What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

31 December 2014

Goodreads, Good Year

Hey, look!

See my 2014 books here.
I'm kind of amazed that I finished. I was so far behind when I staggered over the finish line of the semester, and immediately dove into my to-read list, but as the end of the year approached I started to panic and searched through all my free Kindle books for short ones so I could get to 52 books by the end of the year.

Fifty-two books. I know, that's kind of sad for someone who loves reading as much as I do, and the total does include a handful of textbooks, I'm afraid. But, this has been quite a year for me professionally, given the number of major events my employer put on this year, all of which I was responsible for tweeting, emailing, facebooking, and storyifying all over the place. (By the way, my employer now knows about Storify, and he wants to Storify every freaking thing. I have to explain to him at least once a week that not everything should be Storifyied.. I created a monster.)

Brighter reading days are coming. I have one more semester of grad school and then I'm free to read and write without feeling guilt or pushing my luck on letting my homework go until the last minute. I'm setting my reading goal higher this year-- probably 75 books-- and I hope to have to bump it up a bit well before the last two weeks of the year.

And while my to-read list is overflowing, and the queue free books stored neatly on Amazon waiting for me to download them is almost as long (the two groups are mostly mutually exclusive), I always welcome reading suggestions from my beloved blogging buddies. What should have high priority on my to-read list this year?

(And if you're looking for suggestions, here's my Goodreads read list, sorted by rating. Enjoy.)

01 December 2014

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

For those of you who aren't following my every move on Facebook or Twitter, here's the latest:

Five years, five wins. NaNoWriMo is AWESOME.

I did a bit of a NaNo Rebel thing this year-- halfway through the month, the conflict that was driving my original story kind of fizzled out. I was enjoying that story a lot and would like to revisit it, but I knew if I wanted to finish NaNo it was time to bring out the big guns...

... so I went back to the same novel that I've been working on since 2011, the one that's seen me through one NaNo, two Camp NaNos, and all the writing time in between. I'm happy to say that not only did I win NaNoWriMo, but I finally finished the first draft of this infernal novel. It's going in a drawer for a few months until I get round to deciding what to cut and what to keep, which (let's face it) will probably not happen until after my spring semester ends.

Happy December 1, everybody!

11 November 2014

In Remembrance

Yes, I break six months of silence for a Remembrance Day post (or Veterans Day, if Remembrance isn't your thing). I've ignored every other holiday for a while, but this one means something to me, so here I am.

(Yeah, holidays are not my thing. My sister and I have discussed it a bit, and I'm not sure if it's our upbringing, our personalities, or our current lifestyle, but we don't care much about most holidays. I make an exception for this one.)

I looked back on some of my old Remembrance Day posts, and I don't really have anything to add to this one from 2010, so here's a slightly edited repost:

In Flanders Fields
By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918), Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

(Read the story behind the poem on Arlington cemetery's website.)

I'm in favour of remembering things, because it's too easy to forget. I pause in remembrance of those who have lived and died, not only in war, but also in peace. Not only fighting for their nation, but also fighting for their ideals. "The foe" has many faces: among them are hatred, greed, deceit, selfishness. Am I ready to meet them and fight against them when they cross my path?

As a writer, I prefer the spilling of ink to the spilling of blood. Words have power to touch hearts, to change minds. And so I use my words with care as I urge you, this Eleventh of November, to pause for remembrance, to take up the torch, and to hold it high.
I hope to be back soon. I miss blogging terribly, but as is my wont, I'm eyeball-deep in a semester, NaNoWriMo, and regular work. In the meantime, you can catch me on Twitter.

19 April 2014

Q is for Quiet.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where every day I share my favourite book or book series that starts with the day's letter.

Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life, Tony Dungy.

I hate American football, with all that is within me, and I still managed to love this book.

What's your favourite 'Q' book?

18 April 2014

P is for Phantom.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where every day I share my favourite book or book series that begins with the day's letter. You're probably tired of reading that by now, aren't you? Well, I never know when a new person might wander round.

The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Jester

What's your favourite 'P' book?

Runners up: The Princess Diaries, series; The Princess Bride

17 April 2014

O is for On.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where every day I share my favourite book or book series that starts with the day's letter.

And after a few hard days, it's nice to have an easy one!

On Writing, Stephen King

What's your favourite 'O' book?

Runner-up: The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

16 April 2014

N is for Narnia.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where every day I share my favourite book or book series that starts with the day's letter.

The Chronicles of Narnia, series, C.S. Lewis

If we ever have any need for a nursery, it will be decorated in a Narnia theme. I'm not sure if Chadwick knows this, but it doesn't matter. He gets no say in this one. :)

What's your favourite 'N' book?

Runners up: The Night Circus, No Impact Man

15 April 2014

M is for Million. And Mrs.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where every day I share my favourite book or book series that begins with the day's letter.

And it's getting harder to choose as I go along. So I'll go with my favourite method of settling difficult questions and choose more than one.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller


Mrs. Frisby and the Rats and NIMH, series, Robert C. O'Brien

Tomorrow I'll try to stick to just one. Really. In the meantime, what's your favourite 'M' book?

Runners up: Mercury Falls, Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reason Why Women Run

14 April 2014

L is for Little.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where every day I share my favourite book or book series that starts with the day's letter.

And today is a doozy. Not only is it a tie, but I can also say I've seen every TV/movie adaptation of the winners and one runner-up, and as many as possible of the second runner-up. We're talking many, many hours of my life spent with these stories, y'all. They are part of my entire being.

Little House on the Prarie, series, Laura Ingalls Wilder

The first book I ever read and I've never outgrown it! I had to reread this series a lot as I was growing up to "get it" as Laura hit different stages of her life-- her wedding, for instance, was not that interesting to 8-year-old me, but 15-year-old me saw things very differently.


Little Women, series, Louisa May Alcott

So, true story (I've probably shared this before): I tried to check out Little Women from the school library when I was not really ready to read it, but this wasn't my first Alcott book and I thought I was ready for the really long one. I was not, of course, and the librarian correctly refused to let me check it out. So I went and grabbed the next book off the shelf, Little Men, which is much shorter (and incidentally has a MUCH easier plot-- it was not a bad one for me to read first), and the librarian frowned and said, "I'd rather you read Little Women than read this!" Which kind of scared me off and I think I ended up with The Boxcar Children or something that day. But years later when I finally read the entire Little Women series, I realised that librarian had never read any of them, or at least had a poor memory, as there was nothing even a little bit scandalous in Little Men.

What's your favourite book that starts with 'L'?

Runners up: L books are even worse than H books! Holy library card, Batman. A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett (when my grandfather watched the 1995 adaptation of this book with me, he cried more than I did); Les Misérables, Victor Hugo.

12 April 2014

K is for Knit.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where every day I share my favourite book or series of books that starts with that day's letter. Kinda.

Today's is another stretch. I have two books on my Goodreads list that start with K, and I didn't like either of them enough for them to be on this list. So, I give you:

At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much, Stephanie Pearl-McKee

Image from Goodreads.

Somebody, please, tell me there are great books that start with K that I'm missing out on!

11 April 2014

J is for Jane.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where every day I share my favourite book or series that begins (ish) with the day's letter.

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë

Image from Goodreads.

(Incidentally, my bicycle is named after Charlotte Brontë, but we call it Sharlie for short. I know, it's crazy.) What's your favourite J book?

10 April 2014

I is for Imaginarium.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where each day I share my favourite book or series of books beginning with the day's letter.

And this one is stretching it a bit. Could have gone under "Chronicles" or "Dragon", but here it is. I don't have many I books on my list.

Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, series, James A. Owen.

Image from Goodreads.

What's your favourite book that starts with I?

Runner up: The Indian in the Cupboard, series, Lynne Reid Banks.

09 April 2014

H is for Hitchhikers and Harry.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where every day I share my favourite book or book series that begins with the day's letter.

Well, these were always going to be pretty obvious, weren't they? Another tie of supreme awesomeness.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, series, Douglas Adams

This is the British cover,
in case you haven't seen
it before.
Harry Potter, series, J.K. Rowling

Images from Goodreads.

I don't know why you'd need another favourite H book besides these, but I suppose there are a few non-fantasy people out there, so have at it in the comments.

Runners up: Why do so many great books start with H? Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones; The Hunger Games, series, Suzanne Collins. (Yes, I know Howl's is also a series, but I haven't read the rest yet. It got into the runners up on the strength of the first book.)

08 April 2014

G is for Gift.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where I share my favourite book or book series that begins with the day's letter.

The Gift of the Magi, O. Henry

Image from Goodreads.

What's your favourite G book?

Runner up: The Giver, Lois Lowry.

07 April 2014

F is for Finding.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where every day I share my favourite book or book series that begins with that day's letter.

Finding Peggy: A Glasgow Childhood, Meg Henderson

Image from Goodreads.

Not only my favourite 'F' book, but in my top 5 all-time favourites. What's your favourite book that starts with F?

Runner up: Forever Liesl, Charmian Carr

05 April 2014

E is for Earth. And Eats.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where I share my favourite book or book series that begins with the day's letter.

And today is a tie, because I couldn't choose between these two:

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, Carolyn Mackler


Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, Lynne Truss

Images from Goodreads.

What's your favourite 'E' book?

Runner up: Encyclopedia Brown, series

04 April 2014

D is for Discworld.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where I share my favourite book or book series that begins with the day's letter.

Discworld, series, Terry Pratchett

I love, love, love this series. The Discworld series has 40+ books, each one better than the last. Night Watch, pictured, is probably my most enduring favourite, but it really depends on the day and what mood I'm in.

Image from Goodreads.

Discworld fans: What's your favourite? The rest of you: Why are you wasting time here? Go read a Discworld book!

Runner up: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

03 April 2014

C is for Chalet.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where every day I share my favourite book or book series that begins with the day's letter.

Chalet School, series, Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Image from Goodreads.

Discovered these when I lived in Britain & haven't been able to tear myself away ever since. Not the beginnings of my love for school stories, but definitely didn't hurt.

What's your favourite 'C' book?

Runners up: Charlotte Sometimes, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch

02 April 2014

B is for Brief.

It's the A to Z Challenge, where every day I share my favourite book or book series that begins with the day's letter.

The Brief History of the Dead, Kevin Brockmeier

Image from Goodreads.

What's your favourite 'B' book?

Runners up: Bounce, Bridget Jones's Diary.

01 April 2014

A is for Anne. And Across.

Geez, the first day of A to Z and I already have a tie! So not cool!

So, this A to Z series is all about my favourite book, or series of books, that begins with the letter of the day. I couldn't decide between:

Anne of Green Gables, series, L.M. Montgomery


Across the Universe, series, Beth Revis

Images from Goodreads.

So! Two fairly different genres to kick us off. What's your favourite 'A' book?

Runners up: Anna and the French Kiss, As the Waltz Was Ending

31 March 2014

Here We Come A-Conferencing

Tomorrow the A to Z Challenge starts, so that makes today my last chance to talk about the conference I went to/spoke at/helped put on last week. I spent one day at the same conference in 2012, and managed to get five different posts out of it, but this year, when I attended all three days and was way more involved, I get one. Here goes.

So! I was one of the 70-ish speakers on the docket, and my talk was scheduled for the very first session on the very first day. Not scary at all, right? Actually, I was a lot less nervous than I would have liked-- I rely on the butterflies to give me an extra burst of energy. It's the same adrenaline I use on race days. But, despite my coworkers' best efforts to freak me out (almost every one of them stopped me some time during the 12 hours preceding my session to reassure me that I didn't need to be nervous and I would do just fine, and after the fifth go-round I was starting to worry that they had no confidence in me at all), I was way too calm.

So, this is what I looked like:
Picture courtesy of @donnaleehoffman.
I was talking about social media. If you thought I was talking about bicycles or advocacy things that go beyond social media, you are quite mad. Not my skill set.

So after the session my day kind of went downhill, because we were frenzied and racing round and it just happened I caught one coworker after another in a moment of unhappiness until by the end of the day I was convinced I had somehow angered them all, so being as I am overly sensitive to other people's moods and how they relate to me, I was in a pretty dark place by Wednesday night. We got it sorted out before I went to bed, and I got up the next day for a three-mile relaxation run, which made the next day go so much better.

Do I remember the rest of what happened? Well, as the designated Social Media Goddess at BikeTexas (that's my preferred title that I tell friends, not the official one on my email or business cards), I was responsible for tweeting, retweeting, Facebook posting, and other things that required staring at a screen for about 72 hours straight. So, no, I have my tweets to remind me of what happened. And a three-day headache, I might add, because human eyes were not designed for that much screen time.

I do know the conference was super-successful and so much fun, and I got to cap it all off with a B-cycle ride around downtown with a coworker on Friday night-- also to shake off some adrenaline so we could sleep. (Well, that's what I was doing. No idea what he was doing.)

We passed this:
Seventh Street Bridge in Fort Worth. Picture courtesy of @jacksanford.
 And this:
Tilley Bike/Pedestrian Bridge in Fort Worth. Photo courtesy of @jacksanford.
And one more picture for good measure:
Picture courtesy of @SafeCyclist.
We were loading bikes into one of our vehicles, and it was taking a while, so I decided to test this one out and make sure it worked properly. It does.

And for my final (sappy) thought: My coworkers are fabulous, knowledgeable, passionate, dedicated advocates, for whom I have tons of respect. The knowledge gap between me and the rest of them when it comes to our field is huge, and events like this remind me of just how huge it really is. I work at BikeTexas because I have some skill with words and a brain full of social media savvy, but that doesn't mean I don't wish I had the same knowledge and skills that my coworkers do. I need to work super-hard to make that gap a bit smaller.

Tl;dr: I went to a conference with my work last week. I experienced all the emotions in just three days. It was a great week.

24 March 2014

It's a Challenge

Yep. I signed up. Again. I'm a slow learner.

This year's theme? Books! (What else?) Every day I'll post my favourite book (or favourite series of books) that starts with the day's letter. The fun begins April 1.

You know, the same day the busiest month of the spring semester begins. Sigh...

27 January 2014

Fuel to the Fire

Last week, I realised I was going to miss kind of an important deadline at school, so I dashed off an apologetic email to a prof (and then was too nervous to check my email for three days) and then spent the rest of the week stressed out and trying to finish off the project that was already late.

When I finally checked my email, I found out things were not as dire as I had thought they were. But the project is finished and turned in, and I'm exhausted


Chadwick asked me this afternoon if I was feeling okay, and I had to explain to him that while he's grown accustomed this week to me racing about in an adrenaline-fueled panic, which was aided by my own insistence in getting up in the middle of the night for two weeks to watch Australian Open matches, that's not actually my norm. In fact, I've spent most of the day trying to remind myself that I have no reason to be stressed out today, because by some miracle I'm caught up with all my homework right now and even have a handle on things at work. (For normal people, being caught up during the second week of the semester would not require any miracles. Not me, though.)

It can't possibly be this healthy for 21st-century people to burn through our adrenal glands this fast. But I hate to be left out, so I'm sure I'll be back on it in a couple of days.

What do you do to handle your stress?

23 January 2014


The Walton name with a special place in my heart-- and everywhere else, actually, because it's my middle name. I get a lot of mileage out of it when explaining to people that in my case, "Susan" is shortened to "Su"-- if you add an 'e' to the end of my nickname, I will presume that you're using my middle initial. Incidentally, I went by Elizabeth for many years, just because I liked it so much more than my first name. Now that I've settled on "Su", though, I like my first name a lot more.

Some days I feel like half the women I know have Elizabeth as a middle name.

From the Hebrew name Elisheva, which means "my God is an oath" or "my God is abundance". Since record-keeping began in 1880, Elizabeth has never been out of the top 25 most popular names for girls in the US-- which is probably why she's walking around with every second person I know. Currently #10 in the US and #26 in British Columbia, Canada. She's also hanging in the top 100 in other Commonwealth countries, although it's considered more an old woman's name in places where Her Majesty is on all the money.

Famous Elizabeths: Elizabeth I; Elizabeth II; lots of other queens of assorted countries; Elizabeth, the Biblical mother of John the Baptist; quite a few other saints; Tina Fey, actress (I was surprised, too!); Elizabeth Barrett Browning, poet; Elizabeth Gilbert, writer (Eat, Pray, Love); Elisabeth Sladen, actress (Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures); Elizabeth Montgomery, actress (Bewitched); place-names all around the world; I'm just going to stop here.

I just watched the BBC miniseries of
Pride and Prejudice a few weeks ago.
Holy wow. Source.
Fictional Elizabeths: Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice; Elizabeth Bartlet, The West Wing; Beth March, Little Women; Liz Lemon, 30 Rock; Elizabeth Wakefield, Sweet Valley High; Elizabeth Swann, Pirates of the Caribbean; Elizabeth, The Swiss Family Robinson; Elizabeth Walton (obviously); better stop this one, too.

My Elizabeths: Like I said, I know bunches of people with Elizabeth either as a first or middle name. The one I've known the longest is the woman I was named after, although I don't know her well, but I think the second-longest is a high school classmate I first met when we were about 8 or 9. We were never more than really good acquaintances throughout school, but she was one of the first people I went looking for when I got my Facebook account a few years ago. There really is something to be said for staying connected to the people you have that much time in common with. And I also have a couple of characters called Elizabeth-- one of them is pally with my MC and will probably get more screen time, so to speak, as I go along.

Are you an Elizabeth? Do you know an Elizabeth? Are you happy I've reached the end of the Walton family and their many names? (Seriously, I don't know what I'm going to do next.)

Behind the Name

20 January 2014

Little House on the Prairie: I'll Never Be an Ingalls

I've been watching a lot of Little House lately, so that's what I'm in the mood to blog about. If it's not your thing... well, sorry.

My entry into the world of chapter books was with Little House on the Prairie, mainly because I watched the TV show and had to know more. My favourites of the books? Farmer Boy and Little Town on the Prairie. (In other words, ones that are not related to the TV show at all.) Does it bother me that the TV show is so wildly different from the books? Not in the slightest. There isn't enough material in the books for more than a couple seasons of TV, and a lot of it wouldn't translate well: an episode about Laura learning to play checkers would be too much for even the most die-hard Little House fan to sit through.

Aren't they sweet? Who
wouldn't want to be friends
with them? Source.
Plus, if not for the show diverging from the books, my favourite characters would never have been introduced: the Garveys.

The Garveys were a lot more like my family than the Ingalls were. Jonathan and Alice disagreed, and argued, a lot. Charles Ingalls got along with pretty much everybody; Jonathan Garvey actively disliked at least one person in town. When Alice was frustrated with their son, Andy, she said so instead of waiting a few days to see if he would figure it out on his own-- even sometimes taking it too far, you know, like a real human being does sometimes when she's frustrated.

The Ingalls? Not so much. When Caroline and Charles "disagreed," it lasted for three seconds and without any raised voices. My mother sometimes tried to convince me that I should be more like Laura, without noticing the TV Ingalls children were always doing really dumb things that I would never dream of doing (especially Albert, the little hooligan). The perfectly patient Ingalls parents always knew exactly why their children were going off the rails and always said exactly the right thing at the right time, before suggesting that the offender go fishing. (Would it have killed these kids to be sent to their rooms from time to time?)

Nellie being horrible to Andy.
Not my favourite episode.
Which I guess is why Andy Garvey, and not any of the Ingalls, is my favourite Little House kid. Although, here's what my young self learned from Andy: It's perfectly acceptable to lie to your parents if you're willingly cooking up a ridiculous scheme with the Ingalls children (Lake Kezia Monster), but not if you're being manipulated by the mean girl in town against your own better judgement (The Cheaters). Either way, everybody needs a friend like Andy.

Were/are you a Little House fan? Do you identify more with the sidekick than the main character in your favourite TV shows? Are you ready for me to get back into the routine of class and homework so I'll stop watching so much TV?

16 January 2014

I Knew The Walton Series Would Come to This: Jim-Bob

Oh, yes, it's the Walton with the goofiest name. Even worse than John-Boy, it's Jim-Bob. Why? Why in the world?? No wonder he was so sullen. Eventually, as he got older, he was called James Robert more and Jim-Bob less, but I'm not sure that was much of an improvement.

Walton trivia: Jim-Bob had a twin brother, Joseph Zebulon, who died shortly after birth. Poor kid-- would they have called him Joe-Zeb? Presumably, this is to match up with the real-life Hamner family, which had eight children instead of the Walton seven, but it's the Ben character who is based on two brothers, not Jim-Bob.

Jim-Bob isn't smiling, but he's not
scowling, either, so that's something.
This is from The Homecoming, the
Christmas movie that started it all.
James Robert
It's not really a two-for-one day, though, because I did a James post quite some time ago. Robert is from the Germanic Hrodebert, meaning "bright fame." (I don't know what dull fame is like, but whatever.) Was the #1 boy name in the US from 1924 to 1939, then hung in the top 5 until 1971. Also got up to #314 for girls in 1929. Currently it's #61 for boys in the US, which is surpassed around the world in Hungary (#48), Ireland (#53), and Scotland (#57).

Famous James Roberts: All these guys.

Fictional James Roberts: Just Jim-Bob Walton, as far as I can tell.

While I do use compound names from time to time, it's safe to say Jim-Bob will never be one of them unless I start writing The Waltons fan fiction.

How about you? James? Robert? Both?

Behind the Name

11 January 2014


My name post is late this week, yes. I was building anticipation!

I watched a few episodes of The Waltons during the Christmas/New Year week, just for my own amusement, and ran across a YouTube comment that said Ben Walton was good-natured. Which was amazing, because I've always thought of Ben as the cranky Walton.

Is short for Benjamin, which is a Hebrew name meaning "son of the south" or "son of my right hand." Ben's pretty popular around the world: #1 name for boys in Chile; #8 in British Columbia, Canada; #9 in Bosnia and Herzegovina; #15 in New South Wales, Australia; and #16 in the U.S. Ben's first popularity peak in the U.S. was in 1889, when he got up to #21, then he took a bit of a nose dive until the late 1960s, when he started creeping up again to his current highest point of popularity.

I had trouble choosing a pic
for this post. So: Dr. Regina
Benjamin, former U.S. Surgeon
General. Source.
Famous Bens: Benjamin Franklin; Benjamin Harrison (23rd U.S. president); Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister; the Biblical son of Jacob, who was the father of one of the 12 tribes of Israel; Ben Affleck, actor; Ben Stiller, actor who annoys me; Ben Barnes, actor (Prince Caspian); Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. (I also want to mention Ben Savage (Boy Meets World), but his full name is Bennett, not Benjamin.)

Fictional Bens: Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce (M*A*S*H); Ben Seaver (Growing Pains); Benjamin Tennyson (Ben 10); Benny Pearl (Benny and Joon); Ben Grimm (The Thing, Marvel Comics); Benjamin Button (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button); Ben Walton.

My Bens: I have a couple Benjamins in a character list, but haven't written one yet. I know a whole bunch, though, probably from being born while the name was on the rise in popularity-- there was always a Ben or two in my class all through school, and I've taught a few in Sunday School. Definitely no shortage of people named Ben in my life.

Are you a Ben? Do you know a Ben? Is it just me, or does every name I've looked at so far start to look weird after I've written it down 30 or so times?


02 January 2014


(I may do a New Year post sometime this month. Maybe. But not today. Stay tuned.)

So over my break, I've been binge watching The Waltons, along with some of my other old favourites (Boy Meets World and Little House on the Prairie). You know what's great about all these shows? The plotlines are exactly the same. Only the clothes are different. That doesn't stop me from watching all of them.

Anyway, we've come to the Walton middle child, Erin. I can't really say anything about being a middle child, since I'm the oldest in my own family, but I imagine middle child syndrome is exacerbated when you're in the middle of seven.

Anglicized version of "Eireann", which means "Ireland", which works out well for the red-headed Walton clan. Peaked in the US as the 18th most popular girl name in 1983, and is currently #262. It also made an entrance to the charts as a boy name in the '60s, sticking around until the '90s, but never more popular than #442 for boys. In the British Isles, where you might expect Erin to be popular, she is: #20 in Northern Ireland, #47 in Ireland, #22 in Scotland, and #39 in England and Wales.

You should read this book.
Famous Erins: Erin Brockovich, environmental activist; Erin Moran, actress (Joanie Cunningham, but she also guest starred on The Waltons!); Erin Andrews, sportscaster (her birthday is the day after mine, so she gets a mention); Erin Morgenstern, writer (The Night Circus).

Fictional Erins: Erin Whitney, The Whitney Cousins; Erin Hannon, The Office; and of course, Erin Walton.

My Erins: I was born during the Erin boom, so much like Jason, I went to school, summer camp, and church with a bunch. There is no shortage of Erins in my life. I also have one minor character called Erin.

Are you an Erin? Do you know an Erin? Do you wish I watched more TV shows so I'd give The Waltons a rest?

Behind the Name
This List (but I only used people I've heard of)