The Not Pinterest Christmas

It looks like it has stopped raining finally, but the sky is still gray and the ground soggy. That makes two rainy Christmases in a row (et tu, global warming?).  It is also absurdly warm –  gonna be 75 degreees today. Am I in Australia or North Carolina?

We’ve watched few Christmas movies so far. I can’t believe I haven’t watched Christmas Vacation yet.

The lights on the outside bushes look good except for the strand on the last one because that’s when I discovered the plug for the last strand of lights didn’t fit the plug that came before. It fits the first strand, though. I thought about trying to reengineer them all but it feels too late now, so we will go with the two rows of lights on the bush. Oh well.

Daniel broke one of the lights in the window when he was waving to me when I went to the grocery store the other day. No worries – it isn’t like the front windows can be seen because of the large bushes in front of them. I alone will notice the asymmetry of two windows and one light .

I baked a lot of holiday goodies yesterday. My knees hurt. But it was  a good thing to do because the one staple I didn’t check before heading to the store was our brown sugar supply.  We now have 10 pounds of it

I mailed photo cards on Monday and Tuesday. They were hastily designed and printed on glossy photo paper at Walgreens. No matte cards from Tiny Print, Shutterfly, Zazzle etcetera. I’ve been meaning to book a family portrait for a long time, but it did not happen this year. That is why our glossy card features photos of only Daniel. That and the fact we took no decent pics with us in them. There was one possibility but it made my double chins front and center.

I didn’t go to my 20th high school reunion because see sentence above about double chins.

I had to ask my mom to help me figure out how to hang garland on our stairs and she made me 4 beautiful bows in 15 minutes.

I fail at the decorative parts of Christmas. My windows are not decorated; we don’t have a wreath (still in a garbage bag in the garage). Our elf lives with us year round.

I did buy pink poinsettias for the front porch because it is a billion degrees this year.

Maybe I don’t have it together decoratively but that’s OK.

I have a 9-ft tree whose lights seem to work this year (knocks on wood). I got out the ladder to decorate it despite my fear of heights. It is beautiful.

There are sugar cookies “expertly” decorated by an eager 6-year-old for Santa.

We’re making reindeer food today.

There are gifts under the tree and surprises hidden everywhere.

We have a Lego Christmas book to read tonight.

We get to play Santa.

And I still have 10 pounds of brown sugar 


What’s in a Name?

Something very weird happened this week. I was logging into Pinterest (no, that’s not the weird thing) and instead of, I typed And a profile came up. A profile for another woman with the name “KeAnne.” I got goose bumps because when I’ve Googled myself (don’t laugh), I’ve seen variations like “Keane” and “Keanne” appear and assumed they were pronounced “keen.” Fun fact: there are apparently a few porn stars with “keanne” as a name, and it makes me giggle to think of high school classmates wondering if it’s me because I was rather flat-chested in high school; although, they could believe it was plausible given my time in theater and occasional melodramatic acts such as bringing black-iced heart-shaped cookies on Valentine’s Day, dressing like Morticia Adams-meets-The-Limited while carrying a single rose and declaring myself in mourning for my lost childhood. Hmm.

Anyway, the capital “A” in my name is important because it theoretically should clue in people that my name is pronounced like “LeAnne” with a “K.” Like “Kee-Anne.” I say theoretically because even though I sign every email or other correspondence with my name spelled correctly, I have coworkers with whom I’ve worked for 12 years that have never noticed that the “A” is capitalized and misspell my name. Every.Single.Time. No, I’m not bitter (I am), but consider that an example of what your child can expect if you give him/her an unusual name.

Back to the Pinterest account. Unlike the others I had seen, spelled her name with a capital “A.” KeAnne. Hold up…another “KeAnne?” And not only “KeAnne” but “KeAnne H.” MY last name starts with an “H” too. At this point, my brain exploded, up became down, and cats became friendly and trainable.

I’ve never met or known of anyone with my name before. Yes, intellectually I understand that on a planet with billions of people, there was likely to be at least ONE other person who shared my name. But in reality, I’d grown used to being the only one. When I’d meet people, they almost invariably responded with “What a pretty name!” I flippantly joked that I was like Cher, Madonna or the Mona Lisa in that I didn’t need a last name; chances are that people would remember and know me by my first name (it’s actually my middle name but that’s a story for another day).

I griped over the years about how I disliked having an unusual name. The first day of school/college/work could be painful as I watched people struggle with how to pronounce my name. So simple, yet so unusual apparently. I never felt like I fit in, and my name contributed to that feeling, but as I aged, I really appreciated my name. Yeah, it might be difficult, but so am I.

While I felt set apart by my name, I also felt like I owned it, and I was intrigued by what it felt like to share your name with others. When I started college, there were a billion Jennifers, Katherines, Elizabeths and Merediths. A few years ago at a conference, I sat at a table with two Davids and asked them how it felt to share a name. I don’t remember their response, but gist was that they had never thought much about it.

Never having the experience of sharing a name (until now!), I’m really curious. What do you think when you meet someone with the same name? Do you shrug and move on? Does it impact how you see yourself? Do you feel more or less connected to the rest of the world?

Last week I would have told you it would be fun to meet someone who shared the same name. But now that it’s happened, I’m not sure how I feel. Maybe less unique? Although that feeling was likely false to begin with. Is anyone truly unique? Or are we unique in spite of the name we may or may not share with others?

How do you feel about your name and its popularity or lack thereof?