The Amazing Adventures of Josie and Seb

October 31, 2009

Happy birthday, Joe!

Filed under: adventuring, food, googly eyes, pictures, triumph! — Cate @ 4:37 pm

So Mr. Joe is officially a year older (and wiser…ish). We had a pretty chilled out day to celebrate, just watched movies and laid in the Sac and relax.

I tried my hand at making him an authentic Southern red velvet cake. Not only have I never baked one, I’ve never even tasted one, so I was flying totally blind. The cake came out mostly OK (Joe ate it and professed to like it, which is the important thing) but it was a trial and a half.

I couldn’t get the batter smooth (hand mixing SUCKS), I forgot to sift the sugar for the icing so it was all lumpy, the cake was red but not RED! like I wanted, the edges and part of the bottom of one cake burned while the middle was raw-looking and sunken, I used canned vanilla frosting in the middle because I thought I wouldn’t have enough cream cheese frosting but I did have enough after all, I forgot to buy candles, I didn’t have a plate big enough for the cake (had to use a cutting board…so trashy), on and on and on.

Look how sunken the middle is! WHYYYYYY?!

Look how sunken the middle is! WHYYYYYY?!

Stupid cake.

It says, YAY JoE iS 27. I'm a corn ball.

It says, YAY JoE iS 27. I'm a corn ball.

Luckily, it ended up being pretty damn edible.

The animals didn’t let Joe’s birthday go unnoticed. Sebastian got him a back yard full of shedded-out hair (so sweet)…

Mmm...less edible.

Mmm...less edible.

…and Miss Josie didn’t claw his face off.

"You're welcome. Mrrarr."

"You're welcome. Mrrarr."

All in all, his birthday was, if not a smashing success, at least an interesting experience.

Obligatory birthday boy self-portrait.

Obligatory birthday boy self-portrait.

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October 30, 2009

Holy Mother of Quail!

Filed under: food, googly eyes, pittsburghing — Cate @ 11:12 am

Tomorrow is Joe’s birthday (that’s Halloween, if you’re playing along at home). Last night, as part of the Birthday Week celebrations (really, why limit it to just one day?), I took him out to Bona Terra for dinner. I knew I wanted him to have a Good Meal at a foodie-approved restaurant and I debated for a while over which of Pittsburgh’s many dining establishments to take him to, but Bona Terra won out. All reviews pointed to “awesome,” and they have a local-food mission that aligns with our priorities, so it was just a great fit. Even better, I managed to keep it a secret till we walked in the door.

OK, enough about that. Let’s talk FOOD.

I wish I’d been able to keep the menu because I’m about to reveal how little I know about fine dining. We started off with a teensy bowl of luke-warm green stuff – all I heard the waitress say was, “…blue cheese, heirloom tomato and chili oil.” But it was delicious. We ate it with an itty bitty little spoon. So fun.

For our appetizers, I got a semi-boneless quail with pears and Joe had a tuna thing. Blah blah blah tuna, but my quail was AMAZING. I’ve never eaten quail before and I think I had it confused with pheasent because I was shocked at how tiny and delicate it was. Tender and moist and with this wonderful crispy herbed skin…oh golly. I wanted to take it home with me and learn its secrets. But there was none left.

Then soup and salads. I skipped the soup because they only had clam chowder and tomato, neither of which I really care for, though now of course I wish I’d been less picky because I’m sure it would have been divine (Joe’s chowder was yummy, and I don’t even like clam). Anyhow. I had a baby spinach and greens salad with other things – I don’t remember what they were, but they were good – and gorgonzola crumbles. Joe’s had feta and bacon and other things. Both very tasty.

Then a taste of sorbet before dinner: cantaloupe. I cannot express deeply enough my love of that little dish of heaven. If the waitress hadn’t said it was sorbet, I’d have thought we were just eating a very finely pureed piece of fruit. Holy crap. It was so good. I licked the plate clean, to Joe’s horror. (Not really. But damn did I want to!)

Then dinner, the baby animals course. Oh, yum. YUM. I had a veal rib chop with braised cabbage and the most wonderful risotto I’ve ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth. Joe had lamb with mashed potatoes and beans – his potatoes were divine, his beans so fantastically green. It. Was. So. Good.

For dessert, Joe had a cup of tea (such a civilized young man) and a lemon pound cake with berries. I had an apple tart made with local fujis. It was melt-in-your-mouth good, with a crispy crust and just the right amount of crunch on top. Oh momma.

Even the bottle of wine I picked out because it was pretty ended up being great. Even the music they were playing was great – an eclectic mix of Willie Nelson and Radiohead and others that somehow all worked just right. At the end of our meal, they started playing Sigur Ros, which I always associate with Joe and I. In the very early days of our relationship, when we were first starting to learn each other, he’d put on Sigur Ros. Those were happy times (heck, they’re still happy times!) and it was touching to hear it after we’d just finished that incredible meal and were staring at each other across the table, all full and happy and lovey…

I wish I had pictures, because it was so extraordinary and beautiful and DELICIOUS – did I mention delicious? – but I refrained from whipping out my phone to snap grainy photos while we ate. Barely. I didn’t even remember to get pictures of us all dolled up in our finery. Trust me, though: we looked good. Even despite a lack of photographic evidence, it was a wonderful night. And I certainly couldn’t have asked for better company.

We’re hoping to make a habit out of this kind of luxury, or at least a birthday tradition. Only four months till mine!!!!

Worth every penny.

Worth every penny.

October 26, 2009

Happiness is…

Filed under: human training, pictures, pittsburghing — Cate @ 4:53 pm

A boy.

A dog.

A tree.

A stick.

A season.

October 23, 2009

It’s just Thursday in our house…

Filed under: apartment, conversations, food, googly eyes — Cate @ 3:42 pm

cookiedough

Scene – Thursday evening

Cate, curled up in the Lovesac, calls to Joe (off camera): Oh, darling? Be a dear, won’t you, a bring me a spoonful of that delicious cookie dough that I made the other day but have not, as of yet, bothered to make into cookies?

Joe (off camera): Absolutely, shnookems!

(Josie bats a ball of yarn past; Seb snores as he naps at Cate’s feet)

Joe (entering the living room with a serving spoon heaped with cookie dough): Here you go, dearie-poo!

Cate (eyes widen): Oh, you!

(laugh track)

October 21, 2009

Pittsburgh Fall is AWOL – yippee!

Filed under: ego trip, pittsburghing — Cate @ 3:42 pm

I distinctly remember my interpersonal comm professor¬† – back in 2003 (holy cow) when I first came to Pittsburgh as an 18-year-old college student – commenting on a grey rainy miserable day: “Welcome to Pittsburgh in the Fall. It will be like this for the next six to eight months.”

It’s not an exaggeration, or Pittsburghers being melodramatic. That’s what Fall means here. The sky is grey. The sun hides. The air is bitter cold. It rains. (And everyone complains.)

I don’t have anything against Pittsburgh Fall (except for when I have to be out in it waiting for the bus…yuck), but I was pretty excited to leave the office yesterday and find the sun shining, the grey clouds dissolving and a warm breezy day waiting for me. It even continued into today (gorgeous) and is expected to carry over to tomorrow (hooray). Friday’s gonna suck, but hey…we knew it wasn’t permanent.

In celebration, I decided to wear one of my new dresses. I’ve been on a dress frenzy lately. In the past month I’ve bought four (count ’em!) with little hope of getting to wear them until spring. But with this lovely break in the weather…

(What I should have done was wear two of them today, with a costume change halfway through the day, and the other two tomorrow. Damn! Why do these brilliant ideas never hit me first thing in the morning?)

I wore my newest dress, Alex in purple by b&lu (I can’t find it on their site anymore…oooh, exclusive).

That...but purple.

That...but purple.

Apparently at work I’m pretty schlumpy and drab because suddenly today all my coworkers are falling all over themselves telling me how adorable I am. As if I didn’t know!

Hopefully they didn’t use up all their compliments today because I’m got another dress in store for tomorrow. Turns out, this dress-up stuff is pretty fun…

October 20, 2009

In which we are happily reunited!

Filed under: apartment, googly eyes, pictures — Cate @ 3:57 pm

It’s funny how fast you can get used to a person’s company. The boy (my “better half,” if the guy who sells hummus at the farmer’s market can be trusted) took off for Washington D.C. for five days or so and left me and the animals to fend for ourselves. It wasn’t that big of a deal, really. He left butt-early Wednesday and we said our goodbyes and life went on. Joe and I did the long-distance thing for more than a year, so we’re pretty good at being separated. No biggie.

Where is my human?

Where is my human?

Josie and Seb and I had a pretty chilled out week/weekend. We played outside when it wasn’t raining. We snuggled. We watched a ton of movies: 3:10 to Yuma (okay); Appaloosa (bad); Valkyrie (okay); Milo and Otis (nostalgic favorite); Gosford Park (still boring); Stepbrothers (dumbfunny); Perfect Blue (gory but good); Law Abiding Citizen (Gerard Butler = hot); The Invention of Lying (bad). There’s probably more that I’m forgetting.

Had to keep Seb busy so he didn't get sad.

Had to keep Seb busy so he didn't get sad.

Mostly I just nested down in the Lovesac and vegged and napped. I made up a huge batch of cookie dough but lost interest in actually making cookies. Just one of those weekends!!

You didn't want to sit here, right?

You didn't want to sit here, right?

A funny thing happened on Sunday night. I started really missing Joe. Really missing him. It felt like it had been months since I saw him, like he was still in Portland and I was desperately looking forward to his visit. Monday at work was even worse. How did they expect me to process paper work? Didn’t they know my boyfriend was out of town?!

(It ruffles my feathers to think of myself as one of “those girls” who can’t function without her man, but he’s more than just my man. He’s my friend. And I missed him. So it’s totally different.)

Monday after work I had a little bit of time to kill. Josie and Seb were all keyed up too, probably feeding off my excitement. I took a poll…

“Seb, are you happy that Joe is coming home?”

YOU BETCHA!

YOU BETCHA!

“Josie, are you happy?”

MRAA. YES. MRAAAAAA.

MRAA. YES. MRAAAAAA.

ME TOO!!!

Finally I got to bring Joe home and there was much happy prancing and purring and kissing.

And then I let Jos and Seb say hi, too. ;)

October 16, 2009

Apparently I talk about my boyfriend a lot.

Filed under: neat! — Cate @ 3:16 pm

How do I know? Here’s my Wordle

wordle

October 13, 2009

Babies, pancakes and reinvention

Filed under: food, girls in the world, googly eyes — Cate @ 1:55 pm

For the past handful of years, I’ve noticed a three-pronged trend among young women around me (who I know in school or knew in high school or see around the city): first everyone seems to get engaged, then everyone’s getting married, then everyone gets pregnant. “Everyone” is obviously an exaggeration, but sometimes that’s how it feels.

Over the summer we had the “wedding” trend. Now we’re full-swing into pregnancy. And it makes me a little crazy. How are you supposed to react when someone approximately your age announces she’s knocked up? I guess the polite response is, “wow, that’s great, congrats!” (or in Facebook-English, “OMG!!!!!!! that’s awesome!!!!!!!”). But I can never quite contain my gut reaction, which is always along the lines of, “oh…uh…yikes. Sorry.”

I have an irrational fear of being near pregnant women, as though somehow the condition is contagious, like I might catch it. Also because I don’t want to let my lack of enthusiasm ruin someone else’s happiness. I don’t want to be that bitchy girl that hates babies and thinks women who have them are stupid.

Obviously I don’t feel that way. My mom had babies, which enables me to exist. I’m in favor of that. Some very dear friends of mine have some very sweet babies and children. Good for them. Good for the world. But it’s not my priority. I’m young and kinda selfish and immature and it’s hard for me to understand the desire to “settle down” and “start a family” and “end my life as I know it,” because my desires are so definitely in the opposite direction – maybe not forever, but certainly in the near future.

I try to be nice. If there’s a way to weasel out and just not comment, I’ll take it. Otherwise I fake it as well as I can and swallow my horror till I get to a safer place. Like my blog, in which I can whine about babies in a broad, vague sort of way, without attacking anyone personally and hurting feelings.

josieC

Pets and babies are basically the same. Here Josie makes a fun game out of digging her claws in electrical wires. Sigh.

To each her own.

[As an aside, I was in college before it occurred to me that I wasn’t a crazy freak for not being all amped up to eventually have babies. I remember reading Sandra Cisneros’ House on Mango Street and coming on the author’s bio in the back: “Sandra Cisneros lives in (wherever). She is nobody’s wife and nobody’s mother” (emphasis mine). It was a profound moment.]

On a happier note, last night my dear Joe made Breakfast For Dinner, one of my all-time favorite meals. He made pancakes and eggs and peppers and onions and home fries and sausage and toast. I was too busy stuffing my face to remember to take a photo, but imagine a very full plate and two very full tummies. It was amazing. The perfect end to a long day of work and class and grainy ultrasound images of fetuses plastered all over Facebook.

Also, you may have noticed a new look to the Adventure blog. I’m trying it on for size. So far I like it! I went with orange because it’s finally fall and the city is starting to color up. I love the crispness in the air. I love sleeping with an extra blanket on the bed. This is definitely my favorite season.

Even abandoned houses look OK in front of that blue fall sky.

Even abandoned houses look OK in front of that blue fall sky.

October 8, 2009

A sad dog and a new baby…

Filed under: adventuring, apartment, pictures — Cate @ 1:17 pm

Poor Sebastian woke up Monday feeling pretty crummy. And by crummy I mean he had explosive diarrhea all over the bathroom. Poor kid. It really was nice of him to do it in there, though. Made clean-up easier (for Joe…who I woke up to help me clean and ended up waving me off to do it all himself).

Still wasn’t feeling great later that afternoon, so he and Joe took a walk to the vet. Puppy got some pills and probiotics, Joe got directions for a bland chicken-and-rice diet, and that’s that. By the time I got home from work, he was feeling pretty chipper.

Can we have a snuggle, please?

Can we have a snuggle, please?

Last night, Wednesday, we welcomed a new baby into our little family. It’s a Lovesac…sort of like a bean bag chair for grown-ups. But awesomer. WAY awesomer. It’s enormous and seats both of us very comfortably, but of course it’s even better for hogging all to yourself and refusing to let your boyfriend sit down. Just saying.

So big it eclipses me!

So big it eclipses me!

so...comfy...

so...comfy...

We struggled a bit getting it up the stairs and into our living room. Initially I was hoping I could stick it in the library/office and use it as a reading chair, but I don’t think it will fit through the door. Instead we’ll need to rearrange our entire living room to incorporate the Lovesac. But it’s soooo worth it.

Size comparison for real...

Size comparison for real...

Note how you can barely see Seb in that picture! And he’s not a little dog by any means.

We named it Lance. As in, Lance Armstrong. As in, national hero. As in, only has one testicle. As in…well, you get it, I’m sure.

Also exciting news from yesterday: Joe painted the bedroom! He did two coats and almost the entire room in less than four hours. It took us ALL DAY to prime it. What gives? Is it me?

Oh, well, doesn’t matter. 1 room down, 3.5 to go!

IT'S JUST SO EXCITING!

IT'S JUST SO EXCITING!

October 4, 2009

Weekend catch-up

Filed under: adventuring, food, pictures, pittsburghing — Cate @ 12:39 pm

We had a pretty productive, wonderful, busy weekend. PSO on Friday night for Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, which was a wonderful performance, as expected. I made Joe get up early, early on Saturday to go to the Farmer’s Market (actually, he bounded out of bed at the first alarm and I was the lingerer wanting those 10 extra minutes). As usual, we got a good bounty, including some farm fresh chicken breasts and bacon. Yum.

Then borrowed a friend’s car and headed for Construction Junction, which is a wonderland of construction supply. We picked up 3 big carpets (ugly pattern, but it will be nice to have something on the floor!) and somehow managed to fit all three into my friend’s little Corolla. Joe had to fold himself into a tiny Joe-square to fit in the car with the carpets, but…you know, the point is we got everything home. And Joe. In one trip.

Joe unloads a carpet.

Joe unloads a carpet.

We unloaded and set out for Pamela’s, a Pittsburgh pancake staple that (SHOCK AND AWE) Joe had never been to. We went to the one in my old neighborhood and waited in line for a bit and then got some pancakes and eggs. As we pulled into the parking garage and I reached for my debit card to pay the $2, I realized I’d left it at home. Felt pretty silly, but Joe said no problem. I think Joe was underwhelmed by his breakfast, but mine was delish.

Off to the Waterfront. I wanted to zip home and grab my card, but again Joe said no problem, so I didn’t bother. We saw Capitalism: A Love Story and, honestly, I cried through a lot of it. I left feeling so sad and small. But finding a cute dress for $7 on clearance cheered me a bit. (The Capitalism Monster cackles, Spend money! Buy STUFF! Collect THINGS! Ignore that niggling little feeling…BWAHAHAAA.)

Anyway. Since I didn’t have my debit card on me, I figured I’d write a check for my purchases. With the exception of our rent and some utility bills, I don’t write checks for ANYTHING. Surprised I remembered how. But with today’s technology, checks are almost obsolete and trying to use them nowadays is harder than I expected. What should have been a 30-second debit card transaction turned into half an hour of madness – the check printer not working, having to call it in, needing ID, realizing I didn’t have my licence on me, begging them to take student ID, agreeing, check printer still buggy. It was a mess.

On the way home, I realized my card is expired anyway, so even if I hadn’t left it at home, I still would have been up poop creek.

We made up for it by taking a nap.

That night we went to see some local bands play at Brillobox, which I’m becoming more and more fond of. Also, I discovered the joys of hard cider. Good night.

Sunday we slept late, Joe made breakfast (mmm bacon) and we contemplated heading up to the Laurel Highlands. We ended up going to the grocery store instead. Mistake. It was packed and chaotic. And they wouldn’t let me write a check. What a world we live in…

That night I cooked dinner: meatloaf and mac’n’cheese and an apple crisp, made with fresh jonagold apples from the market. I paired it with a lovely concord wine that I picked up at the Ren Fest. The mac left something to be desired, but the meatloaf meatlog was (and is) yummy. Too much crisp on the apple crisp, but the apples underneath are divine. If I do say so myself.

You can almost see my glass of local wine in the background!

You can almost see my glass of local wine in the background!

Mmmm...apple crisp....

Mmmm...apple crisp....

I usually demand a laid-back, lazy weekend to make up for five days of going to work, but we kept pretty busy and I didn’t mind it too much. I wouldn’t want to do it all the time, though… ;)

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