The name "Ellen" is one of almost 80 variants of "Helen," from a Greek word meaning "shining light." Clair, my middle name, means "clear or shining," and is also the French word for light. My twin sister's name, Kathleen Ann, comes from Greek and Hebrew words that mean "pure grace of God."
No comments are welcome on whether these names are appropriate for us, thank you very much -- but I've always liked having a name that means "light." Not to get too high-falutin, but I think about my favorite passage from Ulysses, from the section known as "Ithaca":
He had not risked, he did not expect, he had not been disappointed, he was satisfied.
What satisfied him?
To have sustained no positive loss. To have brought a positive gain to others. Light to the gentiles.
You can put that on my tombstone, when the time comes.
You might have seen on the news that we've had some major winds up here in the Northeast; almost 40,000 people in Maine still didn't have power this morning. My electricity's working, thank goodness, but flying into the Portland Jetport yesterday morning was pretty harrowing.
The pilot had been flying fairly high, to avoid the winds, and came in to the runway too fast. We had to do a touch-and-go and fly around the airport for another try, which meant passing through the winds on the way down, on the way up, and then on the way down again. I've never been airsick, but yesterday was a close call.