Thursday, October 27, 2011

By Any Other Name

Proper names are 
poetry in the raw.
Like all poetry, they 
are untranslatable.
~ W.H. Auden

I had two baby gifts to
shop for this week.  One
was for a baby boy and
one was for a baby girl.

The baby boy is named Robert;
the baby girl is named Adalee.

How sweet are they?

My initial necklace won from the talented
Jeanette of Everton Terrace

We don't choose our
name {unless we change
it when we are older......}


From the beginning,
like it or not, our name
 belongs to us.

It is us.

My mom was supposed
to be called Linda, but when
she arrived, nine pounds +,
Gigi changed her mind.

Linda is a petite name; 
my baby girl was big!
she used to say.

She named her Patricia,
and over the years,
has called her
Trish, Patsy, Pats and Pat.

Of course, for me, she
has always been Mom : )

When the time came 
to choose names for our
own babies, I searched
baby books, scrawled
out names and initials on 
paper, contemplated
nicknames and with my
husband, settled on two 
that felt just right.

In 1995, the top baby name
for American girls was
Jessica.  We named our 
daughter Elizabeth,which 
was ranked number nine.

In 1998, the top baby name
for American boys was
Michael.  We named our
son William, which was
ranked number 20.

For fun, I researched the
most popular baby names
for boys and girls last year,
across the globe, and found
the most comprehensive
list, here.


Australia      Lily/Jack
      Brazil           Julia/Gabriel
   Canada        Olivia/Liam
     France         Emma/Lucas
 Germany     Mia/Lukas
      India           Ananya/Aarav
         Russia         Maria/Alexandr
       Spain           Sofia/Santiago
   U.S.            Sophia/Aiden

So, what is in a name?

Is it true, as Shakespeare
suggested, that a rose by
any other name would 
as sweet?

My paternal grandma's
name was Bertha.  Had
her parents called her


the top five girl names
in 1915, would she have
been a different person?

I can't imagine that.

Any item personalized
with a letter, name
or initial feels special,
doesn't it?

I have always loved
the formality of monograms
and I've welcomed
their resurgence in the
last few years.

This is me! a monogram 
seems to declare.

Last spring I sent my 
newest niece a pewter
baby bowl with her just-
minted monogram.  I hope
she will always be proud
of those small letters that
uniquely represent her.

When my mom was growing
up, she called her baby doll
Suzanne.  My dad's grandma
was Susanna and the rest
is history : )

{Lisa was actually the most
popular name the year I arrived.}  

a Debbie or a Jane,
a Steven or a Paul,
our names are as
much a part of us as 
the color of our eyes.

Does your name
feel as untranslatable as
poetry, as W.H. Auden 
put it so beautifully?

A gift from the queen of monograms, Cathy at Stitchfork Designs.

More importantly,
does it feel

I'd love to
hear your story.


PS:  You didn't think
I'd let you go without
sharing some baby love,
did you?

My new niece, Courtney, five months old : )

PPS:  If you were born in
America and want to check
out the top names in your
birth year, you can find them,

Monday, October 24, 2011


I passed this sign today.


{Not forever; just for
the winter season.}

Made me recall that
old saying, When one
door closes, another one

Instead of ice cream after
baseball games on sweltering
summer evenings, now it's hot
cider on chilly fall nights.

My son had his 12-nearly-13 year
 check up today.  At 5'11'', 
the days of me enfolding all
of him on my lap or in my
arms are over.....closed.  But
now when he accompanies
me on errands, he proudly
does the heavy lifting.

The last bloom on my rose
bush greeted me this morning,
a reminder that our precious
growing season is practically
closed.  But, as the garden gets
put to bed, so do worries about
watering, weeding and trimming!

My yoga group split up this 
fall after one member dropped
out, one moved and the host's
schedule made it tricky to meet
there anymore.  Closed, after five
 years of seeing each other twice, 
then more recently, once a week.  
Things like this run their natural 
course, said my wise hubby. 

He's right.

This winter I can fill that free hour
with snowshoeing or cross-country
skiing on the lake across the road.

Still accessorizing at 94 : )

My grandma, Gigi, sailed quietly
into her 94th year this fall, not
knowing most of the family that
loves her, a closure I will never
really get over.  But when I last
sat with her and observed her 
unique mannerisms and funny
expressions, which persist despite
dementia, I felt blessed with the
knowledge that~ no matter what ~
our true spirit remains with us
until we are called home.

Yes, seasons change.
Children grow.
Flowers wilt.
Friends disband.
Memories falter.

But, it's how we respond to
those closed doors that makes
all the difference.

All the difference.

What doors are swinging 
open for you, my friend?

I'd love to know.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Good Life

Oh, this has gotta be the good life
this has gotta be the good life
this could really be a good life, good life.

~ song by OneRepublic

My son loves this song and
plays it, often while in his room,
digging into his homework.

And this mom has to smile
at his 12-nearly-13 croaky voice
belting out these words.

I'm glad he sings.

I'm glad he feels he has a
good, good life.

I'm happy that it is a sunny 
Thursday morning as I write and he 
and his sister are home with me 
for a two-day fall school break.

There was frost on the ground
when I took Gracie out first thing
this morning.  Frost on the pumpkins,
I declared as she sniffed the ground.

Except we don't have any pumpkins,
{outdoors} yet.  I am one of those
hold outs that doesn't get pumpkins
for the front steps until it's closer 
to the big night.

Frost means it's close enough.

At our house, that big night is
preceded by another big night,
which is my son's birthday.  No
matter what the festivities entail,
October 30th is always capped 
off with pumpkin carving.

I hope that ritual will always  
be a part of his good, good life.

It's almost noon and we are
still slogging around in our pj's,
 thinking ahead to the evening and
what movies are on at the theater.

If my son didn't have a guitar
lesson this afternoon and if we
didn't need milk, eggs and
bananas from the store, I'd be
happy to hunker down right
where we are for the day.

But my boy needs his guitar
lesson to learn his songs and the
 bigger boy {aka Mr. Privet}
needs his bananas, so off we
will go.

If this is what that older
crooner, Tony Bennett, meant
by his song The Good Life,
then I'll take it.

What are you up to this
weekend in your own



Linking here with gratitude

Monday, October 17, 2011

Making it Count

It's been

nine months, 18 days
{41 weeks}
 {292 days}
 {7008 hours}
 {420,480 minutes}

since I first penned
New Year's resolutions
for 2011.

Christmas is already
seeping into our collective
consciousness through retailers,
magazines and the internet, so
it wasn't a big leap for me
to think just beyond it
to our next new year.


It's coming fast.

I've decided it is time to
take stock of the goals
that I set out, here,
before the rest of the
year slips through my
fingers like fine sand.

There were only six.

Sounds simple enough
to attain, don't you think?

Ah, but sometimes
it can be hard
to get simple

Here is my list.

1.  Make every moment count.

I can't say that I have made
every 25,228,800 seconds
that comprised 2011 so far,
count.  But I have tried to
focus more on being in each
moment instead of constantly
thinking ahead to the
next day
next week
next month
next year.

And I believe that counts
for something!

2.  Really SEE my children.
{Some days my son jumps down
the stairs in the morning and I
swear he has grown overnight....
How did I not SEE that?}

I have practiced this
deliberate observation
 repeatedly in 2011.

they often say to me as I
try to absorb their earnest
faces, filing away the dark
brown eyes of one and the
creamy complexion of the other.

Just looking,
I say with a smile, 
knowing they won't really
understand until they have
become parents, themselves.

3.  Remember to breathe.
Look around.  Just BE
from time to time.

This is the hardest one.

I feel that clock ticking 
~ tick tick tick ~
constantly and the 
stopping and breathing
and being
has got to be a
mindful choice.

But I have chosen it
more in 2011 than
in past years.

My favorite time to
just be
is when I take Gracie out.
It is dark now for her first
and last pit stops of the day,
which gives me two chances
to take in the vastness of the
sky, the moon and the 
winking stars.

I breathe in that brisk fall air
 and for a few moments ~
moments that count ~

I am simply present in
this life and nothing more.

4.  Pray more

Just like being truly present 
 in the moment, prayer takes
practice.  Similarly, it brings me
 peace.  I try to incorporate
prayer into my daily tasks.  It
almost becomes a sort of
meditation when I am

brushing my teeth
brushing the dog
folding laundry

and all sorts of other chores
that occupy my hands but
leave {most} of my mind
free for gratitude, praise and
hopes for those I love.

I will always be a student
when it comes to prayer,
but one who is eager to
keep practicing.

5.  Laugh more!

I suspect that my family 
would grade me favorably on
this resolution.  We have always
enjoyed a BIG laugh, but this 
year I've tried to let humor 
guide me out of a lot of different
 situations, which definitely 
led to more laughs within
 these walls.

And it has felt good.

Really, really good.

6.  Focus on gratitude.

I used to keep a gratitude
journal when my kids were 
quite little, but I lost the habit
somewhere in the chaos that
comes with raising a family.
This year I resurrected that
old journal and recently 
purchased a new one for the
whole family to start jotting
down small blessings
that speak to us.

We keep it open, pen ready,
in the kitchen, so many of
the entries seem to be

But it's all gratitude,
just the same.

For me, it keeps
in perspective.

Which makes life
feel like a wonderful,
magical, extraordinary

And in the end,
isn't that where we
want our resolutions
to lead us?

If you made resolutions
for 2011, how have you
done, so far?

Is your third quarter
grade one that pleases
you, or is it an 

There are still

two months, 14 days
{75 days}
{10 weeks}
{1800 hours}
{108,000 minutes}

to take each of the
6,480,000 seconds
left of 2011

and make them
for you.

Go for it.