October 07, 2021


Calendars (wall for 2022): Posh 17-Month. Andrews McMeel. $15.99.

Calendars (desk for 2022): Get It Together! with Sarah’s Scribbles. Andrews McMeel. $16.99.

Calendars (page-a-day for 2022): Seas the Day. Andrews McMeel. $15.99.

     One of the nice things about printed calendars, as opposed to the electronic type, is that the ink-on-paper ones provide all sorts of expressive potential: they are personalized in a way that bits, bytes, emojis and GIFs are not. Another nice thing is the way the many first-rate calendars available from major publishers such as Andrews McMeel let you track your life in multiple formats, each of which can express a different element of your interests and personality. For example, the Posh 17-Month wall calendar really does have a posh look about it; and since it includes pages from August 2021 through December 2022, it can be used immediately, as in right now, as an anodyne to help relieve the pain of realizing that 2021 – which everyone hoped would be far, far better than the ultra-miserable 2020 – has not turned out to be nearly as big an improvement as we all wished. But this attractive, uncluttered, pleasantly illustrated and especially well-colored wall calendar provides an instant “cheer up!” message when hung, and the continuity of design through the 17 months offers hope that the rest of 2021 will be an improvement on the months to date – and that that improvement will continue into and all through 2022. The designs of individual months here are essentially floral: flowers and leaves of all types are shown in differing color palettes for each month, presented in such a way that each day of the month is open and uncluttered for the jotting down of notes, plans, appointments, birthdays, anniversaries, and random thoughts of all sorts. The layout is on the elegant side – the word “posh” really does make sense for this offering – and the spiral hanger, much stronger than the usual single punched hole in wall calendars, gives an added sense of the upscale. The calendar measures 14 inches across and only 10 inches from top to bottom – a size that makes it easy to see and use without having it become intrusive. Posh indeed!

     Decidedly less elegant, more puckish than posh, the desktop planner by Sarah Andersen, Get It Together! with Sarah’s Scribbles, speaks to altogether different feelings – and complements the more-stately Posh 17-Month wall calendar quite well for anyone whose moods swing a bit (which is not to call them actual “mood swings”). One of the most impressive things about Sarah’s Scribbles is how well it reaches out beyond its ostensible purpose of chronicling (with a wry eye) the everyday life of a 21st-century twentysomething woman (Andersen in cartoon form). This is partly because of cartoon Sarah’s almost-obligatory-in-comics animals (rabbit, cat, dog) but mostly because huge-eyed Sarah’s quotidian adventures reach across generations: small drawings atop pages show her beneath a transparent umbrella, next to a human-size avocado, dancing with a gingerbread man, beneath the bubbles of a bath, building a sand castle, and so on. At times, Andersen addresses generational issues directly, as in a four-panel strip of “intergenerational sparring” between Boomers and Millennials, at the end of which she shows “Gen Z Ascending.” At other times – and more frequently – Sarah’s Scribbles goes beyond its supposed limits because it focuses on things that people of many ages have in common (yes, such things exist!). One strip amusingly gives “Habits of the Common Bookworm,” such as “mispronouncing words because you’ve only ever read them.” Another shows Sarah’s cat interrupting her work with demands of “pet me pet me pet me pet me pet me,” and when Sarah finally says, “Okay, fine,” the cat replies, “I changed my mind.” Another, based on the story of the princess and the pea, has Sarah lying atop a stack of mattresses labeled denial – unable to sleep because, at the very bottom of the pile, there is a small round object labeled truth. Like the Posh 17-Month wall calendar, Get It Together! with Sarah’s Scribbles for 2022 is actually usable immediately: it contains 16 months of weekly planning space (each week gets columns labeled “appointments/misc.,” “stuff to do,” and “my social life”). Spiral-bound so it stays neat and flat on a desk or table, with a handy pocket on the inside back cover for storing receipts or other scraps of paper, it comes with a bonus page of self-adhesive stickers that neatly encapsulate some of the Sarah’s Scribbles themes. One, for example, shows two side-by-side doors labeled “work” and “sin,” and two others are simply the word “deadline!” inside spiky-looking frames. Those work for anyone, of any generation.

     Day-to-day calendars, on the other hand – the ones in which a page represents a single day (or two weekend days), to be torn off to reveal the next page – are strictly for the 12 months of the year for which they are intended, and are geared more to momentary amusement or quick communication of some sort than to jotting down thoughts and ideas or planning events. The nice thing about the more-evanescent nature of these calendars’ daily displays is that if you like the overall concept, there is a new variation on it on every page. Thus, while each Sarah’s Scribbles strip (four panels on most pages) remains visible for a week, each Seas the Day page is there for just one day (or one weekend). Given the fact that Seas the Day includes a full year of puns – many of them of the “groaner” variety – a day or two for a page will probably be plenty, no matter how much you enjoy the wordplay. The calendar’s title, in fact, goes with a cartoon of a smiling octopus whose eight tentacles are apparently about to, well, seize the day. Elsewhere here you will find a drawing of four female sheep above the words “ewe are so loved,” and a smiling fruit saying “you’ve got a peach of my heart,” and a bowl of Vietnamese soup with the words, “I love you phoever.” Then there are the fungi that go with the words, “I have so mushroom in my heart for you,” and the rabbit for Easter (“some bunny loves you”), and the lettuce leaves admonishing, “romaine calm!” It is true that a little of this punniness goes a long way, but that is exactly the point: there is only a little – a single example – on each page, so if one offering is a bit much, a new one will be along quite soon…and if one seems particularly enjoyable, it is easy to keep the page after tearing it off, maybe tucking it into the back-cover pocket of the Sarah’s Scribbles desktop planner. If you are trying to decide what to make of everything in Seas the Day, have no fear: one page features an appropriate piece of pasta and the words, “a penne for your thoughts?” It is certainly worth thinking about the many different forms that physical calendars can take and the many different uses to which they can be put. Think about all the options and you may very well find, along with the cartoon of a dock in Seas the Day, calendars to which you will want to say, “you’re pierfect.”

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