The Amazing Adventures of Josie and Seb

July 7, 2010

Home Remedies

Filed under: adventuring, neat!, triumph! — Cate @ 9:49 pm

Being a person who gets poison ivy with some regularity (and who has sensitive skin that reacts very strongly to the devil’s plant), I have a routine for dealing with the itching and rashiness and general gross discomfort. Things like calamine lotion, oatmeal baths, hot hot hot showers, ibuprofen – and, of course, a trip to the doctor for some steroids. Since I’m currently a person without health insurance (or any money, if we’re being honest), when I was poisoned this time I figured, “no big deal – I’m sure I can fix the problem using my superior Google skills and a few items I already have in my apartment.”

Google is filled with helpful remedies like fels-naptha (huh?) and golden seal root extract (what?) and sage advice like, “go talk to your doctor and get a prescription for steroids.” Still, I was determined not to give up. There had to be an easy, cheap solution. For once, I would defeat poison ivy instead of poison ivy defeating me!

Home Remedy #1: Hydrogen Peroxide

Good old HP. So useful for so many things. Why not poison ivy? I was careful not to accidentally pour it on my hair and instead doused my ivy rash very liberally a few times a day. It only lasted for one day, because here’s the thing: HP doesn’t hurt.

I don’t know about you, but I subscribe to the belief that a remedy ought to hurt pretty bad (so you know it’s working). Can’t say for sure if HP would have cleared up the ivy, because I just didn’t have faith in its effectiveness and so abandoned it early on.

Home Remedy #2: Rubbing Alcohol

I read online that rubbing alcohol was especially effective if you scratched the rash in an extremely brutal way before pouring it on yourself. And wow – this one hurts. Hurts pretty bad. As you can imagine, I was ecstatic. Once the burning stopped and I was able to unclench my jaw, I noticed the itching had completely stopped. Score!

I repeated the rubbing alcohol method for a day or two, firmly believing that my rash was getting better. I was beside myself with triumph. “Doesn’t it look good?!” I would ask Joe, forcing him to look close at my rash. The sight didn’t make him puke, which I took as an excellent sign.

All was going swimmingly until I told my Mom about my miraculous cure-all and she said, “Catherine, don’t be ridiculous. We’re going to the pharmacy.” After that it not only completely stopped working – of course – but got even worse. The next day, Mom recoiled in horror from the sight of my bare shoulder, which led to a forceful application of…

Home (sort of) Remedy #3: Tecnu EXTREME

This is a sort of soap-lotion that you use to scrub your rash (or, if you’re me, your entire body). It has little gritty bits mixed in that supposedly break up the blisters so the medicine can get to the inner skin, but also there’s something in it that bonds to the poison oil so the whole nasty mess can be washed away. It’s not cheap, but thankfully I have a Mom who loves me and doesn’t want to see her only daughter succumb to poisons. (It’s also not expensive, by any normal person’s standards. It’s just more expensive than free and so, for me, is too expensive.)

I’m sad to admit it, but it needs to be said: this crap is the real deal. Wow. Sometimes it really is best to leave things to the professionals. I scrubbed myself down on Saturday and by today (Wednesday), the rash is almost completely gone. Not just not itchy – gone. GONE. Gone gone gone-itty gone.

So I didn’t end up solving the problem totally on my own, but at least it is solved. And I didn’t have to sell all my possessions to pay for treatment or even go to the emergency room this time, so…I’d say that’s a positive. Plus, I discovered a new miracle cure whose restorative benefits I can now screech about from every available mountaintop. I’m appointing myself Official Spokesperson.

TECNU EXTREME, people. You can even “like” it on Facebook.


February 22, 2010

Weekend in Review

Filed under: googly eyes, neat!, pictures, pittsburghing, triumph! — Cate @ 3:02 am

Friday afternoon, inexplicably, our electricity cut out. Like any sensible young people, we decided to wait at the bar for it to come back on.

In our case, “the bar” was Sharp Edge Beer Emporium – yes sir, an EMPORIUM of beer! – and we arrived in time to take advantage of happy hour. Joe is not a huge fan of Belgian beers, which of course is their speciality, but they have enough other things that he was happy. I was happy too, because happy hour means cheap beer means I can try different things. I only had two, but they were both good.

Beer #1: De Konninck

Beer #2: Bavik

As it turns out, the Belgians can also fry a mean onion. Mmm onions.

Saturday, Joe took off to play with his friends and I watched season two of Tool Academy. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a GENIUS show about men who are tools and the women who love them, but wish they weren’t tools. So they trick them into going on a reality TV show where the men are enrolled in therapy and couple-strengthening challenges and eventually (we hope) come to realize that they shouldn’t be such tools to the women they love. It’s great – and it makes me appreciate Joe (my non-tool) so much more.

Ooh, such quality!

While I watched, I worked on a new necklace – pale pink rectangles and some darked pink squares. Used the leftovers for earrings and voila…I have successfully made a jewelry set! I find it very soothing. And pretty.

Later my friend came over to watch a movie and catch up. He also brought his Puggle, Aston, who’s a little over a year old and SO CUTE. I used to live with Aston and I wasn’t always his biggest fan, but you know how it goes…you move apart and learn to appreciate each other a little more.

Josie and Aston used to play, so I thought she’d be happy to see him, but it was Seb who really had a blast. I’ve never seen him play with another dog like he and Aston played. It was pretty adorable.

Then they laid down and napped for awhile. Awwwwwww.

Sunday I had a pretty lazy day – rebeaded my bracelet on new jump rings and now it’s strong and pretty. I even had some left over to make earrings. I am a MACHINE. I doubt I’ll be able to translate this to a money-making venture like I’d hoped, but it sure is fun.

Then me and Joe (mostly Joe) made Indian for dinner and I don’t want to talk about it. Ugh. Samosas.

And then the weekend was over. Not like it matters, though; when you don’t have a job, every day is the weekend.

February 2, 2010


Filed under: adventuring, conversations, triumph! — Cate @ 11:46 pm

I think I’m finally beginning to take hold of my Tetris addiction. My shoulder doesn’t feel sore when I play anymore. See, that’s totally proof that I’m not really addicted at all. I can quit at any time. But I choose not to. I play Tetris! Tetris doesn’t play me!

Joe, on the other hand, may be reaching the limits of his patience. Sooner or later he’s going to get mad enough to cut me off. I have visions of myself stomping around the apartment, ripping out chunks of my hair, breaking things, screaming, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY TETRIS I NEED MY TETRIS WHERE HAVE YOU TAKEN TETRIS CAN YOU HEAR ME TETRIS TETRIS TETRIS TEEEEEEEETTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!”

I can’t tell you how many conversations we’ve had that go like this:

Joe asks a question or asks me to help him with something or makes a comment that I ought to respond to.

Me (playing Tetris): Uh huh. Ummm…yeah.

Joe: (sigh)

Me (ten minutes later): OK, what did you need?

Obviously, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had that conversation because I’ve been too busy playing Tetris to pay attention to my poor, maligned boyfriend. Sometimes I’ll even answer him and then ten minutes later when I come out of my coma I’ll have to ask him what I said and amend it to something that makes actual sense. You know, Tetris never gets mad at me for ignoring it…

Anyway, to demonstrate that I am not yet a total waste of a human being, Joe and I ran errands last night and I barely played Tetris at all the whole evening. We mailed packages, we bought animal food, we had dinner, we went grocery shopping (and we really must be getting good at it because we spent about $100 less than I expected and got a TON of food!), we did our laundry.

I won’t disclose how long it’s been since we washed our clothes, linens, etc. Suffice to say it had been awhile. So there was plenty to do:

In case you can’t see, that’s two IKEA bags, one blue garbage bag, a mesh laundry bag and our laundry hamper, plus two very horrified/fascinated pets.

We took over the laundromat:

Why, yes, those are five industrial-sized washing machines filled with our things!

(I played some Tetris while we waited for the laundry to finish. Which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do! Don’t judge me!)

It sort of sucked at the time, but it was so nice to come home and sleep on clean sheets and put on clean pants today. Turns out, having clean laundry is pretty neat. Huh. I’ll have to remember that for next time…

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…

January 6, 2010

Just call me MASTER!

Filed under: triumph! — Cate @ 7:18 pm

So, it’s official. I am, officially, an official Master of Fine Arts. Officially.

And here's proof!

November 22, 2009


Filed under: apartment, pictures, triumph! — Cate @ 1:40 pm

Digital film, I think. But, nevertheless, CAUGHT!!!

I present to you, dear readers, Josie and Seb snuggling:

Josie approaches Seb, who sleeps unsuspecting

...she nuzzles, begins to roll...

SHE ROLLS! We have full-on KITTY JOY!


...a short break, for some canoodling...

Seb finally wakes up, wonders what's going on...

Now, to the untrained eye, it may appear as though Josie has approached a sleeping Seb, rubbed herself all over his face and then used his attempt to evade her as an excuse to swat him in the eye. NOT SO!

Ladies and gentlemen: our animals like each other.

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.

September 27, 2009

Our G-20 Weekend, in pictures

Filed under: adventuring, food, googly eyes, pictures, pittsburghing, triumph! — Cate @ 11:28 pm

This weekend, courtesy of the G-20 summit being held in Pittsburgh and the general hysteria surrounding the protesters’ arrival, I got two days off work and a blissful four day weekend. Here’s how we filled our time.

We snuggled.

We battled a nasty ear ache/infection.

We shared our toys.

We looked out the window.

We dropped an egg on the floor.

We made cookies.

We ate cookies.

We snuggled.

We made our boyfriend cook dinner.

We had pancakes for breakfast.

We went downtown to see what all the fuss was about.

We talked stir fry.

We snuggled.

We finished the second draft of our thesis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We Facebooked.

We gave in to temptation.

September 1, 2009

A good day, indeed.

Filed under: conversations, triumph! — Cate @ 10:47 am

Today in random but important Gmail chats…

Tim:  the day is here!
me:  the day?!

Tim:  the day of the year upon which the pumpkin spice latte returns!
me:  THE DAY!

August 25, 2009

The Amazing Introduction of Josie and Seb

Filed under: apartment, googly eyes, pictures, triumph! — Cate @ 4:54 pm

I was so excited about Joe and Seb just being here that I forgot entirely to talk about the actual first time face-to-face meeting of our animals. In a word: uneventful.

Miss Josie saw the Big Yellow Dog coming and went into full-out defense mode: arched back, huge puffed tail, growly sneer. Seb looked in her direction and then totally ignored her. “Oh, there’s a cat here,” he seemed to say. “Whatever. Now about that snuggling…?”

Once Josie realized he wasn’t going to eat her, she settled down and went back to being her normal chatty, cuddly self. They’ve only been living together a few days, and she’s already taken to rubbing up against his face and sniffing him when he’s sitting still. Seb, a gentleman through and through, has once or twice snuffed in her direction but that’s it.

Actually, once or twice Josie has tried to make a speedy exit from a room only to find Seb and his long legs blocking her path. It’s sort of funny to watch her crash into him and Seb look baffled by this fluffy thing careening out of nowhere. Oh, animals. You do amuse!

Josie desperately wants to play with him. A few times now I’ve seen her deliberately rub on him and then go thundering away, only to stop and stare at him, wondering why he doesn’t chase her. She’s learning that living with a small-breed puppy and a large-breed adult are quite different, but I think she’ll end up preferring a dog that doesn’t grab her by the throat and drag her across the floor.

Last night as Joe and I sat on our couch, Josie curled up on my lap and Seb sat in front of us to get some lovin’. They touched noses in the most adorable display of inter-species affection (well, awareness anyway) I’ve ever seen. Of course I didn’t get a picture, but here’s proof that they do share space! It’s dark and hard to tell, but Josie and Seb are both in that picture, quite close and happy about it.

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