MAY 21st | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL TAKE YOUR PARENTS TO THE PLAYGROUND DAY – I cannot remember the last time I played at a playground. It was likely when my kids were little and it was rare even then. As a stay-at-home mom for the first six years of parenthood, our frequent visits to various playgrounds gave me a brief respite from any further loss of energy. I would gladly sit on a bench while watching them run from slide to swing to monkey bars.
Upon reflection, I might have had it all wrong. The Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be transformed or transferred. Please bear with me and my geekiness.
On a summer evening many years ago, I was not at a playground but in the soccer pitch beside the playground. Several families from our neighbourhood were all gathered in our backyard for a weekly Friday night BBQ. This particular night I decided to go and play with all the kids in the park.
I was chased around the grassy field by ten or twelve kids, pulling kids down with me and being piled on by most of them. I was dirty, exhausted, and sweaty but filled with exuberance from lots of smiles and laughter. The other adults all sat on the backyard deck, consuming beverages and chatting.
I specifically remember wondering why aren’t any of the others parents noticing how much fun we are having and joining in? I realized then that play is a choice.
Play is uncomfortable for many people but I guarantee that while you are playing it is nearly impossible to focus on what’s wrong with the world. Play doesn’t destroy energy. It transforms it into positive emotions.
But more importantly, there will be incredible love and joy transferred to a child when you truly play with them.
MAY 20th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL LEARN TO SWIM DAY – I learned to swim when I was five. Even though I grew up with a cottage, I wasn’t interested in swimming until then.
It really wasn’t swimming at the point either. It was actually standing at the edge of the pool in the shallow end for the entire lesson series. The instructor, a family friend, was worried that I would never venture forth but my mom said “just let her stand there”.
I am happy to say that once I found my fins, I spent more time underwater than above.
Interestingly, I am floater. My husband and kids are all sinkers. I can effortlessly stay afloat with toes and head above water for quite a while. I am sure they are all jealous.
Everyone should know how to swim not only for enjoyment but for safety. Water sports are play for adults. Play is good for the soul. Therefore, swimming is good for the soul. So there.
MAY 19th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL NO DIRTY DISHES DAY – We did inadvertently avoid creating dirty dishes today by ordering pizza but I would never use disposable plastic in order to hide from dirty dishes. At my advanced age, washing up is not a bad thing.
I used to torture my mother with a bad teenage attitude nearly every time I had to dry the dishes. Yes, we had a dishwasher but we never put anything but plates, utensils and glasses in it … ever!
Pots, pans and storage containers (including the dreaded zip closure plastic bags) were all washed and dried by hand. They were never left to drip dry … never!
We have a rule in our house. Those who cook don’t have to wash dishes but since we often have more than one set of hands chopping vegetables even that rule is very fluid.
My favourite thing is when my daughters complain about having to do the dishes. They turn on music in the kitchen and then proceed to laugh and chat for the 10 minutes or so that it takes to complete the dreaded task. What a horrible thing to have to do.
Dirty dishes bring us together in the kitchen. Many a good chat happens with dish cloths and towels in hand. By all means, steer clear of dirty dishes today. Or by all means celebrate dish washing today.
By the way ….. sorry mom.
MAY 17th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL PACK RAT DAY – I do not think of myself as a pack rat although my collection of Christmas decorations is staggering. I do have a number of unneeded items in my home but pathways are clear and generally tidy. My friend Heather claims I decorate like a Brit with many things to dust. I am definitely not a minimalist.
I did not know, however, that there is an actual animal called a pack rat. I thought that is was merely a nickname for people who like to keep lots of stuff.
The mammal pack rat is a bushy tailed rodent unlike your typical rat with the weird scaley tail. Pack Rats have large pouch-like cheeks that can hold lots of food and other items. They are also known as wood rats.
The human pack rat is not the same as a hoarder. Pack rats are said to buy unneeded items and have areas of clutter. Hoarders maintain clutter to the point that it interferes with normal daily activities.
I am happy to say that we have had a number of yard sales and they are the best way, for our household, to get rid of unwanted possessions. And anything that doesn’t sell immediately is donated to a local charity.
If you aren’t a pack rat, celebrate the rodent. If you are a pack rat, celebrate all your stuff today! And then have a yard sale ……..
MAY 16th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL LOVE A TREE DAY – It is also National Sea Monkey Day but I have never seen a Sea Monkey up close. I have admired trees my whole life and so I am loving trees today!
Actually, this is the perfect time in Canada to celebrate trees as they are now waking up. They will never be more green than they are right now with new leaves full of nutrients from all of our recent spring rains.
My favourite tree is the white pine. They truly sound like they are whispering when the wind blows through their needles. Their height and softness make them a most majestic part of any landscape.
I also love birch trees and have saved much of the bark from my mom’s beloved front yard tree. We had to take the tree down after an ice storm sadly broke most of its branches. The bark will be used for many art projects in the years to come.
Willows are also among my favourite with their beautiful plume-like branches. One of my dearest friends reminds me of a willow tree both in stature and beauty.
Although I say these are my favourite trees, I have yet to see some of the world’s renowned trees such as the Red Sequoias or the Baobab in Madagasgar. One of the first items on my bucket list is the travel through the Dark Hedges in Northen Ireland. These might all become my favourite trees.
Love a tree today. What is your favourite tree?
MAY 15th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CHIP DAY – Today we celebrate chocolate chips and all the wonderful things they can do.
Chocolate chips can make a plain muffin sublime a cookie stupendous. Melted in a double boiler, they can coat peanuts, chow main noodles and coconut for fabulous desserts.
Honestly, my favourite way to eat chocolate chips is straight from the bag. Years ago, I owned a Cookie Mix business. I would fill 750 mL mason jars with eight different recipes of cookie mixes. All but one recipe contained chocolate chips.
I would buy cases chocolate chips by the kilogram and I think I ate those delicious little morsel of yumminess by the kilogram. It was so easy to grab a measuring cup and dip into the box. I did, however, get sick of making cookies and eating chocolate chips.
Luckily, I am proud to say, after I sold the business, my love affair with chocolate chips rekindled. Christmastime baking sees my greatest use of chocolate chips but I think it’s time to buy a bag. Just to eat. Yum.
MAY 14th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL DANCE LIKE A CHICKEN DAY – That’s right … I chose a wacky dance rather than Mother’s Day. Moms will be celebrated widely today without any help from me.
This dance is, however, is mostly drunkenly celebrated at weddings and Oktoberfest celebrations. Written in the 1950s by Swiss Werner Thomas, it was originally titled The Duck Dance.
Inclusive to all fowl, it seemed to have morphed into The Bird Dance when it became popular in North America in the 1970s although Germany has not adopted this name.
This polka style writhing is now often referred to as The Chicken Dance and has an estimated 40,000,000 purchases/downloads. Break out your copy today and Dance Like A Chicken.
And with all of that said …. Happy Mother’s Day!
MAY 13th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL FROG JUMPING DAY – The Olympic long jump record is 29 ft 4 1/4 in. Now that is impressive.
In 1986, Rosie the Ribiter jumped a record 21 ft 5 3/4 in. And I’ll bet Rosie is did not take 18 to 20 running strides before leaping. Now that is worth celebrating!
Frog jumping is the subject of Mark Twain’s first published short story. The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County tells the story of two men betting on whose frog can jump higher.
Calaveras County in California actually hosts an annual frog jumping contest … since 1849, Now that is a tradition!
If you have a frog, celebrate their jumping today!
MAY 12th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL LIMERICK DAY – Poet and author Edward Lear was born on May 12th in 1812. His “Book of Nonsense” was full of limericks.
A limerick is a poem with five lines; lines 1, 2 and 5 rhyme and lines 3 and 4 rhyme with each other.
I found llustrated versions of Lear’s book online and read through the various offerings. Obviously, being politically correct was not a thing in 1846. Some of them are rather dark.
The poetry that we learned in school was much more innocuous. For me, the most memorable limerick would be:
Hickory dickory dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock strike one
And down he run
Hickory dickory dock
Of course not all limericks are for sensitive ears. The famous first line “There once was a man from Nantucket” has many iterations both nice and naughty.
What is your favourite limerick?