Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

It’s February 29 - Leap Day!

Why am I excited? Well, for one thing, I now have an additional day to meet my upcoming writing deadlines. I’m currently proofreading my July Harlequin Romantic Suspense story, UNDERCOVER SOLDIER, and also have a Pet Rescue Mystery manuscript due in a few weeks. An extra day is a good thing.

I used to worry about the reason for leap year. Apparently it takes our beloved planet Earth 365 days and approximately 6 hours to rotate around the sun, which means that a year is actually slightly more than 365 days. The extra day in a leap year is the compilation of those 6-hour increments over 4 years. Sounds easy and rather ingenious. Otherwise, how would we ever keep track of where we were in a year that included the extra few hours? Boggles my mind.

More important to me these days are the traditions of leap day. No, I didn’t propose to my husband on leap day. I suppose it’s still traditional for a man to propose to a woman except on leap day, but I suspect that today’s savvy and outgoing women do a lot of proposing themselves, even in years that don’t even contain a leap day.

At times, I wish I’d been born on leap day. Just imagine what it would be like to be only a quarter of your age. Okay, I realize it doesn’t work that way. Those who have February 29 as a birthday probably choose early on whether to celebrate it on February 28 or March 1. Apparently most states choose March 1 as the date when drivers’ licenses are issued to leap babies who turn driving age.

Yes, I’ve done a little research here. The chances of being a leap baby are apparently 1 in 1500. There are close to 190,000 people in the U.S. who were born on leap day, and around 4 million in the whole world.

By the way, not all years divisible by four are leap years. The years a new century begins are only leap years if the number of years is divisible by 400. That’s because the rotation is 365 days and approximately 6 hours. The additional quirk is to compensate for that “approximately.”

There has to be a story here somewhere. A mystery that can be solved only on leap day. Or someone gets murdered on leap day. Or--well, I’m still thinking about that.

What’s your opinion of leap day? Anything exciting, like a marriage proposal, planned?


Chrystle Fiedler said...

Hi Linda - Your post is very interesting! I didn't know that about Leap Day i.e. how it was calculated. 30 Rock did a Leap Day show and the colors were blue and yellow. It was pretty funny.

I'm working on my next book too and you are right, every day extra is helpful! Good luck with it!

Linda O. Johnston said...

The Internet is really helpful in tracking down little-known facts, Chrystle! But I'm sure you know that. Thanks, and good luck with working on your next book, too.

Nancy Curteman said...

You sound like a prolific writer. You're hard at work on two novels and still have time to blog. I'm in awe of you.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks so much, Nancy! Nothing to be in awe of, though. Somehow, it all gets accomplished. And it's all fun.

Janie Emaus said...

Those calculations boggle my mind, too.

Betty Hechtman said...

I noticed a lot of yarn stores were having leap day sales.

Ellen said...

And pet shops running specials on frogs.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Poor leaping frogs! Yarn sales make more sense. And I didn't do those calculations--just noted them!