Thursday, August 27, 2009

Longest Beach in WA!

I spent last weekend in Long Beach, WA. It is so aptly named for being the "longest beach" in Washington. It has also been named the "Best Beach in Western Washington" by King 5 TV's Evening Magazine. My friends think so too. We've been going there as a group for years and years! This year we happened to be there on the same weekend as Kite Festival. The sky was littered with kites of all sizes and colors - so pretty! It's really a great place to get away with friends, family, kids and dogs! There is sun, beach, volleyball, bonfire, eating and shopping!

In other years past we've been there for the Sandsations Festival which features a huge sand castle building contest. We actually entered the contest one year on a whim, none of us having any experience in building large sand castles. We found our plot (right next to some "competitive" sand castle builders no less), and started working! We actually won the "Judges Choice Award" for our South Park themed sand sculptures! Can you believe it? It was a surprising yet amazing feeling to have hundreds of people surrounding you as created in the sand (and not just our own heckling friends)... The simultaneous "ooohs" and "aahhhs" as things came together (or fell apart) was something to be remembered! I will have to dig out some old photos so you all can see!

If you are interested in going to Long Beach, check out this website for a calendar of events - and book early!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A kitty update.

I have had my new kitty for a little over a week now. I think she is feeling pretty comfortable here because she is definitely exploring everything. She is getting into all kinds of trouble too! I guess this is a direct result of me not being home during the day? She obviously sleeps all day thereby storing up bounds of energy for evening! She follows me into every room, trying to trip me or attack my feet. I am not sure she would find it funny any longer if I were to fall on her! She is super interested in anything I eat, watch, read, or talk into. She watches all with great concern. I have a feeling that her ulterior motive is to see how it's used properly - so she can then mess it up for me later when I am not looking. For this very reason I have a new basket on my coffee table (with a lid) that holds all the remotes. I don't really want to spend another couple hours trying to figure out how to get the sound back on the TV!

After some evening playtime, she will finally start to rest around 8PM. This is when she will snuggle up to me on the couch. If I am on the computer, she will curl up behind me (making it impossible for me to lean back). Keep in mind, she is not really a lap cat, but if I am sitting on the couch in any way, she will lay on my feet or right beside me with her head on my leg. Regardless of my position, or her position, she must be touching me in some way. Of course I think "aw, that is so cute". Until about an half hour later and I realize I am now trapped in that position, a prisoner on my own couch! If rigamortis hasn't set in yet, by 11 PM I am ready to head downstairs to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. I try to slide away from the cat as gently as possible so as not to wake her. But she wakes... and it is at this time that Keeta decides it is playtime again?! I foolishly thought this was OK because it seemed she didn't really need to play with me. Most nights she has been hanging out upstairs and playing by herself, or sleeping where ever. The fact that she has NOT been trying to hog my bed is awesome! HOWEVER, last night I was brutally woken up at midnight to a horrible crash. I thought someone had thrown a lawn jockey through my kitchen window! As I ran up the stairs to see what happened, Keeta came scampering down the stairs like a flash! It turns out that Keeta was "playing" on my antique buffet and knocked down all three things: a ceramic planter with plant (broken to bits), an antique framed mirror that I got from an estate sale (shattered to smithereens) and my grandma's china platter which was on a plate stand. In the aftermath of glass shards, dirt and broken ceramic, surprisingly my Grandma's platter didn't even get a chip! (That is one heavy duty piece of Noritake!) I did check the cat for any visible signs of injury and when I didn't see any - I gave her a good scolding! Bad kitty! An hour later, after I swept, vacuumed and mopped the kitchen floor (one nice new gouge in the wood floor) I am back in bed. Keeta is under the bed and keeping her distance. Smart kitty!

Tonight we are going to play things differently. I am not going to let her sleep in the evening. I will keep her awake until 11PM so that she is tired enough to sleep all night!

Uh oh, she is asleep right now under my desk, head on my foot..... Aw, that is so cute....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Bengal kitty - Keeta

Yes, I have finally done it! I got a cat. I know I have said in the past that I didn't want a cat. Mostly because they get hair all over the place, claw up your furniture, and there is the dreaded litter box smell! Also, there is the lack of sleep. I've had roommates in the past who had cats, and inevitably their furry friends would end up on MY bed interrupting MY sleep. So I already know what to expect there! Basically, I've always considered myself a dog (big dogs) person so if given the choice of a pet, a dog would be 1st. Unfortunately I live in a condo in Seattle and I've never felt it was right to keep a big dog in the city where there is no yard. City dogs need a LOT of attention. You have to take them out all the time, clean up their stuff and take them to special parks where they can run. You also have to groom them, train them, and keep them from barking. You can't leave them for more than a couple hours so you can't just head out to Happy Hour after work... you have to go home to let the dog out! Ay yi yi, the responsibility! So, based on my work schedule and "active" social lifestyle, I figured a dog wouldn't be the best pet for me at this point in my life.
What made me cave? Well, this cat is different. She is a registered Bengal kitty and they say these are the "dogs" of the cat world. They are independent, don't need a lot of attention, and like to play fetch! Plus, she has the softest (short) hair which doesn't seem to shed much. I met her when I went to the breeders home (Teresa from Traipse Exotics) and hung out with her for an evening. She was cute and cool. She stared into my eyes and I fell in love. I named her Akeeta (after my friend's Akita dog).

Like a good new pet owner (and Professional Organizer), I went to Petco and bought the staple supplies to prepare for her arrival. I made sure to have her litter box, scratching post and food ready for her when she came through the door. You really don't want a new kitty to have to search out the litter box in a new environment! In case you are interested in getting a kitty, here are some things to think about.

Petco receipt:
Tunnel Tower/scratching post $60
Large Hooded Litter Box $30
Plastic Cat carrier $27
Cat Donut (pillow for inside cat carrier) $9
Cardboard cat scratcher $13
Litter scoop $2.50
Misc cat toys $14

Total $170.00! And that didn't even include food or litter. I had to go to Mud Bay to get a special kitten food recommended by her breeder (, kitty treats and a really good odor absorbing litter. I still have to get her a brush, collar and license tags too. Not to mention her shots and stuff.

So far, it's all worth it! I like her even more now that she is home and I can see her habits. On the first night she slept on the floor underneath my bed. Hooray! When she eats, she eats gently and carefully. She has not tossed one single spec of cat food out of her dish! I love that! The hooded litter box is a god send as Bengal cats are known to kick their litter around a lot. She has been really good at kicking it towards the back of the box and not out the front hole! So far so good - I think she's a keeper! ;-)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Weekend Camping

I just got back from a fabulous weekend camping in the San Juan Islands (WA). Friends of mine got married (in Hawaii) and were having a huge wedding reception where they live on Friday Harbor. About 20 of us stayed at their beautiful home by tent camping on their panoramic property. This is my kind of camping! You sleep in a tent BUT have all the amenities of a house nearby for cooking, eating, showering and anything needing electricity! This house was built for entertaining too! A large great room with high ceilings, poured cement floor, wall-to-wall sliding glass doors, which open onto an expansive patio with grill and fire pit. The center of the great room is the amazing kitchen with a 3-sided granite counter top which seated 15 leather high-backed stools. Off to one side of the great room was the living area, complete with 3 leather couches for maximum seating. The other side of the room housed the dining room table which was large enough for a big group to eat... or play cards, dominoes, do puzzles, etc.

Our friends who live there also prepared the yard for our tents by mowing out circles and marking them with cute little camp site markers. There was a little road in between and a golf cart was made handy for us to get back and forth to the house. SO ORGANIZED! The golf cart also served as a babysitter for the kids. They loved driving around on that thing and it kept them entertained for HOURS! Who knew?!

One of the coolest things was the outdoor shower built by my friends husband. It started out as a pallet with a tall wood frame around three sides of it. Then the wood frame was covered in some black tarp and wrapped with bamboo. The pallet floor got tiled with ceramic tile, a shower curtain was hung, and a shelf for shampoo was added. Lastly, a shower head was installed and hooked up to the outside house spigots (hot and cold!) for an amazing outdoor shower! The most amazing thing was that it was built in just a couple hours while the rest of us sat around the fire pit relaxing in our comfy chairs and watching it all happen!

Here was my packing list for camping:
Tarp (for under the tent, or over the tent, you never know when you might need it!)
Tent (duh!)
Tent poles, tent stakes (seriously, don't forget these!)
Hammer (to get the stakes in...)
Air mattress (yes, I am a princess....)
Sleeping bag (or sheets and blankets which is what I prefer...)
Ear plugs
Flashlight (for finding your way around at night!)
Camping chair
Warm clothes for nighttime (don't forget socks!)
Lots of water
Disposable plates, cups, cutlery
Napkins, toilet paper, garbage bags
Towel, washcloth, toiletries (dryer sheets, bug spray & sunscreen!)
Dominoes, cards, book to read.
Obviously if you don't have a house next to your campsite, this list would be a lot longer. But as it was, I didn't need to bring a lot of other stuff - like firewood, matches, food, cooking pans, etc.
Tips for car camping: Keep tent zipped up to keep bees out (but open the screened air vents for maximum air flow). Wipe dryer sheets on the tent keep the mosquitoes away. Bring quarters for public pay showers. Do not keep your car keys in the car! Find a safe place to stash them outside of the car because sometimes automatic locks can flip and you are locked out of the car. Bring lots of layers as the tent gets COLD at night but HOT in the morning! If you can, park your car on the East side of your tent to shade you from the morning sun. You might get an extra hour of sleep!
Tips for Friday Harbor ferry: If you can, park your car and walk onto the ferry. This could save you hours in the car ferry lines. Overnight parking was around $25-$30 for 72 hours. If you are taking a car across the ferry, pack your patience! On the Anacortes side, plan to get into the ferry line 2 hours before the boat sails. This is a good time to take scenic photos, read a book and use the restroom. Besides getting a coffee and a treat at the one coffee stand, there is not much else to do there. Ferry fares are $51.25 for car and driver. Each additional passenger is another $13.15. The good news is... it's free to come back! From the Friday Harbor side it's a little easier. You still need to arrive at the terminal 2 hours before your sailing time. However, you can park your car in line, and then go explore the quaint town of Friday Harbor. There are lots of shops and restaurants to visit!