Posted in About, Childhood Memories, Me, Post A Week Challenge

Who The Heck Is Leelee Gonzalez?

(Plinky Prompt of the Day: How Did You Get Your Name?)

I was talking with my pregnant friend Ashley this afternoon and at some point the conversation turned to baby names. Let’s just say they haven’t picked one for the soon to be new baby girl Lambert and from the conversation, it may be a while before they do agree on a name. It got me to thinking about names and how much I love names. It’s a weird fascination, but trust me, it’s not as weird as my fascination with fuzzy feline nut sacks. I’ll save that one for another day.

I love hearing the story of people’s names. To me, our names are who we are. I have always been a very devout believer that family names are important when choosing a child’s name. I know many people do not share that feeling but I feel very strongly about that. Had I been blessed with children, you can believe I would have used a family name. I always dreamed of having a baby girl and naming her Marian (after my grandfather) Elizabeth (my grandmother) and calling her Mari-Beth because all true southern women should have two word names. It’s a rule.  During my previous life, I did dream of a baby boy named Creighton Lee, after my ex-husband’s great grandfather (the Creighton part) and Lee (me, my dad and my ex-husband all share this name). I heard years later that my ex-husband did indeed have a boy with his second wife and I heard a rumor his name is Creighton.

My parents must have been reading from the same rule book when they had me because here I am, Lee Ann. You can’t get more southern that that one. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my name, but for as much as I wish I had been dubbed with a moniker like Sophia, Genevieve or Samantha, I wasn’t. However, my name does have pretty special meaning. My first name, Lee, was my father’s middle name, while my middle name, Ann, is my mother’s middle name. I would say that my parents covered all the bases here. Not only can I see glimpses of my mom and dad every time I look in the mirror, but I’m also reminded of them each time I hear my name. This often makes me smile.

Now, as much as I love my parents for sharing their names with me, I’ve also been pretty bitter about the simplicity of my name.  I can remember the first time I realized my name was lacking some flair. It was during my sixth grade graduation ceremony as the principal announced each name and each one flowed with this beautiful multi-syllabic harmony.  That is until they called out my name. Lee.Ann.Roney. Bor-Ring! I remember thinking how odd it sounded after hearing names like Loren Micheal, Julia Dell and Kerry Dawn. It was almost like something was missing. Like there should have been something else, another name, another syllable. Something. But nope, it was just Lee…Ann, and thus began my utter aversion for my name.

Now, throw a very thick southern accent into the mix. This is where the ridicule began. “What’s your name?” “Lee Auunnnn Roneeeeey.” Go ahead, sound it out. Say it out loud. See what I mean.  I was as country as they came as a child and my accent was as thick as syrup, so every time I said my name, it would be repeated by the adult listener with such a drawl that it would take them about 45 seconds to get those three little words out. Seriously.  Of course, it would be followed up with an “Ain’t that cute” comment that I think was supposed to make me feel better, but never really did.

As I got older, my favorite game was to change up my name when I met new people. Sometimes, I would be just Ann, in an attempt to keep it real, and sometimes I would pick something completely different like Sabrina or Catherine. Lord only knows where those came from but they were names that made a statement and I liked that. At some point I created my bar name of Angel and then Angelee, which I’ve always kind of liked. It was my beloved nephew who created my current persona of Leelee, which I would make my legal name in a heartbeat.

When I got divorced from my first husband, I elected to keep my married name, Sullivan, because that had been my name my entire adult life. It just made sense at the young age of 32. My work history was based on that name and it just seemed like it would be too complicated to explain a name change at that point in my life.  Besides, Sullivan was so much less likely to be misspelled AND it gave me some street cred on St. Patrick’s Day. I also dropped the Ann when I left Alabama, so at 32 years of age, I had officially become Lee Sullivan and Lee Ann Roney was never to be again. Ever.

Now, let’s flash forward to June, 2009. I’m about to get married for the second time. For a year a battle was fought inside me over what to do with my name. My deeply rooted traditional heart was telling me I should take my husband’s name. It would be an honor to share my husband’s name. I WANTED to become Mrs. Lee Gonzalez.  And then I said that out loud. I really didn’t like the sound of it. At.All. But, take my vanity out of the picture and my reasonable, rational head was telling me to keep the name I had been using for almost 18 ½ years. I thought about the years of history in both my personal relationships and my career that I would have to basically change. There would be credit cards, bank accounts, student load accounts, work emails, and the list goes on and on. When I was 22 it was no big deal, there was like one thing that required a name change so the idea of not changing my name back then never crossed my mind. Now, combine all of this with the fact that my marriage documents are all in Spanish and I can tell you right now, all of this is more work than it’s worth. Way more work than I’m willing to put in to it. Oh, and let’s not forget that my wonderful, progressive thinking, new husband adamantly opposes the idea of me giving up my identity (my name) for some old-fashioned tradition. So, the decision was made to keep it simple and keep my name.

Now, here’s where I have a problem with all of this. I am currently married to the man of my dreams, building a life together in our happy, little, blended family and I am wearing my ex-husband’s name like a scarlet letter. I’m not sure how to feel about this. I sometimes feel like I’m cheating, like I’m betraying my marriage with the constant reminder of a man who has been out of my life for over a decade. I need to resolve this in my mind but it still really weighs me down at times. I wish I didn’t think about it and that when I do think about it, that I didn’t feel so bad about it. Gil doesn’t care. His kids don’t care. Why do I care?

I keep threatening that I’m going to have my name officially changed to Leelee Gonzalez. THIS would be my perfect name. It’s got panache, it flows in perfect syllabic harmony AND it would allow me to take my husband’s name. If I decide to change my name and deal with all the hassles associated with that, I’m going to do it right! Hey, go big or go home! Right? Gil does not find this joke funny. At.All.

Posted in 30 Days of Truth, About, Post A Day Challenge

About (My Blog)

(30 Days of Truth – Day 29: About, Part II – My Blog)

I began this blog last night and had planned to finish it up today to post before heading over to the east coast to spend time with friends. The day got away from me and I never had a chance to smooth out the roughness or to finish my thoughts. My first instinct was to just abandon this one and save it for another day. But then I took another look at it and decided that even in its incomplete state, it might be worthy of sharing anyway. As I lay here in the guest bedroom of our friends Stacey and Sanjay, typing away on my Galaxy Tab in complete darkness, I’m reflecting on the evening’s discussions and my heart and head are full. I’m bursting at the seams right now with love, inspiration, motivation, and GRATITUDE. It’s because of these feelings I felt the need to go ahead and post my incomplete entry. It’s because I didn’t want to wait another day to say thank you.

I am very blessed that my friends and family stop by on a regular basis at my little internet home. You are always welcome and appreciated here. I cherish each and every one of you. Your positive feedback and constant encouragement is the driving force behind my fingers tapping away on this keyboard tonight and every night.

I’m also constantly surprised by the beautiful and sweet comments left by friends I haven’t yet met. I am blown away at the kindness and support shown to me by strangers. I’m not sure how some of you find me but I want you to know that I’m glad you did. Please never hesitate to reach out to me and say hello. I would love to have a chance to personally welcome you and thank you for reading. On the right side of my Home page, I have links that will take you directly to me via email, Twitter and Facebook. I love the feedback and welcome positive or negative comments at any time.

What I Write About
I began this blog to help me discover my authentic self and I really feel like I’m on my way. The thing is that right now the thoughts I strive to organize are really all over the place. This is evident when you take a look at my Tag Cloud. I write a lot about my husband and God. I’ve touched on family, friends, music and my step-children. I’ve shared my faith, dreams and disappointments. I will be writing more about my cats in the future so consider yourself warned. I guess the best way to sum up what I write about is that I write about those core values that are important to most everyone. I’m still very new at this and as a result, I’m not sure I’m ready to place myself into a certain niche just yet. Check back with me in a few months on this one.

Posted in 30 Days of Truth, About, Me, Post A Day Challenge

About (Me), Part I

(30 Days of Truth – Day 28: About, Part I – Me)

I looked at today’s topic and realized that yesterday’s blog post really covered my biggest dream in life so I’m not going to bore you with more on that subject right now. I’ve got something much more boring to talk about tonight. ME. Okay, I know I’ve pretty much talked only about me for the last 27 days but this one is going to be different. This one is going to be about me and about my blog.  And, you can totally blame Danny Brown for this.  Danny is kind of a big deal in marketing, social media, blogging, philanthropy and a host of other things I’m sure. In addition to his own blog, Danny is also a contributor for one of my favorite sites, For Bloggers, By Bloggers and it was his post today “Why Telling Us About You Helps Promote Your Blog”,  that served as a swift kick in my arse to do what should have been done 27 days ago.

In Danny’s blog today, he says that the About page is “the single most important aspect of your blog when it comes to letting your visitors know who you are, after the content itself.” I’m a very bad little blogger because my About Me page was completely an afterthought. I added it before I went live because every blogger has one and I had to have something. I used the words that Gil and I had developed a long time ago and I didn’t bother to elaborate or expand on that text. I want my readers to want to know me and if my About Me page isn’t enticing you to come back or read further, then why even include it? I want to change that starting right now. I want to enhance my About page to include more about me and about my blog (Part II Coming Soon). And I have a plan to do just that.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, here goes my attempt to describe me.

About Me

I am Lee and I am a girl. There has been some confusion before so I thought I would clear that up right off the bat. Wait…I just realized that didn’t come out right. The confusion is with my name and the fact that it’s spelled in the traditionally masculine spelling and people often think I’m a guy if they haven’t met or talked to me. Everything else about me is all girl and there is no confusing that.

I have been married to Gil Gonzalez since June 13, 2009. I am very lucky in that my sweet and caring husband also happens to be an incredibly talented writer. I live to read the words he writes.

I am step-mother to his beautiful children, Natalie, 11 ,and Daniel, 9. They live with us part time and rarely a day goes by that we don’t see them, even if they sleep most nights at their mom’s house. And yes, we all get along beautifully.

I work for one of the top global defense government contractors in the world. My title is Program Management Specialist but that was mostly made up when I needed something to put on a business card. Basically, I work in business operations in direct support of the program manager on a $1.5B  US Special Operations Command IT contract.  I’m kind of a jack of all trades when it comes to basic business processes so I pretty much fell into this role and it is The.Best.Job.Ever. It’s as if it ws created specifically for me.

I love cats, especially my cats, way more than I should. For your future reference and because I know you are dying to know <don’t roll your eyes at me LOL>, their names are Peppy, Dudley, Boo, Monkey and Vancouver.

I love being crafty but I never make the time to do it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE needlepoint but haven’t picked up a needle in forever. I like sewing, cross-stitch and embroidery but my passion is needlepoint. I miss it so much. I can do other crafty things but only if I have good, solid direction. I’m crafty but not overly creative when it comes to making things. I have also discovered that I can paint if guided by a professional. I’ve only done this successfully three times but I intend to do it much more. I really like the focus I have when painting and I want do it again very soon.

I love social media and I love the interwebz. I love how this pile of pieces and parts and this big cloud in Inter-space brings the world to me every day. I could sit at my computer 18 hours a day and not get tired of it. I love techie, geeky speak and I want to learn everything I can about everything related to this humming box on my desk.

I like to take pictures. I mostly stalk my cats and the insects around my house for that perfect shot. I don’t know the ins and outs of a camera but I get lucky sometimes. I want to take an actual photography class at some point but there are so many things ahead of that on my list of to-do’s that I’m not sure it will ever happen. In the meantime, I’ll just pretend like I know what I’m doing and only share those rare exceptional shots I’m able to capture.

My life would be complete if I could make a comfortable living providing social media solutions and planning fundraising events for charitable organizations.

Now, why don’t you join in the fun? Why don’t we all share and get to know each other better?

If you know me, leave a comment below with one a fact about me that I left out of the list above and one interesting, funny or profound tidbit about yourself.

If you don’t know me, leave a comment below and ask me any question you would like for me to answer about myself and then tell me one interesting fact about yourself.

I really hope you guys play along….this could be really fun.

And, as always, thank you for visiting me here!