My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mehitable (& other) thoughts


In an attempt to redeem the somewhat disjointed and rambling stream-of-consciousness nature of this post and its relative paucity of pictures, I've included some audience participation features. I look forward to your fascinating and amusing responses in the comments section! ;-)

I've noticed when viewing my SiteMeter stats that quite a few people find my blog by searching the name "Mehitable." And each time I see that, and every now and then when I'm working on my blog, I think about Mehitable Day, the woman for whom it's named. I can't remember exactly when she died, but I do remember she was elderly (in her 80s) and vaguely recall that she died in the 1870s or '80s. I wonder what she would make of having a blog named after her? I wonder what she would think about blogs in general, the internet, cell phones, liposuction, airplanes, Wal-Mart, television, gummy bears, space travel and all the rest of it? I think she'd be unimpressed with quite a lot of it, frankly, but just imagine the sensory overload of being plucked from the 1800s and plopped down in 2010. I'm not sure I could take it. Heck, I'm from this era, and the toothpaste aisle at WalMart alone overwhelms me! (Though we don't buy our toothpaste from WalMart, I still have to visit that aisle for dental floss and these nifty gizmos, and the number and variety of toothpastes and brushes alone make my head spin. I wonder what our friend Mehitable would think of modern dental hygiene products?)

If I had access to a time machine - I've always been intrigued with stories that deal with time travel - and had the choice of traveling forward or back in time, it would be no contest. I'd travel back. Not sure exactly to where and when, though Florence during the Renaissance would be high on the list. I'd insist on taking my digital camera and above-mentioned modern dental hygiene products, and wearing my own clothes, though. Nobody's getting this kid into a corset or bustle!) ;-)

If you could time-travel, would you go forward or backward in time? And to any particular place or time? What would you insist on taking with you? Checked or carry on? That will be an additional $30, please.

My grandmother, who was born in 1909 and died in 2004, always marveled at all the changes she'd seen in her lifetime. She used to say she was still trying to get her mind around how television and telephones worked, so please don't burden her with the enigma of email! :-) She certainly wasn't impressed with all of the changes or technological advances that she'd witnessed, and often lamented over the loss of slower, simpler times. But she was dazzled and inspired by a lot of it, and mostly she was astonished at the sheer scope of it all in just her lifetime.


My grandmother's name was Ruth (and she was quite a woman who had a pretty amazing life, so someday I'll blog about her). You rarely find girls named Ruth anymore, and you sure don't find girls named Mehitable. Though you never know... will there be a bunch of blizzard babies born next November named Mehitable, thus explaining the multiple internet searches for that name that lead some people here? I hope not! I may have named my blog for her, but I find her name an unattractive mouthful. I wonder if she was called anything for short? Mehit? Hitty? Poor woman.

Another Maine Mehitable...
While not our Mehitable, that was also this lady's name.
And I ask you, does she look happy about it? I think not.

It's funny how (at least with Anglo-type names) some names are timeless, like Michael or Robert and Ann or Elizabeth, and then there are names mainly associated with generations long past, like Mehitable or Prudence or Jebediah. Female names especially seem to change with the times, falling out of favor every couple of generations. You don't picture girls named Mildred in the daycare center or on the high school volleyball team, any more than you imagine elderly women named Ashley in the nursing home. But someday there will be. Someday the nursing homes and assisted living centers (or whatever we might have come up with by then) will be filled with Amys, Nicoles, Heathers and Britneys. Many with tattoos and interesting body piercings. Which is too strange to think about, but that never stopped me. :-) And I wonder what the names on the high school volleyball team and daycare roster will be then? Maybe Ruth and Mehitable will have cycled back through, or we'll have a whole crop of newly minted names.

Someone named Britney...


and someone probably not...

And speaking of names, I like mine well enough - just not for me! I never felt it fit me and often failed to answer to it ~ not on purpose (usually), I just didn't think my name being hollered applied to me! :-) My father chose it because he liked the sound of it, which is another weird thing I contemplate sometimes... why are certain sounds or combinations of sounds appealing to us, while others aren't? That makes no real sense, yet we like the sounds of some names and not others, even when they have no associations with someone we did or didn't like. I wonder why? Anyway, I don't like my middle name either, which my father was also allowed to choose, so going by it instead is no option. What was my mother thinking, letting my father choose both my names? (When they were first married, my parents had two little turtles that my father named Smedley and Sedrick. What, she couldn't see the handwriting on the wall? Still she lets this man name her innocent newborn babe?) Mom wanted to name me Heidi or Toni. Let's face it, I love the name (and alpine meadows and goats) but I'm no Heidi. But Toni, that would have worked nicely, and since my great-grandfather was named Antonio, it would have had a familial ring. Oh well, it could have been worse. (A random stroll through any old New England graveyard will likely yield an "Experience," "Temperance" or "Consider." Years ago, in a small plot in the woods near my grandparents' Waterboro, Maine farm, I found the very old tombstone of an unfortunate child named "Relief," which describes my feelings on not being named that, at least!)

What's the oddest name you've ever come across in person, in your family tree, or on a random tombstone? Did it make you also feel relief that it isn't your name?

Maybe my real name doesn't matter since almost no one has ever called me by it unless they were mad at me. Not even my father ever called me by the name he'd given me. He called me things like "Kidlet," "Leorameloush" and "Gluehead." (I'm not kidding.) My mom, always a bit highstrung and distracted, usually called me by the dog's name (there are, perhaps, worse things to be called than "Princess!") In junior high I was Lela, in high school I was Tex, in college I was Leroy to some, to others Francesca (bestowed by a friend who, when I told him my dream of being a film director, thought my real name far too dull for that career choice so annointed me "Francesca Giovanni," only to ruin it by always calling me Frannie!) In the Air Force I was called Sky because my last name was King. And now most people call me Lalu or La or, of course, Laloofah (except for one among you - and you know who you are - who calls me Tater Wad, but that's another story). ;-) If I could have chosen my own name, it would have been Alexandra, which I would use when feeling elegant, or Alex or Andi when feeling casual. (I like flexible names like that - Katherine and Elizabeth are the flexible name champions, I think!) I know we can legally, at no small expense or hassle, have our names changed, but why can't we change our names more easily? There are some cultures who figure you're not the same person as a teen that you were as a tot, and not the same when you're an elder as you were as a young adult, so you get to change your name when you and your life stages change. I like that system, why don't we do that?

Do you like your name? Do you go by something else? If you could choose a different name, what would it be? Will you eventually be one of those nursing home residents with body piercings and tattoos? Will the nursing aides gather around you at sponge-bath time to point and laugh? (If you're considering getting a tattoo or body piercing, you may want to consider this possible future scenario). ;-)

Anyway, despite my dissing of her name, I'd like to think Mehitable would get a kick out of having a blog named after her. It makes me wonder what she was like, if she'd be a blogger if she were alive today, and if so, if she would name her blog "Mehitable Days," and what I would change mine to so she wouldn't sue me. :-)

Here are two more bits of related name trivia for you: I recently discovered another Mehitable Day, this one from Massachusetts (I'm not the only person who googles "Mehitable!") :-) Seems this name was all the rage in late 18th and 19th century New England! And the surname Day is still very common in the area of Maine where I lived. In fact, there was a woman who lived a mile or so down our road named Louise Day. She lived right across the street from Archie Knight. No joke! :-)

18 comments:

  1. Wow, that is one heck of a post. Your mind is very busy most of the time isn't it? ;)

    When would I like to live? I am definitely a Renaissance Firenze girl myself. I guess that is why we get along so well.

    No tatoos on this girl. I considered one at 18 and got to the tatoo parlor and while I was watching a friend get one the thought of being old with a tat came to mind and I backed out. My thoughts were of the mortician and my tat. But you and I were on the same basic page. I think they are beautiful, just not for me. Also the only things pierced are my ears. I am fairly boring.

    My name is okay. I don't love it, but there are worse names so I won't complain. I do think it fits me in general. I would have preferred an Italian name but my mom was getting away from her roots. If I could have any name it would be Guilianna. I have always loved that one. However, I don't think that name fits me as well. I suppose I am used to the one I have.

    Great questions btw. I love posts like this.

    talk to you later,
    Alicia

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a fun post...I daresay you're right about Mehitable not being overly impressed by modern times...but you never know...some people might have really loved all this stuff...you know, different strokes and all that. And, I don't know, I kind of like the name Mehitable, though I would never name a child that myself.

    As for time travel...I always thought it would be fun to go back to ancient times, times that are not all that well documented, and see what it was really like...I think I'd want to be invisible though, so I could just observe and not get herded into slavery or something worse...

    As for names...my full first name is Rosanne...and I never really liked it...I got called "Rosanna Rosanna-Danna" and other charming things like Nose-anne. Now I just go by plain old Rose, and I like it. If I could chose another name I think it would be Portia or Felicity...two sort of old-school Britishy names.

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  3. Alicia - thank you so much for your great comment! Lol, yup - I have a very busy monkey-mind! :-) The idea of this post has been with me awhile, but the post itself just came out of nowhere. It really was a sort of stream-of-consciousness thing. Maybe I was channeling Mehitable for a lot of it? ;-)

    I figured we'd likely meet up in Renaissance Firenze! Let's get together for a vegan meal and glass of vino at Leonardo DaVinci's house, shall we? I'm sure he won't mind. :-)

    You were one forward-thinking 18-year old! How many teenagers take the mortician into consideration when contemplating a tattoo? LOL! I don't have any tats either. I'd wanted a little dragonfly on my shoulder blade when I was in my 30's, but then found out what they cost. And at about the same time I sat across from a newly tattooed young woman at an airport and had to spend an hour watching her writhe in pain and moan to her friend about it (she'd gotten tattooed on her lower back and she was regretting getting on a plane as well as having to wear clothes!) I think if I'd thought about a tat in my 20's I'd have gone for it, but by my mid-late 30's it wasn't going to happen. (My ears are my only piercings as well and I'm fine with that!)

    I love your name! And though it isn't, I think it sounds Italian! Guilliana is pretty too. There are a lot of names I really like but don't think would fit me. The Italian name I would pick for myself is Maria or Sophia, though I prefer Sophie. I adore the name Sophie (in part because I have a friend with that name who I think the world of).

    Rose - thank you for your fun thoughts as well! Wouldn't it be fun to have someone like Mehitable come visit our time and place and get her reactions? It would be an enlightening experience to see things through her eyes. I like the name Mehitable as an adjective and title for my blog... it's oddly descriptive and rather bouncy-sounding. :-) But it's never grown on me as a first name.

    I think your idea of being invisible when traveling back to ancient times might be a good one! I've thought about that - I'd so want to mingle and chat with the locals, but wonder if that would be wise for a few reasons. Makes me think of a Ray Bradbury story about a guy who travels back to the Mesozoic Era and against all rules and warnings, steps off the elevated pathway and crushes a plant or an insect, and it changes everything so that when they return to their own time, the whole world is completely altered. (Time travel and its possibilities obviously gets my monkey-mind swinging from branches and flinging banana peels all over the place! LOL)

    What a shame you were given grief over your name. :-( From your blog alone, I can't imagine a more perfect name for you than Rose! Portia and Felicity are indeed old-school Britishy names! :-) I knew a Portia once (a real firecracker, full of the devil), but have never met a Felicity. It's a lovely, cheerful and friendly-sounding name, and would especially suit you, I think!

    I'm glad you both enjoyed the post and questions, and appreciate your thoughtful audience participation! :-)

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  4. Lalo,

    I really got a kick out of this post because it reminded me of the way my mind works. I tend to be all over the place and constantly thnking of something. My hubby always tells me to relax and stop thinking.

    My girlfriends who had gone first for the tats were a little annoyed with me that I didn't think of the mortician until they had been stamped. One of them has had the tat removed. Nothing like paying for something twice! ;)

    I don't remember seeing Leonardo's house in Florence, but Dante's is easy to find. Maybe we should meet there instead. Plus it is close to my favorite restaurant "Paoli". Great atmosphere, we have eaten there many times.

    Thanks for the name compliment. I am used to it now, but hated it as a child. I love Sohpia too, very Neapolitan. Works with my Southern Italian roots. And people would know how to pronounce it, which would be a big plus.

    Rose,

    I can absolutely see Felicity. Very you! :)

    Alicia

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  5. Ya know...I truly love all your nicknames, past and present. I think it's very cool to have a lot of them, cuz it shows you're popular and a lot of people like you. I guess that's why I don't have any....lol! Anyway, to all those of you who post here, it is I, Spud, who calls said host by her nick of Taterwad. She's had this nick for quite some time now, and I wouldn't know her by any other ;-). Oh, it's TW for short. Anyway, my dear wad o' taters, I found your post most enlightening and as always, I'm most impressed by your ability to tell a story. I always said you could be published, didn't I? Well, your blog is a start and I enjoy it and all your great pics very, very much.
    If I could time travel, it would definitely be in pre-times, to medieval England perhaps....as knighted gentry, of course ;-).
    Later, Tater...xoxoxo

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  6. Welcome back to the plugged in world! :-)

    I would travel back to the Regency time of Jane Austen and live among the upper crust of society like her characters. Pemberley would do just fine! ;-) I sure would miss the modern conveniences of toilets and tap water and internet though! I would bring my husband because it'd be so much more fun to explore this era with him. :-)

    I would also love to go forward in time and see a vegan world. What do you think are the chances of that?

    My name is likely the most common one in the world for a girl. In fact there is another by that name who often comments on this blog...Mary! I always wished for a more special name, like Elizabeth, but thinking of when I first started kindergarten and had to learn to spell my name, I'm glad I only had four letters to remember!

    No tats or ear pierce for this one...too afraid of needles and pain to volunteer for such things unnecessarily!

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  7. Ali - Ha, didn't you realize that thinking of things like the mortician before your friends got tattooed was your responsibility? ;-) Yup, nothing like paying double and doubling pain!

    Okay, Dante's house it is. I figured since Leonardo was in all probability vegetarian, we'd likely get some good grub at his house. (I imagine Dante as more of a BBQ guy! LOL) But it sounds like you've got us covered with Paoli, so you're on!

    Spud - I truly love all your nicknames... I think it's very cool to have a lot of them, cuz it shows you're popular and a lot of people like you.
    Thank you for your very generous and kind interpretation! Of course, it could also be that they considered me so inconsequential that they couldn't be bothered to remember my real name!

    I guess that's why I don't have any....lol!
    Yarite, there, ol' Spud, Spuddles, Spudly Do-Right, Spuddle-Puddle, Spudcicle (when it's cold), O'Spudly (when it's March 17), and my person favorite ~ Spud-Muffin! :-)

    Too bad I didn't have the nickname TW when I lived in Texas. BW and I needed a horse trailer, and a friend recommended a certain dealer. When we got there, the conversation went like this:

    BW: "Howdy, ah'm BW, our friend DK recommended ya'll."
    Dealer: "Howdy, ah'm JR, pleased ta meet ya'll."

    They both turn to me, and wishing to fit in, I suddenly realize my initials, LN, would sound like "Ellen," so I simply muttered my name. If only I could have said, "Howdy, ah'm TW, reckon ya'll got any beer?" it would have been SO much better. (By the way, do tell CG I said hi!) ;-)

    Medieval knighted gentry, eh? Ok... as a former King, I hereby dub thee Sir Spudly of Yamelot! Heehee!

    Thank you for your lovely compliments, Spud - I'm so glad you enjoy my blog!

    VW - Thanks, it's good to be back! (Behind as can be, but back nonetheless!)

    I hope you've been turning into PBS lately, seems they've been airing Jane Austen every Sunday night for months now! You're very sweet to think to bring your DH! Which Austen character would he be? :-) (By the way, I got to visit Montacute House in England years ago. You might recognize it from the movie "Sense & Sensibility." If I recall, it was Alan Rickman's house in the movie. Pity he wasn't there that day to serve us tea!

    And speaking of England, landed gentry and your name, here's a little something for you from Lord Byron...

    I have a passion for the name of Mary,
    For once it was a magic sound to me:
    And still it half calls up the realm of fairy
    Where I beheld what never was to be.


    As for traveling to a future vegan world, I'd love to think it's out there (and that it's created through compassionate intention rather than by some giant cataclysm!) and I'd happily go there. And I don't think I'd want to return to the present, unless I decided to be a bodhisattva!;-)

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  8. Thank you for that Lord Byron bit; it tickled me pink! I love how you always have the perfect quote for every moment. :-)

    Yes, I sure did tune into the Austen fest on PBS this past month and how fun it was! I even got my DH to watch a bit with me. He never fails to remind me that he is the REAL Mr. Darcy (and I'd have to agree with that, hee hee!).

    I'm jealous of your trip to England! Visiting all the Austen places is definitely on my to-do list, as well as eating at all the amazing vegan places I've heard of.

    As for being a Bodhisattva, how do you know you're not one already? Doing your best to lead a cruelty-free life and giving joy and inspiration to others through this blog...I'd say you're a pretty good candidate! :-)

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  9. Hey, VW! (Or should I call you Pemberley? Pemberley V. Wheekers-Darcy!) :-)

    I do seem to have a quote for every contingency, don't I? Maybe I should find that disturbing. LOL My grandmother (the one I speak of in this post) got me hooked on collecting quotes, poems and short stories when I was 14, so I've had a lot of years to build a vast collection! And still I add to it... and have great fun sharing them here! :-)

    I'm jealous of my trip to England too! :-) Our first one was in '96, second one in '98... and we haven't made it back since! I felt so completely at home there, I'm sure I'm a reincarnated Brit. I would love to go back again! I so hope you'll get to make that Austen pilgrimage, you will LOVE it! (Are you going to visit the RootMaster vegan Bustaurant?!)

    Speaking of Jane Austen, here's a blog you might enjoy! Pride & Vegudice :-)

    You are beyond kind to suggest I'm a Bodhisattva candidate, but I'm certain I still have a long way to go before I deserve that much credit! But living this lifestyle is certainly hugely gratifying, and so is hearing you say that you find joy and inspiration through my blog! :-)

    (By the way, in a little stroke of synchronicity, the World Peace Diet's VegInspiration blog post today mentions the Bodhisattva ideal! And then there's this Bodhisattva-related post of mine from two years ago (almost exactly!) Is there something about the month of February that especially brings Bodhisattvas to mind?)

    Thanks again for your fun comments, VW! xoxo

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  10. Oh my goodness, so much to think about! I'll come back when I have more time, but I just wanted to share with you the two strangest names I have ever come across in real life. When I taught (briefly!) at a public school in the Bronx, a friend had students named:

    1. C8lin

    2. Takeela

    Just say them phonetically. So much worse than Mehitable, esp. #2.

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  11. Mary's comment made me think of the worst name I have ever heard, and it is really bad. When I was a controller for a children's hospital there was an admission that was processed with the first name of "Female". Since the intake processors made many errors I knew this couldn't be right. When I questioned the floor nurses they assured me it was right. Now thinking someone was playing a joke on me I went to the unit to find the parents. Certainly no one would have a 2 year old with the name "Female". But I was wrong, so wrong! They didn't prounce it like the gender but like fe (like in feather), ma (like hey ma) and lay (like a what a chicken does with an egg). While this story sounds unbelievable it actually happened. Poor kid. No one should have parents like that.

    I would Mehitable over Female any day!

    Alicia

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  12. Mary - I can't wait to see your other responses, given how great (or should I say "gr8") this one is! ;-) At least C8lin should have no trouble deciding what to have on her vanity plates someday! And let's hope poor Takeela never marries someone with the last name Martini. (Though wouldn't "Takeela Martini" be a great name for a stripper? LOL)

    My 5th grade teacher, who had worked in a very poor area of Appalachia, once told us the story of a child she knew of named Percolator. Apparently her mother had seen it on a box, and didn't know what a percolator was but liked the sound of it. (Again I ask, why do we like some combinations of sounds and dislike others? I don't know, but I think I'll apply for a big, fat grant to study this!) ;-)

    Ali - Oddly enough, a version of your story circulated in the hospital billing department where I worked. That version involved an as-yet-unnamed newborn with "Female" on her hospital bracelet and parents who didn't know the word, but who thought it was pronounced "Feh-mall-ay" and that it was a pretty enough name the hospital had chosen for her (an explanation that really makes no sense when you stop to think of it). That particular story, though not the fact that there are girls actually named Female with that pronunciation, turned out to be an urban legend. But given my own experience with names in the billing department, your experience doesn't surprise me!

    Some of my "favorite" names, newborn and adult alike, during my billing clerk tenure...

    Waldo Ballhorn- you'd think, since the poor lad was going to go through life saddled with the last name Ballhorn, that his parents would have cut him some slack on his first name. But noo-ooo!

    D'Artagnan - yes, like the Muskateer! (This was a newborn. Let's hope he didn't swashbuckle his way out of the womb with a sword!)

    Shelly Jelly - not her parents' fault, she married into this name (but what were the odds?)

    Camero - another newborn name, but this one was a false alarm. Turns out his last name was so long that the last letter of his first name was cut off on the billing form. But only after I'd pitched an indignant hissy to my co-workers about parents who name their kid after a sportscar did I realize his name was actually "Cameron." Oops, my bad! lol

    But while that baby dodged the silly name bullet, plenty of others haven't ... check out this article!
    Baby Name Games

    No doubt, one can do far worse than "Mehitable!"

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  13. Lalo,

    Sadly this Female was all too real. I saw her and spoke to her mom. I was so dumb founded I could not adequately respond. I swore for days the staff put this woman up to spoofing me, but it was real. Now I never underestimate the potential for stupid. Why have children if you are going to do things like that to them?

    D'Artagnan was sad,as was Wald and Shelly Jelly. All I can say is my name is looking better and better. ;)

    Alicia

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  14. Ali - no kidding, all our names are looking pretty reasonable now! Nothing like a dose of perspective! ;-) (Did you read that Baby Names article yet? Sheesh!)

    When my mom (who's never seen my blog) called today, within the first few minutes of the conversation she blurted out, "I've never liked the name Barbara. The only thing my mother ever did wrong was name me Barbara. It doesn't fit me." She's only ever used that name on stuff like her driver's license and bank accounts - everyone has always called her by her middle name instead. All I'd asked was which name she wanted to use for an online order I was placing for her, so I thought her unsolicited outburst was pretty funny after all the discussion about names we've been having here on my blog! She then told me would have liked the name Jackie. She's 74 years old and I never knew this! I told her Jackie would have fit her, it sounds like a tall name. :-) She burst out laughing at that so I told her it wasn't THAT funny... I'd read an interview with Sigourney Weaver (whose real name is Susan) years ago in which she was asked why she chose the name Sigourney for her acting career and she said, "Because I'm tall and it sounded like tall name." :-)

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  15. I loved reading this fun post. Oh, and my grandmother's middle name was Ruth: you're right, that is one name you don't hear a lot of these days. Thanks for giving us a little window into your funny mind making connections.

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  16. First, thank you for the link to paucity - I definitely needed that!

    The forward or backward in time question was tough - may I go on two trips? OK, if I'm to play by the rules, my first thought was to go back and spend time with my maternal grandmother. I apparently loved her as a child and she was almost like a mother to me when my own mom was very sick during her pregnancy with my sister. But grandmaman Rose-Aimee died when I was 6 or 7 and I now have no recollection of her at all - some sort of coping mechanism of a young child. Anyway, I would take my photo album of all my quilts and maybe a couple of quilts too and then I could see her quilts and her loom and we would have great fun playing I'm sure. And I'd love to ask her - as you were able to ask your Grandmother - what she thought of all the technical advances of her time. I know in my dad's home town there was a great suspicion about electricity -certain that it was sent by the devil to somehow harm us!

    And I'd carry-on of course - I would never trust my precious quilts to checked luggage!!! :-) Let me know when you've managed the technology - I'll pack my bags!!

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  17. After reading that post, which had so much to think about, I had to comment on all the comments. there was such an interesting steam of them! I still can't get over poor Female and agree that hers is the worst name hands down.

    Of course another problem comes when you move to a new country with a new language. I have 133 first cousins and they were all named by their French Canadian parents of whom half later moved to the U.S. Poor "Guy" whose name is pronounced "Gee" in french and I think is a lovely name is now "Guy" in America. "Hey, Guy come here" must bring forward all the men in the room. And I don't even know what Americans do to Ghislaine, Marcial, or Guiaume. They're all lovely names said in Frech but who knows in English! I wonder if that's true for other nation's names such as Indian names or Chinese names, etc. I would imagine it would.

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  18. AdventureJo - Of course you may go on two trips! :-) So where would you go in the future?

    I'm sure your grandmother would love that visit from you, and would be so tickled to see what a splendid, award-winning quilter you are (and a weaver with your own loom, too!) The two of you would have such fun... so I'll get busy on that Time Machine! :-) It's a shame you can't remember her. Those memories are there somewhere, if you could just find a way to access them!

    Your point about names from other languages is a good one. I have no idea if there are English versions of those French names you mentioned (but I'd love to hear you pronounce them!)

    I recently watched a couple of episodes of the PBS show "Faces of America" (where the genealogies of celebrities are traced) that featured the cellist Yo-Yo Ma. He learned some interesting things about his ancestry in China, and he spoke about the "generational character," where children of each generation share one identical Chinese character in their names. The character (or syllable) assigned by his long-ago ancestor to his generation is Yo, but he said he didn't know what his parents were thinking when they named him Yo-Yo, because they knew full well it was the name of a toy! He said the character Yo means "friendly," so he's doubly friendly. :-) I think his parents named him perfectly, because you would be hard pressed to find a sweeter, friendlier person than Yo-Yo Ma. (I just adore him!) You can read a little about him and the story of his genealogy, as well as watch video of his segments from the show here.

    Thanks for sharing your great comments, Jo! :-)

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SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

  • INFERNO ~ Dan Brown
  • MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD & EVIL ~ John Berendt
  • MY NOTORIOUS LIFE: A NOVEL ~ Kate Manning
  • ONE SUMMER: AMERICA, 1927 ~ Bill Bryson
  • QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN'T STOP TALKING ~ Susan Cain
  • THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL ~ Daniel Stashower
  • THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY ~ Erik Larson
  • THE SHADOWS, KITH AND KIN ~ Joe R. Lansdale
  • THE TIPPING POINT ~ Malcolm Gladwell
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"