least until the entire league gets infected with the virus (which is entirely possible). As such, that will be the focus of our Sunday. We’ll also try to squeeze in some of this:

  • National Taco Day. Looks like I’m making tacos today.
  • National Golf Lover’s Day. Yesterday and today may be the most beautiful and perfect weekend for golf all year. Unfortunately I’m not a golf lover.
  • National Vodka Day. You know we won’t be skipping this one.
  • Country Inn, Bed & Breakfast Day. We have never stayed at a bed & breakfast, but we do dine at a country inn.
  • World Animal Day. Is this really such a generic idea for a day? Or is it very specific, celebrating the drummer for Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem?
  • National Cinnamon Roll Day. Hell yes it is. These pair nicely with vodka, I’ve heard.
  • Change A Light Day. Wow. So much fun right here.
  • Improve Your Office Day. I have an actual office now, so this is a consideration.
  • International Toot Your Flute Day. I might do this one just for the name alone. I like celebrations that rhyme.
  • National Ships-In-Bottles Day. I really don’t see this in my future today. But who knows?