National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day is the first Saturday in February each year. Holidays like that are important. We as a culture start ignoring such major national festivals as that, and next thing you know, we’re wearing hair shirts and eating kale.

The Super Bowl has become a big deal on Matinicus in recent years even though to calculate the number of actual football fans out here would require use of decimals, long division, and a slide rule. Super Bowl Sunday on Matinicus is a feast day, never mind the game. We feasted.

I make light of it all, never having been to an NFL game, but I’d like to save up (for a couple years) and someday go see (more importantly, hear) my Seattle Seahawks play in their home stadium, with that city hung as usual with “12” banners, meaning “the Twelfth Man,” because the pre-COVID Seattle audience was reputed to be the loudest in the country and generally considered an active member of the team. When the Patriots fan base was also decked out in “12” regalia on account of our boy Tom, there appeared to me some question as to who was rooting for whom.

Should I ever make that trip I’d prefer a hotel on the Bremerton side so I’d have to take the ferry to the game. I have been on the Bremerton-to-Seattle ferry when it happened to be game day, and the experience is hilarious. I recall a large boatload of heavily decorated Seahawks fans — and on that ferry, there is draft beer for sale at the snack bar. Seattle was hosting Green Bay the time I happened to be aboard, and the few Cheeseheads (yes, they were absolutely wearing their foam-rubber cheeses on their heads) seemed welcomed well enough by the Seahawks fans. Beer on ferries is an idea whose time may have come.

I genuinely enjoy Chinese (aka Lunar) New Year. It falls at a time of year when we need such things. I can manage a halfway decent potsticker and sometimes it is therapeutic to touch off a few firecrackers when it is February in Maine. The Year of the Rat has just ended, thankfully. It’s been a heck of a year for rats. Paul has blasted a few with the .410, while muttering about “beady-eyed little bast**ds,” but they still eat more than their share of the birdseed.

On Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, I geared up and made a lot of King Cake and took pieces to a few friends. This is not really a cake — it’s more like a big cinnamon roll, a spiced yeast dough with orange and lemon peel, rolled up in a ring with a mess of ridiculous colored sugar on top for New Orleans’ sake. My version has a cream cheese filling like you’d find in a cheese Danish. That stuff will admit a multitude of sins.

My own birthday is this week, and as has become boilerplate tradition, my husband will bake me an applesauce cake. He is well known as a chocolate lover and everybody thinks he ought to bake me a chocolate cake, but the thing is, we have chocolate cake a lot. Given an inch of spare time and the slightest incentive — maybe Beethoven’s birthday, or John Philip Sousa’s, or National Acetylene Day — he’ll throw together a from-scratch chocolate cake. This will not be a decorated cake, but that kind best served warm and eaten barehanded, right out of the square pan, or for breakfast the next day, or snuck against one’s own better judgment in bite-sized pieces all evening until there is little left for breakfast the next day. I share a birthday with George Harrison, as it happens, and my brother shared a birthday with Ringo Starr.

Purim comes toward the end of the month. I have never made hamantaschen before — the triangular, filled cookies customary for that holiday —but this could be the year. A cousin posted a recipe, which I gratefully printed out, but then she strongly recommended the prune version based on some childhood memory. Mine will have some alternative filling; I cannot muster much excitement about prune cookies. Besides, I have no prunes, and being on Matinicus, we cannot just go to the prune store. As island cooks often do when short an ingredient, I could certainly call around to the neighbors, and they wouldn’t mind me asking, but should I circulate the word that I am looking for prunes I can guarantee that I would end up with all sorts of Pepto-Bismol and Milk of Magnesia and no prunes.

At least the Year of the Rat is finally over, and it is now the Year of the Ox. I assume we are unlikely to have many so oxen running around in the ceiling.