The Amazing Adventures of Josie and Seb

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.

March 26, 2010

My inner artist is 8 years old…

Filed under: adventuring, neat!, pittsburghing — Cate @ 1:14 am

And obsessed with destruction.

But I get ahead of myself.

Last night, Joe and I went out to the bar to watch the hockey game (they lost) and eat bar food (yum) and drink beer (mmm). Afterward, we headed to his buddy’s place to hang out for a little while longer. Now this buddy is an artist type and he has a little easel set up with some charcoal and likes to invite people to draw on it. Joe, being a similarly-minded artist type, immediately got to work on some kind of masterpiece that involved a lot of shading and buffing and fancy technique.

When Joe was done, they both turned to me and said, “your turn!”

I can’t draw. And that’s not just me being modest, I legitimately do not possess the power to put pen (or crayon, or pencil, or charcoal) to paper and produce anything resembling art. And, also, I sort of hate it. But they were peer pressuring me and calling me a loser* and finally bullied me to my breaking point** so I had to give in.

Behold, my drawing:

Just a happy little mountain. With lava. And fire.

Let’s break it down and really show off the detail here, shall we?

The mountain goat is excited that his mountain isn't covered in lava, but joke's on him! It's a T-Rex!

The fisherman is actually flaming about the head, but refuses to leave without some fish to show for his troubles (of which he has many, clearly).

The doe similarly on fire. Perhaps she's about to dunk her head in the river to put out the flames? Aw, shucks, the river is lava.

Rounding out our trifecta of fire, the bunny rabbit's tail is engulfed. Also, the side of the mountain is burning. Or maybe spraying fire.

Not sure that you needed it, but there’s five good reasons why I stick to taking pictures instead of drawing them. (I promise I’m not an arsonist. It started off as a simple pastoral scene, but the only colors he had were black and red and orange, so…you know. Fire was the next logical step.)

Upon its unveiling, Joe laughed and said, “wow, you’re so literal!” which I think is the non-literal artist’s way of saying, “wow, you’re so bad at this!”

Thanks. Ass.

*This may be a teensy exaggeration.
**…This too.

March 21, 2010

In which I meet and am immediately adored by Dog The Bounty Hunter

Filed under: adventuring, pictures, pittsburghing — Cate @ 8:27 pm

That’s a total lie: I didn’t meet him. Though I’m sure if we had met, he would have liked me immediately, but I would have been super-annoyed with him so I might have said something snotty that led to him to revise his first impression of me to something less positive.

Let’s start from the beginning.

The Beginning

Dog The Bounty Hunter came to Pittsburgh yesterday! Wow! Excitement! Some friends and I planned to go down to the Barnes & Noble where he was signing books to say hey and high five and be obnoxious. I was hoping to get a photo of him holding a sign that said, “happy birthday, Mom!”

But as it turns out, Dog is insanely popular in Pittsburgh and the book-signing was a mad house.

There's more line around the other side of the building and behind me.

Also – and this is the thing that really annoyed me, hence the reason I’d probably mouth off at Dog when/if we met – you couldn’t get in to meet him unless you bought his new book. His new book, mind you. People who had already bought other books/memorabilia were S.O.L. because he refused to sign those ones. BOOHISS.

I get that it’s a ploy for Dog and B&N to make money, but I found it really annoying and more than a little distasteful. You’d think the guy would be trying to project more of a nice-guy image, since everybody knows he’s a huge douchenozzle.

PLUS the guy was late! I say, sir, do not expect me to wait around for your arrival! I have important appointments!

Pictures with the van were free! The only price I'd pay...

I had absolutely no intention of buying his book, so my friends and I did the only reasonable thing: skipped Dog and went to the bar.

Since I had no book and was denied getting a photo of him with a “happy birthday, Mom!” sign, you could say that Dog The Bounty Hunter ruined my mother’s birthday.

Admittedly, I was a little sad not to meet Beth…I imagine she’s a peach.

March 19, 2010

On Being 25 – and other things

Filed under: adventuring, conversations, pittsburghing — Cate @ 11:23 pm

So I’m officially 25 years old. As with all “milestone” birthdays, you sort of expect to have some kind of big revelation upon turning a year older even though, intellectually, you know that that expectation is pretty silly and you have years of experience in non-revelations so you know not to expect it, but that doesn’t keep you from kinda wanting it…and so on.

I guess I should say up front that there were no revelations, just a lot of reflecting about the last 25 years and the last year in particular. 24 was pretty hellish, but also pretty wonderful – the mix of good times and bad times that affirms you’re alive. All told, I’ve had a good year and a lot of happiness and even though broke and unemployed and wondering “what next?” is not necessarily where I wanted to be at 25, it could be so much worse.

*

The city’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration was last weekend – the parade and festivities and all that. My college roommate came into town for it and it was awesome to see her. We had some people over for breakfast and car bombs at our place and then went down to the parade. It rained, which was not super-fun, but I was hoarse on Sunday from yelling and cheering so much, so I guess that means my St. Patty’s was awesome.

*

A random photo of one of the animals being tortured for our amusement:

Seriously, guys? Seriously?

*

I have been reading like crazy lately, mostly trashy romance novels. It’s almost like a sickness or an addiction. I can read one in about a day, which might be why I love them so much. No commitment. No real effort. Just fluffy. Pure trashy, fluffy fluff. Candy for your brain. And who doesn’t like candy?

*

An actual conversation that Joe and I had recently:

Me (eating a muffin): Have you tried these muffins? They taste weird.

Joe (taking a bite): What’s weird about it? It’s a perfectly normal blueberry muffin.

Me: …They’re chocolate chip.

Joe: Oh. Weird.

*

Seb is a pretty tractable guy, but Josie refuses to be bothered.

Not interested, human. Beat it.

Oh, Josie.

*

Joe and Seb and I might be taking a trip to the Garden State soon. Or maybe just Seb and I. Or maybe just me. The details have yet to be worked out. Suffice to say, though, that I’m really looking forward to a change of scenery and seeing my family and seeing my friends.

I’m also really looking forward to getting some barn time. Lately I’ve been dreaming of horses three or four times a week. Withdrawal, perhaps? Probably.

Speaking of, I’ve been looking for someone in the Pittsburgh area that I can take driving lessons from (trying to fulfill a long-held ambition to drive a carriage!), but so far it’s been a lot of frustration and not a lot of success. But we’ll see. They have to be out there…

*

Two big birthdays this weekend: my momma is turning 50 (woot woot) and Joe’s gram is turning 65 (booooyah). I promised I’d help him remember. Birthdays are my speciality.

April is a big birthday month: Rocky, Josie, Seb and my Dad are all celebrating a new year.

*

Who has two thumbs and got flowers for her birthday?

This girl!

*

Beautiful, beautiful weather in the Steel City lately. A girl could get used to blue skies and sunshine – but I’m trying not to be too excited about the arrival of Spring. I’m sure that this is Pittsburgh’s idea of a sick joke and the blizzards will be returning any day now.

*

New episodes of “Doctor Quinn Plays My Life” are forthcoming, I promise.

March 2, 2010

Dr Quinn Plays My Life – Episode 4

Filed under: dr quinn plays my life — Cate @ 6:08 pm

Haaaaaaaaaaaaappy Birthdaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

February 23, 2010

Doctor Quinn Plays My Life – Episode 3

Filed under: dr quinn plays my life — Cate @ 2:23 am

We don’t even have a TV and we have to deal with this crap!

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.

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