New chapter: Kittens!

by Beth Shepherd
( July 22nd, 2015 )

So this past weekend, this happened…


Then this happened…

Wallingford cat

And next thing you know, there are two kittens living in our home! I have not been mama to a wee kitten in 20 years, but our home felt empty without Maggie (and Madison, who left us five years ago) and so I decided it was time.

I intended to get one cat, not a kitten, and tailless (both my previous cats were Manx cats). Searching online for “the one,” reminded me of internet dating. I made my list of contenders and visited several shelters over the course of a few days, trying to imagine this cat or that cat joining our family at The Urban Cabin. None of them felt like the right fit.

On a visit to PAWS Cat City to meet an older cat I’d read about online, I spied a tiny tabby out of the corner of my eye. “Tell me about her,” I asked the shelter volunteer. When I went into the room where she was, and sat down to play with her, I saw this handsome gray face staring back at me from inside a cubby.

A few hours later after consulting with Big Papa, I returned to Cat City, kitty carriers in hand. By 6:00 our family had two new furry members.

Two cats and a chair

The tabby has been named Winslow (nickname Winnie) after the city on Bainbridge Island where Big Papa and I traveled by ferry on our first date. The gray kitty is Wallingford (nickname Wally), after a neighborhood where Big Papa lived for awhile. My previous cats were also named after Seattle neighborhoods: Magnolia, or Maggie, and Madison, or Maddy.

Four days in, it’s been—and will continue to be—a new chapter, getting two know these two cute-as-the-dickens feline friends. Both have been a bit under the weather (respiratory cat crud common in shelter cats) but I’m hoping they will recover soon and we’ll enjoy many, many years together.

Two cats and my daughter

I love cats because I enjoy my home;

and little by little, they become its visible soul.

~Jean Cocteau

And if you want to read more about all things Pampers, follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

Take the road less traveled, Beth

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56 degrees and swimming in Puget Sound

by Beth Shepherd
( July 17th, 2015 )

Average temperature of the water in Puget Sound is 56 degrees in July.

All wet in Gig Harbor

Swimming in Puget Sound is downright chilly, at any time of the year. Even in July, the average temperature is 56 degrees.

In Puget Sound up to her knees and ready for swimming

But that didn’t stop one 4-year-old from swimming in the waters off Gig Harbor.

Getting ready

Granted, by the time she was fully wet…


...and had splashed around for fifteen minutes or so, she confessed to feeling a little bit cold.


With teeth chattering and lips turning blue one little girl headed for dry land. Her mama suspects her motivation to get out of the water may have been due to the really cool rope swing hanging from a tree over the sand. The perfect place to dry off.

Rope swing at the beach

And if you want to read more about all things Pampers, follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

Take the road less traveled, Beth



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Getting away from it all in Gig Harbor

by Beth Shepherd
( July 16th, 2015 )

Live in Seattle and want to get away from it all? Check out Gig Harbor. We spent two relaxing days over the 4th of July in this small waterside town of 7,800 residents which lies a mere 12 miles from Tacoma across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor takes its name from a small boat, known as a “gig” that Captain Charles Wilkes sailed into the tiny well-hidden harbor during a heavy storm in 1841. He later named the sheltered bay Gig Harbor. For centuries, the Twa-Wal-Kut band of the Puyallup Tribe had a longhouse and permanent camp at the head of the harbor.  Three years later, three fisherman from Croatia, including Samuel Jerisich and, eventually many other immigrants from Sweden, Norway, and Croatia. They lived side-by-side with Native Americans. By 1888, the town was platted and the population had grown. Fishing, boat building and logging were Gig Harbor’s economic mainstay for decades.

Fisherman statue

Isolated from Tacoma and Seattle by Puget Sound and the Tacoma Narrows waterway, Gig Harbor could not be reached by automobile or horseback except via a very long and arduous trip south around Puget Sound. In 1940, the first mile-long Tacoma Narrows Bridge was built and created a direct—but short-lived—link. Galloping Gertie, as the bridge was later coined, collapsed just six months after it was completed and another bridge wasn’t built until 1950.

Gig Harbor boats

Today, Gig Harbor is still a small, quaint town filled with turn-of-the-century houses and a small, but lively, boat harbor. There are several state parks within a few miles of town, a few beaches and downtown Gig Harbor has a number of shops and several restaurants.

Gig Harbor house on July 4

One of my favorite parts of the harbor are the historic ‘net sheds‘. The first net sheds appeared in Gig Harbor around 1910.  These buildings, made from s rough, hand-hewn fir were used by local fishermen to store nets and fishing gear.  As the town grew, many net sheds disappeared, replaced by commercial marinas.  Today, only 17 nets sheds remain along the western shoreline, which is still the greatest concentration of the historic net sheds on the Sound.

Gig Harbor net shed

I love old towns, their history and architecture, the stories about the people who once lived there. Gig Harbor is a lovely place to visit if you’re looking for all of this, and a little peace and quiet to go along with it.

Net shed

And if you want to read more about all things Pampers, follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

Take the road less traveled, Beth

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