The Amazing Adventures of Josie and Seb

April 30, 2010

When it all began…

Filed under: googly eyes, Uncategorized — Cate @ 11:07 am

My gosh April is a busy month for us – so many important dates to keep track of! The last day of the month is one last very important anniversary: our first date. The first date wasn’t when we got serious, but without a first we could never have had a second, third, fourth, etc, and might have never gotten to where we are now, so it’s a day I hold very dear. Though I never would have thought that at the time…

At the time, I was adamantly opposed to dating anyone. I was having a good enough time doing my own thing and didn’t want to have to worry about anyone else’s feelings or needs. Joe was sort of the opposite, he felt like he was ready to commit to somebody.¬† Despite our different expectations, we chatted for a while, liked each other, and figured we’d meet up for dinner.

I chickened out on him the first time – after all, this felt like a date and I wasn’t dating – but by the next day I’d gotten my act together and agreed to meet him at a little bar up the road from my house, the Squirrel Hill Cafe aka The Cage. We hit it off right away, had some food and a few beers and chatted for a couple hours. It was really nice to talk to somebody who I thought was interesting and was interested in what I had to say, but I still insisted he was going nowhere but the Friend Zone.

After dinner we were going to get ice cream, but the line was crazy long and we didn’t feel like waiting. Somehow we ended up at Rite Aid instead, trying on goofy sunglasses and floppy hats. It was silly but also a lot of fun. How many people can you do that with, especially the first time you’ve met them? Wow, I thought, what a fun friend this dude will be!

When we were all done, I refused to let him drive me home – we weren’t on a date, right? – and I walked back down the hill feeling sort of excited. He hadn’t been creepy or obnoxious, he was easy to talk to, he had a big laugh and I was loving those dimples…too bad we weren’t ever going to date and I’d probably never see him again anyway.

A couple days later I told my mom about our thing that wasn’t a date, which I’d never done before (why bring up guys I very emphatically Wasn’t Dating?). I think I told her it was fun and he was nice but there was nothing else going on there. She said something like, that’s too bad, there are others.

And then I went to Ecuador for a few weeks and when I came back…well, that’s a story for another day.

Spoiler alert: I was totally full of crap.

April 28, 2010

Happy birthday, Sebastian!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cate @ 10:35 am

Today is Seb’s birthday – and it’s a big one! He’s a full decade old now!

I am a good dog...I am a good dog...I am a good dog...

Seb is a Very Good Dog. He’s completely devoted to Joe – after all, they’ve been together for almost 10 years – but I flatter myself to think that he’s grown fond of me too over the past few months. I’ve certainly come to adore him.

I first met Seb on my second date with Joe, so I’ve known him almost as long as I’ve known Joe. He was all smiles and wagging tail when I met him the first time and it’s that same happy, friendly attitude that greets me every single morning. It’s just who Seb is: happy, enthusiastic, excited to see you.

He's also a little bit goofy...

And he appreciates a good nap.

He likes to be close to his people...

Though he doesn't mind romping alone...

But he always comes back again.

He doesn't interrupt...

And he puts up with an awful lot.

I think he's a glass-half-full kind of dog.

Happy birthday, Seb – let’s go throw a stick!

April 25, 2010

I’m a terrible person! The worst! Ever!

Filed under: girls in the world, googly eyes — Cate @ 11:34 pm

Tonight as Joe and I were taking out the trash, I had a sudden and alarming thought: I forgot Josie’s birthday! My Dad’s birthday is tomorrow and I remember Josie came into my life on the Wednesday before his birthday, two years ago. (It’s not her exact birthday, of course, but it’s a celebrate-able day for sure.) I rushed back inside to check the calendar and, sure enough, I missed it. She turned (more or less) 3 years old on April 23.

Happy belated birthday, my darling girl!

You've got a lot of nerve, jerkface!

Let’s stroll down memory lane, shall we?

I got an email one day in 2008 from a friend who was looking for a new home for her cat. My friend was about to move in with her boyfriend (now husband) and sadly his son was very allergic to cats (luckily, his allergy seems to have cleared up…even more luckily, she didn’t demand Josie back). At the time I was living in a big house with four other people and we already had a cat, Cosby, so I didn’t immediately think I’d be the one to take Josie.

Like Cosby, Josie had started her life as a stray (as far as I know). She was about the same age as Cosby (1 year) and had already had a litter of kittens (poor girl) so she was pretty runty. Cosby was also runty. And he was a grey tabby. And the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. I mean, come on…what are the chances? I asked my roommates if they’d mind if we adopted another cat into our little family and they agreed and then…Josie came home.

At first she just hid in the basement or under my bed or on a shelf. Cosby tormented her. They fought constantly, hissing and growling whenever they caught sight of one another. My roommates thought she should go. I argued that we should give her a chance to settle in before making any rash decisions.

And then I went to Ecuador for a few weeks. When I came back, Josie and Cosby were getting along. My roommates (with the exception of one, who is convinced that Josie peed on her bed, though I maintain that I think it was Cosby) had accepted her. Josie was here to stay.

A year later, when we decided to split up and move into our own places, Cosby went with one roommate and Josie came with me. Nevermind that I was moving in with Joe and he was bringing his dog and we’d have no way to tell whether they could live together until they were actually living together – somehow I just knew it would all work out. And I was right. I can’t imagine my life (or this apartment) without her in it!

Some pictures of our time together…

One of the first pictures I ever took of Josie - she looks so young!

Watching birds out the window in the old house.

It must be so hard to be a cat!

Love that speckled belly!!!

Chasing after a shiny string - note the concentration!

Sleeping on my fresh laundry...Josie's no dummy.

Out of her mind on catnip - what a trip. Literally.

Excuse me. I'm much more interesting than those dumb flowers.

Napping with my books this afternoon - a cat after my own heart!

In short: Josie is an awesome cat whose enormous personality cannot be captured in words and pictures. She keeps us laughing and cuddles like a champ and I am so happy to have spent these two years with her – the first of many, I’m sure!

April 24, 2010

The world is just awesome – well, most of it.

Filed under: neat!, pittsburghing, sadface, Uncategorized, work — Cate @ 11:16 pm

It’s easy to be cynical and grouchy (I oughta know, I play that game), but it’s also no great feat to find people doing really cool, generous things. Today I found out about Secret Agent L, a fellow Pittsburgher who has taken it upon herself to do random acts of kindness for people in the city. It might be some money tucked into a bar menu for the next patron to find or a goodie bag left at a bus stop – just little things, “day brighteners,” without any kind of hitch or ulterior motive.

First of all, I love it. And even better, she’s inspired other people to reach out in similar ways. Of course I wish I’d thought of it, but still…makes me very proud to live in this city.

It sounds like such a simple, silly thing to do, but it’s just those simple, silly, completely unexpected things that can make someone’s day and that’s a very positive force. I remember one day I was walking up Centre Ave and I happened to turn my head to look in a store window and I saw a little sticker on the window that said, “you are so beautiful.” Now obviously whoever left it didn’t leave it for me personally, doesn’t know anything about me, wasn’t speaking directly to me, but seeing it there lifted my spirits. I’m sure I smiled and said hello to a lot of random strangers¬† that day, and maybe that had an uplifting effect on their moods, too.

We all have to start somewhere.

*

In other news: I have a job! Yes, I am finally formally employed once again – go me. I’m now an assistant/jack of all trades/extra set of hands/etc at Vanilla Pastry Studio, aka the awesomeist bakery in the city. And it’s not all eating frosting and gazing at cupcakes, either (which disappointed me at first, I’ll admit) – this is serious business and they keep me seriously busy. You would be shocked by the number of cupcakes I haven’t eaten. But I have the opportunity to get my hands in pretty much every aspect of the shop, so it’s been a great experience so far.

Plus the owner actually pays a living wage which is, you know, very sweet. (See what I did there! Ha!)

*

News from the home front is not good. The always lovable and amazing Beagle that’s been a member of our family for twelve years (wait…twelve? or thirteen?), the irreplaceable Little Pocket Rocket aka Rocky aka Bucket aka Fat Hound Dog is in a bad way. My parents are doing their best to keep him comfortable, but that’s all that can be done at this point.

Seb is the dog that’s in the forefront of my life right now, but Rocky has always been my # 1. He’s absolutely the best dog in the world and I can’t even imagine a world without him in it. I’m going back east soon to say goodbye and kiss his sweet white face and cry buckets.

Rocketman on his birthday, 4-1-2010.

…The whole thing seems so surreal.

April 16, 2010

Impromptu roadtrip – first of many? (We hope!)

Filed under: adventuring, neat!, pictures — Cate @ 6:51 pm

One of Joe’s friends jetted off to Europe a week or so ago (poor guy) and is letting us borrow his car while he’s gone. We’ve been having a blast driving around and actually doing things and not having to take a bus. It’s a lot of fun being able to run errands when we feel like it instead of when the bus feels like it or all at once one night when we can get a Zipcar.

Then on Wednesday afternoon, my partner-in-crime said to me, “Want to get in the car today and just drive and see where we end up?”

To which I replied, “Do bears poop in the woods?!” (translation: “Yes, absolutely, of course!”)

Another perk of not having a job…

In less than 30 minutes, we and the dog were strapped in and headed out of town. (Poor Josie always misses out on these little adventures.) Where to? We’d know it when we got there!

We took some hilly back roads in a vaguely northish direction, our only navigation being gut decisions based on, “I feel like going to the left,” or, “this road looks nice.” Since we weren’t on a time schedule and didn’t have a destination in mind, we could just enjoy the sights and wander along at our leisure.

Soon enough we found ourselves in the Allegheny National Forest.

As it started to get dark, we figured we should pick a place to spend the night. Bradford, PA (near the PA/NY border) seemed a good place to stop, just a little town along the way – or so we thought. Turns out, there’s a Pitt satellite campus up there PLUS the Zippo Lighter/Case Knives museum PLUS an adorable little downtown PLUS it has an airport AND a prison!

The radio waves were full of funny commercials about what an awesome place Bradford is to live and work. Maybe we hip young professionals will just relocate up there.

Thursday morning we left Bradford and headed eastish and southish, figuring we’d make a big loop and see some of central PA on the journey. We drove through a lot of teeny tiny towns and I’ve forgotten all their names except Emporium, because it’s fun to say.

Eventually we made it to State College, PA, home of Penn State. I’d never been to State College and Joe’s only been there once before, but he used his freakish memory to give me a tour of town and campus before we got back on the road. I think he must be part homing pigeon.

We made our way southish to the historic Lincoln Highway and followed that most of the way back home.

Along the way we turned off to find a covered bridge and ended up almost by accident at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville. The whole thing was sort of eerie, an outpouring of sadness in the middle of a huge empty space. I’d assumed that by now the actual memorial was done, but it’s still just “temporary” (weren’t there going to be trees? a little park?). Just a big fence with messages and mementos and a few bigger stones with plaques or engravings, plus the benches and the little people with everyone’s name.

We didn’t stay long. It was sort of emotional for me and people kept showing up and I didn’t want to be there with anyone else. I don’t know why I feel so private about it – obviously that’s what the memorial is there for, to mourn together.

Anyway. After that we needed a bridge.

We got home in the evening, all three of us pretty tired from a long couple days of being in the car. Josie was happy to see us – a little mad, too, but happy. I wish we could have stayed away longer and gone farther – up into New York, maybe follow the border to Maine and then come back along the East coast. Maybe next time…!

Joe and I really haven’t made a secret of not wanting to stay in Pittsburgh, but I think hanging around here one more year won’t be so bad if we can escape every once in a while.

At the very least, we’ll always have Bradford…

April 14, 2010

In which Joe does me a MAJOR solid…

Filed under: apartment, conversations, googly eyes — Cate @ 12:58 am

Let me set the scene for you: Night. I’m alone in the apartment, taking a shower. Joe and Seb are outside having an evening poop (Seb is, anyway). I hear a noise! A noise that couldn’t be Josie! It sounds human! Could someone be in the apartment?!?!?!

Enter Joe.

Me: (as door opens, cowering behind shower curtain) JOE?! JOE IS THAT YOU?!
Joe: It’s me. What’s up?
Me: I heard a noise. Like a whistle. Did you whistle?
Joe: Nope. Wasn’t me.
Me: (minor heart attack)
Me: (recovering) Will you check the apartment for intruders?
Joe: Absolutely!
Me: (huddled in one corner of the shower, shampoo bottle at the ready to squirt in a Bad Man’s eye or whomp him over the head)
Joe: (walking from room to room, turning lights on, checking hidey places)
Joe: All clear!
Me: (alive, thankful)

It’s possible that dear Joe was just choosing his battles wisely; not long before this conversation, I’d demonstrated that I had a case of the weepies and he probably wanted to ensure it didn’t go all the way to full-on hysterics.

It’s also possible – I would argue, more likely – that Joe is just an awesome guy who’s not afraid to peek into dark corners, both literal and figurative.

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