Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Walking to the light

It's funny how that light never seems to leave me alone. While my sister lay dying, we spoke to her a lot about the light. I was reading her a quote by Kahil Gibran " For what is it to die, but to stand in the sun and melt into the wind." Not much of a nature girl she kinda raised her eyebrows at me since she, like my mother, thought roughing it was black and white TV and backpacking was having to carry your own luggage into the hotel. I told her she could just picture the lights of Vegas instead of the sun and that seemed to make her happy.

Later that evening, I went to dinner with my niece and nephews. On our way, we came close to death ourselves. A woman on a cell phone didn't see the light and almost plowed us down. She was so close to us that I had dust from her car on my pants. Needless to say, I was ready for that Margarita just as soon as they brought it and promptly slurped it down. Now I hadn't had anything to eat all day but chocolate covered peanuts and gummy worms and so the Margarita went directly to my head, didn't pass go, didn't collect $200! The company was fabulous and so was the meal, enhanced as it was by the alcohol.

As we were finishing, a friend called and I went outside to take the call. I started walking and talking, again enhanced by the alcohol and suddenly found myself totally lost in a very dark part of downtown Denver. I could not see the hospital or the restaurant. Enhancement fading, I thought I should get off the phone and see if I could find my way back, so I hung up with my friend. But before I could do that, my best friend called. I told him what was happening and that I had decided I would just sit down and wait for my family to find me.

My phone started to beep that "you screwed up and didn't charge me again" beep and I told him I needed to go. He said to me "Walk to the light." I thought that odd, but it was what we had been saying to my sister and I kinda said okay. He was now shouting at me, "Walk to the light!!" and I must have seemed confused, given the situation. " I mean the lights of a 7-11 or the street lights or the traffic lights," he shouted over the beep. Ohhhh.

As the battery died, I heard him shouting: "I mean it!! Walk to the light!! Get out of the dark!!"

Good advice.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

One a Day

For the last few months I have been working at a temp job with a huge data base. While I was in Colorado with my sister, they discovered a major flaw in the matching system that found duplicates - you know the bane of every data base, a crime punishable by death. Okay, I am exaggerating for emphasis, but you know what I mean.

Since my return, I have spent my days, going day by day; line by line, searching for those aforementioned duplicates. It wasn't too bad to begin with, it was kind of interesting but as the days wore on it became so incredibly tedious that I began to devise ways to keep myself engaged and to stop myself from plunging a pen into my eye.

First, I sang myself little songs that the names reminded of but that annoyed my co-workers. Then I tried to count the number of Matthews, for example, born on each day. Soon I began to notice all kinds of patterns in names and I started to keep track of the names and my friends, I have a whole new appreciation for creativity.

Now I come from a long line of unusual names. In my family we have Bushrod, Isaac Newton, Napoleon and Cinderella. I even understand about made up names, my mother's best friend was named Palzora. Let's face it, I am in no position to throw weird name stones, living the glass house of Leau, but boys and girls there is a whole level of weird and made up names out there that now I feel I must share.

There are wonderful exotic names that intrigue me with too many or no vowels. Two letter names and ones with totally unpronounceable (by me) combinations of letters that bring to mind far away places with strange sounding names. These are not the ones I am talking about.

First of all I am talking about spelling changes for each and every name know to man. Okay, maybe not Samantha, no one has figured out how to change it...yet. You know how you see names where the c has been changed to an s? Or the y to an i or vice versa? Well, that is just the beginning! Did you also know that o and a are interchangeable with e? And "sea" can become "cia" in a flash? Or that "ious" can be exchanged for "ria" at the end of almost any good solid name? And the use of the lowly apostrophe...unbelievable! It can take the place of several letters with a single stroke! It can make two names one! It can be used at the beginning, middle or end of a name with absolutely no rhyme or reason! It's a miracle worker!

These cleaver and or so ingenious parents have also taken names like Lindsay, Michael, and Lauren and put there own spin on them. By far the most common name is Brittney and I can now spell that one name 22 different ways! I only wish I was exaggerating for emphasis. I can spell Jacqueline 16 ways using any where from 6 to 10 letters. It gets better, there are ways to spell Chelsea and Caitlin that defy belief and did you know that Alicia has as many as 16 different spellings as well? Nicole is the favorite for a middle name and while I had a friend who called her kid Nickle for fun, she certainly didn't spell it that way as some have done.

Then there are the names that just come at you out of nowhere. The data base has names based on cities, states, scared places, countries, food - even cheeses!!. We have names from colleges, times of day, days of the week, months of the year, gemstones, weather phenomena, animals, birds, feelings, flowers, zodiac signs and colors. There are the types of wood and trees, gardening terms, mythological beings, deities, seasons, types of houses, wine, alcohol (and not just Jim Beam or Johnny Walker), brand names, hotels, bodies of water and cars. Are your eyes bleeding yet? It goes on. There are names based on rock stars, rock star's nicknames, movie titles, movie stars, and can I just say that putting a movie star's first and last name together and adding an "a" does not a name make. Think about it... Kids are named after parts of speech as well. Huh?

Then there are the made up names, OMG, the names these kids have to put up with. Let's face it, no matter how you intend the name to be pronounced, if you spell it with "belly" or "fanny" at the end, their life once they hit school and the other kids see it printed will be a living hell. There are those names that (I hope) are just misspellings. We do have several people in the data base whose last names are N/A or "none" so I just hope against hope most of the really awful ones are operator error. I am all for phoenics but shouldn't names have some kind of reasoning behind them? Well, maybe they do and I just don't know it. Sometimes, I think people find a word they like and use it as a name. I want to tell them that word doesn't mean what you think it means. My nephew loved the word fumble when he was 3. Let's just hope he doesn't convince some woman some day to add an a and call it a name. Do people not say these out loud before they commit them to the birth certificate?

Living in New Mexico has given me an whole new appreciation for the names of saints both in English and Spanish but what I want to leave you with is this..
Each and every day I find at least one person, one a day, whose first, middle or last name is Jesus. Good to know.