Saturday, April 27, 2013

On My Nightstand

I can't wait to get back into reading. I find that I read a lot more during the spring and summer months, mainly because there isn't any new tv to watch. I'm not gonna lie, tv is my thing. I watch a lot of it. More than I should.

But during the summer, I would rather get outside and read a good book. And I've got quite the stack ready to go from things I've borrowed from my mom to ones I have received as gifts or downloaded from Audible/Kindle Free Books. There isn't always a ton of rhyme or reason to this list. It's just what has ended up in the pile.

Since I often get asked what I'm reading or what I'd recommend, I thought I'd share this list. Feel free to pick one and read along with me!
  1. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Dan and Chip Heath - we are reading this one for work. Pretty good so far!
  2. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford - I'm currently reading this one. 
  3. The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang- Also for work, it's our first-year common read.
  4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  5. The Night Circus by Chad Harbach
  6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  7. State of Wonder: A Novel (P.S.) by Ann Patchett
  8. Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer (P.S.) by James L. Swanson
  9. Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
  10. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  11. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  12. The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship by Jeffrey Zaslow
  13. Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls
  14. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
You might notice that many of these have been out for awhile. I don't often buy new books, and so I usually get stuff after my mom has already bought it. And then they usually sit on my nightstand for at least a year before I get to em. I also have a habit of starting a book several times before I actually commit and read the whole thing. Does anyone else do this?

What are you reading now, or planning to read next?

Friday, April 26, 2013


Look, it's us!
So I know that I said I wasn't going to post a whole lot about wedding stuff, but I have some exciting news to share.

We found out today that we were selected as finalists in a giveaway for a wedding photographer! Katie Lewis, of Katie Lewis Photography, posted an amazing offer to photograph one lucky winner's wedding, anywhere in the world, in 2014. I happened to get connected to the contest through my wonderful friend Ann, who went to high school with Katie. After we had the chance to look through all of the amazing photos on her web site, we knew that we had to enter. When we were talking to each other about our wedding, in our top three most important things, photos were at the top of the list. Katie manages to bring out the unique beauty of each couple's special day.

To be selected as finalists is such an awesome honor. We are really excited to be considered among the other couples. I had the chance to read their bios, and they all have such wonderful stories. If we were so lucky to be picked, I know that she would capture our story in a way that would best represent us.

Please check out her site, and if you are so inclined, consider voting for us sometime in the next week. We'd greatly appreciate it. And if you happen to have more than one device, you can vote twice! One vote per computer. : )

: ) Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, April 25, 2013


For years, I have been called any number of different names. Often anything other than my real one. I was blessed by my parents with both a first and last name that are difficult to pronounce. People look at it, you can see their mind working through the different syllables, and then they guess. 

Most often:

“Kristin Lee”

“Kerrr-sten Lie”

Or some combination of the two. Sometimes I get “Lein” as a last name, because they mistake the “n” for an “h.” Sometimes they have heard it before, and I see the wheels turning as they try to remember which one it is.

I correct people, but not necessarily all of the time. This bugs my mom, who feels I should always correct someone. I don’t care if they say it or spell it correctly on my to-go coffee cup – I just want my drink. But if it is someone I am likely going to interact with again, I’ll make the correction.

I got into the habit for a while of introducing myself and including a tug on my ear to teach folks that, although it could be pronounced a number of different ways, my particular variation is pronounced “K-ear-stin.” That usually works. Although back in high school, I had an English teacher (feels ironic) who added in an extra syllable every time she said it, as she was trying to make sure that she had the “ear” in there. More like “Kee-ear-stin.” She was trying so hard that it was actually a little charming. Just not quite right.

When teaching folks my last name, I either say “Lay – like the potato chip” or “Lei – like the Hawaiian flower necklace.” Visual comparisons are key.

Why do I share this story? Because there was an interaction about names that has stuck with me and I thought it was worthy of a conversation.

Awhile back, I was at an event where I overheard two people being introduced to each other. I heard one individual say their name, and then the other responded with a nervous laugh followed by, "I am not even going to try to pronounce that one.”

I will pause for a minute so that you can re-read that. 

You may or may not have already guessed this, but the first individual was from a different country and spoke with an accent. Although it wasn't said, the subtext I heard was “Your accent is hard to understand, and I am uncomfortable. My response is to avoid trying to say your name. And I am laughing as I tell you in the hopes that you will not call me out on that.”

Now, I have full confidence that this particular individual is a kind and caring person. I understand that may not have been the intent of this person at all to offend anyone, or be hurtful. But imagine what it must feel like to hear someone effectively say to you, "“It is not worth my time to try to learn to say your name correctly.” That blows my mind. And I bet it happens often.    

Names are very personal. Often, a major part of a person’s identity. There is a story behind them. Maybe it is a family name. Or it came from someone’s parents’ favorite character/singer/actor, etc. back in the day. I haven’t named a kid, but we have one cat named after my favorite mascot, and another named after our favorite singer’s kid. Call us weird, we own it. Names are important. They were given with much thought and a whole lot of love. 

I want to own, that I struggle with pronouncing others names too. Sometimes it takes me a long time to get one down.

I also want to own that I am speaking from a place of privilege. People make more of an effort to learn mine than they might someone else’s because I am a middle-class white American. And I am more likely to correct someone than someone else who might be experiencing a different power dynamic.

But here’s the thing. Those of us with a more challenging, not-quite-so-pretty-on-paper, name, deserve to hear our names spoken in all of their beauty. Whether it is a Polish name with lots of extra letters that don’t always make a ton of sense, or a Saudi Arabian name that includes many syllables. I think each of us has the responsibility to ask someone if we aren’t sure, rather than guessing, or avoiding it all together. That is a sign of respect.

On my end, knowing I have a more challenging name, I try to give people room to learn my name, while making a few mistakes. I get multiple e-mails a week addressed to Kirsten or Kristin. It’s annoying when someone has my signature in the previous e-mail. But I move on. And I let it go. Sometimes I get an apology e-mail soon after, sometimes not. We probably have all spelled someone’s name incorrectly before. I just try to catch it and apologize right away.

When it comes to my spoken name, I give many chances. But at some point, I stop correcting it. Because it gets exhausting. And I feel disrespected. It is a wall that I put up. And perhaps that isn’t fair. So I will commit to taking the opportunity to start correcting folks, even if it has been some time.

I would also ask that if I have been mispronouncing your name, I hope that you feel comfortable telling me. But I also understand if you don’t. Please accept my sincere apologies. And know that I will try harder.

I think that is really what it is all about. The trying is the most important part.    
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...