Tag Archives: a rose by any other name

We have a new friend.

She needs a name. Suggestions?



This weekend is the weekend when I will be doing wedding flowers for a big fancy sit-down dinner hotel wedding. I cannot even express how excited I am that I get to do this. I’m still working on a name for my business (floral design and consultation – wherein not only do I want to do wedding flowers for people, but I want to help DIY types either by working with them to do their flowers or by teaching them how to make the things they want (bouquets, bouts, etc.)). Any business name suggestions are more than welcome, and I need to pick something soon because Dan is designing business cards for me to have available for the weekend.

Anyhow, not only am I doing flowers for the wedding but we’re invited to the wedding as well. It’s a fancy evening sit-down dinner hotel wedding. I’ve never been to one of those before. Almost all the weddings I’ve been to have been daytime ones, and the ones that weren’t were not swanky formal affairs. I had no appropriate attire for this wedding, so this past weekend I informed Dan we were going dress shopping. He grabbed his ipod and we headed out to the racetrack mall.

There’s a store in this mall that makes me cringe every time I see it because of the name. There are other branches of this store in other parts of the city, and since it’s a chain I bet you’ve seen it too. I actually have looked in the windows of the store and thought they had some cute stuff, but have refused on principle to ever set foot inside. Because I hate the name of the store: it’s called Dress Barn.

Because who doesn’t want to buy their clothes in a barn? Oh shucks, Betty Sue, let’s go down to the Dress Barn and find something to wear to the hoedown.

Really? Dress BARN? I – I’m sorry. I don’t want to buy any clothing in a barn, or a shack, or a gazebo, or a coop. To me, a barn is where the animals live and where you store the hay and the farm implements. It’s where Wilbur and Charlotte lived their lives. It is not where I want to buy cute clothing, or where I want to buy a swanky dress for a fancy wedding.

Knowing my limited options (and my limited budget, as I do not have millions of dollars to spend on fancy dresses), I knew I had to get over myself. So when we got to the mall, I marched right in to Dress Barn, just to see what they had.

And, I’m ashamed to admit, they had a lot. Lots of cute dresses. Lots of cocktail dresses, little black dresses, summer wedding-appropriate dresses. I had no idea what size I would wear (thanks to my embiggened chest), so I grabbed dresses in a couple of different sizes and ended up with at least ten in the dressing room. I modeled each in turn for Dan (except the first one I tried on, which was way unflattering). Four of them, I believe, were Little Black Dresses (something I’ve never owned). One was black-and-white, one was green, some had patterns. The dresses were well-made from nice fabrics. And then I looked at the price tags and was pleasantly suprised to discover that they were all in the $30-50 range. Seriously!?! Cute, well-made dresses for a few bucks more than the crap sold at the teeny bopper stores, and the only thing holding me back from shopping at this store was the name.

Well, I got over it. I actually bought two dresses (they were having a “save $10 if you buy two dresses” thing), a little black dress and the black and white one. I’ll probably wear the latter to the wedding, as the bridesmaids are wearing black. I’m still looking for a pair of fabulous brightly-colored shoes to go with, and if I don’t find what I’m looking for I already have black ones and silver ones that would work just fine. And I have to admit that next time I need a nice dress I might just have to look in a barn.

Name meme

Yanked from Average Jane.

1. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names):
Marie Frederick

2. NASCAR NAME: (first name of your mother’s dad, father’s dad):
Keith Harry

3. STAR WARS NAME: (the first 2 letters of your last name, first 4 letters of your first name):

4. DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal):
Green Cat

5. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you live):
Rose Denver

6. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite alcoholic drink, optionally add “THE” to the beginning):
Blue Cosmopolitan

7. FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name):
Emer (what the hell is a fly name?)

8. GANGSTA NAME: (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite cookie):
Green Tea Christmas

9. ROCK STAR NAME: (current pet’s name, current street name):
Petra Ogden

10. PORN NAME: (1st pet, street you grew up on):
Mocha Oak Ridge

This meme wasn’t easy, because I don’t actually have a favorite animal, alcoholic beverage, ice cream flavor, or cookie.

Also, I don’t see how anyone’s gangsta name can be especially gangsta with the requirements being ice cream and cookies.

Literary Monday, Tuesday Edition: No, I have not forgotten how to read

For a few months there I was so caught up in other stuff that I kind of stopped reading for pleasure, other than re-reading things I’d already read for an escape. Do you ever do that? Re-read something you’ve read umpteen times before, just because it’s familiar and comforting and something you won’t have to work at? In February I re-read Ender’s Game (my favoritest book ever) for about the 38th time, and re-read some Piers Anthony light fantasy. But this month, wedding stress is coming to an end and I’ve branched out from Safe in order to read some good, meaty stuff.

Well, the first thing was Anne of Green Gables. Yes, I’ve read it before, but not since I was about 9 years old. I’d found a used copy in a bookstore a few months ago but forgot about that and happened to be browsing my children’s/YA bookshelf when I saw it and thought to myself, ooh! So I read it. Then I found the first sequel, Anne of Avonlea, last week in the same bookstore and read that too. Both were every bit as good as I’d remembered – perhaps even better, now that I’m reading from a more adult perspective – and I enjoyed every minute of my time on Prince Edward Island. And now I have much more incentive to acquire and read the others, since I never got past book 2 when I was nine (no interest in Anne Shirley after age 16, she was waaaay too old for me to be interested!) Now I am interested.

I also read The Namesake after picking it up in the bookstore last week. (To Leah: Now you have ME doing it! Nah-me-sah-ke!) I started it on Friday, my birthday day off, and finished it last night. It was really good, a little depressing, and entirely fascinating. Monkey writes a lot about what it means to be a 2nd generation desi (I hope it’s OK for me to use that term) so reading this book made me think of the stories she has written about (and told me) and also make me think how interesting it is that different cultures deal with the clash between what it means to grow up in America versus what it means to be part of that mother-culture. Possibly the most well-known author writing similar stories of growing up 2nd generation in America is Amy Tan (Chinese), and I’ve read stories written by people of other cultures as well – Mexican, Irish, German, and others written by Indian-Americans.

I really enjoyed the basic underlying theme of the book encapsulated by the title, what our names mean and how who we are named for and under what circumstances might affect our lives in trivial or profound ways. As I’ve written about before, I’m a name buff, so I love reading about the ways in which people in other cultures go about naming people. Jewish people, I have learned, name babies after deceased relatives (but never living ones, and usually it’s just a shared first initial rather than a fully shared name between the deceased and the new addition). Some people start out having a baby name and have an adult name later, and some people are given one name but are always called by a nickname. Despite being many-generations American, this was the case for my father’s family, as he and his sisters were all called by nicknames, most unrelated to their actual names, into adulthood (and four of the five of them still are!)

The book I’m working on right now is The Year of Living Bibilically (from the library, I’m too cheap to buy it). I’m about 4 chapters in and really enjoying it, so I plan to review it once I’m finished. I’ve got a couple of other library books as well, so maybe next week in the middle of all the wedding craziness I’ll write about them too!

What’s in a name?

I wrote last week about our decision to change to a new last name, and that, coupled with a thread on a message board I read about how people judge others by their names, got me thinking about names in general and judgment in particular. The thread on the message board specifically dealt with “made-up” names, and several people mentioned how if they were hiring for a McJob, and resumes were equally qualified, they’d be more likely to interview a person with a standard name rather than one that was probably a “made-up” name (specifically referring to a subset of the African-American community).

I read the book Freakonomics last year, and in that book is a chapter on names, naming trends, and how naming your child something completely off-the-wall might contribute to his or her success (or lack thereof). Though blatantly racist discrimination is illegal in this country, there’s no way to prove someone didn’t interview you or hire you because of your name (though they might judge your name and choose not to interview/hire you because your name sounds ethnic in some way). Names are not a protected class. While I don’t think it’s my place to be the arbiter of naming, I am not in favor of many recent baby-naming trends (the -aiden proliferation for boys, the McMadyssynalynn-type names for girls, and who can forget Nevaeh?), as a parent it’s your right to name your kid anything you please. I would never name my kid something I made up or use kreeyativ spelling to make my kid seem youneeq, but if it’s something you want to do, I say go for it. I just wonder sometimes whether parents realize what they’re saddling little McKaighleigh or Graysen (or Shaniquiah) with and how it might result in an older child or an adult not being taken seriously, treated differently by teachers and potential employers than if the name were more culturally commonplace.

I was also thinking about how names can sometimes specifically refer to a person’s nationality or ethnic background, and how you might expect a person to look based on his or her name. Last night I remembered a high school classmate who, based on her name, should be German, French, and/or Latina-looking, but instead looks quite a bit like her ethnically Chinese mother. If I didn’t know her, and was asked to pick out ‘Gabrielle Werner’ (not her real name) I wouldn’t pick her photo out of a lineup. The woman making our wedding rings looks every bit as Irish as her name, though I would have pinned her a bit older based on her first name. I wonder how many people make judgments every day about people’s names, guessing age, class, and ethnicity from just a first and last name. My name, for example, was not super uncommon but was also not especially popular back in 1979 (I’ve only known a few other Emilys my age) but ten years later it hit the charts and was the most popular girl’s name for several years. I can’t go anywhere in public where there are young children without hearing my first (and sometimes middle) name being called. I wonder if, fifteen years from now when the slew of Emilys are entering the workforce, people will guess I’m significantly younger than I am because of my name.

I find naming trends to be endlessly fascinating, and am specifically interested in names and identity. (If you’d like to waste some time, go here and check out the widget that tells you the popularity of any name over the past 100+ years). I don’t know what an Emily is supposed to be or feel like, but I’m pretty glad that my mom didn’t name me Elizabeth, Jessica, or Heather (no offense to any Elizabeths, Jessicas, or Heathers out there, but these names were super popular among people my age). I like that my name, while trendy now, isn’t the kind of name that ages badly (imagine what it will be like when all the Jennas and Jennifers and Krystals are 80 years old!). It passes the “stripper or Supreme Court Justice” test. What’s really interesting to me is when I meet people who have decided at some point to change their (first) names, deciding that they don’t really feel like a Paul but would rather be called by their middle name, Evan. How do people decide they don’t feel like a Paul? I’ve met people whose names I thought were beautiful but that they didn’t like so much because in their culture, that name is an “old-person” name. I find the process of how nicknames come into being to be fascinating as well. How do people come up with nicknames for their children/friends/family? What makes a nickname stick? My dad has four sisters, and none of the five of them was called by their given names as children (or even now, as adults, by family).

I don’t really have any answers, only questions. Names and naming are cool. Naming your kid Azpen is a bad idea, IMHO. It’s a sad fact that people are judged by their names, oftentimes unfairly as they didn’t choose their own name (though some people do!) And I don’t know if I’ll ever fully grok nicknames and how they work.

One of my favorite bloggers had a baby today. I wholeheartedly love his name. Welcome to the world, Dylan Emmett.

Wednesday Wedding Day – Less than 2 months, can I wig out yet?

Yesterday marked 2 months until we get married.

On the one hand, we’ve been together for over six and a half years. It’s not like we’re jumping the gun on getting married or anything – in fact, I bet a lot of people who know us wonder why we waited this long. And most of the wedding stuff is done, planned, taken care of, and those things that aren’t are either going to be last minute (as in, taking place during the week before the wedding) or are currently in progress.

On the other hand, holy crap, it’s less than two months until we get married! I feel like there’s so much still to do, so many little detail-y things. Our invitations got sent out last week, and we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback (Dan spent countless hours working on them). In fact, I have a little fluttery stomach moment every time his email client dings, because it means it might be an RSVP. Even though we have a pretty good idea who is coming and who isn’t, I’m still really excited about it. Once we know for sure who is coming, there will be a few more projects to do. But since we now have the major things figured out, and many of the minor ones, I’m not feeling completely overwhelmed.

I’ve talked a lot about the wedding over the last few months (and in two weeks, we’ll have been engaged for a year, so I’ve had a long time to think about it) but I haven’t talked much about how I feel about getting married. I guess for me, it’s a natural progression of a relationship that began many years ago. I moved to Colorado with a pretty good idea somewhere in my mind that we’d end up at this point eventually (otherwise, I wouldn’t have spent a year and a half flying back and forth and conducting the bulk of relationship over the phone/internet). It was a leap of faith, sure, but I had a feeling from the very beginning that this could be a permanent deal. I was only 22 when Dan and I got together, so I wasn’t willing to entertain the idea of “forever” at that point. It took a few years of us dealing with all of the things that life threw at us before I came around and started thinking that hey, yeah, maybe we should get married. I think it took Dan a little bit longer than that. I’m really excited for the wedding, to have so many of our friends and family all in one place to celebrate this thing we’ve created together, to have it documented for posterity. But in all honesty, in some ways I’ve felt married for quite some time – perhaps since we got engaged or even before. We committed to each other at some point in the years we’ve lived together, so the wedding is just a way to make it clear to society and community that hey, we’re in it for the long haul.

Perhaps the most visible symbol of our new status of husband and wife is that after we’re married we’re going to share a last name, which is important to both of us. I’m not changing my name to his, and he isn’t changing his name to mine; we’re both changing our last names to a new name that combines letters from each of our current names. I’m not especially attached to mine, and don’t particularly like his. He feels about the same way. Years before we got engaged, we started talking about what we might do with our names if we got married, and this idea came up at least two years ago. We’ve both had quite some time to get used to the idea and then both got really excited about it. We’re lucky in that our names mesh pretty well together to create a name we both like. At some point during the ceremony, our rockstar officiant is going to say something about our new name, and why we chose to change to that name. I’m sure there will be people who don’t understand why we would want to do what we’re doing, but you know what? It’s our names, and our decision. I can’t wait to be a Stryker.