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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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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Blackberries

Wild blackberries grow along the wooded path we enjoy walking. A wooded path that runs alongside the River Stour, providing a small escape from the city. This fascinated me.

It reminded me of my childhood. It seems like a dream. Family loaded in a car, traveling to the magical forest of Harleton, Texas where buckets full of blackberries awaited.

The hot summer sun made the days longer. Sweaty, uncomfortable hours that stretched into eternity. Time didn’t matter, until it did; until it was uncomfortable. Juicy blackberries staining our hands and mouths red, thorns pricking our arms and legs, mosquitoes leaving itchy welts along our skin. Foot races between mother and daughter, father and daughter, sister and sister. A memory that seems like a dream, stretched into a timeless, shadowy vortex; swirling fact with fiction.


What is fact? What is fiction?

What can the imagination truly erase, if it’s written on someone else’s memory? Can we control our stories if they all just end up as hazy dream-like substances floating along our subconscious? What will be remembered if we let it all fade away?

The power of remembering is a gift. Even when it’s a curse. Even when you remember guilt or pain. At least you remember. Even when you want to forget…it’s probably better to remember. It’s easier to remember pain. That gives you the power to blame. Blame yourself, blame someone else…blame gives you power to color your memories in pain, even if it wasn’t all painful.

Remembering through ‘love’ might be harder. To color your memories with love, where there was love. To scream and fight and wrestle with the idea that love still exists, even in the moments that are factually, historically painful. And to remind yourself everyday that love still exists when the evidence isn’t in front of you. When it’s not something tangible, anymore, does love grow stronger or weaker? Or does that depend upon the stories you create? And does it grow weaker if you can’t control the story? If it’s written on someone else’s memory, does it grow weaker if they don’t, also, make themselves remember that love exists? The phrase ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ comes to mind. Does it? Will it?

Multiple stories. Multiple memories. You can’t know what you’ll easily forget; what will hurt the most to remember. You remember the sun making you tired as a child. You remember blackberry bushes scraping your skin. You can’t know how other people see the same story. You just remember they were there. They were a part of something. It was real. You weren’t alone.


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Dover Travel Video…and Bloopers

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I have begun making travel videos for our adventures abroad.  I love these videos and wrote about my basic plan for them last week.

Our trip to Dover last weekend was so fun.  After I made the initial ‘pretty’ travel video,  I decided to make a blooper reel as well.  In the videos I show you serene scenes of landscapes and buildings set to lovely music,  but in reality my husband and I are two dorks and our commentary is so contradictory to the lovely scenes you see.  Have a look!  And check out my YouTube channel for more #TexansAbroad funny and lovely videos!


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#TexansAbroad | Dover, England

Dover Castle Grounds

This past weekend me and Taylor took a 40 minute train ride to the coast to visit the town of Dover. Hopping off the train, we made our way through town in search of a map of Dover and breakfast.

There was nothing remarkable about the particular breakfast place we chose. It called itself The Mean Bean. It served strong coffee and cold pastries. It was rather early so the place was empty when we sat down. As we sipped our lattes and made a loose plan for our day, the coffee shop slowly began to fill up. Each and every customer greeted the owner with conversation and camaraderie. They spread themselves out amongst a few tables, but the conversation never stopped. A few patrons table-swapped to have more personal catch-ups with their friends. The place filled with laughter, British slang, and the smell of coffee. We had stumbled into a local establishment.

This was actually a major find for us. We love Canterbury so much, but between all of the universities and its only industry–tourism, you can’t just walk into any given place and be met with locals. This place was the real deal. It was wonderful and amusing and refreshing.

Dover was refreshing.

Dover, Kent Ocean

Dover still has quite the tourist draw, with its famous white cliffs, a major castle, and its lovely seaside location. But there was such a difference between it and Canterbury. We were thrilled to step away from the hustle of tourists in Canterbury to the slower paced Dover.

We had an amazing time hiking the cliffs, visiting the castle and eating like locals.

Dover, Kent white cliffs of Dover

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Motivational Monday – Reflecting On Losing–and Finding–Focus

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1. 5 Steps to a Productive Morning by thedailypositive.com | 2. How to Lazy-Proof Your Day by Bravely | 3. Progress, not perfection daily goal checklist by EliseJoy | 4. Motivational Poster by The Motivational Type

There’s something so fluid about productivity. That is, if you allow it to be fluid.

I can go weeks with doing everything right. I can follow the few steps I’ve laid before myself; waking up early, maintaining a decent pace at work, even exercising and cleaning. I can be wholly there and I feel great. I feel amazing, actually. Each day gets better and better as my body adjusts to a productive schedule and a full life.

It only takes one day. Not one day to allow myself to take a break: one day to stop everything. It’s like I’m cursed in a fairy tale. As long as I stay productive I can be the adventurous, independent hero the story knows and loves, but as soon as I stop, I turn into the slothful troll who does nothing but make a mess of the story line.

Maybe that analogy made sense.

I am not a marathon runner in this race of life. I’m either sprinting full speed ahead or tumbling down a hill so fast back into a lazy way of living, and I’m still trying to figure out how to balance this. I know this kind of laziness is not healthy for me. Sleeping late, eating terribly, no exercise…. it physically hurts me. The back pain I’ve been dealing with for years comes back full force, my skin starts battling between too dry or too oily. Sure, I still work and still get things done, but nothing feels good. Nothing inspires me.

It’s interesting that I do this to myself. So yes, I’m still figuring it out. Perhaps it will always be an issue, but as I learn to work at home and learn more about myself, I feel like I’ll be able to better manage myself more and more each day. I’m just going to make being productive a habit that I can’t break.

So here’s to you, Monday, the start of another work week and another chance to make this week a healthy, productive one!