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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tacoma PTA Celebrates 100 Years of Service



I was a Lowell Leopard, a Mason Mustang, and a Wilson Ram; a born and raised Tacoma Public Schoolsgraduate. Besides my own experiences as a student, I also got a taste of the behind the scenes work that went on through my own mother who served on the Parent Teacher Association (PTA)board. All of the fun events, interesting activities, community projects, and much needed equipment and materials were all generated from the hard work, dedication, and spirit from PTA. As an adult and local parent now, I marvel at how PTA has grown and changed to keep up with changing times and current events. The most important thing I learned is that PTA integrates community and families to take ownership of our public schools and to make them the best they can be for everyone. This is an exciting part of the education and the community building process. Yet, as we move forward with an army of wonderful PTA volunteers that donate their time and talent, it's important to look back on the roots of PTA because the foundations I just described have always been there. It's these roots that give us a rich texture of history, innovation, and experience. Here in Tacoma, our PTA roots are plentiful and deep. So deep, that Tacoma PTA celebrates it's centennial year in February of 201l. 



I marvel to think that PTA has been making its mark on our community for 100 years; what an accomplishment. Think of how many students and their families have been touched by the efforts of PTA whether it's a school carnival, a fund raising events, special school guests, community service projects, or replacing playground equipment, PTA has always been there, working hard to give value to their schools.

Now as we kick off the new year, it is time to celebrate the extraordinary progress of Tacoma PTA. On February 17, 2011 from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM at Tacoma's Lincoln High School cafeteria and auditorium located at 701 S. 37th Street, Tacoma PTA is hosting a free event for everyone to partake in. The first hour of the event is a reception followed by a special program for the second hour. Citizens are invited to come see Tacoma history in action through interactive displays, audio visual presentations, and good conversation. What's even better is that local students are a big part of creating this party by using their talents and gifts. Anyone that has been touched by our schools and/or that revel in our city's multi-layered and intricate history, should mark their calendars for one of the most important history events this year.

And speaking of history, some of the treasures you will witness are hand bound ledgers from the early 1900's, historic documents that depict the budgets, events, and interest that captured the spirit of each decade here in Tacoma, media and press clips of the people, places, and ideas that made things happen in our city, and pictures that depict a vast celebration of teacher and students working alongside families to make things extra special. 



Special—that's what we have here in Tacoma in our schools, past, present and future. Despite changes in our community structure, politics, world, national, and local events, mass changes in our society whether they are big or small, the schools have always been there in rough times and in happy times. And when we see the great activities of PTA in conjunction with the students, it feels good. In today's times, amidst all the bad news and strife and the sense of urgency to focus on what doesn't work, we need feel good stories like this that make us smile and remember. We need stories about learning, teaching, dedication, endurance and fun NOW. Tie that in community pride, and you've got a win-win situation for all citizens of this amazing area in which we live in and love. Further, I'll bet you probably didn't know that Tacoma PTA coined some important phrases and processes that still exist today at a national level? You bet! And there's so much more. All the more reason to come join the celebration and revel.

And for this writer, I am reveling in bringing you updates on this event and giving bits and pieces of past eras. It will be a great journey for all of us. 

For additional information, contact School Board Member Kim Golding, chair of the 100-year event committee, at (253) 906-8827 or email her at tacomapta@nventure.com.


Friday, December 24, 2010

KTAC Christmas Eve 1980


It's Christmas Eve 2010. Earlier this week longtime Northwest radio personality "Sugar" Bruce Cannon passed away. Word of his death quickly circulated among Facebook friends, fans, and family.

I worked for KTAC as Jaynie Dillon and KBRD-FM as Jane Robbins for several years and had done the afternoon show with Bruce back then doing traffic reporting and news as his sidekick for a time. A memorial tribute page was set up so that people could post their favorite photos of Bruce and share memorable stories about him. Amidst the swirl of reminiscing, it has taken me back in time to ...

Thirty years ago tonight, right now, I was on-the-air at KTAC.

Christmas Eve 1980 I was filling in for one of the other members of the air staff and working the 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. on-air shift.

As with most live radio and TV news stations there are the traditional stories of NORAD tracking Santa on his deliveries across the US and around the globe. That evening I engaged in the same banter, confirming on-air that Santa had made it to Tacoma.

I had in fact just seen Santa passing through the parking lot at Tacoma Mall. That was not fiction. A sleigh with a Santa on-board had passed through the mall parking lot moments before I reported it. I had seen Santa through our KTAC/KBRD studio windows from the 6th Floor of the Tacoma Mall Office Building.

A listener called in when he heard me talking about seeing Santa in Tacoma. The young man sounded profoundly depressed. He told me did not believe that Santa would visit his apartment home. He told me of being out of work, of having a precious, loving, wonderful, young wife, and a 3-week-old baby girl at home. He was ashamed that he was broke, out of work, and yet had the rich blessings himself of his sweet wife and baby, but no gifts to give to either of them. It was breaking his heart. He wanted so much to be able to gift each of them a gift as an expression of his love for them.

Even though Tacoma Mall and stores all around were closed, quite fortuitously there were some Christmas gifts at the radio station.

KTAC had been a drop-site for Toys for Tots that year. Someone had dropped off toys after the for the end of the campaign when the donations would have already been delivered to children for Christmas.

I asked the caller if he could come over to the Tacoma Mall Office Building. I told him that even at that late hour I could guarantee him that Santa had some gifts for his wife and baby. Granted, the toys were for the baby. But I quickly created a little gift basket for his wife with an assortment of tea and packets of hot chocolate.

He arrived at KTAC within the hour shortly before the midnight transition from Christmas Eve into Christmas Day. His spirits were buoyed by the surprise gifts for his baby and his wife. I had never seen anyone more grateful for anything.

The following summer I left Tacoma radio to do The Overnight Club on KOMO Radio.

Even after changing stations and leaving the Tacoma area, that young man and his family kept in contact and sent me Christmas cards for years reflecting back on that bleak winter for them in 1980. Year after year they shared their progress and how they'd been able to turn their lives around with steady employment and even the purchase of a home.

We often hear the expression that 'life comes full circle' and it certainly has for me. Thirty years later I now live where not only Mount Rainier and Tacoma Mall are in view, but also the Tacoma Mall Office Building. As I look out at the Tacoma Mall Office Building tonight (image attached), it takes me right back to Christmas Even 1980.

I remember the years at KTAC and KBRD-FM ("K-Bird, Tacoma's beautiful bird...") and among the cherish the special privileges and memories of those years of working with Bruce Cannon, Ric Hansen, Chuck Bolland, Greg Cook, Sean Carter, J.J. Reagan, and others. Bruce Cannon was renowned for his efforts on behalf of community and charitable organizations. He had a good heart, too.

There is no more precious memory to me than of Christmas Eve 1980 when Santa really and truly did deliver just before midnight in Tacoma.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hazy Full Moon Provides Elegant Light


Above: The darkly quiet night sky over December. No other words needed.
Copyright 2010 by Mizu Sugimura.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Tacoma

Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!


Dear Tacoma,
You are my muse. You are my life force. I live in and among your many lush forests, your quiet suburban neighborhoods. I adventure through your many backstreets completing quest after quest. Your everlasting rain brings the fruits of your forest. Your summer sun bakes my skin to a crisp. You are my muse. You are my life force. Tacoma.
Adam

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Closure of Dr. Martin Luther King Library

I stopped at the Martin King Library last night because I had heard that it was going to be closed. I wanted the librarians there to know that I appreciated how they had always welcomed me there and went out of their way to help me find books that would help me to grow intellecutually and emotionally. I found out then that the library would close for go on January 31.
So this grey Saturday afternoon I went back to the library to sit and think and just be. Silly, huh! Well, it's the best I could do... the library is one of those special places... I see many people, old, young, every race... working at the computers, getting books or cds or dvds...reading newspapers and magazines.
For four years I have been coming to the library...borrowing Walter Mosley and Robert Parker thrillers... checking out Nikki Giovanni and Langston Hughes poetry, delighting in Denzel Washington and Sidney Poitier films...feeling alive and proud and moved to put my best foot forward.So very proud to join others at this wonderful, warm place named after Dr. King.











I hear the closure is done... still I wonder what would happen if a whole lot of folks like me just took time to let folks know... our children, senior citizens, and people of all races love and need this library. I have learned a little bit more because of the librarians and the resources at the library how to be a proud, loving man. I really want this library to stay open and continue challenging us to become thoughtful and compassionate citizens.If we do not know where we have come from, we shall not be able to discover where we need to go from here!
If you would like to let your interest known, contact: Media Relations: David Domkoski, 253 591-5688, ddomkosk@tacomapubliclibrary, org, and/or Suden Odencrantz, Library Director, 253-591-5606, sodencrantz@tacomapubliclibrary.org

Game Time

I have always loved basketball. From the time I was a chubby grade schooler who always sat on the bench to the wonderful days in Sheridan, Oregon, when I used to play passing guard with other young mean training to become Jesuits. My greatest moment... being applauded by Bellarmine High School students here when I tried to make a jump shot from the right side and missed to that low moment in Spokane when I faced off against a young man, ten years my senior, a foot taller than I, who just plouged over me and quickly ended our one on one game, 12 to nothing.

Last night I enjoyed being with parents and other teachers at the Bellarmine's women's high school basketball team fought its way to a very tough victory... lots of defense, Bellarmne High and Olympia High folks going head to head in a game where the score doesn't reflect the tremendous defense, the passing and running and cool headed free throwing of both teams.

Thoughtful, fast moving, and sweet shooting game. I loved it...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Merry Christmas Grandma Grump Grump

Here's one Gritizen's take on relatives during the holiday season. South Sound, you can check it out HERE.


How do our relatives and friends shape our holidays?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Tacoma

Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!


Dear Tacoma,

You are not my Wonderland. You’re not the scene of my tea party. You are my reality. You wake me up each morning with the chimes of promise, a promise of intrigue and routine. You fill my eyes with quiet rain that drips down from your hazy gray skies onto the crimson leaves that shadow my street and the unruly grass that softens beneath our combined touch. You provide my feet cobblestone streets, winding sidewalks with plants hovering over my head, university fields, and pebbled beaches. It is here, on these terrains that I build my expectations for the world; that I meditate, that I discover, and that I want to return to again and again. You inspire me to find the connectivity of life, to read a book in the middle of the night, to twirl through the trees in the park, to run away my fears, and to listen to someone I love as we look out upon your Bay. And you put me to bed each evening with the echo of those chimes. A soft reminder that I can sculpt the coming day. But you don’t just offer me promise. You constantly – sometimes quite harshly – push me to my limit. You remind me that you can always do and give more to yourself. You remind me that appeasing all those around you will take the color out of the roses. You remind me of the power of community. That you can walk into your cafĂ©’s and see a familiar face and not be embarrassed to say hello. You remind me to be passionate. You give me permission to devote my whole self to something I care for and not hold back. You tear apart my inhibitions and the selfish pressures of others. You inspire me to fall and take my time getting up. Other cities would have laughed at me, instead you cried with me. You hugged me and let me continue down the avenue towards home.

Sincerely,
Gracia Smith, Student
Tacoma School of the Arts

A Learning Experience



Sarah Paretsky, the author of the V.I. Warshasky Mysteries is teaching me a lot:
interracial relationships, effects of physical and sexual abuse on family members, the defensive ways abusers deny their activities and blame other people.

V.I. gets shot at, injured, and ends up spending time in hospitals... feeling the effects of her injuries later. And giving her male opponents a whole lot of bodily harm too.

I am enjoying having a heroine who gives sleuthing her best shot and endures the loss of credibility and friendships that happen when a woman decides to act in straight talking, assertive ways.

Her novel, Tunnel Vision, will keep you from getting those eight hours you deserve for a few days. I love you, Sarah Paretsky!


Here's a brief take on what she is choosing to do in her writing.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns

Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!

Dear Fir Terrace, 
You are not just the name of another development, you are my home. I would take your noble, cascading fir trees over a billion dollar sky scraper any day. I love each of your cozy homes with cheery smoking chimneys and welcome matted porches. I love taking walks in what is left of your little forest. I love that although places like you are getting bulldozed and smothered in concrete, I can still look into my backyard and see some wildlife. It is a shame that you are becoming rare. Your street held my first time riding a bike and my first time driving a car. One day, in about a year and a half, I will drive up that same street for the last time. But before then I wanted to say: Fir Terrace, I love you. 

Kailey McClements, Junior, 
Tacoma School of the Arts

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Tacoma

Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!

Dear Tacoma,

            When I came here, you scared me to death. With your terrible smells, your gigantic hills, and your castles with dungeons and dragons lurking around every corner. I didn’t like you at all at first.
            But now I’ve come to see the beauty in you. Your parks and beaches are gorgeous and peaceful. Your streets are as clean as diamonds shimmering in the sunlight. When I am at the top of those hills that I hated so much, I turn around and look out and see nothing but beautiful landscapes coming together to form a dazzling view. Your museums inspire me. Your statues and fountains give me peace of mind. When it rains, your views become better and glimmer with brightness rarely matched. When there’s thunder and lightning, the lightning strikes and dances over the sound under an alluring black sky.
            When I came here, I was scared by you, but you still loved me. You are beautiful and peaceful, but you excite me. You are wet and cold, but warm and sunny. You are big and confusing, but small enough for me to understand you. The protestors and important people who come here only prove that you are amazing. Thank you for being my home.

            Sincerely, Jordan Nunamaker, student
Tacoma School of the Arts

Friday, December 10, 2010

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns


Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!



Dear Tacoma,

Amongst your dreary days, I strain to look past your grey abyss but cannot.
Amongst your sunny days, I am filled with joy as your sun covers me in its protection.
When I am down, you cry with me.
In the start of the morning, you refresh me.

When life is dull, I look to your nature.
The blends of greens and blues.
During the fall, the blends of oranges and yellows.

Though I miss my home in California, you’ve raised me to become stronger and to be happy amongst the dreariest of times.


Thank you.

Kahmina Ford, Student
Tacoma School of the Arts

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Tacoma

Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!

 Dear 110th street,
 
    You are my first memory of snow, sledding down your steep hill with my brother and sisters Christmas day. I remember falling down and scraping my knees learning how to roller skate. Sneaking out late with my friends, you kept us safe as we threw our old sneakers over your power lines. You make me feel safe everytime I walk my dogs or go on a fun bike ride with my parents. I drew my first unicorn on your sidewalk and set sail my paper boat in your streams of water flowing into the drain. I jumped in your puddles, soaking my feet and spinning in circles in the rain with my face toward the heavens. You have watched me from birth to adulthood. I love you.
 
 
Liliana Sundsmo, Student
Tacoma School of the Arts

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Tacoma

Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!

Dear Tacoma, Why do you rain so much? Why do you always give me bad hair days? Although I love the way you bring back so many memories with just a certain smell, your weather is unpredictable. I love your warm summer nights and your  long hot days. I enjoyed playing in your snow as a child but I've grown too old for that. I love your Christmas mornings and the way you make me feel like a kid again. I enjoy and appreciate the friends you've brought me to meet, there great! But I must say as soon as I turn 18, I'm out of here!
 
Love yours truly, Kiva!

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Olympia

Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!

Dear Olympia,
                I have known none other than you. It is your embracing rain and fog and occasional hopeful sun that has greeted me each morning. And the lullaby of crickets that have sung me to sleep as the stars looked through my window. In moments of the most intense stress, it was your refreshing, clean air that saved me and cleared my mind, as I would get lost walking along the densely tree lined paths. Occasionally I’d sit on a bench for long stretches of time, just staring at the water in complete calmness. I was not by myself. The nature surrounding supported and comforted me. How often these simplicities are taken for granted, but I will always appreciate them. Your seasons bring people together. Spring brings the opening of the Farmer’s Market where running into a familiar face between the crates of fresh, colorful fruit is as common as the rain. Summers spent at Capital Lake playing Frisbee, meeting someone new and inviting them to join in. Winters of snow and rain where families gather together in front of the fire or share a blanket, spending priceless time together. The endless colors of fall, the perfect time for a bike ride with a close friend. Each year that goes by you provide me with the opportunities to grow. I have known none other than you so far, but no matter what you will always be a part of me.  
Sincerely,
Melia Paguirigan, Student
Tacoma School of the Arts

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Tacoma

 Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!

Dear Tacoma,
            You are not the place I would call my homes. At the end of the day, you are not the place that I reside. You are not where I was raised, but where I have grown.
            You are days full of aching feet from walking. Days of jumping in puddles with friends, pretending that we were transported back to a time where life was much easier. You are moments of holding my breath, walking through the noxious plume of hops on Pac. Ave. You are the “attack of the link mob”, and the “I’m sorry, we are experiencing technical difficulties.” You are my first experience of public transportation, my first dose of trouble-making, my first love, first heartbreak, and my first “laugh till I cry” moment. You are the indescribably friendships, and the backdrop to my steps toward the future. You are so much more than a city, because you are the place that I first found myself.
            Though you are not my home, you are the place that I feel alive. At the end of the day, you are not where I reside, but you are the place that shall always be my escape. You are not where I was raised, but you, Tacoma, are the place where I have grown.

Whitney Miller
Student, Tacoma School of the Arts

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Tacoma

 Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!

 Dear Lexington Street,
    You are the street I've seen from my earliest memory. My first knee scraping, my first burn when baking cookies with Grandma Dolly only to have the scar covered by an ironic smiley bandage. My mornings and evenings. My sun, my moon. Traveling to you seeing all the happy neighbors, chasing leaves on a rainy day down the street leading to the drain only to watch it disappear in my failed attempt to grab a hold of it. I've always been with you whether I lived with you or not. Now as I grow older I still see that curb I tripped over, that closet I slept in, the smell of fresh baked cookies and ocean breeze. An oddly wonderful mixture. I still hear the monkeys howling and seagulls flying. You have always been my home, even if it was just a visit to Grandma's house, I grew up here, the definition of home.
                                       
 Love, Alexandria Sipes
Student, Tacoma School of the Arts

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Tacoma

 Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!

Tacoma, my hometown.
I love you Tacoma, you are my home and you are all I have ever known. You are the air that I breathe, and it’s so fresh and sweet. Waking up to you in the mornings makes me feel so calm and safe, and watching the sunrise beaming over you is so beautiful. I couldn’t imagine my life without you. From when I was a little girl in the wintertime picking up your snow and washing my face with it, and in the summertime jumping off the docks into your water. I’m going to leave you someday, but I wont ever forget you and I will be back home soon.  
-Sara Rasmas (SOTA student) 

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Tacoma

 Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!

Dear Tacoma

You are like a brother, who one looks up to in the time of inspiration, who one gets frustrated with in a time of sorrow and helplessness.  The vastness of your landscape is unfamiliar to someone like me, even though I have lived here for so long.  When I am gone I miss the sacred and private places that even though public belong to and only me it seems.  That’s what Tacoma is, it’s personal.  It is your city and my city at the same time, Pleasing and disgusting people for years and years.  It is an acquired taste admired by the lovers and avoided by the simple.  Although those of us who know the wonder like those who love the taste keep on saying more for us, more for us. More Tacoma for us!!!

                            love,

                                            TJ  Hom

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns

 Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!


11-28-10
Dear Weathervane Drive Street,
    You’re not a city. You’re not a town. You’re my quiet street. You wake me up each morning with plans for the day when there’s no school. You fill my days of being on the computer and spending time with my best friend Charles, and I do all that at my new house I moved in a few years ago. You provide me friendly neighbors to say hello to and a great house to live in. You inspire me to learn, to create, to walk, and to play. And you put me to bed each evening with nice video thoughts and a nice smile on your face.
    But you don’t just make me feel like I’m in a new street. You constantly make me think like I’m in my old street again. You remind me of my old friends and their families in my old street in Puyallup. You don’t even care  when I go trick-or-treating on Halloween, even though there are very much less kids around, but there are some very nice people to give out the candy to me and my brothers. You remind me of the absolute joy of being myself in my old/new home.
    You remind me how much I’m going to do in this place. You teach me how old this neighborhood is. You remove the screaming children and replace them with fewer cars and people walking about.

                                    Sincerely,
                                    Carly Petersohn, student
                                    Tacoma School of the Arts

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Tacoma

Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!

Dear Tacoma,
    Your beautiful in every single way. Your humid summers, cold rainy winters and everything in between. Your downtown lights sparkling in the night and the cold winds blowing in your grass fields. Freezing harsh waves hit your rocks, as the pigeons fly by. People fluster around like no one is able to stop. This city never sleeps, this city never stops.
                Love,
                    Alicia Owens, Student
                Tacoma School of The Arts


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Lakewood

  Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy! 

Dear Lakewood,
       You are not where I was born and you are not where I will die.
 Though I am with you for now, I don't know how long it will last.
 One day, if I am gone and you  wonder where I went,
 just remember all of our memories and the time we have spent together.
 You hosted all my childhood adventures and supplied plenty of rain.
 Although most find you gloomy, and your bipolar weather drives them
 insane, I thank you for reminding me of home. You stink far less than
 your neighbor Tacoma! So thank you for understanding why I can't
 keep living in your streets which lose all pleasantries at night.
 You fueled my imagination and I imagine you will know,
 when I miss my true home too much and finally decide to go.
~Billy Robison, student
Tacoma  School of the Arts

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Tacoma

Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!

Dear Tacoma,
You are my hometown. You are my base, my concrete base that allows me to build the house that is my life. Even though I sometimes need a break from your indecisive weather and gray bleak skies, I know that you have helped me to figure out who I am and where I want to go. You are home to everything that is familiar and comfortable to me. I'm excited to wander the world and explore, but I'm glad I'll always have you to return to.
Love,
Stacy Millsap, student
Tacoma School of the Arts

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Ruston

Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!

 Dear Ruston,
                You are my childhood. You are imagination personified. You are the fountain from which blissful phantasmagoria and fantastic daydreams sprung forth in infinite supply, bubbling with whimsy and extraordinary characters. You are where I learned the meaning of family; where living harmoniously with so many people could make me feel unnatural in a quiet room, and still can to this day. You are Don’s Market –formerly known as Dean’s Market – in business for 84 years and counting. You are the housing of poorly crafted clubhouses, functioning as make-shift headquarters for 2 international secret agents wielding classified information and a license to kill. You were undoubtedly a catalyst in my bond with animals, encouraging the connection by providing me stray cats, possums, dying birds, and no less than 4 caterpillars named Henry which I killed on accident. You are sweet summer days at Owen Beach with snow cones and sand hills and hidden secret tunnels.
                But most of all, Ruston, you are 12 amazing years of unbridled innocence, happiness, and wonder. You are my home, and I miss you terribly.
Much love, forever and ever,
Katie Knoll, student
Tacoma School of the Arts

Local Students Write Love Letters to Their South Sound Hometowns: Tacoma

Readers and South Sounders: Tacoma School of the Arts Humanities students are participating in writing "love letters" to their hometowns. The writing exercise combines creativity, editing, and getting the letters published. Join me in celebrating these students and their wonderful letters in the upcoming letter series featured on the In Your Neighborhood blog. Read on and enjoy!


Dear Tacoma,
   You are not my hometown! You are not even my home. I didn't even like you at first--but at present, it is you who is impacting my life most. So far, our time together has been short, but in this short time you have helped me to grow in a way I never thought I could. You have taught me things that I wouldn't have learned anywhere else, and introduced me to experiences that are irreplaceable.
   You have invited me to open myself up to the wonder of discovery--not only here, but in my own home and everywhere I go. You have given me more opportunities to learn and grow than I ever expected of you. The beauty of your buildings, the complexity of people, the puget sound, the joy of every experience--you have opened my heart to it all, and I thank you for it.
   In fact, when contemplating departure, and even after deciding to leave you behind, I found myself unable to. I came running back, wide open. The reason is simple: you make me feel alive. Now that we have connected, I feel certain that the impact you have left will remain with me forever.

Yours,
Rosie Koppelman, student
Tacoma School of the Arts

Friday, December 3, 2010

This has absolutely nothing to do with Tacoma--satisfy your curiosity

This has nothing to do with neighborhoods, Grit City, or the South Sound. 

It's just silly. And if you are child of the 70's and 80's, you'll especially want to read on.

I had a good laugh and a walk down memory lane this morning on Facebook, so I turned into an all video post on Gritty City Woman. If you recognize the picture below, then this is the post for you. Click HERE to see more.






Happy Friday, Tacoma!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

South Sound: Can You Come Up With A Caption for These Pictures?

Hello South Sounders! Here are some random pictures. Let's have fun and put captions on them shall we? 


Picture Number 1: 




Picture Number 2: 






Picture Number 3

 Picture Number 4: 

 
Picture Number 5:


Have fun with this! You can also play along at grittycitywoman.com, too!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gritty Snow Rules


Learn the snow rules that every good Gritizen should know. Click HERE to visit Gritty City Woman to find out!

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Cold Outside

And Then


the Wind came

Snow Driving: How's Your Neighborhood Doing?

South Sound: How's the driving going in your neighborhood? Are you seeing these around?


This picture came from the University Place Patch. This morning our roads were terrible. I suspect that will be the case again tonight. Sigh....

Cold Days...Warm Moments

The times are always going through their changes, aren't they. One day I can be up, the next day, down. Nothing to do with not taking the appropriate medications. It's a mind limiting thing... leads to procrastination, hiding, depression. Or, I can work a little differently. The glass does not have to be filled with castor oil; mocha expresso will bring a smile to my face and warm my heart.


After all,every now and then I can admit to myself that I am a wonderful human being and I do make mistakes. And those mistakes can either lead me to freeze up, not try again, just plain give up. Or I can decide to take responsibility for my mistake, reflect on what I did, and learn what I shall try the next time. In other words,
life can either look beautiful or ugly, depending on how I choose to look at it.

For example the thought that the Dr. Martin Luther King Library might close just breaks my heart. So many wonderful people go there. The staff is so kind to me. I have found so many precious books, compact discs, and dvds there... Just sitting there and people watching gives me a deep sense of being really close to folks.

So... I am going to let my desire to keep MLK known to every human being I can and encourage folks to write the librarian director and let her know MLK needs to stay open. Here are the names of the board memebers and the phone number for the administrative offices:
http://www.tacomapubliclibrary.org/Page.aspx?nid=34

I walk down the stairs at Orton Hall this cold grey Monday morning and look, beautiful pieces of work created by Bellarmine High School students. Wonderful!


For every challenging experience, there is the hard, cold side, and the exciting, warm side.








Keep warm...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tacoma In November

I took advantage of a break in the weather and ventured into the very heart of this Gritty City to walk around and take some pictures. It was cold and the wind blowing in from across the water added a bite to the chill.



The dead leaves on the sidewalk skitter in circles as the cold wind rips through the streets and alley ways. Few people are out and about and those that are, have their coats zipped up and their shoulders hunched up trying to stay warm.


You can hear the wind as it rushes up from th
e sound past the old city hall clock tower. You almost get the impression that the clock is just too cold to tick.

Across the Foss, the Tide Flats are hard at work despite the windy cold.


Enough is enough! I'm ready to warm up and there is a Tully's in front of me! A hot cup of coffee before I head back to the house is just what I need.

VW

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why I Love Tacoma's Parkway Tavern

Check out my little love piece for the Parkway Tavern on Gritty City Woman. Share your fave watering holes and beer, HERE or on GCW. Happy sipping Tacoma!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Natural Man

Back in the eighties I used to go walking in Seward Park in Seattle, compact disc swinging merrily in my portable cd player and, with Lou Rawls singing to myself as I briskly moved through my two and a half mile walk, the affriming lyrics of the song, "Natural Man."

Much older and wiser now... I see that the lyrics of this song catch a lot of my present dreams:

"So when ya see me walkin', won't you notice that proud look in my eyes
My feet are on the ground and my soul is searchin' for the sky

'Cause I want to be happy and free
Livin' and lovin' for me
Just like a natural man
A natural man
Just like a natural man
My feet are on the ground
My soul is searchin' for the sky
Like a natural man
No more 'Yes, sir'
No more 'Yes, mam'
Huh, 'cause I'm a natural man
I'm a natural man"

In those few sweet, soulful moments Lou Rawls summed up the desires that African American people have had for five hundred years..."

As I listened to Lou Rawls singing via my Itouch during my moaning and groaning and sweating at the Family Y in Tacoma Thursday, November 18th, I felt affirmed and challenged... affirmed because more and more I am respectfully taking responsibility for my choices... because I choose to rather than because I am commanded to and challenged because I want to help every person I meet to confidently do the same when working with me or working with/for any other human being.

Smiling as I worked out at the Family Y, I played Natural Man again and again.



Snow: Friend, Foe, or Frenemy?

I've been hearing a lot about the s-word in the weather forecasts. When that word starts getting tossed around, dear readers and neighbors, the South Sound takes pause. 

So, do you feel this way about snow? 



Or do you feel this way about it? 



Good or bad, what's your South Sound snow coping strategies?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Pacific Northwest Book Review

Over on Gritty City Woman, I had the opportunity to read and review Vancouver, B.C. native Robyn Harding's book, Chronicles of a Midlife Crisis. I even had the opportunity to chat on e-mail with the authoress herself! If you are looking for a great read by a local writer, check it out right HERE.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Making It With Reall

Folks at the 12 Week Program at the Morgan Family YMCA in Tacoma have seen me through some tough changes... working at getting physically fit deliberately for two years. And up and down...
The staff never gave up on me. I have used a lot of excuses during that time for not following through: too cold to go... too wet, too dark...
Somewhere deep inside the Truth kept a knocking... "Choose to live now!"
So, after a good workout Monday afternoon, I took another step... joined a support group which, for the next eight weeks, will be focused on taking practical steps to living healthy and happy lives now...
We're meeting to share our hopes, ups and downs, our actions, feelings, and thinking. Scott Reall's book, Journey to Freedom, offers wonderful matter for day to day reading and reflection, and we shall discuss six chapters of the book at each session.
I have just finished the first chapter... this book is a keeper... the program at the Morgan Family Y--- the Reall Deal...



Enjoy the five minute clip inspired by Scott Reall's wonderful book.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Annual ART AT WORK Month Provides South Sound Citizenry Inexpensive Fill-Ups At Fuel Station Of Innovative Thinking And Creativity

No matter what kind of weather and temperatures are playing on the outdoor stage in Puget Sound country, the wide open spacious halls and galleries at Tacoma Art Museum can always be called upon to lift those members of the community who harbor an artistic spirit.

Last Thursday night, TAM put on it's party hat and hosted this year's Art At Work Month kick-off celebration in the main lobby. The annual month-long and much-looked forward to festival salutes the deep and rich bank of homegrown talent, resources and time-honored well-spring of innovative conception, development and creativity within the City of Tacoma and surrounding Pierce County.

It is ably executed each year to showcase and honor art organizations, sponsors, volunteers, organizers, participants, long-time patrons, newly emerging artists and public fans which provide not only a delightful series of wonderful sights, performances and shows but also provides a strong foundation and ongoing support to the overall health and well-being of the extended public.

Individuals attending this year's kick-off at Tacoma Art Museum were not only treated to colorful buffets of snacks, refreshments and live entertainment, but a generous opportunity to quietly peruse and personally examine both spacious galleries and seasonal highlights like the profuse explosion of handbuilt altars and exhibits on the upper floor of the museum showcasing Dia de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead).

Below: Photos below include snapshots taken of guests at the kick-off party and views of just a handful of the highly moving, clever and heartfelt colorful and hand crafted memorials and constructions overflowing with a virtual abundance of warm memories and fond remembrances of friends, family and other loved ones no longer able to be physically present with us. TAM's Dia de Los Muertos, the sixth annual partnership with Centro Latino, is capped tomorrow with a free community festival at the museum from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Photos copyright 2010 by Mizu Sugimura.










Lucky individuals attending this year's kick-off at Tacoma Art Museum were not only treated to colorful buffets of snacks, refreshments and live entertainment, but a generous opportunity to quietly peruse and personally examine both spacious galleries and seasonal highlights like the profuse explosion of handbuilt altars and exhibits on the upper floor of the museum showcasing Dia de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead).

For relative novices on the local Tacoma arts scene, Art at Work Month provides an excellent introduction to the levels of energy and creativity which continue to propel the growing name. respect and reputation the city and Pierce County are building in the overall state, regional and national arts communities. More importantly this kind of event elicits the kind of ongoing positive vibrations that both visual and performance artistic worlds are well equipped to recognize, welcome and continually attract, nurture, capture and sustain gifted, resourceful and like-minded men and women from around the globe into the region.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Yet Another Round For The Ongoing Democratic Process!


Above: While Republican US Senatorial candidate Dino Rossi (right) looks on, 7th District US Congressman Jim McDermott (left) assures the audience that the nation's government is really listening to concerns by small business. Photo copyright 2010 by Mizu Sugimura.


Tonight's election is almost history as snapshots such as these taken a few weeks ago of several local Congressmen, state legislators and candidates who spent hours doorbelling, rousing the faithful and just meeting voters in the communities where they live. This forum was sponsored by the Korean American Coalition who held a candidate forum in Federal Way, WA last month. Having attended something similar in the same community a few years back I for one, was quite pleased as were event organizers both to see such progress and enjoy the presence of such a blue ribbon selection of politicans and political hopefuls from several political parties.


Above: The race to determine Federal Way's first elected mayor drew candidates Jim Ferrell (left) and Skip Priest (right). Ferrell is currently a member of the FW City Council. Priest, a former FW City Councilman and former (appointed) Mayor, earlier vacated his seat in the Washington State legislature to enter the elected mayor's contest. Copyright 2010 by Mizu Sugimura.

Congressman McDermott was not the only member of the US House of Representatives who took advantage of this networking opportunity. Other's included the Washington's Ninth District's Adam Smith (above) and First District Congressman Jay Inslee. In addition, Mike Honda, a member of Congress from California's Silicon Valley Fifteenth District, and former resident of a US wartime internment camp in Colorado during World War II, made a special appearance. Copyright 2010 by Mizu Sugimura.


Above: And finally no voter's convention or candidate forum in any community could possibly be complete without those few precious moments devoted to introductions, picture taking, a shake the hand, exchange of cards or all-purpose networking. Copyright 2010 by Mizu Sugimura.

This One Kept My Attention

I could not stop reading Beverley Barton's thriller, Dead By Midnight. I could not put the book down! I liked all of the characters. I did not want one of them to get hurt.

I kept hoping that someone would stop the villain. But on the villain went, outthinking and overcoming each one of my heroes and heroines.
This book is not one to read with children. It sizzles.
The woman at the center of the story is beautiful; the man...too stubborn. (I leave the rest of this to you to deal with.
Three lessons I got from the story: 1. don't work out one's concerns in the presence of children; 2. don't judge other; 3. forgive those who have hurt you.
And a final lesson: Check out Beverley Barton; I ebooked her from the Tacoma Public Library website.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!


Yes, I still haunt Tacoma!

VW

Happy Halloween Grit City!

BOO!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Change of Seasons Reminder


The sky lightens to a silvery-grey over the spikes of evergreens across Joe's Bay. The recent storms have blown a lot of leaves off the saplings before they had chance to turn and more of the bay becomes visible from our Aerie. In the orchard, the leaves on the apple, cherries and pear tree stay green and attached. The maple that is usually on fire by this time has only a few deep red leaves, but the giant maples have dropped so many of theirs to be embedded in the road, thinning with the rain, while the roadsides are red with shedding cedars, firs and pines.

It's the time of year for cleaning-up in the garden, preparing for what some are saying will be the worst winter in sixty years. There's leaves to rake and wood to be split and piled for the stove, anticipating power losses. The recent accident of a logging truck hitting a transmission station on Rte. 101 brought home the need to restock all emergency items for the household and have them handy.

Ah yes it's a busy time alright, every season needing preparation and clean-up. I just want to remind all my cherished neighbours that tick protection is a part of every season too. In our Pacific-Northwest climate, ticks are active all year round, and looking for hosts. Even in the mid-west, snowy winters, ticks are found on dogs, horses, deer and birds, where once it was believed that 28 degrees took care of the problem. Now is as important as the spring, to check yourself and each other after working in the garden.

What kid isn't drawn to leaf piles? Please check them at bath-time and teach them to tuck their socks inside pants before going out to play. Show them what a tick looks like and tell your kids to come to you if they have one attached. Learn how to properly remove a tick...do NOT squeeze or try to burn it! Google tick tools and make sure your First Aid Kit has one. I keep one on my key chain, a very simple and effective tool to use. If you are bitten, be proactive with your doctor and ask them to read-up on the latest information, rather than sit back to wait and see...the deadliest of approaches.

I was just able to attend, via webcasts, a conference on Lyme disease at the Institute Of Medicine in Washington DC, where the rise in cases of Lyme, Babesia, and Bartonella nationally, was talked about with great concern by the participants...well all except for Dr. Gary Wormser, head of the IDSA (Infectious Disease Society of America) panel that infamously made the allegedly criminal Lyme Guidelines. To have the doctor who is in charge of caring for the Lyme community call chronic patients "Lymenuts" is a bigoted disgrace. A disgrace is what Dr. Bergdorfer, who first discovered the Lyme spirochete bearing his name (Borrelia-Bergdefori) called the political situation. I watched and listened as scientist after scientist called for more research, talked of the chronic forms (which Wormser denies exists) of tick-borne infections, and called for more gathering of national surveys and statistics...more information. Dr. Wormser smugly said they had all the information...he "just didn't bring it that day...chuckle."

In the same week I watched the first day of the ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) conference and was given great hope as I listened to new research and heard hope for my daughter and the thousands upon thousands of chronically-ill patients, dealing with tick-borne infections. If you are interested in reading some exciting news for our family, check out this link below.

http://www.lymediseaseresource.com/wordpress/successful-mapping-of-the-genetic-blueprint-of-13-strains-of-lyme-disease/

This has been a rough year for my daughter...making twelve rough years now. She was bitten just before she turned 18 and is turning 30 this December. Due to the doctors in Washington being woefully uneducated in tick-borne diseases, it took eight years to get her on proper treatment. Now she is in the fifteen percentile of chronic patients. Today, despite how she feels, we will sit and talk to some nursing students about Anna's case so they can learn. Still I try to work for simply getting a proclamation making May officially Lyme-Awareness Month in Washington, as it is in so many other states. I have worked on it for almost a year now, with no reply from the department that deals with proclamations in the Governor's Office. We have talked to so many politicians, Derek Kilmer being a staunch advocate and ally, and yet move forward so slowly in educating Washingtonians. Funnily enough, one certainly remembered my number when a family member was bitten.

Yes we've returned to the wet and cool, rainy season down here in Joe's Bay, the snowy season up in those beautiful mountains. I'm just going to keep reminding you to be prepared in every way, in every season, and urge you to ask questions. We're right here as advocates. Living with the wildness, as we are so gifted, I believe my neighbours want to be educated. I want to keep you and your family safe, giving thanks, in our season of Thanksgiving, for this opportunity.