Monday, January 23, 2017

Offbeat January Holidays ~ my column from Sunday's paper

I have “middle of the month blues.” The condition is worse in January because I’m coming down from all the holiday hurrah. I’ve celebrated my birthday, which is two weeks after New Year’s Day, and it is winter to boot.

The bad part is that newspaper deadlines don’t observe holidays, and they could care less about writer’s block. They keep coming as regularly as the light bill. When ideas are thin I rely on the quirky holiday calendar for inspirations.

The first holiday that caught my eye was National Skeptic Day, but I doubt that anyone celebrates that — sorry, I couldn’t resist.

A holiday that does get a lot of traction is Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day. All those resolutions to exercise more and stop slamming down $5 Grande Mochas with extra chocolate and whip cream, lose their luster after the New Year’s hangover subsides.

Speaking of hangovers, whoever came up with the National Measure Your Feet Day on Jan. 23 must have celebrated long and hard after the confetti settled on New Year’s Eve.

One holiday coming up this week that I do embrace is National Handwriting Day. I think it is more important than it sounds.

Most people write by tapping keys on a computer. Writing on a keyboard has its advantages. But there’s something to be said for watching the words come to life behind a nice fountain pen.

Jilda bought me a sleek pen from Levenger, which is an online supplier of fine office supplies. I use the fountain pen to write in my daily journal and my day planner.

I get a kind of subliminal pleasure from forming words by hand. The smell of ink and paper, along with the physical act of writing, seems to engage the right side of my brain.

It brings me into the “Now.” I found a word for it online: Kinesthesia happens when the brain gets feedback from muscles and ligaments about how the body is moving.

There is an ongoing debate to omit cursive writing in grammar schools, but for me, it’s a valuable skill that helps my thinking.

Other quirky holidays in January include National Kazoo Day, Punch the Clock Day and National Inane Answering Message Day. I’ve done an inane message or two on our answering machine. One of the call pleasers was:

This is Rick and Jilda’s house, and we are indisposed

So leave your name and number, and a message I suppose

We’d really like to talk to you, so wiggle that old tongue

But hang up and leave no message, and we’ll rip out both your lungs.

Our hanger-uppers dropped dramatically when that message played to callers. I took it off when one of my humorless bosses at the phone company called me at home one Saturday.

One holiday that’s on my calendar is January 26. That day is Spouse’s Day. It’s not about cards and candy, but a chance to give your spouse a hug and tell them how much you love them and what they mean to you.

Life is short. I hope you find something to celebrate every day.
Spouse's Day 2008


  1. I learned "Longhand" later called script. I refuse to call it cursive.

  2. January 28 is Australia Day. Also known by our indigenous population as Invasion Day. Spouse's Day is much less confrontational.

  3. I do like that lady from Spouse's day 2008 hugging that dude in the flowered shirt!
    Measure your foot day! I was asked if I lost weight hiking 1800+ miles? My answer was no, but I gained a foot size and I did. LOL
    Best to you on YOUR day. Good article!

  4. Every day is a day to celebrate for sure ! Hope you have a terrific Tuesday!

  5. What a terrific picture of the both of you. Have a wonderful day.

  6. I have long admired those who have pretty handwriting. My mother learned hers when she was taught the Palmer Method in school. It consisted partly of learning to make a series of intersected loops of precisely the same size. Mom's writing was beautiful. Mine is almost legible. My daughter has actually had reports sent back to her by her supervisors at work asking her if she could please write them so they could understand what she was writing. It is the only example of generations not improving on their parents that I can think of.

  7. I think it is silly to get rid of cursive in school. Kids nowadays don't even know how to read the writing. What about all the handwriting that is kept by the grandparents, great grandparents? I never got into the National days of whatever comes along...some are so silly except for a few, one being Spouse's Day. Enjoy your day even if it is gloomy outside...just look at the picture you posted and that will make you smile.

  8. Celebration is good, enjoy life, live for today as tomorrow may not come

  9. Just a nice pic of you two! I just asked my Granddaughter (10yrs. old) if they did cursive writing and she said yes and had to show me her handwriting. Her little sister proceeded to tell me she has very bad handwriting and I laughed and said "Then you take after YaYa because mine is awful!" My good buddy Donna has beautiful handwriting and always uses the nicest pens..loves pens...and I thought that might help me but I still have bad handwriting even with a nice pen!

  10. Levengers? Yes!, I used to drool over their catalogue and fountain pens. Unfortunately, I'm a 'leftie' ... prone to smear my most careful attempts using a fountain pen. (Nice memory, tho.)

    Love the picture of you two!


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