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What’s in a Name?

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“Name Day” in Swedish

If I’d been born in Sweden, as my grandparents were,  I would celebrate my Name Day on December 9 with all the other Anns and Annas.  According to one source “the Swedish Church (which was a State Church from 1527 to 1999) encouraged the celebration of namedays, since the Church considered the celebration of birthdays a pagan custom.”

But I wasn’t born in Sweden, and my actual birth day places me directly under the sign of Aquarius.  Astrology.com states that “Aquarians are the perfect representatives for the Age of Aquarius.

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I’d say about 10 of the 19 traits apply to me

The Age of Aquarius from the Fifth Dimension was released in 1969 – and, coincidentally, we just had a blog about 1969.  Be sure to re-read the great lyrics of the song or, better yet, listen to it sung. 

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius

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Andy just laughs when I read off some of the other traits – “temperamental,” “uncompromising” –  which we Aquarians might be expected to have.   When looking at compatibility with folks from other Zodiac signs, those who are Taurus (Andy) are considered way too kind and easy going to be hooked up with Aquarians.  LOL.  Those who know us from our MiniBlooms gardening business days will nod knowingly 🙂

When I was born that day in February,  my parents chose to name me after my Swedish grandmother – Anna Carlson – who had passed away 5 years earlier.  Except my parents simplified it, and I became just Ann.   Ann Hill.

“Anacin Pill!”  “Ant Hill!”  I still remember the young man who mercilessly teased me with those spin-offs.

I’m a little bitter that my parents didn’t think up a more charming name for me.  Why couldn’t they have stuck with Anna?  That one syllable makes all the difference.

So when I got married taking my new husband’s surname was a no-brainer.  I was tired of being Ann Hill , so I gave up “Hill” and took up “Deseran” with no feminist-inspired look back.  But even “Deseran” could have been more fascinating.  Andy’s dad’s family came from Belgium with the surname of Deserranno (which we’ve seen spelled several ways) but, arriving at Ellis Island, Andy’s dad, Gustaf Josef Jean Deserranno, became Gus Deseran.    And my Swedish grandfather’s name went from August Karlsson to Gus Carlson.  Such a shame.

Maybe the pain of a plain name made me more contemplative in naming my own kids and pets.  Andy is delving deep into our pet-name thing in today’s Andy’s Corner.  It’s pretty funny….even if I was admittedly a part of it all.

Before considering what birthday cakes I’d go ga-ga over (and do you like the name Lady Gaga? :), I have to add a favorite quote about names.  Barack Obama, when he gave his first nationally publicized speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 stated “my parents shared not only an improbable love, they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or ‘blessed,’ believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success.”

Now the ga-ga cakes:  most cakes we suggest are super simple and more casual than a proper birthday cake.  But when a special occasion requires a special cake, here are four great ones.  Just click on the name to get directed to the recipe.  And be sure to scroll to the end to see the beauty that was part of this year’s birthday celebration, recipe included. Continue reading

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