Mismatched Mess

of life, love, fashion, & forgetting to update


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Our New Three-Legged Kitten

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Last December we made a big decision to get our first cat. We’ve had hamsters and a gerbil before, but when we made the decision to move to the UK we thought a pet was out of the question. We are only here for a few short years, and while we are open to staying OR going back to America, our life, admittedly, isn’t stable right now.

So, this decision wasn’t an easy one to make. After a lot of discussing we knew that any pet wouldn’t just be a temporary thing. Whatever happens, wherever we go, our new cat will come with us.

davWe looked at several places in Canterbury, only halfway thinking of actually adopting a pet. I was very apprehensive of making a costly decision when we have an uncertain future. And then we were invited to a party. Our neighbors (who are also members of the church we attend) had just adopted two black kittens from Cats Protection. At the party they invited us to, the kittens were the center of attention, and it was hard to ignore our desires for a cat of our own.

davTaylor eventually found a little black cat by the name of Rufus, also from Cats Protection. He and his litter were found living underneath a caravan, which just so happened to fit the description of our neighbor’s new male kitten. They were brothers. Except, Rufus hadn’t stayed with his litter when they were rescued. He was put into a separate foster home because he only had three paws. Unfortunately, they suspect that a rat or other animal chewed his paw off when he was a newborn before his mother could stop them.

davThis kitten was the last of his litter to be adopted because of his paw. Even we were hesitant to choose him, not because we didn’t want him, but because our unknown future and lack of finances made us wonder if we were the right match. To change our mind, we had to change our perceptions. What does having a three legged cat look like? We began researching other cats with the same issue. We found videos of three and even two legged cats jumping, climbing and running.They were completely capable and we realized we wanted him.

davCats Protection put us through an application and a home inspection before we could even meet him. We passed their inspections, and our friend drove us to the foster parent’s home where we met a rambunctious and spoiled kitten who was more lively and friendly than we ever imagined him to be. We took him home that night. Our lives have brightened so much with this little guy.

His given name was Rufus, which was quite cute. In fact, I’m inclined to believe it’s a great name, considering it’s my grandfather’s name! Needless to say, out of respect, we decided to change it.

It actually took almost a month to decide, but we landed on Sabre. It has a special, funny meaning to us, but of course it can also be correlated to saber tooth tiger, lightsaber, and the sword. We like all these references, but its actual meaning is from our favorite tv show, The Office. Dunder Mifflin Paper Company is bought out by a company called Sabre. We love this show, can watch its episodes over and over again, and can quote about 75% of it. This was a perfect choice for us, short of just straight up calling him Dwight Schrute.

Unfortunately, in the coming months, Sabre will have to undergo a full leg amputation. His leg, of course, is continuing to grow. He has to carry the weight of it at all times, and it’s really sensitive. He’s very protective of it because an accidental hit, even if it’s small, hurts him. Cats Protection has offered to pay for any surgery and aftercare, which we are so grateful for. All our hesitations would have been proven correct, and we wouldn’t have been able to give him a home if not for this financial help.

sdrRight now, Sabre loves sleeping on my desk while I work. Between naps, he’ll bird watch from the window and spy on any cats who have wandered into our garden. In the mornings he prefers to wake Taylor up to feed him and then only really wants to ‘bug’ Taylor afterwards in hopes that he’ll wake up. He likes to follow us around and is almost never too far away. When we leave he sits in the bay window in the living room and watches the passersby on the street. He is even known to greet our neighbors when they wave to him.

We’re so happy we decided to get a pet. Life is never as settled as you’d like, and having him helps put that in perspective. Even though we may move after Taylor graduates, we are 100% set on-and thrilled that-we’re taking Sabre with us.


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Texans Abroad | Rye, England

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Rye, England is the cutest, quirkiest town I’ve seen so far. When Taylor wanted to show me this small part of England last summer, I was continually surprised at the charming views and clever homes.

ryemapAn hour’s train ride there from Canterbury, we ended up in another county, East Sussex. Though now two miles from the coastline, Rye was originally at the head of a bay in The English Channel and was an important Medieval trading port.

Walking up the cobbled stone roads looking at all the historical homes felt like walking through a storybook. Picturesque Medieval and Georgian homes crawling with greenery, each carrying a clever sign to describe itself. I was so intrigued by this quirky feature of the town!

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Walking up Mermaid Street, I was completely amused with the funny signs on doors.

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“The House with Two Doors”

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“House with the Seat”

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Our day was quite filled in this small town as we found our way around to 900 year old church, St Mary,  Ypres Tower, and coffee at a lovely cafe. Home to many authors, illustrators and musicians, even Paul McCartney of The Beatles, apparently, I can certainly see where they gain their inspiration.

 

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The Parish of St. Mary Church, Rye

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Viewing the old bells at St. Mary Church that are still tolled

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Climbed to the top of St. Mary Church and walking out the diagonal door to see the views.

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Black cat of St. Mary Church

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Trying on a replica viking helmet at Rye Castle Museum (Ypres Tower)

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Original torture device in Ypres Tower, which was mostly used as a jail.


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Texans Abroad | Broadstairs, England

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I discovered these photos of a day trip to Broadstairs from this summer. Though they aren’t the best of quality, it was a good day with friends.

broadstairs-mapBroadstairs is a coastal town very close to Canterbury. Its beaches are sandy, while many other coastal cities in this region have only pebbles. You can imagine this makes it a popular swimming spot in the summer. We rode the train there and met with a friend (who biked from Canterbury) who was happy to show us around.

One of the most memorable spots was an old church that has been converted into a pub called The Chapel.The best part were the wall-to-ceiling books everywhere you looked. Stacked high and cluttered along every wall and surface were secondhand books. The two or three people there were enjoying a book along with their pint, so we decided to do the same. img_8401-2

Broadstairs is on the Isle of Thanet, and gets its name from a former set of long stairs cut into the chalky cliffs leading from the beach to an 11th century shrine. As we enjoyed coffee and ice cream overlooking the beach below, resort guests milled about and children lined up to jump from the dock into the sea. The overcast sky didn’t deter anyone, and even though only peeks of the sun shone through, Broadstairs has certainly been one of the brightest towns we’ve visited. The colorful blues of the water, mixed with the bright chalky cliffs reminded me of the town’s nickname, ‘The Jewel in Thanet’s Crown.’

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Super Moon of 2016

moon2I’ve fallen in love with nighttime photography. I took these photos in November of last year in our back garden. Photographing these blurry stars was a lesson in patience and being very still. When it warms up I will continue experimenting.3One of my fondest childhood memories is lying in the grassy yard at my grandparent’s house in the countryside. This particular night, the summer sun had just set and the warm Texan air was beginning to cool. All around me was the chirping symphony of a thousand nighttime orchestras. I remember lying there as if it were a dream. It wasn’t often I stayed outside in the dark, alone. But that night was mine. Looking up, the stars struck me as so clear and so vast. No man-made lights marred the view and I could’ve counted the small pinpoints of light all night long.

Long ago was that day, and life changes so rapidly. But when I find myself looking up on a particularly clear night, I am transported back to the humid summer evening of my childhood where my love of star gazing was born.moon14moon3


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TexansAbroad | Weekend Getaway to York, England

December was filled to the brim with lovely get-togethers, plenty of good cheer, and one big weekend trip to York, England. From Canterbury West train station, heading into London Kings Cross Station, we hopped aboard the third Virgin train we could find. Having been scheduled for a much earlier train, we had our tickets changed twice as we realized the extent of the crowds waiting to begin this cramped four hour journey. Waiting an extra hour and half put us on an empty and comfortable train where our journey could finally commence.map

Long train journeys are best planned out: a good book, some downloaded episodes of a fun TV show, and a packed lunch are our recommendations. Lunch is the most important part. After being crammed into the morning train to London–discovering there is only standing room left, with your backpack constantly hitting the arm of the guy wedged beside you and praying for a breath of fresh air–there is nothing more satisfying than knowing once you are finally out of London, tucked away into a seat, the simplest of pleasures-the sandwich-is waiting for you.

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Yorkshire Museum in the distance

Once we were settled into our hotel and enjoyed a short rest, flicking through channels on the television in hopes of finding a fun British show (we don’t have TV and rely on Netflix and Amazon. We don’t miss it, but the familiar comfort of channel surfing is always fun), we began our walk into the city centre

The first evening, other than a quick enjoyable trip to the Yorkshire Museum, was spent among the hoardes of Christmas market goers. We knew exploring a busy new city in the dark wouldn’t be the most fun, so we instead sauntered our way through the Christmas stalls, stopping for dinner and mulled wine at nearby food stands. Christmas markets are a new experience for us, though the concept is clear: to shop. York was our first big Christmas market: dozens of stalls filled with handmade scarves and wooden statues, soap and ornaments. We aren’t too interested in shopping while on trips, so we mostly made our way around a couple times, listened to some Christmas buskers and found our way back to the hotel.

 

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St. Mary’s Abbey ruins

The next day and a half we were able to experience more of York, taking photos along the way. The best part was stumbling upon the historic cat trail. Business owners would erect statues of cats onto their buildings to scare away birds and mice. There are two trails to follow, put on by two cat stores (one sold glass figurines, including cats and the other store sold cat accessories). We chose to follow the trail map made by the glass figurine store, which turned out to be riddles and clues that led us all across the city in search of cats. We photographed about 23 cats and saw parts of the city we wouldn’t have otherwise explored!

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St. Mary’s Abbey ruins, York, England

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Taylor taking a photo of the first views of the city

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Little Shambles, York. Medieval houses dating back from the 14th century

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Taylor standing under a lopsided building in the Little Shambles

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Walking along the York Roman wall. More narrow than Canterbury wall, but over two miles long!

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Facing It

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I make eye contact
With the reflection I know.
I face my imperfections,
The aging.
The scars, scratches and subtle features.
There’s a slight wrinkle along my forehead.
Cheeks riddled with scars.
Indentations on either side of my mouth
Formed from two years of a too-long sentence with braces.
The soft, splotchy brown that divides my face in two;
A birth mark starting at the corner of my tear duct
Snaking its way across my cheek and falling down my neck.

I make eye contact
With the reflection I know.
I face my imperfections.
My eyes tell a story
Of tired days and bright adventures.
My mouth slightly curves upward,
Whether I’m smiling or not, no one could tell.
The features of my face show maturity,
But only the kind of wisdom that comes
To a woman in her mid-twenties
When she finally realizes
She knows even less than she thought she did.

I make eye contact
With the reflection I know.
I face my fears, failures and facts of my life.
The facts that were too long left buried
Which I finally find the courage
To dig out and
Find a way to move forward.


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The River

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There’s a calm in my mind that exists at a time that doesn’t make sense. There’s a warmth that spreads through me like a sleepy river, constant and unwavering. The calm glides through me and into you, and your calm floats downstream into me.

No mask. Nothing fake. Pure and sweet and harsh and bitter. We bite into the fruit that opens up our world, our minds, our hearts. And the acerbic taste brings us pain, the substance brings us closer, the sweet aftertaste brings us calm.

We trust what we cannot know. We connect and reconnect. We hurt, but we hurt together. We bring the calm.


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A Week in Nijmegen, Netherlands

Nijmegen, Netherlands

Our trip to Nijmegen was very different from any trip we’ve taken together in the past.

Edinburgh, Dover, London, have all been weekend trips.

This trip lasted five days and we both still had to work during our time there. Taylor attended a conference related to his PhD work, which included people from all different fields, including his advisor, presenting papers.Nijmegen, Netherlands bikingNijmegen, Netherlands

Each day was a little different–for instance, I attended the conference the first day. While it was quite over my head, I did enjoy myself and took advantage of the free coffee that was always available. The next two days I chose to stay home and work, but I explored the town center a little as well. It was fun to explore, but weird being on my own.

Still, I’m glad I did it, and was able to show Taylor all the lovely nooks, crannies and alleyways I found along the way. I brought along my DSLR and camcorder, but ended up only snapping quick shots with my phone.

Nijmegen is a good sized biking city, and is apparently the oldest city in the Netherlands. While we didn’t get to see too much, we enjoyed our time exploring, eating the delicious food and hanging out in our amazing Airbnb flat!

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Nijmegen, Netherlands