Choose a Name Carefully

A couple of weeks ago I listened to a story on the radio about the number of parents who regret the name they’ve given their child. Sources cited indicate that between 11% and 18% of parents are unhappy with their choice of a name and that 4% of parents actually change the name of their child.


At first I thought four percent seemed too high, but what’s considered a name change isn’t exactly what I was thinking…lawyers, legal documents, court decrees. Instead, using a nickname, a middle name, or initials was considered a name change as well. That still seems like a lot of name regret.

So what causes name regret? Names that are difficult to pronounce, very unusual, too common, or just don’t fit the personality of the child. Mothers that were interviewed expressed doubts about the names they’d bestowed on their offspring: a boy named Harper (in the top 20 names for girls), Zoey (a top 10 name for dogs), Evelia (a name hated by the child as she tries to teach others to pronounce it), Andrew (didn’t fit the child that looked like his dad Vinny), Danielle (too popular), Tennessee (too different).

I know I gave my brother and sister-in-law a hard time about not naming their youngest son immediately. After all, they’d had nine months to figure this out, but they were looking for the name that fit. They wanted to meet him before assigning a name, and it was a smart move…no regrets.

So after all this discussion about names, it’s not baby names that I’m really concerned about. It’s grandparent names. For seven months I’ve been tasked with coming up with a new name for myself. I know Grandma was the first choice, but as far as I’m concerned that name has already been taken. My Mom IS Grandma, and as a child, I had a Grandma and two Great-Grandmas. That name doesn’t fit. Granny doesn’t fit either. John’s Mom WAS Granny, and I had a Granny and two great grandmothers I called Granny, so that name has been taken as well. I needed to come up with a name that’s me.

Others have given advice:

Make sure you think about how the name will sound when your grandchildren are teenagers or adults. The cute name a baby calls you may not sound as cute when uttered from a six foot, two inch man.

Make sure your grandchildren call you GG. It stands for Gorgeous Grandmother. It’s perfect, and don’t answer to any other name.

Don’t worry about choosing a name. Let your grandchildren call you whatever they choose. It’s more meaningful.

Have fun! Be creative!

Well after all these months and trying out Nana, Mimi, Oma, and many others from the lists of grandparent names available online. I’ve decided on DeeDee…it’s a name on the grandparent name lists. It’s not that creative, but it’s me. I’ll recognize my name right away. And when I hear children calling Grandma or Granny I won’t be looking around for someone else like a fool.

DeeDee, Emily and Grace, Grandma
DeeDee, Emily and Grace, Grandma

Yes, I’ve heard DeeDee is a crazy character on Modern Family, and I’ve been told it may sound too much like I’m just being called by my name. But, that’s ok. DeeDee is who I am, and best of all, if I have naming regrets in a month or year…I can just change it!

Names are important so choose a name carefully.



Pencils, Paper and Pocketknives

How could wanting to write with a pencil be so difficult? I simply wanted a pencil so I could make notes in a book I’m reading.

I felt certain I’d find one in the pouch I keep in my purse. Instead, I found seven pens, one highlighter and a pair of earbuds. That just wouldn’t do. I wanted a pencil.

No problem. When we prepared for our move last Spring, I organized the desk drawer with dividers and boxes making it easy to find office supplies in the limited space available; and I’m proud to say that the drawer remains a picture of organization.


The drawer didn’t fail, seven pencils, but none of them sharpened. Then I found a box of pencils, all sharpened but colored pencils. Not acceptable. I wanted a regular No. 2 lead pencil.

I suddenly had a flashback to when we first moved in this house in 1979. Today we live in the same house in which we resided in 1979 as newlyweds, and in those days it wasn’t pencils but paper that was the problem. My father-in-law, an English professor, was not content talking to us on the phone. He loved the written word and regularly wrote letters. When we didn’t respond with a card, note or letter, he asked when he could expect to get something from us in the mail. Our pitiful answer…pitiful, but true…we didn’t have any paper. I remember his response. No paper? And you’re both teachers?


That’s right. Teachers with no paper. Sure we had plenty of paper at work, just not at home. But we came up with a creative way to solve the problem. We used the backs of envelopes to answer his letters. So maybe it was lazy instead of creative. I guess he decided we were hopeless and just started communicating exclusively by phone.

I think he’d be pleased to know we have plenty of paper, envelopes, notecards, pens and even stamps today. And finally I resorted to my grandmother’s solution to sharpening pencils. I used a knife to whittle away the wood until I’d scratched away enough to expose the lead so I could write.


With the other writing basics covered, I’ve added a pencil sharpener to my shopping list so I don’t lose a finger sharpening a pencil.

Happy 90th

Sunday we celebrated John’s Uncle Bud’s 90th birthday, but today is his real birthday so this is written in his honor.

Bud and John, two men who know how to wear a bow tie.
Bud and John, two men who know how to wear a bow tie.

The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.
–Lucille Ball

What's a party without good food, cards and a pianist to play Happy Birthday.
What’s a party without good food, cards and a pianist to play Happy Birthday.

“The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune.”

–Pope Paul VI

What better than a Picasso inspired birthday cake for an art lover?
What better than a Picasso inspired birthday cake for an art lover?

“It takes a long time to become young.”

–Pablo Picasso

Perhaps one has to be very old before one learns how to be amused rather than shocked.
–Pearl S. Buck

Bud with his youngest great grandchild. (Thanks, John, for this picture.)
Bud with his youngest great grandchild. (Thanks, John, for this picture.)


Time to Celebrate

Happy birthday, Sarah!


May your 26th year be as wonderful as number 25, but really…you don’t have to pack quite so much into a single year.

A wedding and all the parties, events and work that led up to the big day.


Graduations for you and Daniel and well as new jobs for both of you.


The purchase of your first house.


You made the most of your 25th year. Hope 26 is just as wonderful!


And don’t lose your fun loving spirit!

Thanks for Supporting ALZ

For the third year we participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

imageThis year, Team B. Lou was joined by Team Garmany at Tuscawilla Park for the 2.4 mile walk.


Members of our team were walking in memory of John’s mom, Carole’s dad and Becky’s grandfather as well as other family members who have been affected by this disease.


Together we raised over $1700.


Thanks to everyone who supported the walk.

It’s Grandparents’ Day: Send a Selfie

I’m unsure how Grandparents’ Day should be celebrated since no such day existed when I was growing up. In fact, it wasn’t until about ten or fifteen years ago that I even knew a day to recognize grandparents existed.

I remember when asking why there were so many adults eating in the cafeteria being told that the kindergarten classes were celebrating Grandparents’ Day. (You can always count on kindergarten teachers to recognize new holidays and find ways to teach their students to use their newly acquired writing skills to make cards.)

Then my parents started going to school with my nieces and nephews in early September for special events organized by their schools. Grandparents’ Day was an actual event listed on the calendar for the first Sunday in September following Labor Day.

My parents with all but two of their grandchildren.

I’m not sure grandparents are really looking for gifts on this occasion, but I’m sure they’d enjoy any excuse for contact from their grandchildren. So if you don’t see them in person today, drop a note in the mail, make a call, send a text or I’d like to see a new tradition started by my parents’ grandchildren…send a selfie…that guarantees up-to-date pictures of grandchildren will always be as easy to find as the cell phone.

Happy Grandparents’ Day!

TBT Lesson #66

In June of 2007 we gathered to celebrate my parents’ 50th anniversary. My brother, sister and I along with our spouses planned a weekend of fun, games, food and best of all storytelling. We’re a family that appreciates a good story, even if it evolves every time it’s shared.

Fortunately, eleven of fourteen grandchildren were able to get together that weekend, no easy task with teens and young adults. Of course that meant posing for lots of group pictures.

A lot has happened since this cousin picture was taken:

5 high school graduations

6 college graduations

4 weddings

No more elementary or middle school students. All are in high school, college or have graduated to the world of work. How fast they grow up!


TBT Lesson #66: While posing for pictures is no fun, smile and be patient. You’ll appreciate the photo and the memories in a few short years.

9 Down; 6 To Go

Family Weekend is an event that’s added to our list of “to do’s” each year. In the past we’ve always met at the lake for this event, but since that is now home, it seemed like a good idea to take Family Weekend on the road.


This year our designated first weekend in August also coincided with Sarah’s graduation from the University of North Florida where she received her Masters in Health Administration, so it was only natural to look for a location near Jacksonville for this year’s get-together.


We spent the weekend in a five bedroom house on the St. John’s River less than 30 minutes from the UNF campus. A place where we could swim


go boating


play games


go to the beach


relax and enjoy one another.


It was also a great location to observe the blue moon and watch the ships moving in and out of the port in Jacksonville.


I think we’ve forever modified our plans for Family Weekend. This will be a good excuse to find new places to visit for our yearly reunion.


Celebrating 36 Years

I stepped out of the shower this morning with wet hair to the smell of bacon and was met by my wonderful husband on bended knee to a proposal that we spend the next 36 years together. What a wonderful way to start the day in celebration of our 36th anniversary.


Not long after we met at Western Carolina University, this guy (not a breakfast eater) started joining me for breakfast every morning at Dodd Cafeteria because he knew breakfast was my favorite meal of the day and no matter how early my classes, I never missed my bacon, eggs, toast and juice.


And one of the things he promised me when we married was a lifetime of breakfasts. A promise he’s kept by faithfully preparing bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles, french toast, eggs and other specialties.


So, of course, this morning was no exception with his version of an Egg McMuffin…something we refer to as an Egg McCollum and a glass of OJ.

Tonight we celebrate at Mom and Dad’s Italian Restaurant, a place we’ve enjoyed since my first visit to Ocklawaha. Happy anniversary to the best husband ever…yes, I’m ready for the next 36!

Once in a Blue Moon

Once in a blue moon was a phrase I heard my mom repeat frequently when I was a child. It seemed like just a bunch of nonsense to me since I’d seen the moon cast a yellow, orange or even a red glow, but never a blue one. Finally, as an adult I learned that a blue moon described a month in which two full moons occur in one month. Voila’, the saying made a lot more sense.


Fortunately, we gather as a family much more frequently than once in a blue moon and in fact, were gathered in Jacksonville Friday when our most recent blue moon appeared.


By the way, Jacksonville is also where I lived when Apollo 11 landed on a not so blue moon and we heard these now famous words:

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” ~Neil Armstrong

After enjoying the blue moon yesterday, it seems like a good time to share some quotes about the moon.

“Every one is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anyone.” ~Mark Twain

“Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.” ~Les Brown

“When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the Creator.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit, there are footprints on the moon.” ~Unknown

“The moon is friend for the lonesome to talk to.” ~Carl Sandburg

“Promises are like the full moon; if they are not kept at once, they diminish day by day.” ~German Proverb

“We love the night and its quiet; and there is no night that we love so well as that on which the moon is coffined in clouds.” ~Fitz-James O’Brien

“It is a beautiful and delightful sight to behold the body of the Moon.” ~Galileo Galilei

“The moon is the reflection of your heart and moonlight is the twinkle of your love.” ~Debasish Mridha

“For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams.” ~Edgar Allen Poe