Truth be told, the recovery from Carter's surgery (as I mentioned in my April CCC) was very involved and kept me out of my craft room for many months. It also practically killed my stamping mojo. The good news is: the surgery went well and Carter is taking steps independently once more. He's still not ambulating on his own full-time, but with lots of hard work, he's getting there. His gait is straighter and he stands so much taller than before. As for me, over the past month or so, I've had the pleasure of re-discovering the fun of stamping; this is a good thing, considering the not-so-small fortune of supplies I've been acquiring the past several years. All of this is to say: I'm b-a-a-ack!
One of the things about taking a break from stamping is that you miss a lot of new releases. Then, when you comb through your favorite stamp designers' and/or stamp companies' blogs, you see all of these beautiful images and dies and think to yourself, "I've never seen that - when did that come out? Where'd they get that paper? Oooh... look at that die..." As impossible as it seems, the stamping world continued to spin, despite the fact that you stepped away for a short period. (It's actually a little insulting - you mean, new rubber can be pressed and people can still get them inky without moi?! Inconceivable!) When that time comes, you have two choices:
- You can get overwhelmed by the plethora of new products, throw in the towel, and determine that you're too hopelessly behind the times and/or rusty to create again, or
- You can do a little shopping, wait with bated breath for the mailman and/or UPS, and keep the faith that new goodies will inspire you once again, as they have so many times in the past.
Did you see the name of it? Mmm-hmm... that's right: Christmas CAROL Circle Stamps. In addition to being a darling and very versatile set, it got me thinking about how the holiday season - particularly those weeks between the U.S.'s Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November) and Christmas day - are the only time of the year when I really like my name.
I was born in September of 1969. Very few girls when I was growing up were named 'Carole' or any variation thereof. Girls my age had names like Julie, Laura, Kristi, Stephanie, and Amy. You know who was named 'Carol'? The mothers of girls my age (see: Carol Brady). Not cool. Not cool at all. The only character of my generation to be named Carol on a sitcom was Carol Seaver on Growing Pains.
I can't tell you how many times I wished for a name like 'Kelly' or 'Melissa,' or - best name of all -'Farrah,' like my childhood idol, Farrah Fawcett-Majors (this was before she divorced the Six Million Dollar Man, btw). But alas, I was named after my father, Carroll. Talk about a bummer of a name. Fortunately for him, though, his middle name was Alton, so he went by 'Al.' Still, I'm sure once roll was called in the classrooms of his youth, he was tormented more than his fair share. 'Carol' isn't the kind of name that's going to make you want to crawl under the desk when you hear it called out, but it also doesn't connote anything that positive, either.
'Carol' is almost as plain as 'Jane' but without the ability to be transformed into a cute nickname like 'Janie.' I can recall moving across country with my mom when I was about to go into sixth grade and as we drove across the state line of California, I told her that I wished I had a nickname. This would be the time to employ the name of my choosing, after all, when I was the brand-new kid on the block.
"Well, what about Carrie?"
"No, that makes me think of 'Carrie' the horse at Woodlawn..." (Woodlawn Stables was where I took riding lessons in Alexandria, VA. Believe me, there were no such stables at the place where we were moving, though: Barstow, CA in the middle of the Mojave Desert, half-way between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Good thing I didn't know that at the time...)
"How about Kitty? Your initials are C.A.T., after all."
"Mom. Kitty? Really? You know I'm a dog person." (Insert tweenage eyeroll here.)
For the lack of a better idea, I stuck with my given name and have never seriously considered changing it since. It is what it is. And at least I have that 'e' at the end of it, which gives it a bit of flair, and for which I am very grateful, even if my name is constantly misspelled. I am very attached to that 'e,' I'll have you know. If a stranger misspells it, I let it slide. But when a good friend, who should know better, misspells it, I definitely point it out, usually to the tune of "It's Carole with an E, like Liza with a Z. Learn it, live it, love it." In other words, I insist upon my 'e.'
Still, I was looking through baby name books when I was pregnant with my oldest son (who happens to love his name -- Truman -- as he should), and I came across a passage which said something to the effect of "Some names cycle in and out of fashion, such as Lily, Rose, and Ava. There are others conjure up images of '50's ranch style houses and beehive hairdos. The following names are has beens, never to shine again..." And then there was an alphabetized list of names such as Gladys, Betty, Josephine and - you guessed it - Carol.
Ouch. That stung. I consider myself fairly critical of my moniker, but to liken it to Gladys?! (No offense, Gladys. I'm fond of that name, myself, as it was the name of my husband's sainted grandmother, who died last January at the age of 101.) That's harsh. Besides, there is one time of year when 'Carol' does shine, and that's Christmas.
I've read various definitions of what 'Carol' means, but the one I like best and therefore claim is that it means 'song of joy.' (That's way better than being merely a feminine form of Charles, a farmer, or a free man, don't you think?) When I think about it that way, I'm actually kind of glad to have a name like Carole. And, if you'd known my mom, you know it could be A LOT worse. Family lore has it that she was the one who came up with the name for one of my cousins: LAWATHA.
Here's a little something I made with the Christmas Carol Circles set:
Don't you love that patterned paper? It's from Doodlebug Designs - Karen carries lots of Doodlebug products in the YNS store. She also carries those fabulous YNS Glittered Skittles embellishing the upper right hand corner.
How would you like to win a set of Christmas Carol Circles and an assortment of YNS Glittered Skittles for absolutely F-R-E-E? All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me two things:
- Your first name, and how you feel about it.
- The name of your favorite Christmas carol.
Leave your comment by midnight EST on Thursday, December 6th, and Karen will randomly select a winner to be announced on Friday the 7th.
xo ~ Carole