Friday, July 30, 2004


This morning:

Carolyn: Guess what's in my belly?
Erik: What?
Carolyn: Another belly!


Erik: Like haggis!

(Exit horrified Carolyn)

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Census names

[someone] has called my attention to the Social Security Administration's baby names site. It's fascinating. (I had seen some of these results in summary, but the full data is much better.) Sample facts:

* Emily is the Lance Armstrong of girls' names. It was 12th most popular in 1990, moves steadily up to #1 in 1996, and has now been most popular for eight straight years.

* After following a similar arc, Jacob has been #1 among boys for five years.

* Erik has been dropping steadily from 97th in 1990 to 159th in 2003.

* [someone] hinted at the surprising (to me) fact that Madison has been a top-3 name for four years for girls. And get this: so popular is Madison that even if you add an extra "d" in the middle and create Maddison, you have still chosen a name that is more popular than Susan!

* As you might guess from the previous fact, Susan has plummeted in recent years. It is tied with Ximena in 2003. That's right. Susan and Ximena were equally common.

* Check out the old names starting in the 1880s. The boys' names are unbelievably stable. And Emily has a long way to go to match Mary's old-time dominace: Mary was most popular every year, usually by a lot, from 1880 to 1947, when Linda topped the list.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Bird names

from Carolyn--

Wow! There are a lot of people on plans. And thanks to so many of you for your good wishes. I'm looking forward to the day when Erik turns to all of you to help us choose toilet training methods by means of a plans poll. I can report that so far (almost 4 months along) pregnancy has not been as bad as I had feared. I have had only minimal food aversions, for instance. Turns out I can't eat cottage cheese any more. I'm facing this loss bravely.

My first ideas when Erik told me of [someone]'s suggestion of bird names were "Buzzard" and "Great Auk". Erik seemed less enthusiastic than I.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

The naming commences

Thanks to a truly overwhelming number of people for the good wishes in response to our Planned pregnancy! I'm really touched.

In case you're wondering, according to the week-by-week updates I get from, the baby is now the size of an avocado. It no longer has webbed feet or a tail (note that this describes only the average baby, so we can still hope for those features on ours), and the eyeballs have moved from the side of the head to the properly predatory front.

Many of the comments have already suggested this turn to the conversation: let's have the (non-binding, I hasten to say)

Name Our Baby PlanPoll!

Opening notes:

Literature: [someone] has already moved in the literary direction ("Lord Byron Simpson got beat up in school again today"); [someone] thinks of minstrel names (Thomas the Rhymer, perhaps?); [someone] also suggests Freddy Malins and [someone] Gabe or Gabby in honor of our Joycean expectation.

Hardy Boys: [someone] likes Biff, boy or girl; [someone] cleverly reduces the my two possibilities to Olive-Skinned Ton$; [someone] offers brilliant comments on the implications of the Hardy names for the child's life--[someone], when I approached the end of each chapter, I had to physically cover the last few sentences to keep myself from skipping to the cliff-hanging excitement. And I have long shared your sense that the title of #4 is the best of all.

Other: [someone] offers Interrobang (or, I add, the interrobang symbol itself?); [someone] muses on the possibilities of Carolik and Erikolyn.

We have also considered "[backspace], Jr." as a middle name, so the child would be listed as, say,

Simpson, Interrobang, Jr.

And then could have a child named

Simpson, Interrobang, Jr., Jr.

Who could have a child named

Simpson, Interrobang, Jr., III.


Friday, July 23, 2004

Pregnancy announcement

I interrupt the regular operation of this plan to bring you this Major Life Announcement (TM):

God willing, knock on wood, [insert caveats and good-luck charms from any tradition you like here],

Carolyn and I are having a baby! Yoikes!

OK, mostly Carolyn. And not right this minute--round about January sixth, we're told. (Epiphany, that is, a.k.a. the twelfth day of Christmas, a.k.a. the day on which "The Dead" takes place. That would be cool.)

That's right, folks, there's a bun in the oven! A duckling in the roaster! A rat in the dumpster--except good!

And my brother and his wife have a due date of December 24th, so my parents are facing the prospect of jumping from zero to two grandkids in a blink of the proverbial eye.

We've been advised not to discuss names with anyone, including our parents, but because you on Plans are our extra-special friends, I'll let you in on the fact that, regardless of the sex of the baby (we're not planning to find out--until the birth, I mean), we hope to name this and any subsequent children after minor characters from the Hardy Boys. Biff. Chet. Olive-skinned Tony (or Toni, perhaps).

I'm especially looking forward to having a baby because I figure my life will be a lot easier. I figure that after a few weeks of getting used to the outside world, the wee one will be able to help with low-lying housework: cleaning the floors, taking care of the cats, and so forth. Once those little fingers can make their way around a keyboard, I've got myself a new typist/editor! Score. Things are going to be nice and easy from here on out. Just you watch.