I have one of the coolest families in the world!

Trista and I met in 1999 when we both worked at the Lafayette Club in Lexington, KY. We dated for 5 years and got married on almost the same day as our first date. We were married by Baldemar Graniel, the senior justice of the peace on Ambergris Caye.

Trista and I have lots of common interests. We both love to hike, camp, dance, swim, and going to the beach. We spend most of our vacations near an ocean and try to climb (or at least see) the local lighthouses. We've seen almost 50 so far in VA, MD, DE, NC, SC, GA, FL, and OR. Trista has also seen lighthouses in NY.

Here's a picture of Trista exploring the Portsmouth, VA lightship.

Here we are at Sanibel Island, FL.

Here's another of us at Dry Tortugas, about 70 miles west of Key West.

We spent a lot of time at the Louisville Zoo. Here we are at the Lorikeet exhibit.


Shadow joined us in June of 2009. The veterinarian estimated from his teeth that he was about 6 months old at the time and weighed about 6.5 lbs. He was a stray cat who found his way into the back docks at Fetter (where Trista worked at the time); he found Trista, climbed up on the back of her leg and tapped her on the back of the knee. He's owned her from that day forward. Here's a couple of early pictures of him while he's playing.

Shadow has made himself quite a home. Obviously, when we get something, it's for him if he wants it--even my milk!

S'more was born in February of 2010, and she joined our family about 8 weeks later, immediately after being weaned. She was a tiny little thing, not quite a full pound. She used to do this crazy rain dance and smacked objects to make them bounce as she bounced around them. One of her funniest escapades was when she would pounce my sandals.

She and Shadow had to be kept in separate rooms for about a week, but once Shadow decided that she wasn't threatening his new life, he has enjoyed her company a great deal. 

I walked into the bedroom one day to find Shadow and Smore looking for all the world like I had just interrupted something really good. "What!? We're just sittin' here being good."

But then, Smore just couldn't take it anymore and pounced while I had my camera ready. Here's proof that she's not always the one getting picked on! 

S'more started off climbing all over Trista and me. One night as I worked on my dissertation, she had climbed up on the shoulder of my writing arm. I moved the mouse and twitched my shoulder too much. She blinked like the light was too bright, made eye contact with me, meowed her annoyance, tromped down, and has yet to ever sit on me since (although she'll sometimes sleep on my legs when I'm asleep). Trista, on the other hand, is evidently a much more comfortable seat. 

We named her Smore because she has chocolate and graham cracker fur, but most importantly, she has a marshmallow belly!

We began walking both of them on leashes almost immediately, and now they have runners in the back yard where they can play for hours on end. They've even hiked at Shenandoah National Park with us.

One day, Shadow insisted on going out, even though there was over a foot of snow on the ground.

At our condo in Fairfax, I took Shadow and Smore out for a walk one Friday afternoon in the Fall, and we were playing in the back yard down by the creek when a really big dog got loose from his leash and came over to play. Shadow was 20 feet up a tree before I even knew the dog was around, but I had just picked up Smore, so I put my other shoulder between her and the dog. The dog was big enough to stretch out and put his paws on my shoulder, so Smore decided that she'd best take matters into her own paws. She climbed up the same tree as Shadow.

After the dog was gone (about a minute or two), the cats were an absolute riot hissing at each other as they tried to climb down. Both ended up jumping. Their tails were blown out so much that they looked like pipe cleaners. Smore met my eye, swished her pipe cleaner tail, and began tromping off. Neither cat stopped until we were back to our front door. I decided that a little bit of catnip would help them feel better. Both cats were quite okay with that!

Shadow got over the trauma fairly quickly, but Smore took quite a bit longer. She really never did more than step on the porch for a couple of minutes until we moved. I'm happy to report that at our new house, she is pawing at the doors and playing outside as if the dog incident never happened. I doubt, however, that they'll ever love dogs.