Catio Update

I am pleased to report that the catio has been a raging success! The boys love coming and going on their own and I LOVE not having to open doors all the time or shoo incessantly meowing kitties from the room.

We still have room to grow but for now, we went the easy route and outfitted the catio with a modest cat tower. Using some leftover wood from other projects, we added an upper tier shelf to the left that allows them to get to the top of the tower and a lower shelf over the cat door.




As you can see, they have been making good use of everything. :-)

Cats are connoisseurs of comfort.
~ James Herriot, James Herriot’s Cat Stories

Spoiled Rotten Kitties

The boys had free reign of our apartment porch in Louisiana for two years. It was fenced in with gardening border to prevent them from escaping. Since moving back to Washington, they have a much larger house to roam but no outdoor space. So we built a catio!


If you’re not familiar with catios, they are essentially outdoor enclosures for cats. There are lots of designs available online if you want to build your own and lots of sources for ready-made designs that you can just buy and install as well. If you are handy with building things yourself, you might even design and build your own which is what we did.

catio 1

Sourcing out the wire was more of a challenge that we anticipated. And it’s not easy to work with.

catio 2

We built two side panels that are 3 foot wide by 8 foot tall and a center panel that is just shy of 6 feet wide. This was the best size to fit our available porch space.

catio 3

We added a door to the long side to be able to go inside to place cat furniture or build interior platforms for maximizing the vertical space.

catio 4

Painting, painting, and more painting.

catio 5

We used the primary and trim colors of the house. I thought was overkill when Don suggested it but he was right. It looks much better than it would have if we hadn’t painted it. It blends nicely with the house.

catio 6

It took us about three weeks to complete and maybe 20 hours total. It’s still a work in progress and needs some finishing touches. We also want to add platforms to give them things to climb up and to have different places to watch the activity outside. For now we’ve accomplished the basic build and are working on training the boys to use the doggie door. So far they aren’t loving the access door but I know they will figure it out with time. They are able to push through it to come IN if we put them out but they have yet to venture out on their own.

catio 7

Once we have the vertical space filled out with additional levels I think they will be much more comfortable and interested in exploring. I have a feeling it’s just a little too cramped for now. Milo doesn’t like to share close quarters and he likes high places. I think he’ll really appreciate having somewhere to sit 6 or 7 feet high. He also feigns indifference to life when he’s observed. Once he gets a chance to go out unobserved and unaccompanied by Olli, I have a feeling he’ll settle right in. And once he does, Olli will follow suit. Little brother like big brother. ;-)

Reading Corner – Death Before Daylight

Death Before Daylight is the final installment in the Timely Death trilogy by Shannon A. Thompson. It is not actually on the market yet but it will be later this year. I was given a copy by the author in exchange for my honest review. For those unfamiliar with the series, it is a YA paranormal romance, a classic game of good versus evil with unique characters and mythos. If you’re new to the series, read more here about book 1, Minutes Before Sunset, and book 2, Seconds Before Sunrise.


Death Before Daylight quickly draws readers back into the story in the wake of the final battle in Seconds Before Sunrise. The Dark searches for a way to win the war without destroying the world in the process. Illusions and long-buried secrets are exposed, with devastating effects. The plot is full of twists and turns; mistrust and doubt create confusion and even the prophecy is questioned.

I don’t want to give any spoilers so I can’t say much more.

Fans of young adult fantasy or romance will enjoy this book and the series. I believe the characters are relatable to the right age group. In the spirit of honesty, it does not appeal to me much. I think that I may have outgrown my interest in the young adult genre. The level of teenage angst that permeates the story is just too much for me. It’s typical for the genre though so it doesn’t feel misplaced or inappropriate. I just don’t relate anymore. (I even felt disconnected from the characters in the movie Insurgent for the same reason; and we all know how widely popular that movie/book series has been.) Despite that personal issue, I thought Thompson did a good job of wrapping up the story and bringing the tale to a satisfying close.

Also, kudos to Thompson for persevering through some personal struggles early this year and landing a new publisher for this series! The entire series is going to be re-released this year through Clean Teen Publishing.

Minutes Before Sunset has been re-released, complete with a new cover which is fabulous. I’m very impressed with the new artwork. However, that means that Death Before Daylight is not yet available so hang tight and subscribe to Thompson’s website, facebook, or twitter account for release updates. :-)

Reading Corner – All Together In One Place

oneplace All Together in One Place is a historical fiction novel by Jane Kirkpatrick set in 1852. It chronicles the journey of a number of families moving west on the Oregon Trail. It reminds me of the Commodore 64 game I played in middle school. But with much more vivid detail and emotion than the game ever imparted. The characters endure so many struggles: cholera, thirst, hunger, devastation of many kinds. It is sad and heartening at the same time. Not the most sophisticated writing I’ve ever read but the simplicity sometimes make it more relatable and easy to read and enjoy. I definitely recommend it, especially if you are new to historical fiction; I think it could bring new readers to the genre. It is the first in a series and I look forward to reading the next installments.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
~ Frederick Douglass


Life is leveling out somewhat. I think we’re both finally feeling a little more at ease and “settled” in our new city, house, jobs, and in general. I’m still not getting to loads of things like the blog (obviously), reading as actively as before, and numerous personal projects, many of which I can’t name because of the gift-like nature and I don’t want to spoil any surprises. ;-)

Regarding the blog, as much as I’ve enjoyed it in the past, it was a format for me to stay in touch with friends and family that were out of reach. Now, we see many of these folks on a monthly or more frequent basis, and we’re all on the same time zone again so it’s making it easier to communicate via phone, text, and facebook now. I’m finding less and less need for the blog in that sense.

I also enjoyed sharing our experiences with products, books, movies, and the like with the larger world out there and over time I picked up a few followers whom I view as friends, even if we’ve never met in the flesh. It’s been hard to let those connections slide. I miss seeing what you’re all doing on your blogs (my blog reader is up to 500+ unread posts. :( ) But I’ve also felt an immense sense of freedom since mentally letting go of some of these things and spending my free time in different ways such as:

• Weeding/tending our copiously landscaped property
• Working on projects around the house to tailor it to our style
• Spending time with co-workers after-hours
• Getting together with friends and family in person regularly

I’m not sure what that means for the blog long-term. I still have a laundry list of posts I could write one of these days. I have a partly completed draft on making your own horseradish (which I highly recommend BTW) but the time it takes to insert and manipulate all the images, find related articles, add the appropriate tags, in addition to just writing content, is daunting. Writing content like this is much easier and less time-consuming than weaving a story together with photos, tags, and related content. Honestly, I don’t know how I was doing it before.

Well, that’s not true. Life had a different rhythm in Louisiana. Don was away from home. A lot. I had long nights and weekends to myself that I frequently filled with blogging. It gave me something to focus on, provided me a way to say in touch with people, and generally helped me feel connected even though I was often alone. I would sometimes spend a whole day prepping a week or more worth of posts so that when he was home I could easily just publish something that was ready to go and be free to spend his time home together. We have a much different routine now. Don is almost always home – which is a good thing, lol. And we have our hands full, not just with wanting to spend time together but with projects to customize the house and with just generally keeping up a house that is twice the size of what we had before, plus a yard which we didn’t have at all previously.

In addition to all that, my days are full at my new job. I’m learning a new industry so it’s more than just learning new, proprietary systems. My days are filled to the brim with attending meetings, quizzing co-workers on how-to’s, listening to workshops, studying manuals and reading articles, and desperately trying to process work that comes my way correctly. Unfortunately for the blog, that means that when I come home, the last thing I want to do is spend another 2+ hours sitting at a computer, regardless of how much I enjoy writing or sharing. When I HAVE to face the computer at home, to pay bills, balance our finances, or respond to mail or email that can’t be ignored (any longer than however long I’ve already let it sit!), it makes me cranky. ;-)

It has become apparent to me that I’m stepping back from the blog considerably. Heck, it’s taken me three freaking days to complete this “easy” post! I do hope/want to make occasional appearances but the frequency is going to be greatly reduced. If you’ve been following me because we have shared interests and you’d like to connect with me on facebook, please feel free to look me up, you can find me here. :-)

Best wishes…I will try to be back soon. With that horseradish post. ;-)

“Face your life, its pain, its pleasure, leave no path untaken.”
~ Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book