Thursday, May 21, 2015

No, I'm not changing my name.

My wedding is less than a few months out, and people are asking about the plans and whatnot... and I love talking about it!  But one topic of conversation that has frequently come up has been surprisingly uncomfortable for other people: I'm not changing my name.

image source

You would think, this being the year 2015, that people would be accepting of this decision, or at least act less surprised.  Instead, everyone wants to know WHY I wouldn't change my name, which is kind of a personal question.  This frequency could be because I come from a conservative family, or because I live in the South.  I find myself being ask to explain my decision.  Men raise their eyebrows, giving me looks that say, "Wow, your future husband has just been castrated."  Women act like my children will be psychologically scarred from my decision.  "Don't you want your children to have the same name as you?" I've been asked a dozen times.

So here, on my personal internet real estate, I'm laying out the reasons I have decided not to change my name with marriage.
  1. I really like my name.  I've traced my W line all the way back to the American Revolution and beyond... I'm proud of our heritage as soldiers and farmers and patriots.  I love my father and his family.  I'm a proud W and I really like my name.  Period.  My initials are nice too, especially in a three-initial monogram: a perfectly symmetrical AWA.  Seriously, lovely Lilly-Pulitzer-clad people of the South, would you mess with such a beautiful monogram?!
  2. I've got major accomplishments under this name, and I've got the papers to prove it.  My West Point diploma, my future Master's Degree diplomas, all of it has/will have my maiden name, and I like it that way.  It's on my permanent DD214 military service record.  I have a large network on LinkedIn that knows me by this name, and I don't want people not to be able to find me.  I want it all to match up for the long haul.  I also don't want to have to get new e-mail addresses, business cards, and more.  I've built my career with this name.
  3. I don't need to have the same name as my kids to know they're mine.  I mean, if your kids mistakenly wore a nametag with a different last name, you wouldn't suddenly think they aren't yours, would you?  We've decided our children will take his last name, with my maiden name as a middle name, and that's good enough.  And it won't bother me if people/teachers/whoever assume I'm Mrs. D, or call me that.  I won't correct people or ignore them; I am going to be his Mrs. and that's cool.  Send us mail to Mr. and Mrs. D and it'll get into the right hands, graciously and happily.  In fact, our veterinarian and apartment office both call Dan "Mr. W" so it happily goes both ways, we've totally received mail for Mr. and Mrs. W to boot.
  4. Dan doesn't care.  If he felt strongly that I ought to change my name to his, maybe I'd be inclined to consider it.  But the truth is, his mother uses her maiden name, and he barely knows the father that gave him his last name.  Why should I give up mine?  (Sidenote: If I asked him to change his name to W, people would think I'm ridiculous... so why is it different the other way around?)
  5. ABOVE ALL ELSE, name changes are a colossal pain in the neck.  Anyone who has ever changed their name knows this.  Being previously married/divorced, I've done it TWICE, and it took me FOUR YEARS to get everything back to my current name.  Blergh!  It's an insane amount of legwork and paperwork, and it's just a big waste of time (and some money!) to me. And to be fair, I told Dan that I would consider changing my name if he filled out 100% of the paperwork, made all the phone calls, and waited in every line/attended every appointment with me.  To this, he laughed and said, "Hell no!"  So you see, above all else, the one person that really matters in this decision other than myself supports my line of reasoning.

You know, I could launch into a diatribe about how the tradition of changing your last name with marriage hearkens back to a day when a woman's name changed to mark her as her husband's property, after having been her father's property.  In which case I'd argue I'm no one's property and you can all just call me "Aubrey" like BeyoncĂ© or Madonna or something because I AIN'T NO ONE'S CHATTEL!

But the bottom line is, I have a lot of personal, valid reasons for not changing my name.  If you're curious, that's fine, but then don't judge or give me shocked expressions.  I don't mind/care that you changed your name, it's just not for me.  And if it gets awkward, I'll happily change the topic to go back to discussing cake and flowers and dresses.  Because that's what matters, right?  :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Things I'd Been Meaning to Do

A couple of weekends ago, I had a day with nothing planned...  so I did things that I've been "meaning to do"!  Firstly, I wanted to clean up our porch and recover the cushions on our rocker.  Now that Dan has quit smoking (and polluting the porch), it's finally worth the effort to get the space in shape for us to use now that the weather is nice.

Yes, you're looking at an old nursery glider.  They come on Craiglist for very cheap!  But as I told my Facebook friends, don't get excited that this means there's a baby on the way.  I've had this thing on the porch for years, and it's too dirty to ever bring indoors again really.  I simply took some outdoor fabric I got at JoAnn's, traced the old fabric pieces, and sewed them up (rather quickly) making this a fast project with nice results!  Dan helped me tack the fabric onto the ottoman, and I think the overall improvement is really nice!

I also promised Dan that I would attempt to make ice cream.  It's been years since I made any, and I had the Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams cookbook to guide me.  I made my favorite, the Brown Butter Almond Brittle.  I made the brittle first, and it was seriously tasty.  Hard not to eat it before adding to the ice cream!  The ice cream itself turned out a bit darker in color than the store version, because I think I browned the butter a little longer than I should have, but Dan loved it.  Per the instructions, we put it into a container to freeze for a long while, as Jeni's ice creams don't get eaten right out of the machine.

This post may seem a little dull or trivial, but looking back at these photos brings me some joy.  It reminds me of a weekend where I had nothing planned, and I got to do the things I'd been meaning to do... and that made it worthwhile and happy work!

What have you been meaning to do?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Back to Huntsville

The last time I'd taken a day trip to Huntsville was October 2013, and I'd assumed I'd be making more frequent trips down to visit my friends EM and CM.  Well, life sure gets hectic, and while we've seen each other in TN since then, they now have a baby girl who is over a year old!  Yikes!  So when Dan and I had a free Saturday last weekend, we headed down to visit that adorable family for the day.

Our first stop, however was lunch... Korean food!  We stopped at Shinsegae Restaurant, a casual little hole in the wall.  The food was tasty (the japchae bulgogi dish was my favorite) and the prices were reasonable.  There was only one waiter so you have to be patient with service, but the food was solidly good.  It wasn't upscale or LA/NY-quality Korean, but not bad.  There are more Korean restaurants in Huntsville due to the defense industry, so I want to try more every time I'm in town.

Shinsegae on Urbanspoon

After meeting up with EM and CM (and their little Bee!) we headed out to enjoy some of the local craft beer.  It was a hot and sunny day.  We did tastings at Straight to Ale and Yellowhammer.  I loved the outdoor space and beer at Yellowhammer the best.  Their Belgian White was perfect for the hot weather!  Both breweries are relocating to a new "old" space, a reclaimed old middle school that is being fixed into a community gathering place and venue.

Back Alley Bistro's food truck was at Yellowhammer, serving up some tasty sandwiches.  It wasn't as good as our Grilled Cheeserie truck, but the sandwich creations were unique.  I had a white cheddar pimento grilled cheese with bacon chutney, and we split some loaded waffle fries.  Again, perfectly suited to the day with cold beers!

I have no idea where the time went, because before we knew it, it was time to depart Huntsville for the 90-minute drive home that evening.  I leave you with my most favorite picture of the day, celebrating a connection that social media made seven years ago this July, now a real-life friendship!

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