Wednesday, November 4, 2020

We Found The Best Way To Celebrate A Birthday During The Pandemic: A DONUT HOP

I never know what to do for John's birthday, but of course this year was especially hard. John doesn't really want gifts - he says he has everything he wants - and he doesn't like being the center of attention with parties or dinners even when we CAN have them.

(Old pic of John snuggling a... something... from a past birthday. ::head tilt:: What IS that?)

So at 2AM on his birthday Monday, I flopped down beside John on the couch and started throwing out the most "John-like" suggestions I could think of. Take-out from all his favorite restaurants for every meal? An all-day video game marathon? A Zoom group-chat with all his international friends?

And finally, half-joking: "We could spend all day delivering donuts to our friends around Orlando." 

John blinked, thought for a minute, and said, "I LOVE THAT."

Then he went to bed.
Of course that wasn't enough for me, so I started brainstorming ways to make delivering donuts extra ridiculous. I decided this was sort of like a bar hop, only with donuts, right? And "hop" = bunnies, and bunnies = WE MUST WEAR BUNNY EARS.

What can I say, these are the kinds of logic leaps the mind makes at 3AM.

I found some ears we could pick up in the morning at a local party store, then got to work whipping up some more photo props using free clip art and bamboo skewers:


My driving estimate was off, since we got started late: we were only gone a little over 8 hours. It didn't feel that long, though.

I had high hopes for this rabbit hat, but alas, 'twas too small. Although if it hadn't been $30, I may have had John wear it anyway, haha.

That t-shirt is my one actual gift to John: it's so HIM. It didn't arrive 'til the day before Halloween, though, so this is his first time wearing it. (His mask is also rainbow cats.)

The store only had 2 pairs of bunny ears left, but we made it work.

Seriously, paper smiles to cover the masks may be the best idea I've ever had, y'all.

We hadn't seen Bianca since February. I think I needed this silly donut day as much as John.

Let's also talk about what amazing sports our friends are. Every single one was like, "A'ight, let's EAR UP." Bahaha!

These two thought we were going to zoom call when I texted to ask if they were home. Best. Reaction. Ever.

John plotted out our route to include 3 stops at Krispy Kreme to "refuel." That way the donuts were all still pretty fresh - and a few lucky folks even got HOT donuts.

The best part was John's utter confusion as we drove up. He genuinely thought this was for some OTHER John at first, and watching that realization hit him was the best part of the whole day for me.

We couldn't bring y'all donuts, so there's John's gift to YOU. :p 

While we're at it, I'll throw in a steampunk "Blue Steel":

"What is this, a birthday for ANTS??"

I know that quote makes no sense here, but I'm choosing to be alright with it. 

Around dinner time we stopped at Chris & Christie's, where they fed us subs and stuck a candle in one of the donuts for John:

(We ate on the other side of the house from them.)

I feel I may be boring you with all these photos of people you don't know in bunny ears... so here are just a couple more, lol:

Our last stop was at 10pm, next year we'll have to start earlier!

Thank you to everyone here online who spent the day following along and celebrating with us. Your hearts and messages made the day all the more special! Plus we got to see this:

... which made John so happy.

John says this will be his new birthday tradition, so next time I hope to have more than a few hours' notice to plan, haha. 

Several of you've already told me you're stealing this idea, to which I can only say, PLEASE DO. Be safe about it, of course, but if possible, go deliver goodies to all your friends! And bring ridiculous photo props for selfies! I promise you nothing makes you feel quite so glowy inside as bringing a little joy to other people.

Which brings me to this:

It could be a long week before the election is resolved, gang. How are you taking care of yourself?

(Yes, I have my own plan, too. John and I are working for friends on that big office redesign I'm loving, and when we get a free afternoon from that, we're breaking out the Christmas decorations.)

 Since posting this I've had some alarming messages: messages of both utter hopelessness and utter hatred. (Not toward me, but towards the world in general.) Please, don't let either win. Focus on the good and the love right in front of you. Remember that you are a light, and others are looking to you right now, right this very second, to hold up your light and shine. So please, be a light for someone trapped in darkness today. Make the call, send the card, deliver the donuts. We're in this life together, let's live it that way.


Oh hey, here's a little light-hearted something for two of you in particular: we have new Squeegineer winners for October! Brianna Mat. & Shoni B., please check your inboxes for John's e-mail, so you can choose your prizes. 

Thank you all for still being here, and for continuing to support me and John through your clicks, your shares, your Amazon shopping, and your Paypal donations. I would do this for free, but I'm so grateful we get to pay our bills doing something we truly love. We're so humbled, so grateful, to call you our friends. 


  1. I'm pretty sure John's holding a kinkajou:

    Memorably adorable. :)

    1. Thank goodness for that. I real thought it was a possum of the kind we get in New Zealand ( and was like, NO DON'T TOUCH IT, the claws!!!

    2. YES!! It's a kinkajou!! Those little guys are my favorite. <3

  2. I used to do Happy Random Flower Day when I needed a pick-me-up when I was in college - a friend had received flowers as "Happy Random Flower Day" and mentioned that fact and it sparked my imagination so I just... went with it. What I did was: I bought cheap roses from a florist - about eight or ten or so - for like, $1/rose or something like that, for behold, my discretionary spending budget existed but was not extremely large - and had in mind 3-4 people as a starting itinerary (and thought up more on the way), and then traveled around the city by bus with the flowers all afternoon, dropping them off to intended recipients and giving one occasionally to someone on a bus or at a bus stop who looked like they needed it. Fundamentally: it's an absolutely incredible treat to get to give a rose to a tired just-got-off-work Ukrainian grandma at a bus shelter.

    Obviously, this doesn't work in a pandemic, hmph, and it also probably worked better with the strangers as a naïve, young-faced college student who was just bubbling over with how much fun she was having, because people could undoubtedly *see* that I was honestly really 100% enjoying giving them flowers (it was so very much fun, and so very uplifting and enjoyable and just *delightful* both that day and for the memories).

    A dozen fresh donuts is definitely an upgrade over a single flower, though, and I hadn't thought of doing this as a theoretical "grownup" - but as you demonstrated, it can be done! Also, the bunny ears take the cake (or donut, as the case may be).

    Thank you for sharing this, and thank you for reminding us to be the good we want to see in the world. :-)

    1. Another fabulous idea!! Wish I'd been riding your bus! :)

  3. Happy birthday, John! November birthdays are the best. :)

    Sometimes the most random thoughts and ideas turn out to be the most fun. So glad your friends enjoyed the surprises.

    For your last part, it reminds me of the end of the sixth Harry Potter movie: Shine your wand to the sky. Hold it up high. Let it be seen.

    --Yet Another Jen

  4. LOVE-LOVE-LOVE. Except that I'm jealous that I live on the other side of the country from all the fun!

    A think we did today - list 13 of our favorite movies - comedies, drama, animated, silly, serious - (it was supposed to be 12, but you know how that goes). Bought DVDs or Blu-rays of all of them. It's going to be a Christmas gift for my brother-in-law and his wife. In a normal year we see them once or twice, but 2020... The note that's accompanying the movies will say something like "we can't get together to watch a movie, so here's a bunch of our favs for you. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Looking forward to hearing what you think about them. Doing this is helping my outlook and mental health so much!

  5. This is one of the best things I've ever heard. <3 Thank you for sharing something so bright and affirming today!!

  6. That shaving photo series gave me my first big laugh in ages. Thank you for that.

  7. Thank you very, very much for the picture with one of your friends wearing a face shield! I have been wearing one since face coverings were required because I have yet to find a mask that doesn't trigger my clautrophobia/stay out of my mouth/most importantly, allow enough air flow for me to breathe. I have felt so alone and like such a failure, and it's just done me a world of good to see someone else wearing a face shield. (And a side note: your foam mask frame was the key in allowing us to really narrow down why all these other masks aren't thank you!)

    1. I can imagine even wearing a face-shield when you are claustrophobic is hard.
      So, you are NOT a failure, you are CHAMPION! (Watch Sarah Millican's "How to be champion storytime" on YouTube and you'll know what I mean.)

      A huge hug with extra butter on top!


    2. I don't know if you'll check back and see this or get notified or something, but I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your kind words helped me yesterday more than I can say and I am very, very grateful.

      And a belated Happy Birthday to John, and I had to buy some donuts to celebrate (any excuse, you know?).

    3. Wow, that's great to hear, thanks for letting me know!

    4. Thank you for your willingness to try masks even though it must have been absolute misery for you! I have my own array of different anxiety issues, so I know how difficult it can be to try things that trigger the anxiety. I’m glad you’ve found a solution that is bearable. <3 <3

      You have nothing to be ashamed of. Not everyone can wear a mask, and that’s okay! Getting through the pandemic is a team effort, and not everyone will be able to do every single thing.

      There’s an idea going around right now called the Swiss Cheese model of protection. There are multiple layers of protection - masking, self-quarantining if symptomatic or exposed, social distancing when in public, avoiding indoor gatherings, meeting out doors where possible, working from home if we can, hand washing, etc. Every layer has holes in it. Sometimes you can’t have 6 feet of space between you. Sometimes people can”t wear masks. Home care assistants can’t avoid visiting people outside their household. Grocery store workers can’t do their jobs from home.

      That’s okay, because if you stack enough of these different imperfect layers on top of each other, you’ll reach a point where the layers are covering each others’ gaps and you have a robust barrier against the virus. Each of us can only do what we can, but if we all do what we can then as a team we’ll beat this thing.

  8. You guys are SO totally awesome. Tomorrow night I'm getting myself a donut to celebrate with you guys! And I'm going to get some more craft supplies so I can refuel that inner feel good stuff that disintegrates with all the hatred I see...and I'm going to hole up in the happy with fun Hocus Pocus masks, princess and star wars masks, gifts for family and maybe a few things for me. Thank you for being you!

  9. KINKAJOU! The animal in the first picture, that is. A kinkajou is an arboreal rainforest mammal of Central and South America related to the coati and raccoon.

  10. I *love* you guys. LOVE. Happy Birthday John!!!!


  11. I've been overly OVERLY emotional the last 48 or so hours (for obvious reasons, as well as other non-related-to-cheetos-personal ones) and this made me cry. And then I busted out laughing at the photo series of John. Needed that.

    Happy birthday John. You're one of those amazing human beings. Thank you. <3 :)

  12. I had to go back to John's shaving series a couple of times! That really made me laugh! I also love that you gave yourselves (and donuts) for your friends for John's b-day. Isn't something how much you get when you give to others? Every 12/12 since 2012, I have done 12 different things for other people. I really look forward to thinking up the gifts/favors for the day. I brought flowers to the yoga studio, I bought coffee for the car behind me in the drive-thru, I got rid of my neighbor's pumpkins (she wanted them gone), so sometimes it's a favor, sometimes it's a little gift. Keep on making us a smile! Love you both <3

  13. Love that you did this, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing it happen on Instagram! My husband's birthday was the 30th and, like John, he didn't want anything. We managed to do a safe pumpkin-carving party with the kids, and had a fabulous time, but next year I could see doing something like this.
    Thanks for being a light in our world!!

  14. This idea is genius!
    I usually make cookies for friends at Christmas and deliver them when I see them (at church, at the gym...seriously, nothing more fun than giving people cookies WHILE they're working out. :) ). But I likely won't be seeing most of those people at those places this year. But I likely can take a day and make drive by cookie drops (along with a few Lego minifigures for the couple of kids who can't eat the cookies due to allergies. A local used Lego store is having sales on minfigs in November. So I can support the shop and make kids happy. Everyone wins!). And this gives me an excuse to take a day or two off work to bake and deliver cookies. I have way too much vacation time and it feels wasteful taking it just to spend another day hanging out around the house.
    Thanks for the great idea and (late...but, it's 2020, does time still have meaning?) happy birthday to John!

  15. Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, John! ("Happy Birthday" in German)

    My sister did something similar for my nieces birthday in April. They baked a lot of muffins and delivered them to all friends and family in town and then held a Zoom meeting for the whole bunch to celebrate. It was really nice - even though I didn't get any muffins because I live too far away for delivery during lockdown.

    And thanks to both of you for brightening up my days this week with your stories. The Vienna terror attack happend within walking distance from my place and I'm still a bit shaken. Your stories helped to get my mind out of spinning into a bout of depression. They always feel like a hug from far away :)

  16. Happy belated birthday, John! And thank you for posting all the funny pictures -- I love them all, even though I don't know the people :) this is such an amazing idea!

  17. What a GREAT IDEA!!!! My step-dad lost 2 kids to a fire decades ago. He always took that day and their birthdays to take other families out for dinner with no explaination why. They never knew until his passing what those dates meant to him.

    1. Aw, that is so sweet it brought instant tears to my eyes! (Good ones.) What a lovely man.

  18. Even I, who staunchly refuses to put up Christmas stuff until after Thanksgiving every year, am going to start decorating this weekend! I need sparkles and cheer already!! Also is there goiung to be a Christmas tree roundup this year? I never get to see it in person and I REALLY want to go this year if they are doing it!

  19. Thank you both for this post!
    It was exactly what I needed after a ridiculously exhausting week.

    Lots of hugs, with butter on top!

  20. At first glance it looked like John is holding a Porg.

  21. I love you guys and wish we were neighbors!
    -your long-distance friend in CLE

  22. So much to love! John's t-shirt and mask are great! His photos are awesome! For some reason, the juxtaposition in the photo at Chris and Christie's of the Milk Bones, the Xmas gift bag, the fall pumpkins, John's be-candled doughnut, and the rainbow unicorn napkin just made me grin. Your friends all look like fun people!! Love Steampunk Blue Steel. And finally, will your friends FedEx me Ramsey for a week or so? I'll send him back -- I have too many allergies to keep him, but I need kitty snuggles and he is adorbs! You and John are adorbs too.

  23. Happy Birthday John :)

    I find just giving a stranger a compliment is nice. Obviously be careful if it's the opposite sex but just saying 'excuse, me, just wanted to say that dress/glasses/hat is amazing!' can brighten both my and (hopefully) someone else's day :)

    Not really a thing here at the moment in England but I've done it before and made me feel happy (and seemed to make the other person happy too, which is the whole point :) ).

  24. You two are an endless source of wonderfulness. Thank you! And Happy Birthday, John!

  25. This is the best thing ever! Happy belated birthday to John and thanks for sharing the idea, the narrative and the pictures.


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