Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Two on Tuesday

Ugh. Frankly, it has been an overall shitty last three months over here, with a few great moments mixed in. Things haven't sucked this much in at least two and a half years, if they have ever sucked this much.** But, I really should not complain. It only seems bad because the vast majority of my life is pretty much awesome. Anyway, as such I haven't composed any major blogs lately and I know I owe at least one explaining the little handwriting thing I did last week. But, today I am going with an easy post to just keep this blog operating - Two on Tuesday from Blogging Mama. Thanks, Andrea. :)

1. Tell me about something you collect. It can be weird, normal whatever. What do you collect? If you don't collect anything what would you collect if you could?

I try to avoid becoming the collector type because I don't like having a lot of useless things. But, I do actually have a collection, and it sort of became one without me noticing. I collect books about first names. I just find them fascinating and ideally my job would be doing something related, but, well, there's not much work in that field and I don't think I could stomach a linguistics degree anyway.
The great thing about it is that I've accidentally learned a lot about languages through knowing names. The downsides: if people see the books they think I want three thousand babies so I can name them a bunch of esoteric things. This is not true and actually I don't really care for babies much at all (though I think kids are great). Also, it's really hard to find name books at the used book store because they're not consistently filed in the same sections. And, I hesitate to ask the employees where to find them lest they assume I'm pregnant and start asking me about it, because that would be awkward.
I will take any name book in any language (with an alphabet I can read) from any time period off your hands, by the way. I have 35 books in 5 languages at the moment, or 36 if you count the fact that I bought Freakonomics just for the chapter on names. I'm really hurting for coverage of names from the African and Asian continents and Eastern European countries (Oxford has very basic coverage of E. Europe but I need something more thorough), if you can make any recommendations. (I need something accurate, not some poorly-researched farce like 90,001 Names for Your Baby that happens to include names from those continents. Those books are interesting in their own way, but for these language groups what I really want now is some accurate info.)

2. If you could spend an afternoon talking face to face with one (or two) other blogger(s) who would it be and why?

It would be nice to meet any of the bloggers I haven't met before.

** Whoaaaa peeps. You know you didn't come off right when your own husband calls you to ask what's wrong because your blog sounded so miserable. Let me clarify: My life is really, really, really awesome. I am not exaggerating here. So when things get just a little bad, by contrast they feel crushingly terrible. Things are not THAT bad, there has just been a lot of really bad stuff in a row. Let me explain. In December I had surgery. It was a surprise and not a nice one. My thesis was due at the end of that month and I got an extension because of what happened. The people at the university were not pleased to give me the extension. It's now due at the end of this month. I have been working really hard to try to get it done in time but it has been hard to focus. Then, three days ago, my grandmother died and under very unfortunate circumstances - essentially, a surgery that went wrong. I can't afford to make it home for the funeral. Meanwhile the thesis is still due even though I can't sleep thinking about how it must have been for her. (We were not even that close in recent years.) So, I'm just very tired and stressed, but I'm not crippled by utter misery or anything, thankfully.


  1. Thanks so much for playing along today! I'll linky you up :)

  2. Commenting again cause I had to get the Chick lunch and now have time to actually say something!

    I'm sorry it's sucky, I understand that completely! Find some good music and sit in front of a light or go for a drive. Alternatively you could go on vacation. Or find a good book. I love your collection, that is very interesting. I love looking at what names were popular during different years.

  3. Sorry it sucks right now. Hopefully it will get better soon. And if not, go throw snowballs off the bridge at the passing ships. There is plenty of snow right now and apparently more on the way. Ugh.
    I too am fascinated by names, though I do not collect books about them.
    Big bloggy hugs to you and hopefully things will be looking up soon. You let me know when you want to get together! I have an awesome kid! He'll keep you highly entertained.

  4. Thanks guys :) Right now I don't have much time for relaxation techniques but maybe should make some.

  5. I don't know if you already have it (I assume you do), but one of my favourite ones (I too have a fascination with names) is the Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names by Elizabeth G. Withycombe.

  6. Sorry to hear about the suckiness! Hope it passes soon. It sounds like you have a good perspective on it though.

    I also wanted to know if you had seen the US SSN website. You can search name popularity from 1879 on!


    I look at it just for amusement sometimes!

  7. Hmm I thought I commented before, but I must have gotten distracted or closed the window before I hit submit.

    Anyway, I am really sorry to hear about your grandmother as well as your surgery. I hope you can concentrate/focus well in the next few days so that you can finish your thesis without too much more worry.

    Also, I passed along your book request to a blog friend of mine, so you may be getting a tip or two from her.


  8. Wow, sounds like a pretty challenging three months that are definitely worthy of a little complaining! Even when you're sure you would be able to manage one tough thing, it becomes exponentially harder with each thing that gets piled on. So I'm sending a little extra positive energy your way :)

  9. It does get better ... but if you don't have time to relax, how are you ever going to relax?

  10. Really sorry to hear about your grandmother. It's hard being on another continent when there's a death in the family. It drives home how far away you are.

  11. Ooh, sorry to hear about all the unfortunate stuff happening at once. That must have been a ton of emotional stress for you. But yeah, it WILL get better, just take it one step at a time.

    P.S. The top names in Germany for 2008 is out there somewhere now and I think the winners were Marie and Leon. No surprises there.

  12. Kelsey, I love the Withycombe. I had to buy it from overseas on Ebay when I was living in the US. Wish it were still in print, my copy is looking pretty ragged! Love entries like this one:
    Jemima (f.): Hebrew 'dove'; the name of one of the three daughters of Job, the others being Keziah and Kerenhappuch. All three were used, though not often, in the 17th C. A natural daughter of Charles II and Lady Shannon, born in 1650, was christened Charlotte Jemima Henrietta Maria. Jemima, IN SPITE OF ITS UGLINESS, became generally popular in the 19th C and was for a time a really common name. It is possible that it was regarded as f. form of James.
    (emphasis mine)

    Yelli: I love the SSA site. Every year when the new one comes out (Mother's Day) I do a post here comparing the top names in Germany and the US. (cndrnh.blogspot.com/2007/02/beliebte-vornamen-popular-first-names.html, cndrnh.blogspot.com/2008/05/beliebte-vornamen-2007-popular-first.html) You can find some funny stuff on the oldest lists: just browsing 1891 for a couple seconds I see Ninnie, Virgle, Vassie, Roe, Texie, Lelar....

    Sarah: Thanks for passing it on!

    Christina: Leon is no surprise but Marie would be a big jump from the last couple of years! I will have to take a look; where do you get your data from? I only really know about beliebte-vornamen.de.

    Everybody else: thanks for your support. I relaxed a bit last night and this morning and feel a little better.

  13. Jemima, IN SPITE OF ITS UGLINESS, became generally popular in the 19th C

    That emphasis yours or theirs?

    Personally, I think it's rather pretty.

  14. It's my emphasis, it's that part of the entry that I find so amusing. No reputable dictionary nowadays would insert personal opinion into the entries!! It's a very good and reliable book, though.

  15. wow, very sorry that you're having a rough time. Reminds me of the end of last year for me.

    All I can say is that eventually things will work out. Perhaps not exactly as you had hoped, but the will work out.

  16. Having now read your** bit, I want you to know that I was also overseas when my grandmother died and also couldn't afford to make it home, so I do know what you're going through.

    Advice is not something I'm good at, so let me tell you that, as odd as it may sound, seeing her gravestone the next time you can does add a bit of the closure that you're looking for now.

    Tears help too - I shed my share of them the couple of years after she passed away.

    The main thing I had to get over was the guilt of not being at her funeral. It's taken time (she and I were very close), but after almost 11 years, I'm almost over it.

    Time doesn't heal, it just helps you move on.


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