Saturday, August 16, 2014

What's In a Name?

We recently added this little guy to our family:

Photo: New family member.

The girls had been planning to buy hamsters for many months, but over time, they agreed to pool their money and share one. That way, they wouldn't have to spend so much. Clever, eh? Anyway, we brought this baby home last week. I think he's super cute.

He was nameless for a few days. It's hard to settle on a handle when you're sharing a pet--everyone has to agree. I tried to help. I suggested, "Hey, he's a Russian hamster. How 'bout a Russian name--like Ivan or something?" 

"NOOOOO!" They didn't like that idea.

"Okay," I tried again, "He's a dwarf hamster, so what if we named him after one of the Seven Dwarfs? We could call him Happy."

"NOOOO!" They didn't like that either.

"I think these are great names," I said.

"They are great names," Juliet answered, "but they're not great enough."

Laura chimed in, "I want to call him Mr. Fluffet." I thought that was adorable, but we still didn't have consensus. Juliet thought that he couldn't be a mister since he is still just a baby. 

Finally, a friend suggested we call him Pip, and everyone got on board. I like it because it is a little name for a little guy. It also appeals to me since it's a literary name.

Now our task is making sure the cat doesn't try to eat him. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Made for Walkin'

I go for a walk every day after dinner (except today, because we ate dinner so late). I've been doing this for a few weeks now, and while I haven't noticed any change in my level of fitness, I have been enjoying it. I like seeing my neighborhood close up and at a slower pace. I can't really get to know it when I'm always behind the wheel. Here are some of the things I especially like when I walk the streets.

(1) Wildlife Even here in the suburbs, animals come out in the evening. Mostly I see just birds, squirrels, and chipmunks, but I often see bunnies, too. I understand that they are garden pests, but they still delight me. They're so cute!
(2) Human life People come out in nice weather, too. Kids shooting hoops, ladies weeding their gardens, men tinkering with cars. I love to see life happening all around me. A few days ago, on a particularly lovely evening, I passed a man sitting on his porch. He was plucking a mandolin and had a big yellow dog relaxing by his feet. It made me happy.
(3) Front yards I want to make some changes to our front yard. Specifically, I want to get rid of the lawn and plant native grasses and flowers. I take pictures of the yards that I like so that, someday, I can tell my husband, "see, this is what I want to do."
(4) Houses I also like to admire my neighbors houses. On one of my recent walks, I noticed something I hadn't before in twelve years of living here. Two side-by-side houses down the street from me are mirror images of each other. They have different siding and windows, but the basic design is the same. Then later, I saw that same design on another street. Then I saw it again on another day. It's everywhere! How could I have not seen this before? This has turned into a game similar to that puzzle in which we are asked to examine two pictures that seem identical, but we are to find twelve differences. "Okay, those two houses are the same except that one has three large windows across the second floor, but that one has five small windows." It doesn't take much to amuse me. 
(5) Solitude or Togetherness Sometimes, I walk alone. I'm an introvert, and these solo strolls refresh me. Sometimes, I take one of the kids along. It's nice to have one-on-one time. I never use it as an opportunity to lecture them. We just chat lightly and pleasantly. I usually let them determine the course of our conversation and our route. We have a small river nearby, and a few days ago, Laura and I played Poohsticks. Then we went home and read "In Which Pooh Invents a New Game and Eeyore Joins In." I guess everything comes back to books for me.

What's your neighborhood like? Do take walks? Tell me in comments.