Friday, January 22, 2016

Roundup - A Week's Worth of Days in One Post!

This week has been a strange one for a number of reasons.  I started out the week submerged in a binge watch of all three seasons of Ray Donovan, courtesy of a Showtime freeview on xfinity.  Now, I can creatively fix a lot of crazy situations if I find myself in Hollywood.

It was also SO COLD in Chicago that Archie had to settle for 2 walks a day and I pushed the limits on how many layers are feasibly possible.  Spotty WiFi and an additive knitted snowflake blanket pattern added to the oddness of the week.

So . . . catching up on the week's holidays this morning.

National Nothing Day - January 16

This day is a day to do nothing, so it's a good thing I didn't write about it on the 16th!  Nothing much is written about the day, which is totally appropriate.  The one fact I found is that it was created in 1973 by Harold Pullman Coffin.  He was a newsperson, so perhaps this was his appeal for a day without the need to report the news.  

I watched the second half of the 2015 season of The Affair on the 16th and started knitting a new blanket.  I can't just sit still and do nothing unless I am sick, so this was a close to nothing as I could get.  

Ditch New Year's Resolution Day - January 17

Oh, how sad.  The first half of January was filled with optimistic national days helping people be positive, create resolutions, start new habits, and look forward to the new year.  17 days later and this day encourages people to give up.

I'm not a New Year's Resolution kind of person, but I do enter each year with vague internal goals.  I'm not giving up on them yet, especially since I've always heard that it takes 21 days to create a new habit.  

In 2013, I adopted March 1 as my personal New Year's Day because it was the day that I left my longtime job in corporate America to take a well-deserved sabbatical.  Since that major decision, I've been enjoying a more relaxed life and exploring fiber arts in earnest.  

Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday - January 18

Although born on January 15, MLK Jr's birthday is always celebrated the 3rd Monday of January.  The national holiday was approved by Congress in 1983, honoring this amazing person.  I wish we could have seen what else he would have done in his lifetime.  This is a great day for all to reflect on how far we've come as a nation.  Amidst petty political and religious fights, we have made significant progress with regard to the rights of women, African Americans, and the LGBT community.  Of course, there's miles to go, but we're getting there.  

I'm personally grateful to have moved to Chicago after undergrad and be exposed to so many different ethnicities and religions.  Growing up in a small town in Mid-Missour was great, but it was also very sheltered and insular.  Traveling and then moving to a large city was very eye-opening.  I hope that everyone takes advantage of opportunities to learn about different cultures and embrace new experiences.

National Popcorn Day - January 19

Popcorn!  Who doesn't love popcorn?  

My grandma always had a big tin of popcorn for the winter.  She made her own popcorn in big batches and flavored it herself.  Along with the typical buttered and caramel, she also made a peppermint popcorn that I have never had anywhere else.  It was pink and very pepperminty.  Sometimes, it was also a bit scorched, so you just had to eat around those parts.  

My sister and I tried to replicate the peppermint popcorn one Christmas and it was not a success.  It was okay but not great.  The issue was that Grandma was notorious for writing down recipes but not including everything, so it's trial and error to get the same taste.  She passed this trait down throughout my maternal side of the family, so all of us know that adjustments are needed when following a recipe. 

I have a lot of peppermint candies left over from the holidays, so maybe I'll give the peppermint popcorn another try.

I would be amiss not to mention Garrett's Popcorn when writing about this day.  What a wonderful find in Chicago!  This famous popcorn shop has the best popcorn for purchase.  It's a bit pricey, but worth it.  I stick to the Chicago mix - a combination of their caramel and cheese popcorns - a perfect combination of salty and sweet.  First time enjoyers beware - it's easy to overindulge.  

Penguin Awareness Day - January 20 and Squirrel Appreciation Day - January 21

These two days are devoted to my mom because these two animals have taunted her over the years.  In my teens, crazy squirrels kept on popping up in my mom's life, so we started to associate her with the squirrel wars.  I'd have to interview her for all of the sordid details, but I can say that a bike is involved in one of the tales.  

Penguins popped up in her life much later in life.  Remember the movie, March of the Penguins?  Such a great documentary that it won an Oscar.  I think it also solidified Morgan Freeman as "The Voice".  

When discussing the movie with my parents, I discovered that Mom thought that the penguins were huge -- the size of people!  It wasn't until the credits were rolling and the camera crew were shown alongside the penguins that she discovered their actual size.  Obviously, more trips to the zoo were needed and penguins replaced squirrels for a time.  

National Blonde Brownie Day - January 22

Whew!  Caught up to today and am back on track to celebrate national days on their intended day.  

This day is one that I will probably not celebrate by making a blonde brownie, simply because I don't see the purpose of the blonde brownie.  Chocolate brownies are so much better, especially dark chocolate fudge brownies!  I like them with or without different kinds of nuts - or a bit of espresso powder -- or a caramel drizzle -- or with a bit of zing from chipotles or bacon -- all are very tasty.  

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