Cats totally relaxing in their new home

Don’t they look like an old married couple? My mom says, “The cats are getting along much better since we moved. Everything was strange except…each other.”

Or else, I would add, they’re getting older and wiser. When a cat hisses, Cathy says, “Look, you either get along or you go back to the pound. You didn’t like the pound, did you? Both of you cats spent serious hard time in small cages. You really don’t want to go back there, do you?”

Nobody feels seriously threatened. We all know we’re not going anywhere. But somehow the cats pick up on Cathy’s energy and they seem to respect each other’s boundaries a little more.

The cats never go outside, except in their small crates on their way to the vet. So windows are a big deal to them, especially Creampuff.

Creampuff would have preferred to be an outdoor cat. The only problem was, nobody wanted a 2-year-old calico cat in Silver City, New Mexico. She had been in a cage for three months when Cathy came looking. Her calico cat Loretta had just died. (Loretta was named for the country music singer, Loretta Lynn, because she had whiny done-me-wrong yowl. I shudder when I think about it.)

The shelter staff persuaded Cathy to take Creampuff home. It was an easy sell. My mom usually takes the first dog or cat she sees at a shelter or (in my case) online. So Creampuff got a new home. Not perfect, but she’s alive and free to express her ditzy personality.

Creampuff wouldn’t last long on the outside. I’ve been there and I know. My mom says Creampuff once caught a mouse in her New Mexico house. But I suspect that mouse was even ditzier than Creampuff herself. Even my mom says, “We were the only house in the neighborhood with cats. So any mouse who ended up there wasn’t very bright.”

I rest my case. And these cats are resting as comfortably as any cats in Seattle, or maybe the world.

Spring is coming (and not a moment too soon)

My mom and I are both ready for winter to be over. Mom was sure she had put away her big parka  for the last time, but no: yesterday was really cold. We walked to the UPS store to pick up some packages. On the way back, we found ourselves in a snowstorm. My muzzle was covered with fat, white flakes.

But my mom keeps pointing to signs of spring. On our morning walk, she said, “Gracie, look — crocuses! First sign of spring!”

She tried to get me to go over and sniff them. “It would be a great photo op,” she said.

But why would I want to sniff flowers? That’s what cats do. I could care less. So here I am sniffing an old potato chip wrapper. Maybe I’ll find a five-year-old chicken bone. Much more interesting. Who’s going to eat a crocus?

Canine Urban Princess Gets The Ultimate Day in the City

Mom says today was the ultimate in urban living for a canine — and for her, too. She was behind schedule so we flagged down a Yellow Cab to take me to the Dog Lounge.

We CUPPIEs know how to ride in a cab. I sat straight on my mom’s lap, looking out the window, and didn’t budge. The driver likes dogs (otherwise he wouldn’t have stopped for us). I started to help him by licking the window, but my mom was horrified. “Gracie,” she said, “you don’t need to wash the windows.”

I spent a delightful morning being pampered with a workout in the Big Dog area, followed by a bath, pedicure and ear trim. Summer gave me a beautiful red and white bandanna to wear home. Everybody on the bus made a fuss over me. “Such a well-behaved dog,” they said. “So beautiful.” It was a community of urban bus riders. And all created by me.

“What’s her name?”

“Gracie. Amazing Gracie. Or Princess Gracie.”

“What’s her breed?”

“All American Mutt,” my mom says proudly.

Come on, Mom. You’re a copywriter. Can’t you come up with something more…regal?

Yeah, right.

WNBA Storm Basketball: My Mom the Fan

My mom Cathy discovered basketball about 10 years ago. At first she didn’t know what a point guard was, but now she’s a die-hard WNBA fan.

Here she is, dressed appropriately for a Seattle Storm game in the WNBA shirt she bought when shebasketball first saw a game in 2004, and the dorky Storm cap she bought in 2005. She’s posing with our neighbor Diana just outside Key Arena where fans mourn a 7-point loss to the Connecticut Sun.

Diana played college hoops so my mom always asks her to explain the finer points of the game.

Big deal. As far as I’m concerned, Diana’s only virtue is she’s co-owner of my awesome dog pal, Bailey. I get so excited when I see Bailey out walking with one of her owners. My mom pulls on my leash and yells, “No jumping!” Yeah, right.

My mom always gives me a pre-game walk around the neighborhood. She wears her Storm shirt and cap and we greet all the other fans who are similarly attired. I’m embarrassed to be seen with her in public in that outfit, so I do my business quickly and give her that special “Let’s go home” tug on the leash.

“Where else can I wear that t-shirt?” Mom says. “I’ve got half a dozen free ones from the Storm and other t-shirts from events in New Mexico and….”

Ever hear the saying, “Whoever dies with the most toys wins?”

I don’t know about toys, but at this rate my mom Cathy will eventually die with the most t-shirts. In the arena of dressing for comfort, she’s the big winner.

Seattle People are SO Nice

Visitors and newcomers immediately comment that Seattle people are “nice.” They rarely get mad. They’re not pushy like people in other big citites. They’re friendly.

“Sometimes it’s just too much,” a displaced New Yorker told my mom, who was born in New York and retains a Big Apple soul. “You just want to scream at somebody.”

Just yesterday, my mom was holding me firmly by the leash (I have a tendency to get distracted by motorcycles and would love to take off into the street…cars? what’s a car?). She was on her way to the bus stop, waiting for the light to change, when a total stranger came up and asked, “Are you looking for something in particular?”

“We’re just waiting for the light to change,” Cathy said, in a very un-Seattle tone.

“Uh-oh, Gracie,” she said. “That woman probably wanted to be helpful. She thought we were lost. But I’m in a neighborhood holding a dog. Do I look like a tourist?”

Just a couple of days ago another stranger told Cathy, “Those leashes aren’t good for dogs.”

“I’ve discussed her leash with my trainer and my vet,” Cathy said. “She’s fine.”


Our feline housemates are declawed. Cathy adopted them that way and they’re happy, healthy and not at all neurotic. Pushy, yes. Demanding, yes. But very polite and they purr all the time, except when I try to play with them.¬† Just don’t tell any well-meaning helpful Seattle citiziens.

Cathy’s going off to exercise class. Good! She’ll work off some indignation and then we’ll go do something constructive together…like visit the dog park for the umpteenth time.

Urban Dog Gets Bath, Pedicure

Yesterday Cathy dropped me off at the Dog Lounge for a bath. downtown dog lounge seattle

Thank goodness…I was beginning to feel itchy.

Don’t tell anyone but I go to the groomer more than she goes to the hairdresser. “More bang for the buck,” my mom says. “Gracie looks gorgeous after her grooming session. I look…marginally improved.”

I’m not saying a word and if I were you, I wouldn’t either.

Here I am right after my bath with Terri, the trainer who’s trying to teach me some manners. When she says “No,” I listen. If she weren’t so nice…

dog trainer with gracie

And here’s Summer, who gave me my wonderful bath, trying to figure out what to charge Cathy. I should get a discount because I’m such a good advertisement for the place.

I suspect the staff thinks Cathy should pay a surcharge. When she picks me up, she asks a dozen times, “How was Gracie? Was she a good dog? Everything okay? Did she get to exercise? Will she be good and tired when we get home?”

My mom needs to get a life. But at least she makes sure I have a good one.

Smart People Ride Seattle Metro Buses

[My mom wrote this before I took over the blog]

Downtown in the ride-free zone, I hop on a bus for the library. The hill from Third to Fourth Avenue is dauntingly steep. If I’m on on the #2 — which stops right there — I’ve learned to get off earlier and walk or grab the first bus heading south on Fifth Avenue.

Today I’m on a bus with one of those mysterious three-digit numbers, which means he’s headed to an outlying area I’ve never heard of.

“Do you stop at Spring or Seneca?” I ask the driver.

“I stop at Spring.” He’s a tall, slim man with glasses, very friendly.

“Well, your sign says express, so I wondered…”

“The word express is a misnomer,” he says. “Downtown everybody’s a local.”

“Misnomer? Did you say misnomer? Are you a moonlighting graduate student?”

He laughs. Earlier he did indeed get a graduate degree in one of the language study areas, but he’s been driving for sixteen years, he tells me. He likes the job. It’s a bad job to hate, he says. You have to like it.

“I’d be a truck driver myself,” I say, “if I were a better driver. But I don’t like driving in the rain, or on bridges or tunnels.”

“Truck driving? Too much time away from home,” he says, and we wave good-by as I get off, right in front of the Fifth Avenue entrance to the library.