The Amazing Adventures of Josie and Seb

July 28, 2010

My latest favorite thing

Filed under: girls in the world, neat! — Cate @ 5:03 pm

I love web comics. I love finding new ones that have hundreds of strips to catch up on and I love spending a whole day or evening or hour at work just going back and back reading and giggling to myself.

My most recent find is Hark! A Vagrant, which you can tell by its title is absolutely awesome. Even more awesome: there are a bunch of literary comics in the collection, a lot that are influenced by historical events and figures, and all of them flat-out hilarious.

Like so:

HA! As much as I am not a great fan of Austen or the Brontes, I love it when they show up in the comics.

My very most favorites:

But really. Go read them all.


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!

January 13, 2010

My sweet new ink…

Filed under: adventuring, girls in the world, pittsburghing, triumph! — Cate @ 5:20 pm

I decided a long time ago that I wanted to mark the completion of my MFA (have I mentioned I have a Master’s degree?) with something really awesome, like a new tattoo. Generally speaking, I think tattoos are a great way to mark a milestone – like a living scrapbook. Sure, you can save pictures and such, but there’s always a chance you’ll lose your stuff. Your skin, your body, you’ll always have that.

As I continue on my slow journey to embrace the whats and the hows of my body, this becomes even more relevant. When I got my first tattoo I felt (maybe for the first time) beautiful – not “beautiful, but…” as is usually the case, but beautiful. There’s something indescribable that comes with the physical transformation of getting tattooed, something that the needle cultivates into a bloom. It’s easy to see how people get “addicted” – I certainly can’t claim to be immune.

So I did it again last night. The design is one I first saw on Threadless and fell immediately in love with it. I’ve carried it around with me for a long time…and now I’ll carry it around with me a while longer, in a more concrete sense. For me the feather harkens back to writing with a quill and the birds bursting forth from the feather…what better metaphor for creation? What better milestone with my MFA?

I had it done by a great guy named Joe Capone at South Side Tattoo and the whole experience was wonderful, start to finish. It hardly hurt at all and Joe finished it up in a little under an hour. My Joe came along, too, and was absurdly jealous. I’m pretty excited for the day when it’s his turn to sit in the chair and I get to watch. One thing that stinks about getting tattooed on your back is you can’t watch the image coming to life.

So here I am, sporting something new. A little sore today, but certainly worth it. Already itching for the next…

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.


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.

July 28, 2009

We’re moved!

Filed under: apartment, girls in the world, moving, pittsburghing — Cate @ 10:33 am

The move on Saturday went pretty well – my wonderful dad came out to help. Funny how everything moves faster and more smoothly when there’s a dad helping out. :) It took us three trips with the van, hours of sweating, up and down and up and down the stairs, a few crushed fingers and toes, but we did it.

Josie had a rough day, though. She snuck out of the house while we were moving and I had to shut her in the basement until I had time to give her a bath. Last time she screamed and screamed but didn’t really fight – this time…oh gosh. I was a bloody mess when she was finished with me. My arms are covered in scratches and one very impressive bruise. I’m not sure how she managed to bruise me with her claws, but I tip my hat to her. Luckily for me, she forgave me pretty fast and we spent most of the post-move Saturday snuggled up together, relaxing.

lovvvvvve meeeeeeee

lovvvvvve meeeeeeee

Saturday night I brought her to the apartment and she was pretty freaked out. She didn’t want to come out of the kitty carrier for a while and when she did, she pretty much just found things to hide behind.

Sunday she was still acting funny. A bit more relaxed, more like her usual exploratory self, but she kept making this weird grumbly-growly noise. I’ve never heard her do that before. She would growl and then she would hiss. Haunted apartment? Maybe. There was also some kind of concert going on down the road, so maybe all that noise was freaking her out.

Sunday I spent most of the day unpacking. I’ve got my bedroom, bathroom and kitchen squared away – pictures coming on those. The living room is slower, though I did arrange all my books and DVDs on the shelf and it looks great. The office still needs a bit of work, so I haven’t even started on that.

Josie is still extremely clingy and annoying – which I still hope is only temporary. She wakes me up every morning around 6, mraring her head off, demanding my attention. Follows me around, tries to trip me, demand demand demand. She’s also not eating as well as I would like. I hope as we settle in and she feels more confident in the new place she’ll calm down.



Of course, just as she’s calming down the boys will show up and disrupt her routine again. Poor kitty girl. Can’t catch a break.

In non-apartment news, I met up with some friends last night for happy hour and dinner and hanging out at the too-cool-for-school Harris Grill. A friend who moved away was back in town, so we all had a good time seeing her again. Our final bill was enormous and it took forever to split it up – but what do you expect? We’re writers, not mathematicians! (Nevermind that I work in finance…)



Nothing planned for today after work. Looking forward to going home, spending some time with miss Josephine, and relaxing in my new digs.

July 24, 2009

Let your hair down, girl!

Filed under: girls in the world, pittsburghing — Cate @ 11:39 am

Last night I gave myself a vacation from moving and packing and cleaning and thinking about the apartment and went down to the new Hofbrauhaus to drink and carouse with friends. It’s sort of funny (and sad) that we’ve all barely seen one another this summer and now that one of us is moving away we suddenly hang out again. Better late than never, I suppose. Time goes so fast!

The draw of the Hof (it needs a hip, irreverent nickname…also, I’m lazy) is obviously the beer, but the beer hall atmosphere and German food was fun, too. We sat outside on the back porch, but just walking through the main hall was an experience in and of itself. I hear sitting inside is too loud to talk (and I believe it) and the porch had a roof and a nice view of downtown. Very pretty.

But anyway…the beer.

We are hardcore women, so we each got 2-3 liters (!!!), served in a heavy glass beer stien. I got the July special, Bohemian Pilsner. Pretty delicious. For an extra $8 you can buy a stien, so of course I did. It’s a huge hulking beast and I hope it doesn’t rip the kitchen cabinets out of the walls…

Anyway, hung out for about four hours, ate, laughed, talked, laughed some more, made plans to meet up again Sunday (we really just can’t say goodbye). It was a good night. Definitely worth feeling a little sleepy at work today.

July 20, 2009

Progress! And sad kitties…

Filed under: apartment, girls in the world, pictures, sadface, triumph! — Cate @ 10:24 am

Saturday was a long and exhausting day. I volunteer at my school’s organic garden on (some) Saturday mornings and this week had agreed to drive the van up there, so despite being hungover and tired couldn’t just stay in bed like I wanted to. It was a gorgeous day for gardening and I brought home a bounty of veggies, including zucchinis, beans, a pepper, squashes, basil, thyme, broccoli and rhubarb. I also had two beets but I knew I was never going to eat them, so I gave them to someone else.

When we got back to the city, I figured I would head over to the new place and do some work ripping up carpets. The carpets were a nasty shade of orange-brown in the living room and office and a very dirty off-white in the bedroom. And they were hiding beautiful hardwood floors, so I knew as soon as I looked at the apartment that they would all be coming out.

Unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera, so the only “before” shots I have were taken with my phone’s dinky camera:

the living room – blech

the office – blech blech!

the bedroom – blech blech blech!

Pretty gross, right? It all came up surprisingly easy. There were a few spots where the carpet went under a door jamb, so that will have to be torn up more carefully, but for the most part all I had to do was tug and it popped right up. It took me an hour to get all of the carpets pulled up in all three rooms. Not bad!! I spent another hour rolling up the carpet and picking up what I could of the padding underneath. The rest will have to be swept up or scrubbed loose, but it’s a start.

I had three “after” images, but apparently two of them got swallowed between my phone and the online album.

the living room – dirty and dusty, but a floor emerges!

I’ll still have to go back and pull out the tack strips and clean and polish the floors. Another couple hours, I think, and the whole project will be done. Then I can start moving! Very exciting!

Afterwards, I went out to grab some lunch/dinner with a friend who lives nearby and then I fell into bed and didn’t move until 7am Sunday morning. I watched a few episodes of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, moved some things around, and then went next door to work on Thesis for a few hours.

When I came back, my (now former) roommate had stopped by the collect Cosby, leaving Josie all alone in the house. I think that was the first time she’d been totally alone since she came to live with us last April. She was absolutely crazed.

I’m not sure if it was an insecurity thing (“oh my god the house is empty! They took Cosby away! I’m next! What’s happening to my life?!?!?!?!”) or a joyful celebration thing (“finally! Alone with my human! All of the attention is mine! ME ME ME ME ME!”), but she followed me everywhere all night long. If I stopped, she stopped. If I went into the kitchen to make dinner, she sat in the kitchen watching me. If I sat down to watch some True Blood, she sat on my lap.

Poor little Josie. Her whole world is upside-down! I’ve heard reports that Cosby is the same way – he cried all night, apparently. At least Josie let me get some sleep.

On the plus side, though, I don’t think we’ve ever snuggled as much as we have in the past twenty four hours.

If I explore this side of the room, you won’t disappear, right?

July 16, 2009

Such sweet sorrow…

Filed under: apartment, girls in the world, sadface — Cate @ 1:39 pm

Yesterday one of my roommates moved out. There’s still traces of his stuff around the house, but for the most part he (and his Puggle) are gone. We’ve been friends for ages, so I know I’ll still see him, but it’s sad just the same. It took me a long, long time to warm up to his puppy and I even miss the little pooper.

Also yesterday…I signed a lease! And got keys to the new place!!!!!!!!

Afterwards I went to say hello to the new apartment. It needs some serious work, but I’m excited to get started. I think this weekend I’ll put in some time ripping up carpets and spiffing up the wood floors underneath. I’ll take pictures. Exciting stuff.

This morning, my other roommate’s cat woke me up bright and early. Cosby is funny in the mornings, very loud and obnoxious until I get up and put food in his bowl. Today I just wasn’t having it. He started in on me before 6am (how uncivilized!), crying and whining, crawling all over me, rubbing on my face. Now I have a funny knot in my back that I’m sure is a result of twisting and squirming and trying to get away from him.

When I did finally get up, I was pleased to see Miss Josie was not taking part in Cos’s antics, though clearly she was not pleased to see me. She was stretched out on the floor, looking stern and disappointed, weak with hunger I’m sure. Poor darling.

I wonder – when we live alone, will Josie take over Cosby’s role?

July 14, 2009

One unhappy cat…

Filed under: girls in the world, human training, sadface — Cate @ 12:36 pm

Poor Josie had to get dunked last night. She slipped out the back door when my roommate took the puppy out to do his business and wandered around for a few hours. Josie’s a former stray and loves to be outside, but I try to keep her in due to the massive amounts of poison ivy in our backyard (and because it looks like a jungle out of Jurassic Park the backyard is where all the kitties want to play) and my severe allergy to it. This is second time recently that she’s sprinted for the door. (Darling, I get it: you want to be an inside-outside cat. Just cool your jets for a couple more weeks!)

So she got a bath the second she allowed me to catch her. Poor little girl. She screamed like I was killing her (possibly the most upsetting sound in the world) but only clawed me a couple times. I know it sucks to be forcibly bathed but I just can’t have her spreading poisons all over my house.

She was pretty pissed off (understandably). But this morning she came right up to me and let me pet her and purred like usually, so I guess she’s decided to let me live.

I’m hoping in the new place I’ll be able to let her outside like a real cat. We’ll be living on the second floor but maybe we can make it work. She was content for a long time to just sit in the window and watch, but I think she’s telling me loud and clear now that she’s unsatisfied.

Josie says “jump,” I say, “yes ma’am!”

July 1, 2009


Filed under: apartment, girls in the world, moving, triumph! — Cate @ 6:33 pm

Well, we found an apartment – and what a relief to know that we have a place to live! After months of checking Craigslist obessively, making countless phone calls, canvassing the city with emails, begging all my friends for their landlord’s contact information, looking at scary and shitty and too-nice-for-us-to-afford apartments…we have a home!

Even better, it’s a cheap fixer-upper that we can play with as much as we want. We’re already planning to tear up carpets and paint and put down a new kitchen floor. An adventure in more ways than one!

So Joe, Josie, Seb and I will be moving to Highland Park in the next couple weeks. Well, Josie and I will be – Joe and Seb still have to get their butts back to Pittsburgh from the west coast. In time we will all be reunited, or introduced for the first time in Josie and Seb’s case.

But I’m not worried. Though Josie has suffered a bit living with my roommate’s Puggle puppy, in her previous home I’m told she liked the neighborhood dogs and wasn’t scared. Plus Seb, according to Joe, likes cats. And a mature Lab is a far cry from a young, mouthy Puggle. Plus my girl’s tough! She can take it!

Mostly I’m excited. Looking forward to the move and the new place and taking this Next Big Step…

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