Sunday, July 21, 2019

There's a New Sheriff in Town

I have always dreamed that a homeless kitten would show up on my porch and demand to be let in.

Well, she's here. 

She was afraid of us at first and we thought she might be feral (I thought calling her Will Feral would be genius), but she warmed up very quickly with a full belly and a cozy bed. She's now made herself quite at home, bossing around our other cats and demanding pets and play from us.

Her name is Dolly Parton. Obviously. Because she's confident and fabulous and scrappy and proud of where she's from. (The mean streets of Hyde Park.) 

She also has a tiny rhinestone guitar, a big blonde wig and cruises around on the Roomba practicing for her upcoming tour. 

The only problem is that our intent was to foster her until she found a permanent home. 

Did we really want to be a three cat house?
How would our boys adjust?
How much cat hair can our rugs accommodate?!

I was initially determined to find her a permanent home, blasting her photos and bio out on social and among coworkers. Ray even posted on Next Door that she negotiated a lower fee at the vet and ordered the staff lunch. 

But when a coworker told me his sister wanted her, I was immediately defensive.

"Your sister? She sounds like a killer. She probably wants to send her to some animal testing facility or something. Or worse!"

"Umm... what?"

"Yeah, that's what I thought. She seems like a complete weirdo." 

"Ok, well, just let me know if you decide you actually want to get rid of her."

Another coworker, who is desperate for me to keep Dolly, chimed in on the conversation. "What do we even know about his sister?!"


"I could tell you about my sister, if you want."

We looked at him with disgust and suspicion, naturally. 

But we haven't actually decided yet. It's been only a few days since she's been out of quarantine from the basement (she had fleas and parasites, poor muffin), and we're still determining how Chuck Norris and Hunter S. Tomcat might get along with her long term. 

Thus far they've been patient and tolerant, despite her being a fearless country and western recording artist cat who repeatedly pounces on them. This is them wondering what they hell she is doing in their living room. 

Ray is decidedly in the "let's just foster" her camp. I'm more in the "but she adopted us!" camp. Either way, she is radiant and we are both quite taken by her. 

I swear we are missing only about 20 inches of trim in the basement bathroom, and somehow I captured those 20 inches perfectly.

She's already cost us a trip to the vet for a health check and and kitten food and toy shopping spree at Petco. I feel like we have to keep her now.

Like brothers and stuff

Things You Learn at the Hitching Post

This morning at brunch Ray told me that the first time he had 'this type' of gravy wasn't until college. 

'Up to then, I'd only ever had biscuits with squirrel gravy.'

I've never had squirrel gravy, and I am ok with that. 

We ate out a lot this weekend. We go in waves. 

We met friends Friday night and since Local Post was too crowded, we walked over to Streetside Brewery and ate there instead. It was terrific. Simple and delicious and we sat right in front of the fan at the live edge table. So it was basically like we were sitting outside with a cool breeze eating under a tree. Outdoorsy but with air conditioning. 

My kinda 'outdoorsy.'

Monday, April 15, 2019

To Paris, With Love

One of our sweetest memories of Paris was sitting across from Notre Dame Cathedral people watching and eating crepes. The little crepe cart was right across from Notre Dame (you can kind of see it behind Ray in this photo), and if you positioned yourself just-so, there was enough ledge on the building across the street to sit down and eat. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Porch Season is Back

We spent the weekend spring cleaning our porch furniture and mopping the dirt of winter off the front porch. Well, technically, Ray did most of the mopping and cleaning (as pictured above), but as is my duty as the official documentarian of our lives, I took photos and posted them to Instagram stories. 

It's important to have photos. 

I was reminded this weekend of how essential a front porch is. No sooner had the porch swing cushion come out than the neighbors were over with their new little baby. Neighbors, a bouncing baby boy and blooming spring flowers. We are back. 

Our little Japanese maple always looks so pretty in red in the spring.

I noticed this weekend that our house in the last one around us that still has the original columns. Everyone else has shiny new vinyl columns, which look very neat and clean. But ours still have the carved wood at the top. They won't last forever, and some of the details are lost beneath 100 years of paint, but they still have that original beauty. 

Let me know when y'all want to stop by for iced tea and porch sitting.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

I'll Show You a Place, High on the Desert Plain

Ray and I visited our 6th National Park together in January, with number six being Joshua Tree.

The country was in the throes of the 35 day government shutdown and even though the National Parks were “open,” they weren’t properly staffed. News reports out of Joshua Tree the week before we left for California were abysmal.

Vandals were cutting down Joshua Trees.
The park was shutting down due to the vandals and overflowing toilets.
The campgrounds were closing because of unsanitary conditions.

It was first reported the park would close entirely because of the conditions, but the next day the decision was reversed.

I was in California for work so we were visiting the area with or without seeing the park, but Joshua Tree was a big factor in extending the trip. I left not knowing if the park would be open when Ray came out to meet me, and even the night before we weren’t exactly sure what we would find.

Naturally, we were expecting the worst.

Chainsaw wielding tree vandals!
Heaps of human waste!
Mountains of trash!
Cats and dogs living together!

In actuality, the park was perfection. Give it up for press reports, Joshua Tree lovers and volunteers and park rangers who came together to clean up their beloved park and keep a close watch.

What we found was a beautiful National Park and hundreds of other visitors respecting the land and facilities. We were prepared to ninja any tree destroying bandits, but we didn’t need to. (Lucky for them!) 

You know this was written because this is EXACTLY what someone told a Park Ranger.

I guess I should have known that with a name like Joshua Tree there would be plenty of Joshua Trees. Yet somehow, it didn’t occur to me there would be hundreds of square miles of them. I think in my head it would be like the cover of the U2 album, and everyone would be flocking toward the 100 or so Joshua Trees in the park, praying and worshiping them because they were so infrequent.

Surprise! They are everywhere. 

Sort of. The park is so vast it’s actually two separate desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado Deserts. In the cooler Mojave desert, Joshua Trees are plentiful. But below 3,000 feet, they completely disappear and you find other desert flora, like the dreaded cholla cactus! 

The Cholla Garden comes complete with several warning signs and a First Aid kit at the entrance. A coworker who lives near the park was describing to me how his son was persecuted by a cholla cactus and the whole family fled from the garden to the car in an effort to escape them. 

I thought this was hilarious. 

Ray and I did not face any Cholla wrath, thankfully. 

About 20 seconds after Ray snapped this photo of me waving, a Park Ranger stopped to check that I was ok. He saw me waving toward a car and thought I might be stuck. I wasn't, but I was grateful he stopped. And this man was likely not getting paid to work that day. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Get Cozy — The Holiday Video is Here!

For this year’s holiday video, Captain Webber reviews the best fake fireplaces this side of Netflix. Because what’s a cozy New Year’s Eve without a roaring fake fire.

These fires won't burn your house down, but Ray will cut in a hole in your roof anyway, just for fun!

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Saturday Football ☀️🏈🍁

Ray absolutely loves UC football games. Twice we've sat in complete downpours — literal downpours — watching the Bearcats while covered in trash bags to keep us dry. 

So we were owed some good weather, and Saturday's couldn't have been more perfect for college football. It was a bit chillier than I expected, but that just gave me an excuse to shop. A new winter hat for me and gloves and a pullover for Ray. 

And UC throttled Navy, 42-0. It was never even close. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure Navy even showed up. 

Except two Navy pilots did! 

I had a heads-up that there would be a flyover by two Navy F-18 Super Hornets, powered by GE Aviation's F414 engine. Now that I work at GE Aviation, it's my mission to get to know all of our engines, so clearly I needed to see it in action. 

Verdict: It's fast. Lots of thrust. Looks badass on a Navy plane. (The marketing department probably wants to use this in it's copy for the DoD. That's cool.) 

The flyover was courtesy Strike Fighter Squadron 32, the "Fighting Swordsman," based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach. Va.

I was so worried about missing it I was practically pushing people out of the way in the bag check line. 


We even bypassed the beer booth right by our seats so we could be comfortably situated when they came thundering over. I had assigned Ray to get photos and I was planning to take video so I could I used them on the GE Aviation blog and social channels.

Guess who missed it? Me. 

I was so convinced they'd come from the other direction that when I finally saw them, I got flustered and stopped filming. Amazing. 

Fortunately Ray got some great shots. After they flew past he goes, "Did you get it?!" 

Ummm, who wants a beer? 

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Snitches Get Stiches

This was not the scene I anticipated when Ray told me he had to go the doctor to get his stitches out. 

Chuck Norris is a doctor? Who uses a pocket knife and fingernail clippers? 

I'm not saying it's not possible, ok. I'm just saying it was unexpected. 

He did a good job though. Three removed stitches later and some Aquaphor for the itching and we didn't have to go back to scary Urgent Care. 

Ray has been buying old hand planes on eBay, I think mostly because he likes the competition. And then he likes restoring them back to their original beauty. This one, however, nearly sliced his little finger off. 

He thinks it was made between 1910 and 1918, so it's been nearly cutting off fingers for about 100 years.