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Sunday, April 1, 2012


Naming my children was relatively easy.  I had always liked the name 'Ricky' for a boy, but decided on registering 'Richard', and opting to call him by the shortened version, for two reasons.  Firstly, I was unsure about laws dictating registering with 'shortened' names (at one time, I was told, in England, it was not possible to register a child with names like 'Billy', or 'Joe', as they were considered not appropriate), and secondly, and probably more importantly, how would he know when I was cross with him!  Samantha was named after my favourite childhood doll!  (When I grow up, and have a baby....etc etc...and I did!)

Samantha's friend is currently expecting her second.  'Guess what she is going to call her?' she asked me, rather excitedly.  Doris was not the right answer, nor was Sandra.  'Think nearer to home!'  I thought 'Brittany' was rather a clever response, but it didn't work.  Nor did Austin, Texas or The United States of America!  No.  I had to think more in line with my own family.  It appears that Samantha, Tracie, nor Dana were correct.  Finally, when I had gone through everyone in the office, and Samantha's features indicated that she was going to spontaneously combust, and all that was left was, Rumpelstiltskin, I took a deep breath, and sighed, 'Elise!'  If there was a prize, I would not have won, due to the amount of guesses that had been incorrectly given, but finally I had succeeded. 
As a child, my sister was not fond of her name.  It was unusual, and as my mother had said, too pretty to be supplemented with a middle name.  Not only would she have to be called something she despised, but she did not have the ability to swap it with a second name.  Our next door neighbour, for whatever reason (we are not sure if it was purely playful, or if he, indeed, did not know her name) would always refer to her as, 'Belinda'.  Elise announced to him one day, that this was going to be her middle name, and from that day forth, I would always write the letter 'B' in between her initials. 

However, Elise was apparently not the first choice for Samantha's pal's new baby, as the mother preferred the name, Payton, but as mum had chosen their son's name, dad had been given first refusal.  I sent my sister a brief outline of my conversation with Samantha and asked her, 'What would you rather be called'.  Payton was preferred, although the spelling was somewhat disappointing, and I was asked if there were any options.  Samantha gave her some choices and Elise finally decided on her own version of 'Phaighton', with the 'h' being silent, for effect!  Although the prospect of a new name was very exciting, it was decided that perhaps the logistics may be slightly complicated, and my sister made a monumental decision.  Phaighton would be her new middle name.  RIP Belinda!  I am not sure how much she was laughing, but I was giggling uncontrollably, remembering all the times we had chosen aliases. 
With all the excitement of new babies, and old memories, Samantha had omitted to tell me that she needed my help in purchasing some ingredients for a project that she had been asked to do, which involved baking, and coloured sugar sprinkles.  'We' would have to go to the bake shop and see if they had what she was looking for.  Our journey took us past Payton Gin Road.  'Elise Gin Road?' we said, eerily simultaneously.  Our sense of humour still eludes those around us!
Ricky (I have no reason to be cross with him at the moment!) had also asked me for a favour.  He had come across a piece of equipment that a friend had acquired, which was made in Austin.  He was curious as to whether I lived, or worked, near the place that made 'The Grid'.  It appears that we were not too far at all, and Kyle (I don't know what his mother called him when she was cross) made a call to see if we could purchase the items from their store.  Apparently they did not have a store front, and the options were to have it shipped, or to find a retailer.  Shipping seemed rather an unnecessary extravagance, especially as the expanse of water, between us and the manufacturers, would be no more than a rain puddle.  (Again, my sense of humour eludes those around me.)  I did, however, find a retailer, who was more than willing to hold two 'Grids' until Saturday, with no security.  Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the workings of a gym, either old fashioned or modern.  'The Grid' at first glance, is a piece of plastic tubing, although I am assured it is made from state of the art material, and revolutionary.  It is also advisable to have 'lessons' before use.  Wondering how one is taught to roll up and down with a plastic pipe, between them and the ground, is still a mystery.

On Saturday, Samantha and I hiked across to the next County and found the retailer, who very kindly held the items, and attempted to convince us that we needed to attend his 'Grid' class.  I explained that the tubes were not for me, but for my son, in London.  Lessons would prove to be somewhat uneconomical. 
We left the sports shop and went to the outlet mall, where we were less successful in our purchases.  Samantha had another stop to make before going to Walmart, and was giving me directions using her telephone as a GPS system.  Unfortunately, the telephone, like a map, needs to be read, if necessary, upside down.  The lights were green, and the traffic was rather heavy.  The 'left turn only' lane was quite full, and the light was red.  I was in the far right lane, and was told, 'you need to turn left'.  Using all my skills, I maneuvered across the four lanes and landed in the left hand lane, as the green arrow allowing us to turn, lit up.  Having held the phone the wrong way up, Samantha said, very calmly, 'actually, we need to turn right'.  Cutting back across the road was hair-raising, for all the other drivers. Turning on the indicator, Samantha hanging out of the window with her arm stretched out, and screaming our famous quote, saved for these very occasions, 'Foreign woman driving', was presumably instrumental in making the manoeuvre successful, and against all odds, I returned to the far right lane, and turned.  Once again, we found ourselves on 'Elise' Gin Road.  Samantha was attempting to take photos in an attempt to send them to Elise Phaighton, but there were too many larger vehicles obscuring our view.

Having many English customs that we continue to practice, and the use of many English words, as opposed to American English, calling things by another name is usually accepted, although not fully understood.  Aubergine equals eggplant; courgette equals zucchini; therefore, Elise equals Payton! 

My shopping trip was not as successful as I would have liked, but the other victories by far outweigh my failure.  Two 'Grids' and a name change; what more could one ask for!  I am not sure what is in store for me next week, but I doubt it could compare!  Some things will have to remain the same, but in a couple of months, there will be another Elise in the world, and you would be surprised at how many ways that can be pronounced!  I dont know how it sounds when one is cross, as I dont think I ever heard my mother shout at my sister, as a child.  'Trayseeee' on the other hand was echoed around our home town on many occasions....go figure!!  As I said, I am not sure as to the technology behind 'The Grid', but am very thankful for the technology that allows me to keep in contact with my sister.  One day, I may understand the fun that is achieved from going to the gym but that will be.....another story

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