Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What's in a Name?

I was watching a movie recently, and was struck by the way names are used to really convey the idea of a character. For example, the name Kristy was used in conjunction with a tall, blonde, athletic, popular and attractive high school girl. I have to say, she did epitomize the name Kristy. Even the spelling singles it out as new and fresh. In a recent poll run by the Baby Name Wizard shows high agreement that "Kristy" is sexy, friendly and young.

Kristy is "A short form of Christine, which is derived from the Latin Christiāna, which is from christiānus, a derivative of the Greek christianos (a Christian, a follower of Christ)."

So, how did this name become linked with adjectives you may not link to Christianity? I believe the name has been used historically and most commonly by WASP families.

So, what about my real name? Well, I've concluded (on my own) that it's less "sexy" and more grounded because it is primarily used by White Anglo-Saxon Catholics. A follow-up on my own name shows in an identical poll that my name is associated with smarts, strength, and sophistication. Not exactly the bubbly popular teen. I have my own image of what my name corresponds with and I can say with confidence that smart, strong, and sophisticated work, but they left out "home-body" "staid" and "somewhat boring".

Banned Books Week

It's unfortunate that we even have need for such a week in this country, but since censorship is the watchword du jour - CELEBRATE THIS WEEK EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR BY READING WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ancient Rome

I was disappointed in the last novel I read: shallow storyline and one-dimensional characters. I couldn’t have chosen a better novel to shake off the ennui from the last one, than Daughters of Rome, by Kate Quinn. Having already read and fallen in love with, her novel “Mistress of Rome,” I settled happily into reading the prequel. This is the story of four sisters and how they shaped and had been shaped by the changing climate of four years and four different emperors.

The outrageous Lollia, who marries several times before she is even nineteen (divorce was allowed back in Progressive old Rome). Lollia, who wanted nothing to do with her daughter or her husbands, bedding other men without much concern for whom it affected. Lollia, through trials and tribulations, becomes a wise woman, a fantastic mother, a sympathetic true sister, and still maintains her outrageous popularity among the gossiping wives in Rome.

Then there is the cool and collected, soon to be Empress, Cornelia, the matron of the family. Until one night changes everything she ever planned for. Lost in grief, she goes through many changes psychologically, and winds up finding herself happy and in love and married to the man they saved them all.

Diana, the youngest cousin, is my hero in this novel, although I have a special place for them all in my heart. Diana, some whispered named after the Goddess of the Hunt. Diana is beautiful beyond compare and doesn’t care what people think of her actions. A little savage with a whole lot of heart, all directed to her beloved horses. Her tongue cannot be stayed, and let’s just say she was lucky the Emperors took a shining to her or it may have been “off with her head.”

Last and least is Marcella. Throughout the novel you gather a sense of unease about her, but you still feel for her as part of the family. Until her true colors show. I don’t know about anyone else, but once I’ve been betrayed, I rather lack the pity that others may have for what troubles come upon those who deserve it. And she gets everything she deserves.

In all, this novel was rich, a joy to read, to know the characters and watch them change before your very eyes and before the changes in their very lives. The connection you feel with the characters is exactly what was missing in my last novel. I want to feel a part of their lives. Of course, this novel based on historical Rome tells of exactly how the culture was; the society as a whole. You really get a feel for what life was like for patrician women. I would give this book and author a bag of Swedish Fish!

*a quick aside about the rating system I’ve decided to use. Stars are so last week, and my favorite candy happens to be Swedish Fish. Of course, it’s going to change for each novel I read, but just know when it’s bad, it’s BAD. For last posts novel, as an example, I would award it a bathtub of jellyfish.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Doggies Are a Geeks Best Friend

My lovely little dog Sophie adores me, and I have to say that I feel content when I look into her big brown eyes and see how truly happy she is (ew, I ended a sentence with a preposition). She lays languorously across my lap, her chin up for scratches, her eyes half closed with doggie bliss. Doggies are a geeks best friend!

I rescued Sophie a little before my 19th birthday. My favorite sister (love you!) knew I wanted a puppy and we'd looked in the classified ads to find puppies for sale. We made an appointment with a lady about a brand new dachshund, but halfway there my sister got a call saying the last puppy had been sold. Thank goodness for that! We went to PetSmart, where they host a few local adoption agencies every weekend. I walked in, smiling at all the chipper, yippie puppies waiting for some love, and then my smile turned into bemusement.

"What is THAT?" I asked, pointing to one lonely dog, laying quietly in her pen, looking docile and content. "That" was my soon to be rescued pooch. I couldn't resist going up for a closer look. A short, coarse tan and brown brindle coat covered what appeared to be a very small hyena. But the moment I pressed my hand to the bars of her cage, I was a goner. She didn't jump and run and dash about madly, like the other puppies; she simply began to lick my fingers. I immediately asked if I could interact with her outside of her pen.

The ladies of the rescue agency made it very clear that this pup had been looking for a home for quite a while. It's easy to overlook a strange looking hyena when there are floofy, yippie balls of excitement all around. However, Sophie was very calm, very sweet. She walked up to me and my big sis and sniffed us, cautiously giving us a few kisses as we cooed over her and pet her. When we stopped the petting, she sweetly jumped up and looked at us with those big brown eyes as she softly leaned into our legs. I didn't have the heart to put her back in that cage.

So it is; I now have a sweet, older, content chihuahua/min pin mix. She still looks at me with those big brown eyes. She cuddles with me when I watch TV, and gets super excited when the leash is anywhere near my hand. She has a sweet disposition, and quiet way of being. One of the best investments I've ever made. :)