Good-bye, Georgie boy


It’s been a tough year for pets and it saddens me to write yet another pet obituary post, but we had to say good-bye to another member of the Dragonfire family this week. Our kitty Georgie had been a member of our family since the early days of our marriage and he was definitely my favorite cat.

We adopted him in the Fall of 1997 as a tiny kitten. T was working in downtown San Francisco, where the local Humane Society brilliantly brings “highly adoptable” pets to office building lobbies. So, I get this call from T asking me what I thought about adopting a kitten (it may have been something closer to “the cutest kitten in the world!”) We were planning to go up to Oregon for the holidays, so I needed him to confirm he was old enough to fly, if it came to that. He happily complied and I came home to this little bundle of ridiculousness.


BabyGeorgie HungryKitten

We drove him up to Oregon for Christmas, where he made a spectacle of himself:

GeorgieXmas2 GeorgieXmas1And I have to share my favorite picture of baby George:

BabyGeorgie2He was a pretty rambunctious kitten. (Is there any other kind?) Guests in our home would be treated to punctured air mattresses and Georgie “sharing” his favorite toys in the middle of the night. When we could close off the guests, he’d rattle their doors. On the first Thanksgiving after T and I got married, (where we were hosting two sets of parents) he licked the pumpkin pie. Since I didn’t have the time or supplies to make another one, I had to scoop out a big hole around the cat licked part and fill it with whipped cream. He was a naughty but super sweet kitty.


GeorgieCartAt first, it was just George and Dewdrop. Dewdrop wanted nothing to do with George, despite his overtures of friendship. It wasn’t until Godiva joined the family two years later that he had a buddy. They were pretty cute together:

GeorgieGodiva GeorgeGodiva2And they kept that up over the years:

GeorgieGodivaNow2 GeorgieGodivaNowThroughout our time with him, George was good at rolling with the punches. He drove from the Pacific Northwest to California multiple times and then to New York and back. He lived in eight different houses/apartments in his sixteen years of life. Not even two silly dogs bothered him.

GeorgieWally IMG_1443 IMG_1060But in the last couple of weeks, he’d been losing weight and just wasn’t his usual perky self. We took him to the doctor to run some tests and learned that he had a tumor on his adrenal gland and some sort of blockage near his bile duct. Both things would require invasive, high-risk surgery to address, so we opted to enjoy his company as long as we could. Basically, as long as he was still eating voraciously, we were doing okay. Then on Wednesday night, when T was out of town on a business trip, he stopped eating with the same amount of enthusiasm and spent a lot of time laying in the bathroom, so I knew we were close. We scheduled an appointment to put him to sleep on Friday.

He was still not really eating on Thursday and very listless. When I came home from work, he didn’t greet me at the door like he usually did and I was really worried about him. I petted him and gave him some tuna, which he actually ate. Then I had to go pick T up from the airport. When we came home, he spent a little time petting George and then we chilled out in the living room for a little while. I went in to take a bath an hour later and he was curled up in a ball, sleeping next to the toilet. When I reached down to pet him, I realized that he had gone. He looked very peaceful and I was grateful that he’d gone out on his own terms, even though it was so sad to lose him.

The next morning, we buried him in the backyard that he’d loved prowling around so much:

IMG_8234I’ll miss hanging out in the backyard with him. And his predilection for chilling out in cardboard boxes:

georgie_01He was an awesome cat and we were lucky to have so many good years with him.

SUP Ballard


Last year I bought a Groupon for a standup paddleboard tour/lesson. Unfortunately, the day we were supposed to do our outing, the weather was bad and it got cancelled. The owner of the business said that we could just bring it back this year. So, we finally got around to scheduling that excursion. (Unfortunately, there was a little miscommunication about this and we ended up paying the balance of the price, but c’est la vie… )

Our group consisted of all couples, which was pretty funny. (Apparently, Seattle considers a two-hour stand-up paddleboard excursion to be a good Friday night date activity.) The guides went on at some length about how great it was that everyone was so fit and athletic, so now I really want to hang out at that beach to see what usually shows up for these things. They gave us some initial instruction and we set out. By luck of the draw, I was one of the first in the water, so I had a chance to snap a picture of the group. (Waterproof camera FTW!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe initially stayed on our knees because the wind was pretty strong coming in off the sound. (This was fine with me!) When we got to a calmer patch of water, there was a SUP yoga class going on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATalk about a tranquil setting for a yoga class! It was gorgeous. I’d been nervous to stand up, but I figured if they could do yoga out there, I could probably handle standing up. (Not to mention that everyone else in the class had been up for a while, so it seemed pretty safe.)

We paddled out past Discovery Park. The scenery was beautiful and the water was pretty peaceful. T was way ahead of me, so I missed seeing him fall into the water – we’d turned around at that point. But I heard one of the guides teasing him. (Usually, it’s me falling in the water, so I was pretty happy that I managed to stay dry.)

We had a tailwind coming back, so I had more of an opportunity to take pictures:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe boy seemed no worse for his little dunk in the Sound:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had an Argosy cruise pass by us, which was a bit exciting…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAT was still pretty damp when we got to shore, so I had to take a picture:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was such a fun trip. I highly recommend giving it a try.

A swimming start to the day


A few months ago, I agreed to be part of a team that some folks at my company put together for Swim For Life, an event that raises money for the Puget Sound Blood Center. Basically, each team consists of swimmers and a kayaker swim across Lake Washington, approximately 2.5 miles. I wasn’t really worried about the distance, I knew I could swim it, but I was worried about the directive that we were supposed to stay together. I didn’t know anything about my teammates and I didn’t want to be the slow-poke holding my team back.

We were to meet up on the east side of the lake at 6:30 in the morning. I can’t say I was psyched to get up that early, but we were rewarded with a gorgeous sunrise and a big beautiful moon over the Seattle skyline:

MoonOverSeattleNot to mention a gorgeous view of Mt. Rainier:

MtRainierMy other team mates started to trickle in and we chatted and goofed around while we waited for the start:


Kathy was our kayaker and group photographer:

KathyWe talked a random person into taking a group shot:

GroupShotKathy got this great shot of the swim start (that’s me starting my Garmin) Those two buildings directly above my head are what we’re swimming to:

SwimStartFor those who aren’t familiar with Lake Washington, it’s a BIG lake. We were basically swimming a diagonal line from Medina beach to Madison Park. Here’s the shot from my Garmin:

GarminMap(I was pretty jazzed about how straight I swam. Having those two buildings to sight on really helped.)

Here’s where it is in the grand scheme of Lake Washington:

GarminMapWideKathy had said she was sticking with Lindsey, our least-experienced swimmer, so I just took off and started swimming. I tried to stay with our team captain Brig, but I lost track of him. He’s faster than me and a very experienced Ironman triathlete, so I wasn’t expecting to hang with him. I swam by myself for the most part, occasionally passing other teams taking a break and hanging on their kayaks. It was such a different vibe than a triathlon or open water swim race. Everyone was pretty casual and just doing their thing.

I haven’t swum AT ALL since Vineman, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good I felt. I kept a steady pace, just cruising along, but my arms and back muscles felt good. The water was perfect – warm enough for my short-sleeve wetsuit and only a little bit of chop in the middle. As I got closer to the shore, my cap started to come off, but this time I just stuffed it in my wetsuit and kept swimming. (I really need to figure out why this keeps happening!) It was a little hard to see with my hair in my face, but I could see well enough to know I wasn’t going to hit anything or anybody and just headed on in to the beach.

Brig was waiting on the beach when I got in and I was pleased to be the second one in. We waited on the beach for the rest of the group, who all came in together. Kathy got these great shots of the finish:

SwimFinish SwimFinish2It was such a fun event and a bit surreal to go from swimming all morning to hopping on a bus to work. Luckily, my co-workers were cool about my cruising in at 11:00 smelling of Lake Washington. I imagine they’ve gotten used to my insanity at this point.

Big fun Saturday


While I was in the midst of training, I vowed that after the race we were going to do fun summer stuff. T had been given a pass for a free Argosy cruise for two, so we decided to go ahead and redeem it. The forecast was a bit mixed, but we decided to risk it. Here was our view as we waited to leave the dock:

StartFlagBut look how sunny this self-portrait is:

BoatSelfie(Not to mention how cute my hair is!)

We had the lower front deck all to ourselves for the most part, so it was pretty relaxing. There were all kinds of boats out on the water:


We saw a whole bunch of Duck tour boats, which look very improbable when you see them actually out in the water:
DuckBoatT held my coffee and let me take his picture. What a good sport!

ToddBoatWe got to pass under a couple of bridges. It was cool to look up and see the cars driving overhead.

BridgeAs we headed into Lake Washington, we passed by the 520 bridge and all of the construction cranes:

CraneWe got to see Bill Gates palatial estate and where Howard Schultz lives (sort of, it’s pretty hidden by trees.) It’s a pretty interesting way to see Seattle. At one point, the tour guide took a break from her non-stop monologue and wandered out to say hi to the passengers. She offered to take a picture of T & I, which I really appreciated:

OnABoat1In the channel between Lake Washington & Lake Union some of the University of Washington crew members have taken to painting signs on the cement sides of the canal:

Channel Writing2 WritingIt was fun to see all of the various slogans and trash talk.

Gasworks park looked beautiful from the water. It was full of folks enjoying the sunshine, including some people flying kites:

GasworksWe had a great view of the city skyline as we came back to the dock:

ComingInWe had a great time. My only gripe with the Argosy experience is that they directed us to a parking lot that they validated for, but apparently that required a parking attendant to work. There was no attendant, so we ended up paying three times as much for parking as we should have (or would have if we’d parked in one of the many street spots right next to it.) A small thing, but annoying. (Dear Argosy, please fix that. I’d have been furious if I’d actually paid full-price for my cruise!)

We had plans to hang out with J & M, who we haven’t seen since our trip down to California. I’ve missed them terribly and it was good to see this little munchkin!

RowanShe chilled on the grass with me and Uncle T while her parents finished up some stuff in the house:

Rowan-TAnd then M joined us for some backyard lounging while J made a fantastic dinner.

It was a great evening: yummy food, delicious wine and super cute baby fashion. Look at this tiny cardigan! (M & I both really like the baby pockets. What are they going to put in there?)


A new look


I’m sorry it’s been so quiet here. There hasn’t been much to write about lately. Since the race I’ve been super lazy, not training at all. About the only exercise I get is taking longish walks when the mood strikes me. At some point I’ll get back into the exercising, but for the time being, I’m enjoying the downtime and attending to the parts of my life I’ve been neglecting lately.

One area in particular was my hair. It’s been getting very long and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do about it. With the Vineman training, I was reluctant to give up the ease of throwing it into a ponytail, so I tabled that issue until after the race. I typically have just gone into the hairstylist and asked for a variation of a fringy chin-length bob, but this time I wanted something different, I just wasn’t sure what. So, I waited to be inspired.

Inspiration struck while finally getting around to watching the Netflix show House of Cards. One look at Robin Wright’s hair and I was in love:

house-of-cards-robin-wrightThe funny thing is that it reminded me of a haircut I’d had as a teenager:

JuniorHighWhich I’d hated at the time. Apparently, I was just incredibly fashion forward!

I also went through this same really long hair to short right after I got married. I left my hair long for the wedding and then cut it all off into a very similar cut:

Alaska(This is T and I in Alaska a few months after we got married. He was up there doing a show, I had a chance to go up and visit for a week between gigs down in California.)

So, I googled the haircut to find some images and came across a blog post written by a hairstylist who was also obsessed with this cut. She turned out to be in Seattle and a salon that M has gone to (and I’ve gone to the Ballard branch of.) The universe was definitely giving the thumbs up.

I made an appointment with Roxie and even splurged on some chunky blonde highlights. I couldn’t be happier with the end result:

HaircutMontageIt was a little weird to go back to having short hair, but so far it’s been great.




Impromptu tourism


I don’t know why I’m this way, but I typically don’t go to any of my local cities attractions unless accompanied by an out-of-towner. Sometimes this is because of my aversion to tourists and other times I think it’s just pure laziness. The Chihuly Garden and Glass was definitely one such place. When I found myself at the Seattle Center, I’d think “Huh, I should check that place out sometime. Maybe when Erik & Nerissa visit next… ” (Side note to Erik & Nerissa, you should totally come visit!) So, on Tuesday, when T mentioned he had to go on a site visit and it was after work, I invited myself along. (Sure I had to pose as an employee of his company, but what’s a little subterfuge when you can go see artistic stuff for free?)

There are two parts of the museum. First, you walk through a series of indoor galleries:

CG-1 CG-2 CG-5 CG-4 CG-3 CG-9(As you can see, there are a lot of different styles on display, showing his various influences and stages of work. )

Then you walk into this beautiful glass building:

CG-8And you get a beautiful view of the Space Needle through the ceiling:

CG-7Then you get to wander through the garden, that’s filled with all of these interesting glass pieces:

CG-10 CG-6They did a great job of integrating landscape with the sculpture and especially on a sunny summer day, the colors were unbelievable. (It would also be very striking on a gray day, but maybe not so pleasant to be outdoors.) Should you find yourself in Seattle and are looking for a low-key, fun activity that involves walking around and looking at pretty things, I highly recommend it. And then afterwards, you can hit up the Center House for a delicious snack (in our case, mini pies… ) It was an unexpectedly awesome post-work adventure.