island time

happy dogs

We were lucky enough to spend last weekend at our friends’ house on Whidbey Island. The weather wasn’t perfect, but it was clear enough to see the mountains, and it only rained a little on our last day (this is basically ideal spring weather for this area). And there was a beach! Continue reading

happy thanksgiving

May your Thanksgiving be warm and cozy! We did our turkey dinner last weekend, so tonight is a little different to keep things interesting: pork roast, spinach gratin, mashed potatoes, and pear-pecorino ice cream. What’s on your table tonight?


As you know, we lost our sweet cat Griffin a couple of months ago. He was almost more of a dog than a cat, following me around the house and keeping an eye on me at all times. When he died he left a huge hole that our other two cats, wonderful though they are, couldn’t quite fill for me. So we went looking for a dog.


This is Gracie. She’s a two-year-old (ish) lab mix, sweet-tempered but also very fit and bouncy. She was abandoned and picked up by Animal Control, and we got her from the local Humane Society shelter nearly two weeks ago. It’s been a busy, exhausting and rather expensive time, but I think we’re all beginning to settle in.

from a safe distance

The cats are still suspicious, but Stella has been making frequent forays to investigate the intruder. As of this writing, Mickey has set up his own bachelor apartment in the basement and seems uninclined to leave – hopefully he’ll get bored soon and come out to meet the dog.

tired Gracie

why are we stopping?

Fortunately for all of us, Gracie is a good dog. She loves couches, and car rides, and treats, and long walks in the woods. Many, many long walks.

a good shake

We also just discovered that she likes muddy lakes. A lot.

belly rub!

And belly rubs. Don’t forget the belly rubs.

not an abused dog

I think we can make a good life for this dog.

a quick note


Things are a little frantic around here as we’re bringing home our new adopted dog this evening. Yes, the cats will be horrified. They’ll get over it (we hope). In the meantime, here’s a nice plate of summer: grilled grass-fed angus ribeye, grilled corn, and a warm potato salad with lots of parsley. What’s everyone eating in this hot weather I hear everyone’s getting except us?

my Griffin


There’s an empty space in our household where Griffin used to be.

baby Griffin

When we got him his eyes were still blue, and squinty and watery with conjunctivitis. His fur was a mess and he still had tar stuck between his toes despite multiple baths – he had been found stuck in fresh tar on a hot day, presumably abandoned by his family. He grew up to be a beautiful orange lion of a cat, with coppery ears and huge fuzzy white feet.

dignity (or not)

He answered to Griffin, Griffley-Whiffley-Woopsie-Poo, Bunny, Puppy-Cat, and frequently Doofus. When I spoke to him he always spoke back, usually just a soft quack to acknowledge me. He gave long, surprisingly musical nighttime arias at the base of the stairs ten minutes after we had gone to bed. He carried his toys around the house, squawking loudly at the same time (we could always tell from his tone of voice whether he had a stuffed animal in his mouth). He assigned himself jobs: every morning he led the way to the closet and supervised our showers, and every evening he sat on the kitchen stool and watched us make dinner. Usually watching was all he did, but if the butter dish was left anywhere on the kitchen island he would always go for it (prompting my husband to dub him the Butter Cat). When I came home from work he always came running to the door to greet me. He was a happy cat and held his tail high, like a fuzzy banner.

Griffin in his box

He never seemed to quite realize how big his butt was. We kept an Ikea silverware box on a shelf just for him to sleep in, even though he always stuck out around the edges. He also had to be retrieved from guitar and bouzouki cases on several occasions.

talk to the paw

He was not a particularly well-behaved cat. He often got on the table when he thought we weren’t looking, and he liked to scratch our most expensive rug. He loved to eat flowers, and frequently knocked over vases of lilies in the middle of the night. But he was always sweet-tempered and never held a grudge, even when we had to scrub his chin daily with acne medication or were stuffing pills down his throat.

what now?

He didn’t like to be held, but he always wanted to be near. We set up perches for him near the dining table so he could keep an eye on us. He slept on the bed, but always at the far corner, right by the fan. He preferred to be cold, and often acted as a draft stopper in doorways, or sought out cool tile to lay on instead of pillows. But he adored nesting in blankets, or a pile of my scarves, and would spend a great deal of time kneading them into a proper Griffin-shaped configuration. Wherever I went in the house, he was nearby, watching.

window cat

Even with two cats still here, the house is very quiet. Nothing will be the same without my Griffin.


baby Caturday

Baby Griffin and Baby Stella

No, we didn’t adopt any new kittens. We did, however, buy a new printer with a scanner, so I was able to dig out our cats’ baby pictures and put them on the interwebs at last! Weren’t they adorable? And tiny?

Baby Mickey

nap time

helper Caturday

helper cat

Lest you think my husband and I do all this cooking unsupervised, meet our kitchen watchcat, Griffin. Every day when I’m puttering around at the stove or kitchen island, Griffin gets up on this stool and watches me very very closely. Although he can be distracted – sometimes we need to move the stool further away from the counter to keep him from licking the butter or the lamb chops or whatever is set out at the moment. But it does put him at a great height for snuggles and brisket scritches. And he is a very scritchable cat.

a brief respite

kitty ears

After the rigors of NaBloPoMo, it’s been a relief to not be constantly looking for new blog material. I’m rather enjoying the novelty of eating something and not documenting it (gasp). I daresay we’ll be back on track soon. In the meantime, here are some cute kitty ears for Caturday.

Katie Katurday


This week’s Caturday features my parents’ cat Katie, now a media celebrity after her photo appeared in the Wenatchee World last week, as well as her status as Miss September in my Cats 2011 calendar, on sale now at Qoop. We are informed she has rather a swelled head about it all.

jungle cat

jungle cat

The greenhouse window behind our kitchen sink used to have shelves in it. I’d start seedlings and transplants there, and left the space under the shelf free for the cats to sun themselves. Then I needed to move my jade plant to a new location, as it had completely outgrown its prior space, so we took out the shelves to make room. The cats still sun themselves in the space, but now they can pretend to be fierce jungle panthers peering through the foliage. I think they like it.