happy adoption day, Astrid!

Dear world, meet Astrid! She's short, sweet, and braver every day. My dreams have come true. #astridkitty #ourlittlemanx

I've wanted a cat almost as long as I can remember. And someone always said no. First my mom (who got me a cat stuffed animal for my 18th birthday as a joke... Mom, I still love you!), then K-State Housing and Dining Services, then all my landlords. So when we bought the condo, high on our list was finding a cat. We knew we wanted to get settled first, but as soon as we got back from Kansas for Christmas, I started planning when we could visit an animal shelter and combed through hundreds of PetFinder profiles. (Ian firmly told me he wasn't willing to drive more than an hour for a cat, no matter how cute.)

The last Saturday in February, I mapped out five different animal shelters with adoptions hours that day, and we headed to Medfield to meet one of the cats I shortlisted.

She was incredibly skittish. She had been left behind in an apartment, alone, when her owners moved out. She hadn't been at the shelter long, and was in a kennel by herself so she'd feel a little safer. But as scared as she was, when we reached out to pet her, her purr roared to life like a jet engine, and they said she didn't have a mean bone in her body. We met all the other cats, but I knew that I couldn't leave her behind.

With a little help from the staff, we got her into the carrier (after a brief escape behind some furniture), and headed home. We put her into her own little room, per the shelter's recommendation — once she felt safe, we could let her explore more. We named her Astrid.

The first day, she wouldn't leave the carrier, but leaned into our hands, eyes closed, still terrified, yet purring. She was always in a small corner when we'd go in to check on her, but we could tell she'd been out by the decreasing level of food and the scratch marks in the cardboard scratcher. Day by day, Asteroid got more adventurous.

adopting astrid

We finally left the door open, and she staked claim to the old wooden crates we had found in the basement and brought up to use as side tables, always inside one whenever we were around. Slowly, Aspirin began venturing out in the open while we were home, and we made a startling discovery when we finally saw her not in a curled up ball of fluff. She's probably at least part Manx! Her tail is half as long as you'd expect, if that, and she's built like a race car: her front legs are shorter than her back. And we keep uncovering more personality traits that seem to be associated with manx cats.

Cute kitty to make today a little better. #yourewelcome #astridkitty #ourlittlemanx

These days, she's at ease around us, more assertive (but still so sweet), loves snuggles, and goes bananas on her favorite toy mice and fuzzy ball. Her favorite nap spots are cozy blankets left on the couch and radiators, but more and more she'll spend the night curled up by our feet (after walking all over our legs — we sometimes call her ol' concrete paws). And just last month, she started letting us sneak in a few belly rubs, although we never know how long it will last before she waltzes away.

One thing that hasn't changed is that she still loves being loved on, and she is still sweet as ever. We're so thankful for an incredible cat, and can't imagine life without her.

Happy #NationalCatDay to #ourlittlemanx. We love you, Astrid! #astridkitty


and the 2017 nominees are...

the coolidge

This is Ian and I's eighth year watching the Oscar-nominated animated shorts (our seventh at the Coolidge). It's hard to believe we've kept the tradition for so long (and next year we'll need a babysitter...), but we look forward to it every year! Our prediction record is now 3 for 6, counting just the years we've seen all the animated shorts.

Borrowed Time — A weathered old lawman returns to the scene of a tragic accident from his past, and faces the event that has haunted him his whole life. This is a heartwrenching story of a father and son, balancing beautifully between past and present, and the animation is flawless (I'm still astounded at the felt hat in the opening moments). This is our pick to take home the Oscar.

Pearl — This short follows the lives of a musician father and his daughter, exploring the tension between pursuing your dreams and raising a child. A 360 video by Google, the entire story plays out from their old beloved car, and if you watch it with Google Cardboard you're sitting in the car with them.

Piper — A young sandpiper must learn to hunt for food along the shoreline. But after a traumatic first encounter with the waves, it takes a mother's tough love and the beach-smarts of two tiny crabs to convince the little piper to brave the ocean again. With stunning animation and Pixar's talented storytelling, this is an incredible short and I wouldn't be surprised at all if it wins.

Blind Vaysha — Vaysha is born with one eye that can only see the past, and another eye that can only see the future, rendering her blind to the present. The woodblock print animation is definitely unique, but the short was very didactic. How do you choose between remaining stuck in the comforting past or seeing only the terrifying future? While the point may have been to live in the present, I felt very disconnected from the story.

Pear Cider and Cigarettes — Techno Stypes, the director's childhood friend, lives on the edge. After two debilitating accidents, he spirals out of control and winds up stuck in China, waiting for a liver transplant. A tragic story told in the style of a graphic novel, this is an impressive short (and definitely warrants the "not suitable for children" warning). 

Highly Commended Shorts
The Head Vanishes/Une tête disparaît — A woman takes a day trip to the seaside, blissfully unaware that her mind isn't quite where it should be. This is an entertaining yet poignant story about aging and dementia.

Asteria — Two astronauts plant their flag in a new planet, only to be challenged by strange beings who arrive with their own flag. The hilarious twist at the end of this short was a fantastic surprise.

Once Upon a Line — In a two dimensional world, a man's monotonous days are forever changed when he meets a woman. But when the romance fades, he has to wrestle with what he truly wants in life. The line animation and use of color in this short is utterly charming!

As always, we enjoyed all of the shorts, and highly recommend catching them if you have the opportunity. Have fun watching the Oscars, and may the best films win!

*update: we predicted Borrowed Time, but Piper took home the Oscar. I'm bummed our batting average is now below .500, but I loved Piper too so I can't say I'm disappointed. The little bird's post-wave face twitch is one of my all-time favorite animated short moments...

2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016


our 2016 Christmas letter

2016 Christmas Letter

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, which is a strong indicator that it’s time for Ian and Anna’s annual, awkward, third-person (usually late) Christmas letter! You may be thinking, “hey… I’m getting tired of waiting to read about more than just the two of you.” If so, this is your year: they got a cat! And she’ll get a whole paragraph all to herself! (Your excitement is palpable.)

2016 was packed full of milestones and life changes.

After six years of living footloose and car-free, Ian and Anna are now proud owners of a 2009 Honda Fit. They immediately put the car to the test by vacationing in Vermont on the coldest weekend New England had seen in decades. They spent lots of time around a roaring fire with good friends, and were thankful their new car performed admirably in the 40-below wonderland.

Anna crossed off a bucket list item by spectating at the world figure skating championships. She still can’t believe she was in the same building with the likes of Javier Fernandez and Mao Asada (and doesn’t understand why they don’t have the same status as the likes of LeBron and MJ). Ian turned 30, and while his actual birthday was spent in a UHaul truck driving from Albany to Cleveland, good friends helped Anna pull off a surprise birthday party the next week to mark the occasion (she’s eternally grateful). An even bigger milestone for Ian was watching the Cubs, his childhood team, win the World Series and end a 108-year championship drought!

In June, Ian’s parents and grandma exchanged the Atlantic Ocean for the Rocky Mountains with a move to Colorado (hence the birthday UHaul trip). Ian and Anna definitely miss them being a short drive away, but are incredibly thankful for all the family adventures they squeezed in before the move, and for all of the scoops of Katie’s ice cream they shared with Grandma Judy.

While Ian and Anna still haven’t accomplished all of the house projects that were on their before-move-in-day checklist yet (#newhomeowneroptimism), they have made great progress. If only the bathroom would renovate itself. And their biggest dream of homeownership came true (or at least Anna’s): they adopted a cat! (They actually adopted two pets this year, if you count Anna’s sourdough starter, but what’s to be said about a microorganism colony that lives in the fridge? This is also why Butter and Jelly, their 11-year-old African water frogs, don’t make Christmas letter appearances.) When they met Astrid at the animal shelter, she was terrified skittish, but purred like crazy when they petted her. They saw other cats that day, but couldn’t leave without Astrid. It took time, but she’s now completely settled in and loves her new home (and she’s best friends with the dining room set). Ian and Anna can’t imagine life without their little Manx.

Even bigger, the Jurey family grew by two whole people in 2016! Anna is so excited to officially have two (incredible) sisters! On April 30, they celebrated Nathan and Sara’s wedding in Kansas City, and on October 1, they celebrated Caleb and Kate’s wedding in Manhattan. Ian and Anna are also looking forward to Ren and Emily’s wedding in July!

Ian and Anna are so thankful to once again spend Christmas with so many family and friends, and hope your holiday season was just as wonderful!

P.S. Ian and Anna are having a baby in May! And yes, they found out: it’s definitely a human. (And healthy so far! Everything else will be a surprise!)

Want more? Read past Christmas letters here. 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2009 | 2008
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...