Beth Siegalkoff

Don’t be puzzled by today. National Puzzle Day honors puzzles of all size, shape and form. Crossword puzzles are by far the most common. Sudoku, a number puzzle, is the most recent puzzle rage. And, don’t forget the ever-popular picture puzzles. There are easy puzzles, and there are puzzles for experts. They can fit the needs of every person and every skill level. Puzzles are a favorite pastime of millions of people, young and old.

So, what’s the fascination over puzzles? For many, doing puzzles is fun. Some people just like the challenge of completing them, and graduation to even more complex and difficult puzzle-solving levels. For others, it is a way to kill time and to eliminate boredom. Still others put together puzzles to keep their mind sharp, improve memory, and to learn new words. It may also help to avoid Alzheimer’s and dementia.

At the Galt High School library, there is always a picture puzzle on one the tables. It is for all students to enjoy. It takes about six weeks for one puzzle to get completed. Putting a puzzle together is a good conversation starter for students having a challenging day. They just need to focus on something neutral for a bit. And the satisfaction the students get when it is completed is heartwarming. The finished puzzle is left on the table for all to see for a couple of days, then it is on to a new one.

I have recently started trying to figure out Sudoku puzzles. I am still in the beginning stage, maybe 2-3 stars of difficulty. Just when I think I have it figured out and move on to a more difficult Sudoku puzzle, I get stymied. My suspicion is, it is connected to Common Core Math. And Sudoku is as close to the new core math as I want to get. So, on this day of celebrating puzzles, give one a try.

Valentine’s Day is in 18 days. Yikes! And it is on a Friday – perfect for a 4-day weekend with Presidents Day on Monday.

Whose turn is it in your family to plan your celebration – you or your spouse, or maybe your children?

It is my turn this year to plan the day for Don and me. I have some ideas, but I can’t let you know what I am planning until after Valentine’s Day because Don proofreads this column, and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

However, if you have a spectacular idea, let me know. I would be happy to share it with others. A few people have given me suggestions – dinner out (no one has to cook at home), a card, flowers and candy (who doesn’t like candy and flowers?). And a card is a must; it sets the tone of the day. Road trip to the mountains or the ocean, go to the movies and dinner, or a train ride and a dessert restaurant, escape room, comedy club, dancing – lots of choices. Whatever you do, do something. Don’t forget to make a memory. Everyone likes to be remembered on Valentine’s Day.

Dates to remember:

Tuesday, Feb. 4 – Herald 4-H meeting at Arcohe School.

Wednesday, Feb. 5 – Herald Community Club meeting in Hendrickson Training Center at 7 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 10 – Lincoln’s Birthday, no school.

Friday, Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Day

Saturday, Feb. 15 – Chili Cook-off at Herald Fire Department on Ivie Road from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 17 – Presidents Day – no school; federal, state, county and city offices closed.

Until next week – Be strong, be courageous and make a memory.