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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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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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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Springtime in Canterbury

1Springtime in England has been so quintessentially spring. East Texas doesn’t get much of a spring, unless you count rain and tornadoes. Yes, we get a couple weeks of nice flowers and new growth, but it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit and everyone’s already gearing up for summer.

Canterbury, Cathedral: view from University of Kent

Things here happen much steadier and it’s really beautiful to experience! My husband gets to see bunnies on his campus everywhere. I thought he was exaggerating until he took me there today so I could see for myself. There were thirteen just hanging out. East Texas has plenty of wildlife, don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen my share of brown rabbits and ducks, but we’re called the Piney Curtain for a reason…lots of pine trees. And plenty of places for animals to live without ever being seen.

In Canterbury, with The River Stour running through town and wooded area going straight to the university, the wildlife can easily be seen, but still have room to live, which I’ve so enjoyed it. ducks2

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Easter Weekend in Canterbury

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Taylor and I have been enamored with Canterbury Cathedral this weekend. We should have visited sooner, but we let it fall to the wayside.
Thursday we went to The Liturgy of Maundy Thursday service, which was such an experience. The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke, and washed the feet of twelve of the church members, which was quite emotional. Then, as the choir sang, one by one all of the lights were turned off in the entire cathedral as the sanctuary was stripped of everything.

Friday we decided to go to an evening Requiem by Maurice Duruflé sung by the Cathedral Choir.

Sunday evening we went, yet again, to an evening sermon and compline. We had a chance to take a few photos of the outer cathedral. I captured the Easter garden, with the tomb and stone rolled away, some lovely blue sky cathedral photos, and some shadowed photos of the new Queen of England and Duke of Edinburgh statues that the Queen and Duke themselves unveiled two weeks ago to mark her diamond jubilee. It has been tradition for royalty to have their statues added to the cathedral for many years.

We plan on taking in many more services and will definitely visit more often to see all there is to see of this magnificent place.

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And though our Easter may not have included hunting Easter eggs and eating chocolate (although I’ve been craving hard-boiled eggs all day, so that may be remedied), we DID decide to dress in pale green and blue, because pastel = Easter (right?), we get to see baby ducks everyday as we walk home, and we saw a duck waddling along on the sidewalk this evening. That pretty much covers our bases. 😉

Happy Easter!

 

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April Fool’s Day! | Office Pranks

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April Fool’s day has ALWAYS been my favorite day of the year. All the way back to elementary school, I was fascinated with the day. Being so clever as to prank someone? Gold.

My ‘best’ (*cough dumbest? silliest?*) prank ever dates back to Junior High. Cue pre-teen angst swirled together with a slew of boy-related rejections and a dollop of ‘still finding myself’ and you get the basic inspiration for this scheme. With a little planning (very little) and some basic acting skills, I successfully fed several boys diarrhea-inducing chocolate bars. (Pathetic, right?) My friends and I had such fun ‘luring’ boys to eat this chocolate despite the prank having ZERO GRATIFICATION TO US. It’s not like we asked them the following day if they had any “issues.”  I guess it’s the journey that matters, not the destination?

Sometimes the stars align so perfectly that you just know something was meant for you. I recently found out that one of the first mentions of April Fools’ Day  was written in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Oh Canterbury, I was meant to live here. In The Nun’s Priest Tale the character is tricked by a fox on “Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two…”  —March 32nd—or…April 1st. pranks

Last year, I had the best day at work full of pranks and laughter. It was my last day of working in that particular office, and at the end of the day I literally packed away my computer and belongings and moved to a different office building in a different city. It was really special to make my last day full of fun. A coworker, with a penchant for pranking, and I schemed and prepped a long time to come up with as many pranks as possible. You can see them listed below. (I know I posted this video a few posts ago, but really, I couldn’t leave it out)

This year, I’m living in the UK, but I just couldn’t let the spirit of pranking be cast aside! (Although rumor has it that my coworker partner-in-crime has some pranks up her sleeve…can’t wait to find out!) I decided to keep it really simple and civil this time with a care package from Britain, filled with snacks. I thought they’d get a kick out of the novelty of the different name brands.

The ‘prank’ is just a small letter included in the package. The sentences are completely non-sensical using many British phrases. Considering that I created these sentences myself with only the help of my experience and some Google searching, I doubt many of these sentences even make sense to local Britains! (Especially because many phrases are from different regions of England, as well as different time periods.) I included ‘clues’ on tiny slips of paper that ‘translate’ the words into American English. They’ll have to do some digging and rearranging to figure out what I wrote!

If anyone has any pranks to share, I’d love to see! I hope everyone has a fun day and that none of you get fooled by any of the media’s inevitable pranks!

Unfortunately their package hasn’t arrived yet, so I’ll update this post with the letter and decipher once they receive it!


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25 Things | An Update

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These winter months are flying past us.

Moving to the UK, I did fret just a little about the weather, however it really hasn’t been a problem. On a daily basis, yes, it’s much colder than Texas, and it rains so much more. But so far Texas has had more snow than Canterbury, so the cold is not so bad. I think you just learn to acclimate to wherever you are. In Texas I never would have wanted to walk in the rain… with cars so readily available and absolutely necessary to get around most places, walking wasn’t an option. With no car and every store imaginable right in the vicinity…we have no choice but to bundle up, grab an umbrella and go. It’s not bad at all, it’s just the norm.

That being said, whether rainy and cold are normal or not, it’s certainly hard to stay motivated when all I really want to do is watch Netflix bundled in a blanket. Everyday is a decision to give in to that laziness or continue on with my list of 25 things. And sometimes I choose the TV marathon. I won’t lie. But, as long as the end goal can be the same, then this will be a productive, satisfying year. I’d say I’m off to a good start in accomplishing that!

Let’s talk details: Most of what’s on my list isn’t something just the check off and be done with, but as a way to learn from and add to my life. Here are some updates to a few things.

1. Learn basic French | Learning another language is no joke. I’ve really enjoyed learning simple phrases. I can recognize about 50 phrases or words and write most of those correctly (I struggle with the punctuation).  Speaking is more difficult, but I’m happy with the progress so far.

2. Take better photos | I don’t know about better, but I am learning more about my digital camera. I love taking photos around the city!

4. Visit all the countries in the UK | Check Scotland off that list

8. Learn to be | This one is usually easy for me, but lately I’ve been working until midnight some nights, just not wanting to stop being productive.

16. Become more involved in church | Taylor and I  have just been added to the Canterbury Baptist Church Student Volunteer Team. We will be working with university students, helping plan activities and meals and growing the students church community. We have been getting to know the leaders and students of this group for quite some time now, so I’m very happy to work with them. We’re cooking Tex-Mex for them this Sunday! We’ll see what they think of some of our favorite foods.

20. Send more snail mail | Yay! My request for pen pals was a large success! I just sent out a handful of postcards and plan on sending more once I get everyone’s address.

I’m excited about this year. The weather is warming up, I’m learning new things all the time. (Like, I had no idea mother’s day is celebrated on a different day in many countries. It’s March 15th here). I’m looking forward to March!