Alki and the Banana

Almost 4 years ago I adopted my lovable, furry faced friend, Alki. She was a mismatched looking shelter cat that immediately stole my heart. She was not the picturesque pick of the litter: missing half an ear, some front teeth, and a crooked piggy ended tail…but she had a heart of gold that immediately melted mine. From the first night I brought her home, Alki and I were best buds. We share great memories of our time as single ladies in the waterfront apartment on Beach Drive. Then of course we met Matt and Lola and became a family.

When I first got Alki, I went to our local Mud Bay and asked about cat toys she might like. The woman recommended the oddest thing: a yellow fuzzy banana. I decided to trust her, and boy was it a hit! That thing is like Alki’s security blanket!

Now that we can close them out of our room, the kitties no longer get to sleep with us (much to their distain). However, Alki feels that it is her duty to make sure we know she is outside out door every night. Banana in tow.

Every night, about 20 minutes after we head to bed, Alki carries her fuzzy banana into the kitchen, drops it in front of the sink, and lets out a very loud “mrouw!?”. Then another one. LOUDER. This goes on until we yell from our room “goodnight Alki!”…then all is quiet.

In the morning, the banana is waiting for us in the kitchen, a gift from our crazy little cat.

Apartment Search

I am searching for a new apartment. It is always a semi fun and semi frustrating task. I do not have to be out of my place until the end of March, so technically it is probably still too early to look seriously. All the places I find now will be rented on March 1 or sometime in Feb…so really I just need to sit tight and wait. I am not really keen on moving into an apartment complex, and would love a little house with a deck and yard for Alki to hang out on. I hate hearing neighbors. In the meantime I am trying to enjoy my time on the beach to the fullest and soak in as much of the view as I can!

Side-ish note: craigslist is the most amazing website EVER for finding stuff (especially apartments). I also found a potential new TV stand today…a curved front wood dresser! Exactly what I have been searching for. Now fingers crossed the seller emails me back!

Dinner on Top of Seattle

This was a weekend in, but it was full of adventures none the less. Friday night Matt and I made red beans and rice and then went to a movie at the Admiral theatre. I had never been to this old, West Seattle landmark, and it was fun to walk just up the street to see a movie. Saturday we helped Crystal move to Freemont, then went to the mall to find Matt a coat for Christmas. We found a great black pea coat that is now wrapped up in my closet waiting to go under the tree. I need to come up with a surprise too…

After shopping and my patience was wearing thin (from hunger? Tiredness? Not sure, but I was DONE shopping before we had moved on to my list), we went to Portage Bay Café for an amazing breakfast. I had banana’s foster French toast. O boy was it amazing. I love Portage Bay.

To work of breakfast/lunch we went to Schmitz Park in West Seattle. This expanse of natural forest is pretty neat in the middle of the city. We hiked through big trees and across a pretty creek. It was freezing cold but felt so good to get out.

Saturday night was a special treat for dinner. We made reservations at the Columbia Tower Club…and exclusive members-only club on the 75th floor…the tallest place in Seattle. We got dressed up and went out on the town. What an amazing meal and amazing view, and the best dinner company I could ask for. Matt and I split a bottle of wine, foie gras for an appetizer (so good!), I had duck with figs and he had a peppered porkchop with truffle mashed potatoes. Finished off with a molten chocolate cake for dessert. What an amazing meal. We ate it looking over the beautiful Seattle skyline and felt like we were on top of the world. The best part was it was not even a special occasion. We have fun all the time and make a point to do special things just because we can.

Sunday I slept in and cleaned, then met Matt for chai on his break. He works essentially in a refrigerator…it was colder than outside in the shop and it was snowing outside! My poor cold fish boy. We are making it a Sunday ritual to go get coffee to warm up on his break and that is a fun afternoon event. Sunday night we made pan fried fish with veggies and baked potatoes in our sweats at my apartment. Then we watched the Pole to Pole Planet Earth episode to see what Alki would do watching the dancing birds. They always crack me up! She was very interested that was for sure. I guess cats like birds is it does not matter if they are on the deck or TV. She is a funny cat. She loves Matt and sits on his lap the second he is on the couch. Just another night in the city.

This morning it was snowing when we woke up! Puffy white flakes coming down even where I live down by the water! The drive in to work was a little slick. I am curious to see if we are still going to go to Tacoma for dinner with Matt’s grandpa tonight or call it off because of the weather. I can hardly believe it is Thanksgiving week!

Alissa & Anthony’s Wedding

What a whirlwind, but so much fun weekend. My cousin Alissa got married in Grand Blanc, MI, and I was there to support her as her maid of Honor alongside our cousin Rachel. The three of us have been so close even though we are physically far apart. We have been the 3 musketeers our entire lives. It was such an honor to stand up for Alissa at the beginning of this stage of her life.

I arrived in Grand Blanc at 1:00am on Friday morning….yes, I was exhausted. I almost missed by connection in Atlanta and was running through that airport praying I had not left anything critical on the plane. With minutes to spare I was in my seat and headed to MI…and was very relieved. Friday was full of scoping out photo spots (mom was the photographer with gave me another role as photography assistant on top of the MOH duties), figuring out logistics of moving people around, seeing family, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, pedicures, (lunch? what’s that?), and then crashing at the groom’s brother’s house for the night. Alissa, Rachel and I of course stayed up far later than was smart, but we were too excited and too happy to see each other to sleep. We swapped stories about our lives growing up, summers at the farm, all our adventures, and dug out details about our cousin who the next morning would be the first one of us to walk down the aisle. It was a fun night.

6:00am should have felt early when my alarm went off…but we were all wide awake and just started giggling when it went off. Wedding day! We showered, started makeup, ate some breakfast, and headed to the salon to have out hair done. The original plan was to do it ourselves, but I made the executive decision that we needed to just go so that we were not worrying about it…good call, Alissa was so happy with her hair. From there we rushed to the church to get dressed, take bride/maid pics, then hide inside while mom did the guy’s pics, then by 11:00 it was showtime!

The wedding went off without a hitch…unless you count the bug that was stuck in Alissa’s veil and eventually crawled down Anthony’s tux. No drama, just some amusement for the bridesmaids and groomsmen to watch. The ceremony was short and sweet, very personal since Anthony’s brother was the pastor. After the ceremony we did the customary family group photos…which can sometimes be like herding cats, but everyone was pretty efficient and cooperative.

Then we headed outside to get some cool photos of the wedding party with the ’34 Ford they borrowed as the get-away car. Great prop, I am excited to see the pictures. The reception was held at the Historic Holly Hotel in Holly, MI. About 15 minutes away. Mom and I drove with the bride and groom to take some scenic photos along the way, and then we all settled in for afternoon tea, cake and dancing. I was already exhausted by the time we arrived. My toast went well, even though I teared up through the whole thing. We danced and hung out till around 5:30, pelted A&A with birdseed as they made their exit, and then went home to change. Getting out of that dress and shoes felt awesome. We all headed to the pastor’s for pizza and to send off A&A one last time as they drove away for their mini-moon. I went home and went to bed. What a day. I needed a foot rub and a long time to sleep, but was so happy that the day went so well.

Sunday I woke up with not nearly enough sleep. We said goodbye to family in the hotel lobby, then packed and drove around Michigan to see the fall colors, parks, and visit a cider mill. We bought some cider and doughnuts and enjoyed them along a creek with fall colors all around us on a beautiful 70 degree day. As beautiful as it was, I was exhausted and ready to be home in Seattle.

The flight (or should I say flights?) home was so long. We did not get to Seattle until 12, home at 1. Matt picked me up at the airport and it was so good to see him. His mom even sent some leftovers so I would have something to eat. Alki was pretty happy to see me when I got home. It felt so good to be back in my bed.

Now for a week of work and trying to catch up on sleep. I am still exhausted but will make it through. There is always something else to look forward to next!

(pictures still to come…be sure to check back!)

Piroshky in the Park

Summer has been awesome…can it really already be the end of August!? I have been so busy this week (what’s new?) trying to squeeze it all in. Monday I spent a chunk of my day in the SeaTac airport accompanying my minor cousin to her gate for a very delayed flight. Not too fun to roll into work late but it was nice to spend some time with her. Monday night was a treat: I got to go out on the racing catamaran Drangonfly…one of the fastest racing cats on the west coast. We sailed around Lake Union in the 90 degree afternoon…so awesome. I even got to sail her for about 30 minutes…really fun. It was like a Hobie Cat on steroids…40 feet long and 26 feet wide with a huge net trampoline. Really fun and a perfect day for it.

Tuesday night was dancing night! We went downtown to meet up with Matt’s brother and his brother’s girlfriend (also named Lauren) at Pike’s Place Market. Matt and I went to get some piroskys for dinner and found a picnic table to sit on near the viaduct to eat. We munched and talked and watched the boats cruise around Elliott Bay. What a beautiful evening. This was the last Tuesday night dance in the park…maybe Matt can get a Thursday off later this fall to go dancing on Thursdays. He is hooked on it and we are having so much fun. We danced in the park to a live swing band until after sunset, and made our way home to crash. I have been exhausted all week. I guess that is what happens when you go nonstop.

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from one of my dive buddies, Jim, seeing if I could make time for a dive that evening. I said sure and we packed up his boat and headed to Alki Reef. Sadly, the current was far too strong…I jumped in in my drysuit to test it and could barely get back to the boat even with my fins on. Dive aborted, but I got to drive the boat back! We are going to try getting out again tonight, so fingers crossed the current has died down. Matt and I made fajitas after the dive…word of advice: whole wheat/corn tortillas are not the greatest. They were pretty good anyway though.

We finally heard that Troy is coming home on Sat! He is safely in Chile and flying out tomorrow. Phew…I cannot wait to see him. I am going to head up to my parents on Saturday to say hi, get a haircut and spend some time with my family. I am getting tired of that drive. I need some sleep…Lauren is seriously dragging this week. That’s ok…I can sleep this winter.

Busy Busy Weekend in the Sun

Last week I made my final decision to drop out of the marathon this season. My knees need recovery, and I was just not committed enough to pour time into training like I needed to. It was a hard decision but I am glad that I made it.

Friday afternoon Kelly and I went downtown for happy hour at Twist…of course we accidently went to the wrong place and ended up trekking 12 blocks through the city on foot, but it was actually really nice walking around after a long day. I got home around 8 and then went over to Matt’s and we made miso soup and watched a movie. Good end to a long week.

Saturday I got to sleep in! Woohoo! Slept in, taught a swim lesson at Colman Pool, went grocery shopping, rushed home to get my apartment cleaned for a BBQ, and then had a bunch of friends over for food and hanging out on the deck. We even broke out my fire pit and had a fire once if got dark. It was a beautiful night and a great group of people. Alki, who thinks she is an outside cat now, hung out with us on the deck and enjoyed the festivities too.

Sunday was another late sleep in day. I finally pulled myself out of bed around 10:30, tackled some of the dishes in my kitchen, went for a swim, then met Matt for his lunch break downtown, and then spent the afternoon lounging in the sun on my deck with Crystal. We cooked up some leftover BBQ food and basked in the sun. At 7 I jumped on the water taxi and went to the Sounders game with Kelly. Full, full weekend…but that is what summer is all about!

The next three weekends I am out of town: camping with Jenny, visiting with grandparents in Ferndale, then visiting with cousins in Ferndale. August is going to fly.

Sleep Deprived but Happy :)

This has been a really busy week, complete with really busy evenings resulting in very little sleep. Work was pretty crazy…a couple of big projects that are finally all starting…but of course are all kicking off at the exact same time. Wednesday I was down in Oregon for business all day. I led a charrette discussing climate action planning for a college down there. I went with my friend Kelly and we had a great time, and a very successful meeting with great participation. This is really what I love to do, work with people to define goals and get some enthusiasm started! It was a long day, luckily we managed to get on standby for an earlier flight back. We were exhausted by the time we were back in Seattle.

My evenings have been full of going out with a new guy I just met. We went to a great dinner at La Rustica and out to a movie. We have twin calico cats which is pretty cool. We are having a lot of fun and really click so it will be fun to see where this goes.

I am sad that I am missing the family reunion in PA this weekend. I have been chatting with mom and getting updates on all the cousins/aunts/uncles etc who are around. It would have been fun to go, but vacation days were too limited this year. Hopefully I will make it to the next one. It is hard to believe it is almost the end of July already. Where is the time going!? Time to finish my laundry and get early to bed so I can be productive this upcoming week at work! It is going to be busy!