On May 11, I gained another niece. My hippie-leaning sister gave birth to a girl, who weighed in at 7 pounds, 11 ounces. Her parents named her Aspen, after their favorite tree (told you: hippie leanings). When I announced the baby's name to my elderly friend, Marie, she said, "Aspirin?" and gave one of those kids-these-days head shakes.
Aspen's middle name, Jewel, is a tribute to my paternal grandmother, whose middle name was the same. Everybody else on earth, except my sisters and me, called her by her first name, which was Mabel. But my mother didn't like that, so she had us call her Grandma Jewel. I don't know whether Mom got her permission to take this liberty. My guess is she didn't.
Anyhow, on Friday Kito and I are flying down to Arkansas to have a look at the new arrival. I bought her a stuffed zebra and a music box that plays "Talk to the Animals" from Doctor Dolittle (the 1967 version).