Monday, July 31, 2006

Who wants to be a superhero?

Yes, I saw the last 5 or 10 minutes of "Who Wants to Be a Superhero?" on TV last night...not quite sure I get it. (Does the winner get to be a real superhero? Now that I'd like to see.) But what really prompted this post was the topic of names.

Before I had my first child 8 years ago, we'd picked the name Kara as a girl's name. It was just a name I had liked since childhood. We had a boy, and then another, so Kara's always been on the back burner. Now, since I'm expecting again, I started considering it again, and just found out this year that Kara is the "real" name of Supergirl (most incarnations of Supergirl, anyway). Shortly after learning that, I found out some DC Comics stamps were coming out this year, including 2 Supergirl stamps. I planned to buy 3 sheets of them, one to use and 2 to save as keepsakes for my possible Kara. 

So...the stamps came out last week, and as I went to buy them online, I realized I had a dilemma. I'd just found out my baby might be a boy. Why would I need 3 sheets of stamps with Kara/Supergirl if I wasn't having a Kara? My husband said to buy them anyway--I could always just use them for mailing. But 3 sheets? They're not that cheap, and I don't usually like using special stamps on everything. I already have a lot of Muppets stamps, children's book art stamps, Disney stamps, author stamps, etc., and never want to "waste" them on bills, so they hardly get used. 

So I joked to my husband that our only solution was to find a boy's name that was the alter ego of one of the male superheroes on the stamp sheet... About 2 minutes later, I added, "When I said we should find a superhero boy's name, I didn't realize Nicolas Cage had named his son Kal-El." My husband asked what search terms I'd used to find that out, and I said, "I wasn't searching for it, I just happened to be reading an article on Nicolas Cage!" Which was true. At the very moment I'd been talking to my husband about the stamp problem, I'd been holding the lastest Reader's Digest open to an article about Nicolas Cage, which I was about to start reading. How oddly coincidental to read about his son Kal-El just a moment later!

That got me thinking... I wouldn't name a child Kal-El, or Clark for that matter. I kind of like Kent, but I don't want sons named both Kyle and Kent (I know, Kyle and Kara both start with K's, too, but I picked Kara first!). So I decided to look up the names of the other superheroes. The best one ws Plastic Man--Patrick--but I wouldn't name a kid after Plastic Man! Others included Arthur, Oliver, Barry, Guy, and a lot of other names I wouldn't use for my child. Then I learned that the name of the most recent Green Lantern is...Kyle, my youngest son's name.

I then looked up the rest of us, and discovered we all have superhero alter egos! My husband's name is Mark, and there's a newer superhero named Invincible (from Image Comics), otherwise known as Mark Grayson. My oldest son's name is Ryan, and it turns out the newest Atom is Ryan Choi (and Atom fits my little scientist quite well!). Finally, I looked up myself, and found a superhero named Alison...Dazzler, who was once even known as "The Disco Dazzler"! She's a singer who started out in disco, later moving on...also a mutant who converts sound into light and energy beams, and has been associated with the X-Men. Totally cracked me up! So now do I have to keep the superhero thing going with the 5th member of our family? Heh. They are coming out with some Marvel Comics stamps next year, so at least we could expand our horizons...

By the way, I bought 2 sheets of the stamps. If Kara doesn't materialize, I'll just use them. I figure they'd be great for my sons' birthday party invitations! And in my ongoing loyalty to all things literary, I also got a sheet of Katherine Anne Porter stamps.

Friday, July 14, 2006


  • It is Bastille Day.

  • It is Cow Appreciation Day.

  • My youngest son is 5½ years old, and we'll be having a small half-birthday celebration for him (we started celebrating the kids' half-birthdays because his real birthday is close to Christmas, and a year is a long time for a small child to wait).

  • I am 11 weeks pregnant with our third child! The due date as of now is Groundhog Day 2007 (February 2). We've had a few scares with a dental emergency I had and a car wreck I was in that totaled our van, but we've seen the baby on ultrasound recently, and so far so good! :-)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Shuttle-free Saturday

Yesterday, we sort of impulsively decided to drive across Florida to try to see the space shuttle launch. One hour, we averaged 70 miles an hour. The next, the traffic was so jammed we only made it 10 miles in an hour! Then we had to have a long potty break for our we weren't on track to make it there in time, and it was just as well for us that they canceled the launch 10 minutes before the scheduled time. However, at the place on the highway where we were when we heard on the radio that it was canceled, there were cars lined up everywhere along the shoulder of the road, some with binoculars, so I'm assuming we could have seen something from there if it did happen!

So there we were, after 3 hours of driving with no launch to see! We were nearly there by then, so we decided to go on to Orlando, which we had never been to before. Not to see some exciting theme park or was already nearly 4 pm, after all...but to eat at Fuddrucker's! Fuddrucker's is one of our favorite burger places in the world and we knew that Orlando had the closest one to where we live now (ugh!). So we did that. I had no idea Orlando was so much like a little Las Vegas! (At least on International Drive where we ate.)

Then it was already 6 but we figured we should do something there, and realized our science museum membership card from Sarasota might get us into Orlando's science museum for free. Sure enough, it did, so we had a nice evening at the science museum with the kids, and saw a safari film on their 8-story domed screen. Then drove back home afterwards, returning home at 11:30 pm! I was tempted to get a hotel room for the night in Orlando and try to see the launch again today, but we decided not to spend the money when they said there was still a 60% chance they wouldn't launch today, either. So, we may try again for a future launch!

In scarier news, right before we left town, I saw a big snake on our porch! It was moving fast, but appeared to be black and maybe 2½ feet long. It was headed off the porch, into some grass and plants, and we lost track of it...scary! My kids play outside all the time, usually even barefoot. Now I'm not sure what to do! I'm particularly freaked out because I know there is/was a water moccasin in the creek behind our house. They are swift, aggressive, and deadly. I am just hoping a water moccasin wouldn't have wandered that far from the water, but who knows? Shudder!