Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Weekly Roundup 7: Bonus Day!

Thursday, February 29, 2024 is a Leap Day! In a nutshell, an extra day was added to various calendars around the world because it takes the sun 365.242190 days to orbit the sun. Over time those quarter-days add up and throw the calendar out of sync with the seasons. Leap Day is a reset day every four years.

Not everyone loves Leap Day. Leaplings (born on February 29) might feel cheated out of an annual birthday. In many places, it is bad luck to get married or start a relationship on Leap Day. In Greece, Scotland, and Germany, the entire year is seen as unlucky. 

Though Leap Day was traditionally seen as a day in which gender roles were reversed and women could do "male" things such as propose marriage, the flip side, according to Monmouth University history professor Katherine Parkin, was that women were often ridiculed for it. She calls it "false empowerment." Hmph.

The Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar would do away with Leap Day. In this calendar, every date would fall on the same day of the week every year. January 1, for example, would always be a Monday. Birthdays would be the same day, too, which is great for the Friday/Saturday people and much less fun for the Monday/Tuesday people. But the permanent calendar doesn't avoid the "calendar drift" either, so every six years, a leap week would be added to the end of December.

Even though I occasionally get cheated out of a weekend birthday, I vote that we stick with our current system and have a bonus day every four years. I hope you have the chance to do something fun, bold, or memorable on February 29. Or do nothing at all! Take a nap and dream of spring.

Oh, and that guy in the picture is Leap Day William, from a very funny episode of 30Rock.

See you in March! 


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Weekly Roundup 6: Labors of Love


It's always around this time of year, as tax preparation season gears up, that I am reminded of how little income I generate as a writer. There are reasons for this. More published books now than any time in history, for example. And less industry support for authors.

But one of the biggest reasons is that I'm terrible at selling books. I get overwhelmed by the number of social media platforms that all but require my participation. I suffer from imposter syndrome. I choose fun (writing) over not-fun (marketing). And, yes, I perhaps like Netflix a little too much.

I'm no stranger to labors of love. When I stayed home with our young sons, I did a tremendous amount of work without a traditional paycheck. Now I'm increasingly doing the same for my mother. Throughout it all, the writing tugs at my sleeve, the ever-present companion who compels me to spend hours and hours on projects that will never earn me a living wage.

And you know what? I'm okay with it. When I was younger, writing as a labor of love wasn't enough. But as I've gotten older and (hopefully) wiser, I've started to measure success differently. I strongly suspect I'll never be a Colleen Hoover, but when I'm a finalist in a short story contest or have a friend tell me she still thinks about the characters in my novels months later, it's a different kind of payment.

Show Romance Some Love: There's still time to read a romance novel before the month of March is upon us. For ideas, Bookriot has a list of the bestselling romance books of all time. Yes, the gray one is on there. And the vampire one. After all, the list is bestselling, not critically acclaimed. But like heart shaped boxes of chocolates, romance novels can be a guilty pleasure. (A special shoutout to my friend who is trying to make it through Twilight. You can do it!) 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Weekly Roundup 5: Beautiful Day

Beautiful Day: First of all, it's a beautiful day because it's Valentine's Day. I'm not a super-romantic person, but I very much value the various forms of love in my life: spousal, maternal, familial, platonic, pets, plants. (I do think my plants love me back, just very quietly haha!)

But the title of this post refers to the U2 song Beautiful Day, which I had the pleasure of hearing performed live twice in the past week. First by the Vitamin String Quartet, a very talented group of musicians who put an amazing classical spin on rock and pop music. Other songs in the program included Prince's Purple Rain, Kate Bush's Running up That Hill, and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. 

But to top that, I had the opportunity to hear U2 perform Beautiful Day at the Sphere in Las Vegas last weekend. I've been a fan for years and have never seen the band live. Big bucket list item for me, especially when I could share it with Son #1, who is also a big U2 fan. 

Year of the Dragon: February 10 ushered in the Lunar New Year of the Wood Dragon. The dragon is the only mythical animal in the Chinese zodiac and is seen as especially auspicious, representing wisdom, strength, prosperity, and luck. And the Wood Dragon is the most creative, visionary, and generous of the dragons. I hope this year brings you many opportunities to follow your dreams, expand your horizons, and show compassion and loyalty to your friends.

Have a Beautiful Day! See you next week.

This awesome dragon was part of the display at the Bellagio Conservatory in Las Vegas. And, no, I was not a guest there :-) 

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Weekly Roundup 4: See Jane Inspire

Last week, I had the pleasure of  hearing Jane Fonda in conversation with Colorado State University President Amy Parsons as part of the university's Year of Democracy. 

Jane is of course well known as the actor-daughter of a famous acting family, a fitness guru of the 80s and 90s (find a recent revisit of her videos here), the ex-wife of Ted Turner, Grace in Netflix's Grace and Frankie.  

But her heart and soul belong to activism--political, social, feminist, anti-war, and environmental causes have all benefited from her generous attention and support.

Jane was very candid and forthright about the personal growth and change she had to undergo before she truly understood how to best embody her desires to make the world a better place.

And here's what's foremost on Jane's mind these days: the action needed to address our climate crisis. The lens of an octogenarian is wide, and at the same time, the 86-year-old knows her time on this planet is growing much shorter. Funny and sassy and pulling no punches, she urged the audience, regardless of age and standing, to take as much action as we can. And also not sleep with oil company executives. 

Words I Confuse: Concrete and cement. I use the words interchangeably, but they're not the same. Google just taught me that cement is made from limestone and clay and acts as a binding agent. Mix it with water, sand, and rock, and the result is concrete.  So there you have it!

Have a great week!