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Daily Prompt: Name that… You!


Daily Prompt: Name that… You!.

My name.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with it my whole life.

I have never really felt like a “Susan,” whatever that should feel like.

I guess I just always felt it to be an old-fashioned, plain name.  And I’ve never really felt “old-fashioned.”  As a child I certainly felt plain…but DEFINITELY not now.  Now, I am sassy and fabulous.

I do not know where my parents came up with the name Susan.  My hunch is that I was named for my father’s best friend’s wife.  Both of my parents deny it.  I don’t believe them.

Susan comes from the Hebrew, Shoshana, meaning “graceful lily.”  Ok.  Well, I danced for about 19 years, so I could see the graceful thing.  But, there is no way my parents would have known that as I was but a wee little 6 pound, 11 ounce baby lying in my hospital bed.

My middle name is Katharine.  It came from my mother. It  was her name, and the name of her German grandmother.  There was never any doubt in my mother’s mind that her baby girl would carry the name.

Katharine comes from the Greek, Aikaterine or katharos, meaning pure.

So, when you put the meanings of my name together it is “a graceful lily that is pure.”

I kinda like that.  THAT sounds poetic and lovely.

In light of that, henceforth I shall be called, Pure Graceful Lily.

Oh sure, it’s a bit of a mouthful, but it’s my name and I can do what I want to with it.  And why shouldn’t my name be as fabulous as the wonder that is me?

I think so!

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Susan…That’s Not My Name (ame, ame, ame)

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Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

via Daily Prompt: Say Your Name.

wpid-IMG_20130309_175149.jpg

With all due respect to The Ting Tings…  but, that’s not my name…

Reportedly, as I was but a wee little 6 pound 11 ounce bundle of joy in the hospital, my mother wanted to name me Karen – but, pronounced Kah-rin, not the more familiar Care-in.

My father hated it.

If I have been a boy, things would have been easier.  I would have been named after him.  George Charles the IV.  My brother got that instead – 4 1/2 years later.

I almost went home without a name.

The nurses pushed and prodded and cajoled until finally my parent’s chose a name.

Susan Katharine.

I have no idea where the Susan part came from, but I have my suspicions.  My father’s best friend’s wife’s name was Susan.  My mother denies it, but come on, it is just too much of a coincidence.  And while at one point in time, Susan HAD been a VERY popular name, this was 1966 – and it’s popularity had waned.

Katharine, however, has a story.  It was my mother’s middle name (she has since had her name legally changed to have it as her first name).  And THAT came from her father’s mother.  That Katharine, was originally Katharine Jung, which became Young when her family emigrated from Germany.

I have never felt like a “Susan.”  Don’t ask me what a “Susan” is supposed to feel like, but alls I know is that I have never particularly liked it.  On the other hand, I also do not think I would have particularly enjoyed having the name “Kah-rin.”  I can just imagine having to have spent my whole life correcting the pronunciation!  As it is, with my middle name being Katharine with a “K” and an “a,” and the fact that my last name has a capital “B” in the middle of it, I have had to have every diploma (and driver’s licenses and social security cards etc.) I have ever received redone because one or the other or both have been misspelled.

Even though I don’t really “feel” like a Susan, I am pretty sure I would never change it.  Despite the fact that it is complicated to do (well, the changing is easy – it’s all the other stuff and getting other people to call you the new name), I am Susan.  It’s my name.  Like it or not.

An Unexpected Love

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Duffey was always in the middle of everything.  Every Christmas I would have picture of him buried in wrapping paper.

Duffey was always in the middle of everything. Every Christmas I would have picture of him buried in wrapping paper.

via Daily Prompt: I Want to Know What Love Is.

Some of the most amazing relationships in my life have come about when I wasn’t looking for one to happen.  The night I met the Monkey Daddy.  My former love.

Such a happy dog...

Such a happy dog..

My first baby…

No.  I didn’t have a child I haven’t talked about before.  This baby wasn’t a “human” child.  He was a furry one.  A VERY furry one.

He was a dog.  Duffey.

The day I found Duffey (or I should probably say, he found me), I wasn’t expecting to fall in love.  I was just looking at the puppies.  And then he looked up at me from out of his cage with his silly little grin and that right ear flopped over his head – and his chocolate-brown eyes locked with mine – and I was lost.

I actually walked out of the store, got into the car, and started driving away.  Then the tears came.  I knew I couldn’t leave him.  He was mine.  So, I turned around and walked back in and didn’t leave again until that 11 pound 11 week old collie/shepherd mix was with me.

He was the sweetest dog.  Always happy.  Playful.  A tiny bit mischievous.  And BIG.  85 pounds of love.

Duffey was in my life before The Monkey Daddy.  Before any of the Three Monkeys.  But, Duffey welcomed each one of them into our lives like they were meant to be there.  He was so good with the Monkeys.  They crawled on him.  Used him as a back rest.  Fed him from their high chairs.  Every night we would hear him make his rounds into each of the children’s rooms – checking on them – making sure they were safe.

The Girl Monkey with her two best friends, Duffey and Kitty Kat (the rabbit)

The Girl Monkey with her two best friends, Duffey and Kitty Kat (the rabbit)

His bond with The Girl Child was the strongest.  She loved him almost as much as me or her father or her brothers or even her beloved Kitty Kat (her lovey…yes it is a rabbit – long story).

I knew he wouldn’t be around forever.  After he turned 10, I pretty much considered every additional month with him a gift.  After he turned 13, he started aging more rapidly.  Within 6 months he lost most of his hearing, had doggy dementia, became incontinent, walking became harder.  I stopped letting him go up and down the stairs.  In this same time period, my marriage was coming to an end.  I couldn’t bear the thought of losing Duffey, too.  But it was coming – faster and faster.

Then came the day when he could not stand.  At all.  Not even with help.  He wouldn’t eat.  He barely drank.  And I knew it was time for us all to say our final good-byes and with love let Duffey go.  It was the day before Monkey #1 was to come back from his trip to France with his grandmother.  So I had to make the agonizing decision to either wait until #1 came back, or have him not be able to say good-bye to his beloved dog.  I decided to wait until he came home.

I still miss him.  And I swear, even four years later, I still find some of his long hair in corners of closets.  (Every summer he would blow that double coat – and we would be knee-deep in fur. )  I know that dogs like him don’t come along every day.

It has taken me four years, but I think I am ready to enter into a new furry romance.  Ironically, it has taken me longer to feel ready to “replace” Duffey than The Monkey Daddy… Please don’t take offense to that when you read that, Monkey Daddy!  🙂

The Monkeys and I have been searching for the perfect rescue dog, and we think we might have found it.  Her picture stirred the same feelings in me like I had with Duffey,  Something is pulling me to her.  We will meet her for the first time next weekend.  We are all nervous.  We want it to go well, but we also all know that we can’t let pure emotion rule this decision.   With any luck this furry baby will be with us for a long time, and we have to make sure she will make a good addition to our family.

Of course, the last time I was in this position, I did let my heart rule my head – and look how beautifully that turned out.

Maybe this will be just as grand.

Monkey #1 and Duffey

Monkey #1 and Duffey

The Middle Monkey with his favorite pillow

The Middle Monkey with his favorite pillow

Love is Lovelier the Second Time Around (or even the twentieth…)

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Tell us about a book you can read again and again without getting bored — what is it that speaks to you?

via Daily Prompt: Second Time Around.

Love is lovelier the second time around
Just as wonderful with both feet on the ground (Second Time Around   – as sung by Frank Sinatra)

As I have mentioned many many times, I am wrapping up my 15th year of teaching.  I am a big proponent of the teacher-read-aloud – even in the upper grades.  I read to my class every day and use it as a jumping off point for so many lessons and discussions.  It is the most special time of our day.  I have students who are now in their mid-twenties who tell me they can still remember certain books I read to them and how much they loved it.  For some of my students, it has been what has made them fall in love with books.

I put a lot of thought in what I chose to read to them.  And I try not to just read the same book year after year.  After all, while THEY may not have read it, I would get bored reading the same things all the time.  With one exception…

I have read Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls to nearly every single class in the past 15 years.  It has become a link to each class.  Siblings from a previous class will ask the brother or sister in my current class if I have read it yet.  It sticks with them.

For those of you who are not aware of the book (and if you haven’t ever read it – read it…it is great), Where the Red Fern Grows, is the story of Billy Coleman, a young boy growing up in the backwoods of the Ozarks somewhere around the Depression.  Billy’s family isn’t just poor, they are dirt poor, living off the land.  However, Billy decides he wants some dogs.  And not just any ol’ dogs.  He wants hunting dogs.  Specifically Redbone Coonhounds.  His parents want to help him, but they can’t.  So, Billy works for over two years to gather enough money to buy his beloved dogs.  And that’s where the story really begins.

“It’s strange indeed how memories can lie dormant in a man’s mind for so many years. Yet those memories can be awakened and brought forth fresh and new, just by something you’ve seen, or something you’ve heard, or the sight of an old familiar face.”  
―     Wilson Rawls,     Where the Red Fern Grows

It is a story of perseverance and determination.  It is about setting a goal and not letting anything get in your way.  But mostly it is a story about undying love and devotion.

I have read the book somewhere around 20 times – independently as a child, to my classes and to my own children.  It still makes me laugh and it still makes me cry.  Real tears, not just brimming in my eyes.  Every single time.

I will probably be looping with my class next year.  Meaning, I’ll be going with them from 4th to 5th, with most of the class intact.  And since I read it to my students this year, I won’t be reading it to them again.  And I am a little sad about that.  I look forward to reading it every year.  So, looks like I’ll have to read it to my own children.  I read it to Monkey #1 when he was 8.  The Middle Monkey heard it from his 4th grade teacher (a fellow teacher who also reads it to her class every year).  The Girl Child has yet to hear it.  Perhaps it is time.

“It’s a shame that people all over the world can’t have that kind of love in their hearts,” he said.  “There would be no wars, slaughter, or murder; no greed or selfishness.  It would be the kind of world that God wants us to have – a wonderful world.”  
―     Wilson Rawls,     Where the Red Fern Grows

The Half-Empty Glass

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Is the glass half-full, or half-empty?

via Daily Prompt: The Glass.

Nothing good ever happens, she said.

My life is pointless, her lament continued.

No matter what I do, I never win, she wailed.

Why do I even bother?

Good things happen everyday, I replied.

Your life is valuable, I consoled.

Joy is everywhere, I reminded.

All you have to do is look around.

Nothing good ever happens, she said.

All I do is fail, she moaned.

Everything is hopeless, she cried.

Why do I even bother?

Good things happen everyday, I replied.

Joy is everywhere, I reminded.

Maybe what you need to do, I encouraged,

Is open your eyes and look around at the opportunities before you.

Inner Space

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Daily Prompt: Personal Space.

To what extent is your blog a place for your own self-expression and creativity vs. a site designed to attract readers? How do you balance that? If sticking to certain topics and types of posts meant your readership would triple, would you do it?

My dear readers, I want you to know I love and appreciate each and every one of you.  And no, I am not just saying that so soften you up for what I am about to say.  I’m just not that kind of girl.

But, this is not about you.  It is about me.  This blog was established as an outlet for my thoughts and creativity.  Ok.  Mostly for my thoughts.  And while I am happy that my writings have struck a chord with you, I write what I write for me.  Well that, and to send cryptic messages to a certain person – and you know who you are.  😉

I kid.  I’m a kidder.

Don’t get me wrong, I am THRILLED to have you follow me.  And yes, there are times when I will repeatedly hit the refresh button to update my stats like a metaphorical crack pipe.  But, I also know, my dear dear 84 followers (not counting my Facebook friends) is a tiny small compared to others.  However, I do get a big ol’ smile on my face when I get a new follower.   I also know that while my 115 top views day is a drop in the bucket for some of you, it made me feel a little giddy to reach “double digits.”  Don’t even get me started on following the world map to see where my readers are from!  I’ve had to look up some of the countries!  But, I get a little sense of awe when I see how far flung some y’all are!

And while it might be pretty cool to have my readership soar, it is also a little daunting.  I am a bit of a people pleaser.  I am afraid I would be so much pressure to feel as if I needed to please so many people!  What if I hurt someone’s feelings with something I’ve said(which trust me – I have managed to do)?  What if people don’t like what I have to say?  What if I can’t think of anything to say?  OH NO!!!!  Get me a Xanax, here comes a panic attack!

Is it just me, or have a been a little more ramblier than usual?  Me thinks so…

So, hugs and kisses to each of you who read me.  Thank you for stepping into my world.  But, know that I’m gonna write whatever I’m gonna write.  Who knows what it might actually be?!

Baby Lion

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Daily Prompt: Unleash Your Inner Dickinson.

I enjoy writing poetry.  But it is one of those things I cannot force.  If there is one to come out, it will.  If not – I should stop trying.  And sometimes, I may not be intending to have it be a poem, but it comes out that way.

The Middle Monkey turned 11 during my self-imposed radio silence.  My sweet, goofy little huggy monster.  This poem was one I wrote about him when he was just a wee little baby.  Somewhere around six or seven months.  I remember he had this silly little commando crawl – using his little elbows to propel himself across the floor. But, he was FAST!  He could make it across the room in no time.  Even then, he was devoted to his big brother (they are only 22 months apart).  He would lie there on the carpet, watching Monkey #1’s every move.  He was particularly interesting in #1’s sippy cups.  Middle Monkey never took a bottle (or a pacifier – just his thumb) so when I went back to work after 4 months, he went right to a cup.  He had to.  So, he KNEW that inside that sippy cup was something good.  But, his brother usually had juice, which he wasn’t allowed to have quite yet.  But, once he discovered the taste, he knew he wanted more.  Hence the poem.

Enjoy…

Baby Lion

Dedicated to my Middle Monkey

Alert –

He lies motionless.

Observing –

He spies his prey.

A sippy cup abandoned on the floor.

Cautiously –

He creeps

Pulling his body towards his defenseless target.

Gleefully –

He seizes the taboo grail

Gulping its sweet nectar.

Suddenly –

He is discovered.

The cup’s owner has returned.

Yet, he is undaunted.

His claim has been staked.

Angrily –

He wails in frustration

As he is stripped of his prize.

Dejectedly –

He creeps away.

But he knows if he remains patient

He will be rewarded.