Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: 2Cellos

Wordless doesn't mean motionless, or soundless, and I'm dying to share this. Have you heard 2Cellos? If not, you must listen to this. If so, listen again!

Beautiful, right? When I saw this video, I was speechless. Not only are they--and their Cellos--gorgeous, but they're so, so talented. Enjoy!
Linking up with Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I'm Going to Be a Pioneer!!

I'm having the most wonderful, overwhelming morning because yesterday afternoon I got the most wonderful, overwhelming news. All leaving me, well, wonderfully overwhelmed! ;)

You might remember that my new year's resolution this year was to "take chances when they present themselves, even when I’m afraid, to try to dwell less on things that I cannot control, and to accept the possibility that when things don’t work out it could be a blessing in disguise." I also said that I had taken a leap and that I was waiting for news.

I got the news I was waiting for about the leap I had taken and am now onto the accepting the challenges portion of this new year's resolution.

What the heck am I talking about?

Well, this:
Congratulations, the committee agreed that you should be admitted to the doctoral program unconditionally.  You should hear from the Graduate School in the next week or so.
I applied for the Rhetoric Ph.D program at Texas Woman's University and learned yesterday afternoon that I was accepted. Beginning in the fall, I will be a doctoral student. I'll be both a Texan and a Pioneer. I'm excited and terrified, but more than anything I'm grateful for this opportunity.

I'm only now waiting for the official letter. I've spent the whole morning pouring over their website and the Rhetoric Ph.D Handbook. Looking at their past course offerings and mulling over what they might offer in the future, divined from the course rotation PDF on their website--I want to take everything which is utterly impossible. Contemplating what my doctoral dissertation topic might be, which is actually ludicrous because I won't even be writing a doctoral dissertation for several years. Lots of other work to do first. But I obsess, it's what I do best, so that's what I've been doing. I've also spent some time considering a possible graduate assistantship and whether I could pull that off while continuing to adjunct at Tarleton.

I think I'm going to ask Matt to take me down there so I can take a peek at their campus. It's about an hour and fourty-five minute drive one way (two hours if you skip past Fort Worth entirely), so it's not going to be a short commute once I get started. Since classes are only a few days a week, it's a commute more than worth making, though adding a graduate assistantship to that would certainly make it more cumbersome. I still think it would be worth it to have that experience.

More than anything, I am awed and completely thrilled. I can't wait to get started!

*Image via TWU's Google+ page.

Friday, February 21, 2014

I Have a Name

On the way home from Fort Worth last week Matt and I had a conversation about identity. Specifically, my aversion to being referred to as "my girl" or "my woman" to his friends. It came up when talking about something one of his guy pals said about "his girl" led me to ask her name. Matt had no idea. Literally none. This poor woman suddenly had no identity to me beyond being some guys "girl." Though knowing her name wouldn't have allowed me to know much more about her, she would have at the very least been her own person who happened to share a relation to the guy she's dating, rather than belonging to him.

That seriously bothered me and, as it turns out, he refers to me in the exact same terms when talking to them. When I'm not around I'm not Kristyn, I'm his "girl," his "wife," or his "woman." I belong to him. Bear in mind, these are people who don't know me, so I don't actually have an identity to them beyond being Matt's wife. Still, it upset me to know that I'm being labeled that way, even to strangers, and I told him so. He thinks that's silly and he told me so.

From his perspective, calling me by my name to them would cause unnecessary confusion. They would have to wonder who "Kristyn" is and then he'd have to explain. From my perspective, they're not idiots and can contextualize who I am from what he's saying. No explanation necessary. And, for those who might require explanation, he'd only have to explain once. It should be worth the few seconds it would take him to explain to allow me to have an identity, so that to them I'm more than just his posession. And I think, for me, this issue is compounded by the fact that we live in the south, where women are often treated like possessions. A problem compounded by women who are content to act like possessions.

I am not a possession, though, and don't want to be seen that way by anyone Matt knows who might not share in the idea that women don't belong to men. I don't want them to believe that I'm content to be understood that way, either. I want him to call me by my name, but he's pretty insistent that it doesn't deprive me of my right to an identity because these men, and occasionally women, don't know me anyway. To me, though, saying "my wife" is the same as saying "my dog," "my gun," or "my truck." It relegates me to the realm of thing, rather than elevating me to the position of person. People have names for a reason and if we weren't meant to use them to differentiate us from those things that are possessions, then why not just give up my name when I got married and become "Matt's wife," rather than continue to be called Kristyn?

I'm sure he's continued to call me "my wife" or "my girl"to his friends--doubly offensive because I'm a woman, not a girl--but it's not something I can control except to lodge my complaint and leave it at that. It's something I've always had a problem with, though, since he's always been content to introduce me to people he knows as "my wife" and leave it at that. Though he's not trying to insult me, it is insulting to be introduced as his possession when he's so good about acknowledging my agency in all other regards.

I wonder, am I the only person who feels like this is insulting? Who feels a loss of identity in being labeled this way? Maybe so, and so far the responses I've had to this issue have been to defend Matt's position, but that won't change that it makes me uncomfortable. I have a name. My name is Kristyn. Though I happen to be his wife, I am also much more than that. I'm an individual who deserves an identity.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Here's Your Sign

Antique malls are filled with fun non-antiques...

Saw this sign when we were in the Montgomery Street Antique Mall in Fort Worth. Wish I'd picked it up, it's so my personality! Perky vintage snark (that's what I call it!) is quickly becoming my favorite thing. After all, this is on my refrigerator...

Just sayin'.

Linking up with Wordless Wednesday.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Anniversary Recap

Since Valentine's Day is also our anniversary, we decided that we'd make the short drive to Fort Worth to spend the day. I like to plan things out (I'm a little bit of a control freak), so I spent a few days looking into what we might do, planning where we might eat. The problem I always ran into while planning was that Matt works nights--though thankfully not tonight. He gets off at 7:00 a.m. and has to sleep. By the time he gets a few hours of sleep and we make the hour drive to Fort Worth, it's quite late. So planning wasn't easy, but we planned dinner at Red Lobster and then miniature golf because it's fun and the weather was supposed to be nice.

Not a whole lot of those things went according to plan (which really makes the control freak in me twitchy). First, it was too cold for miniature golf thanks to the wind. Also, Matt didn't get off until 9:30 a.m. this morning because he had a lot of paper work. When he got here, he decided that he was plenty awake and that he would skip sleep. He had just worked 15 hours, had been awake 17 hours, and decided he would toss sleep in favor of forging ahead. I probably should have insisted that he sleep but he seemed really awake and I was just too excited about spending the day together. So, I didn't ask him to sleep first and we were off.

To his credit, he actually made it much longer than I expected. He made the hour drive just fine, which can be a little weird because driving tends to put him to sleep. We chatted the whole way, which was so nice. He made it through lunch, which was delicious. We made it to the Kimbell and he made it through half the exhibit before I noticed that he was drifting off while standing. I could only imagine him falling over, crashing into a Picasso (it was a Picasso/Matisse exhibit). So, I stayed with him to make sure he was okay and, for the most part, he made it through alright. More than anything he was complaining his feet hurt, which stands to reason since he stands on them all night.

The Kimbell was awesome. It was, by far, my favorite part of the day. We only stayed long enough to see the special exhibition, Picasso/Matisse, on loan from the Chicago Museum of Art. All the works were stunning, but there're no pictures because it's disallowed in the special exhibits. So, you pay $18 per person and can't take pictures, while the permanent collection is free and can be photographed. The exhibit ends this weekend, so the museum was packed. People crowded around every single piece, all listening on their personal audio devices to the audio that goes with each grouping of photos. Us included.

This is one of the photos I got of the museum. The cultural district in Fort Worth is an amazing place. Even the little (older) brick and frame houses are meticulously kept--the neighborhood there looks a bit how you would imagine an idyllic little town. I could go there and stay... um, forever. Matt learned, while we were inquiring about the permanent exhibitions that when the exhibit we went to see closes this weekend, they're opening a Samurai exhibit. He's dying to see it, so we'll likely go back soon for that. Also, they'll have the older European works installed again, which is an enduring interest for the both of us.

After the museum, we stopped at an antique mall there in Fort Worth. It had to be the single largest antique mall I have ever seen. It was enormous. We saw a lot of it, but nowhere near all. Matt's poor feet couldn't make it, but I see us going back because, like I did this time, I will beg!!  Though Matt does enjoy them, too, and maybe we can go when he's less exhausted next time.

From there we went to Central Market in Fort Worth, which is pretty much our favorite place. It's a grocery store... kind of. They have an amazing selection of pretty much everything. Feet hurting or not, Matt couldn't pass this place up (couldn't pass up his vanilla blueberry goat cheese is more like it!). While we were there I got us gelato, and got Matt espresso, from the gelato bar inside. They also have a huge cafe, but we haven't tried it yet. After here we headed for home, only stopping on the way for Panda Express in Granbury.

Unfortunately, by this point, Matt was just too tired. He kept falling asleep driving, so he pulled over and let me drive. This was not awesome. I can't see at night since I have almost total night blindness. Fortunately, the moon is really bright tonight, but I still struggled big time. Meanwhile, in the passenger seat, he's oblivious to our peril. After Panda, we had this experience again, where he had to let me drive and this time it was dark! Like, can't-see-anything-because-there's-no-town-lights-on-this-backass-highway kinda dark. Thankfully, we made it home with our (my) sanity mostly in tact. Amen.

Now, Matt's sleeping while I write this. Since I won't post it until morning, it's technically still our anniversary but he's so, so tired. Not sleeping has finally gotten the better of him. So, I'm off to bed. I hope you had a nice Valentine's Day, however you chose to celebrate.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Marlowe & Raleigh for Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!! It's one of my favorite holidays, it always has been, and it's my 14th Anniversary. Matt and I are planning to go to Fort Worth for dinner and then go miniature golfing. The weather is supposed to be beautiful all day!

This year, for Valentine's day, I thought it might be fun to share with you my favorite love poem of all time, "The Passionate Shepard to His Love" by Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593). It has always been my favorite, but I'm a realist and so I can't possibly love Marlowe's poem without also loving the reply poem by Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepard." The picture just isn't complete without the both of them!

The Passionate Shepard to His Love

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That Valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the Rocks,
Seeing the Shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow Rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing Madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of Roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of Myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty Lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and Ivy buds,
With Coral clasps and Amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The Shepherds’ Swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepard

If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every Shepherd’s tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move,
To live with thee, and be thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
When Rivers rage and Rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb,
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields,
To wayward winter reckoning yields,
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy’s spring, but sorrow’s fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of Roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten:
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and Ivy buds,
The Coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last, and love still breed,
Had joys no date, nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee, and be thy love.
Together, these two pieces are absolutely my favorite works of their time. To me, they're the most perfect poetic conversation. Marlowe and Raleigh, *swoon,* I truly love them.

Monday, February 10, 2014

My Grandma Norma...

I recently read this article in the Huffington Post that suggested that children are most likely to look like their paternal grandmother. It spotlighted an artist, Ulric Collette, who had done a series of rather uncanny photos after a geneticist told him children will look most like their grandmothers. The photo of his mother and daughter is remarkable.

But, beyond just being interesting, it got me thinking about the likelihood that I looked like my father's mother, whom I never had the chance to meet as she died in 1968, ten years before I was born. She was only one month from turning 50 when she died of breast cancer that metastasized to her brain. My father was only just 15 years old.

I was reminded that this last summer, while I was in California visiting family, I had the opportunity to take some scans of pictures I had never even seen before.  My Aunt Pam, my dad's only sister, moved this last summer from a house she had been living in for the better part of my childhood. In the process she came across a box of old photos, many of them of my grandmother. Up until this, I had only seen just one picture of her and she was quite a bit older than these. The pictures were brought to my folks place, where I made sure to get scans of all of them.

Beautiful, wasn't she?

I don't know when either photo were taken. The second image, the one labeled "Norma," was taken in Illinois, so it had to be sometime before 1955 or so because that's when they moved to California--though I'd say it was much earlier. I scanned a lot of others, but these two are my favorites. I love everything about them.

Earlier this year, then, when I came across the article about looking like your grandmother, I started looking for information about her and thanks to I was able to find quite a lot. Her name was Norma Mae Krippendorf (Rhodes) and her birthday was February 18, 1918. She was born in Illinois, but her parents were from Germany (father) and Prussia (mother)--which was, by 1918, a part of Germany (they confederated as German states in 1871). I also learned that she had several siblings, whom I'm pretty sure I've never met, and that her father, William, lived until 1986 when he died at 102 years old. Her mother only lived to be 31 years old.

She and my grandfather were both born in February and, interestingly, both died within a month of their birthdays (my grandpa died in early February 1999). The same was true of my mom's mother who died the same month she was born, in August.

I don't know that we look alike, exactly, but I'm happy I took the opportunity to learn more about her. I'm grateful for having read the article that encouraged my curiosity. More than anything, though, I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to make copies of those pictures, since they're now all I have of a woman I never had the opportunity to know.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

14 Things About Us on Our 14th Year...

Matt and I will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary on Valentine's Day. I can't believe we've been married for 14 years! This is our 14th anniversary on February 14th, 2014. That's a trifecta of 14s... or something like that. So, to celebrate our 14th anniversary, I thought I might share 14 things about us you may not know.

But first, if you're interested in reading about our wedding day, I wrote a post about it on our 10th anniversary.

Okay, so, let's see...

  1. We never had a honeymoon. I'm actually pretty okay with that. I think they're kind of overrated.

  2. Matt has been opening the door for me every single time we get into the car, rain or shine, since the day we met. I don't take that as a slight, I think women who balk at a man willing to open doors is kind of a silly thing. The only times he doesn't open the door is a) when I'm mad at him and storm over there and do it before he can, and b) when I get out of the car, because it doesn't make sense for me to sit in the car while he goes around. Bonus: he also opens doors for old people, and children, and women with strollers.

  3. We don't see eye to eye about what constitutes fun and it's a constant source of tension between us. He hates board games and will only grudgingly play card games. I love both of those things and wish we'd play them more. If we're playing any type of game, he wants it to be a role playing game. Otherwise, he can be quite pouty (don't tell him I told!).

  4. We're both home bodies who would rather spend an evening in than to go out (with the single exception of eating out, of which we are constantly guilty). That said, we do enjoy a night out with friends on occasion.

  5. Matt is incredibly annoyed by my constant attention to my phone. You should see the look on his face when I'm snapping pictures and instagraming. He's beyond perturbed. That hasn't stopped me yet. And, to be fair, I get equally annoyed that he never brings his phone anywhere. What's the stupid thing for?!

  6. We both have a pretty demented sense of humor. I won't go into detail, but when we met in person and we're getting to know one another I said something pretty shocking to him and, rather than doing what most men would have and let me out by the side of the road never to be seen again, he laughed. It's been a little bit of a joke between us these last 15 years.

  7. Even though I'm the one with two degrees in English, Matt is seriously the grammar police in this relationship. He takes particular exception to the uses of less and fewer. In response, I've begun using less when I mean fewer just to annoy him. Also, he once called my favorite grammatical/stylistic device, hyperbole, tacky. Which is basically calling me tacky, since I think hyperbole is the BEST THING EVER. I've not let him forget it.

  8. We can still, after 15 years together, talk about everything for hours on end. It's been this way since we first met in person, when we spent the second day we knew one another sitting outside of a Subway (sandwich shop) talking for, like, 12 hours. We never run out of things to say. As long as we keep this up, we'll never, ever part.

  9. He is incapable of making conversational small talk, while I can make small talk for hours. I can literally talk about nothing until I'm blue in the face. We compliment one another in this regard, but it's a bit it also makes things a little bit difficult. It means when we talk, we talk about things of substance. Always.

  10. He once nearly got into a fist fight with my ex-husband. I later tried to make friends with his ex-girlfriend. Neither thing happened, thank heavens.

  11. We both want to travel overseas, but he wants to go to some places I would never, ever go. I think the one place we can both agree on is Germany. We'd both love to see Freiburg, Germany. So if we ever get to go over there, we're going for the beer and brauts. We may never come back.

  12. I dance around the living room and act like a damn fool, sometimes with Chewbi in my arms and sometimes just because I'm a little nutty, and Matt has the grace not only to not say I look like a damn fool, but also to actually smile and tell me I'm adorable. He's a liar, but it never gets old. Some people seriously lose patience with that sort of thing, but Matt is a paragon of acceptance.

  13. We considered getting married on Leap Day, rather than Valentine's Day, but couldn't exactly decide how celebrating our anniversary would work. So, we opted for Valentine's Day on the millennium. People may think it's corny, but we love it!

  14. Before he met me, Matt didn't believe in marriage. When I met him, I didn't think I'd ever do it again. I thank heavens every day that we changed our minds and got married. It hasn't always been easy, but I can't imagine my life with anyone but him.

Okay, so if you know us you might know some of those things and I probably could have come up with another 14, but that's good for now! I'm just so happy to have him in my life. I can't wait to celebrate the next 14 years!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tears, Teeth, & Achy Face...

What a cruddy week, so far. I mean, really.

My team lost the Superbowl in what can only be described as "The Great Bronco Slaughter of 2014." Would you believe that when it was over, I was so appalled that I actually laughed...? And then, I cried. A lot. And then I went to bed... and cried some more. A lot more.

And I woke up this morning in a terrible mood. Half my-team-got-ass-kicked-all-over-New-Jersey and half I-get-to-go-to-the-dentist-for-a-full-mouth-deep-cleaning.

Which I did, at noon and it sucked--more than I hoped it would, less than I thought it might. But, it was less painful that what happened to the Broncos last night. But full mouth numbing is so annoying. I mean, have you ever been kissed all over your numb face by an over-zealous furball? I got so freaked out about not really being able to feel anything that I had to make him stop. He was pissed but he got over it.

Of course, he head-splitting, shrill-barked for, like, the next two hours straight. Asshole dog (whom I love with all my heart, btw).

And now my teeth are sore from having 16 numbing injections and a sonic "tool" shoved between my teeth and my gums. Root Scaling = achy face. Really, achy face. But they didn't fill the whole in my tooth where I lost the previous filling. I have to go back and suffer more pain for that. Then I get to go back and have another cleaning check next month.

Maybe tomorrow will be better. Surely it will. This week can't get much worse.