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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sun Dogs: Feb. 4th. 2010

Back on the fourth of February I was fortunate enough to catch these "Sun Dogs" from the back deck of the Aerie in the morning.
Clouds were heavy, and with such a pewter dullness to them, when suddenly this appeared...first on one side of the sun....
...and then the other! The red end of the spectrum, of course, being the closest end to the sun.
I would have the tendency to call them Sun Dragons, I think. I'm thrilled to have caught them with my camera and to share them with the neighbourhood, albeit late!

Good Morning Sunshine

The early bird catches the sun! I received an expletive deleted when I sent these pictures to a friend in New York City this morning...and she sent back a pic of her...standing next to a six-foot snowman in Central Park. I didn't have the heart to tell her what our Sunday and Monday are supposed to look like, after that.
Two little pigeons came flitting through, just as I clicked!
Yes, the early-riser catches sun in the baby-blue...before the sky quilt gets pulled up again. Just over three weeks to go until the Spring Equinox and look at us already!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spaghetti + Auction = Steilacoom Scholarships & Tribal Museum Funding

Just after sunset on what had been a picture postcard-perfect day last Friday, upwards of 200 members of the community formed a steady stream of people of all ages, who turned out for Steilacoom Chamber of Commerce’s Spaghetti Feed. Ticket sales for the feast, a February tradition for upwards of 20 years, generate funding for four $1,000 scholarships.

The Pierce College Foundation provides matching funds and the scholarships are awarded to deserving students at Steilacoom High School

The annual Spaghetti Feed at the Steilacoom Community Center features Col. Don Rehburg’s special spaghetti sauce recipe. He has a dedicated team with well-defined roles who kept the hot food coming with military precision. And speaking of the military, there was a contingent of service members who volunteered their muscle for set-up and tear-down, as well. Rehburg (shown in image above) has been bottling and marketing several of his gourmet sauces for years all across the US via the Internet, but it was all originally cooked up right in Steilacoom.

The kitchen crew at the Steilacoom Community Center on Friday evening worked seamlessly preparing the massive volume of spaghetti and sauce, turning out pan after pan of hot garlic bread from the oven, freshly chopped vegetables for the salad, and a team spirit that was evident under the watchful eye of Col. Don Rehburg. Lee Hay was staffing the reception desk at the Center during the event and always has a ready smile.

Among the volunteers who donned aprons were longtime Chamber member and local author Nancy Covert ensuring that any guest needing another cup of lemonade received it promptly; Cyndi Fugate, Dining Services Director from Bridgeport Place, was seen tirelessly smiling despite having been on her feet from early that morning all the way through the end of the evening at the Steilacoom Community Center (and who even went bowling afterward at Tower Lanes); and Jaynie Jones, Community Relations Director, from Bridgeport Place served the sauce after Fugate portioned the pasta appropriately on each plate. Pat Malone, Visitor Information Coordinator for the City of DuPont, kept the garlic bread flying onto the plates piled high with spaghetti. There was lively banter and camaraderie throughout the event.

The Steilacoom Chamber of Commerce sponsors the dinner, which also includes an auction. Previously, the Steilacoom Historical Museum Association has put on the auction part of the program. However, this year it was the Steilacoom Tribal Museum that was featured and provided an array of high quality hand-crafted items including everything from exquisite jewelry, to a cedar picnic table and benches, to rawhide drums. Pies, quick breads, and other baked goods were also available for bidding. The auction itself was lively as the auctioneer and his assistant worked the crowd, walking from table to table with the auction pieces giving everyone a close look at what they might be bidding on. There was Steilacoom pride radiating in the face of the little boy whose dad won the bidding on a stunning red tribal blanket.

Steilacoom Chamber President, Cindy McKitrick, co-owner of Custom Hardwood Floors, observed that “Danny Marshall from the Steilacoom Tribal Museum did such a good job interacting with the people so warmly, and was pleased with the proceeds the auction yielded.” Cindy and Doug McKitrick are shown in one of the photos as Cindy is serving him a plate of spaghetti.

Even as diners feasted on the pasta and sometimes returned for second helpings, “Steilacoom’s Own Music Man” Larry Juhnke performed a mellow array of musical stylings as a one-man band. Children danced about enjoying the melodies.

Mike Maddox of Steilacoom Marine and Spirits greeted guests and helped with ticket sales on-site. Advance ticket sales were available through Steilacoom Marine and Spirits, and by PayPal to streamline ticketing.

Membership in the Steilacoom Chamber of Commerce is open to individuals for $25, home-based businesses for $35, and other businesses for $70 per year. Membership is inexpensive and a great value. Application is available online along with news of upcoming Chamber events such as are included in the February 2010 newsletter Visit for more details about Chamber businesses. Information on scheduling events at the Community Center is available at

Big Hearts, Big Minds, Big Love: Help a South Sound Child Today

Wanted: South Sound adult mentors.

Qualifications: A warm, caring heart, listening skills, consistency, and a desire to help South Sound kids.

Does this sound like you? Then look no further than the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Puget Sound mentoring program right here in Pierce County. This fine, long established donor supported mentoring program is seeking volunteers for their one-to-one Community and School-based programs. The School-based volunteers (all volunteers are nicknamed “Bigs” by the way!) meet with their “Littles” at their school to play games, do homework, make crafts, or just chat. Community-based volunteers meet with their Little two to four times a month to do fun activities like catching a movie, shooting hoops, playing video games, or visiting the zoo or a museum. By donating your time and care, you can serve as a role model and lend a listening ear to a child who could benefit from additional and positive adult interaction. The best part is that it needn’t be costly. Low cost or free activities are encouraged and due to the generosity of our fine community donors, there are many event tickets and activities that are provided for the Bigs to utilize! Plus, seeing a child smile and making them feel special is such a gift.

So, clearly you can see what’s in it for the Bigs. How about the Littles?

Children in the Community-based mentoring program are kids who could greatly benefit from additional adult guidance. Boys and girls are referred to the program for many reasons, and many children come from homes where quality adult attention is limited by single-parenthood, many siblings or transitional housing, including foster care. Whatever the circumstances, Big Brothers, Big Sisters research points to the facts that Littles who have a Big in their life tend to do better in school, find positive and productive ways to problem solve, learn trust, and resist substance abuse and other issues that children face today.

It gets better. When I was contacted by the lovely folks at Big Brothers, Big Sisters, I had the opportunity to peruse their website. The site is thorough and answers all your questions about how to get involved. Step by step guides and FAQs make it easy to get started. And be sure to read the stories about some real Big and Little relationships. It will pull at your heartstrings and inspire you beyond measure. Now even though I’ve added clickable links to their website above, I’ll make it even easier. Just click HERE South Sounders. Click TODAY and take a look. On behalf of the organization and all the great kids out there, I thank you.

And a BIG thank you to all the Bigs (and Littles!) out there! Your stories and paths inspire me and I am certain, they will inspire others.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday Moments of Beauty

I was up and ready to go to St. Therese in Seattle by 7am. Mary Lou was coming to get me at 7:30 am. So I had thirty wonderful minutes to sit and let Mount Rainier
take over my eyes and heart and soul...
The lay deacon (an ordained married man who preaches and leads various prayer experiences in the Catholic Church), Mr. Greg McNabb, gently and clearly called us to support the efforts of St. Therese Community ad the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle with our prayers, our money, and our presence. Father Stephen Okumu, the pastor, lead us gently and prayerfully through the Mass.
And Mr. McNabb touched me deeply as I observed the caring way he held a sweet, beautiful baby.

And, as happens so very, very often, I was deeply moved by the choir as it sweetly wished the congregation a good day following the eleven o'clock service.
Sunday was very beautiful day...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pictures For Kim, with love....

Our dear neighbour, friend, and fellow-Blogonia Kim has had a lot of goodbyes to say. Sometimes we don't have the thousands of words we'd like to say to our I send my sweet friend some pictures for soothing and say simply...

Love is not born
Love does not die
Love is...and we,
we are creatures
of Love.

Our condolences Kim.

I love this statue particularly, because of the crack in the heart chakra. Aloha Kim.

Let Me Tell You About A Real Neighbor

It was the end of 1998, one week before Christmas. A light snow had fallen and the streets were icy and slick. Boxes were stacked all over the house, baby stuff was strewn all about, and a tiny, slightly unkempt makeshift Christmas tree shown through the curtain-less front room window. This was the scene when my husband and I moved into our University Place home with our three month old infant in tow. We loved our new house, but we were overwhelmed and exhausted. It wasn't a smooth move here (fraught with delays, poor weather, and lack of sleep because of the baby).

On the first full night in our new home, the doorbell rang and there was a smiling, jovial woman holding a gorgeous and enormous basket of fresh fruits. "Hi! I'm Carole. I live across the street. I wanted to come over and welcome you to the neighborhood!"

I was overwhelmed with this old-fashioned and beautiful kindness. I nearly cried! I hadn't been to the grocery store and this fruit was so welcome. What was even more welcome was a kind person cutting through the stress and instilling the holiday and neighborly spirit in my worn out soul.

And it began--a lovely neighborly friendship with Carole. Over the years, we talked about our families, visited with each other, took care and watched after the other's home if we were away, shared our travel experiences, gossiped, and shared laughs. Carole brought my kids little goodies when she traveled to the Southwest and gave the kids special treats on Halloween. We knew that we could count on each other in a pinch. A real true neighborhood relationship. Now, that spirit of neighborliness will have to live on differently.

Carole's life on Earth ended on Tuesday after a long illness. We will miss Carole's smile, warmth, and caring. Thank you Carole, for teaching me how to be a good neighbor and friend.

Spring Fling, March 6th., 2010

You know Spring is right around the corner when Two Waters Arts Alliance puts on their Spring Fling! Yes, it's that time folks. Above is this year's poster, artwork by Pat Meras. It's a beautifully painted view of Vaughn Bay in which you can feel the gentle movement of water. Oh, you know how much I love my artistic community out here on the Key Peninsula! Have you ever wondered why the name Two Waters? Well, on the eastern side of the Key is Carr Inlet, and on the west it's Case Inlet...hence, we are between two waters.

I have been trying to showcase to you, some of our beloved artists but there are so many more...and I'm moving soooo slowly! You'd be much better off to come down to the Key Civic Center, see for yourself and spend a delightful evening talking to the artists. Oh yes, did I mention that a certain Jazz combo will be coming with new songs in their *"musette?" There will also be hors d'oeuvres and a no-host bar. I'm thrilled to hear that they are, once again, having a student art exhibit, and there will be a "gift shop" with cards at very affordable rates.

(*musette is a type of Parisian street-music..but also means a type of tote bag...hence "Jazz Musette.")

So mark your calendars, art and jazz-lovers! We will be celebrating the Arts on our Key Peninsula with The Two Waters Arts Alliance, Saturday, March 6th. at 7pm. Place is, the Key Civic Center, 17010 South Vaughn Rd. KPN. Please consider becoming a member online, or at the event. Write to or call 253-884-4807. Non-members will be charged $25 and must be sixteen or older...$20 for members at the door.

Annual Membership Levels for Two Waters:
Patron (or Matron!)--$100

Check out for all sorts of in-school involvement and classes! Now, I need to go and walk through the garden...feel a bit of Spring Fever coming on!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spring-Like Tea Party

"If a woman has no tea in her, she is incapable of understanding truth and beauty."

The above Japanese proverb was sent to me by Mizu (I confess to the gender-changing!) after a most delightful, Spring-like tea party here at the Aerie. Stephanie coming made the perfect trine...and she was so good to pick up Mizu in the Harbor, doing the drive down our Key Peninsula. It warmed my heart to read this proverb (feeling as if my beloved tea parties had somehow been hijacked by angry mobs lately) and to remember the day.

The Winter tends to see us all hibernate and, truthfully, I had not been feeling so great through 2009, so my hibernation was quite extended. Between caregiving and giving self care I had lost the delight in tea parties. I think there must be some magic in the weather we have been given lately though. We're a little afraid to talk about it because of other places being slammed by Winter...but come on, let's be grateful for what we have! The sunshine that makes us mossbacks curly, made me bring out a Spring tea-pot (that actually belongs to my daughter) white with pink tulips. It was a special occasion to be welcoming my friends, so I brought out Gram's china, circa 1930. It matched nicely, thank you Gram!

Stephanie and Mizu were a vision of my favourite end of the spectrum, in purples and blues on my doorstep...and so the party began. A tea party (for those who might want to know the deep philosophy and truth of this gathering) is truly connected to the Japanese proverb above, and celebrated in many cultures. We gathered for a connection of joy with each other, and to have a polite, balanced exchange of our thoughts...though I think my guests were very indulgent of their host.

On a beautiful Spring-like day it is custom to walk in the garden, here at the Aerie, and look to see what is budding, whether the tide is coming in or going out, and just like the flowers coming, we raised our faces to the sun in a baby-blue sky. We walked the unclear and wobbly Winter labyrinth, fingers of uncut brambles reaching for our clothes. It wasn't really a meditative walk...just some more fun as we talked the afternoon away.

I picked sprigs of rosemary and lavender for my guests, before they left. Both smell so delicious and calm the inner senses. They are, to the nose, what tea is to our understanding. We bloggers are a true neighbourhood, but Winter has made us hibernate. There in my living room, in beams of sunlight, sat two of my friends. With tea warming our insides, we shared with each other our understanding of truth and beauty. Our Spring-like tea party was full of the understanding of friends. This in itself is truth and beauty.

Monday, February 15, 2010

University Place Blood Drive

Blood Drive in University Place, Tuesday, February 16, 1 - 4 p.m. Cascade Regional Blood Services "Bloodmobile" will be on-site at Bridgeport Place. Potential donors from University Place and surrounding communities are encouraged to either schedule a time or even just drop-by to donate a unit of blood. The goal is 20 units of blood in only three hours. It is estimated that fewer than 37% of the U.S. population can potentially be donors due to medical or health reasons and the need for donated blood goes on daily almost unnoticed by most people until and unless a family member is in critical need of blood. Plan to give 15 minutes of your time and 1 unit of your blood tomorrow, February 16; call to register at 253.565.1960 or simply show-up and roll-up your sleeve between 1 and 4 p.m.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Legacy of Caring

I never met Molly Hightower. But I can feel her spirit here in Bellarmine. Every time I think about her and the work she did in Haiti, I see her as laughing and strong and gentle and open and caring. Whenever I listen to someone who knew her
I find myself becoming very quiet and feeling called to be with people and to love them.
She touches many, many people in ways similar to the way she touches me. Here is a picture of the poster of Molly Hightower and some of the children she loved that is being sold at Bellarmine High School.

The poster is being sold for ten dollars. All the proceeds will be sent to Friends of the Orphans Facility to rebuild the building where Molly Hightower worked.
For further information contact Bill Eckert, 253-752-7701, extension 746.

Molly Hightower cared deeply about other people. Enjoy this reflection about her.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Must Reads? NW Physician, Writer Audrey Young's "The House of Hope and Fear - Life In A Big City Hospital" Hits ALL the Marks

The arguments regarding as to what we need to do in the United States to address problems in the delivery of health care are the stuff of current headlines. Loud competing voices drown out any possibility of comprehension. On many days it's difficult to know where to go for information much less make any sense of the scope of what is and is not working.

Anyone wishing for a clear, accurate and reader friendly snapshot from a doctor in the trenches should include Audrey Young, M.D.'s new book The House of Hope and Fear - Life in a Big City Hospital (Sasquatch Books, 2009) on their list of absolutely critical must reads!

Young's a fine writer in addition to also being an absolute gift to laypersons outside the profession who've had occasion to rue the stereotypical chasm between themselves, medical professions and other health care system providers. She's most adept at putting a human face on so many of the current dilemmas facing all sides, while combining a historian's long and big picture vision with the rapid and highly focused, diagnostic and decision making skills called for in her profession.

A Seattle native, she holds a BA in History from University of California at Berkeley and received her medical degree from University of Washington. She was Assistant Professor of Medicine at University of Washington Medical School and a practicing staff physician at Harborview Medical Center.

For those with tight if any windows for reading - Young's books are as relatively slim as they are most readable. Young's previous book What My Patient's Taught Me: A Medical Student's Journey (Sasquatch Books, 2007) is another reader's gem as well.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dogs Flourish In Local Off-Leash Dog Park

The off-leash dog park at Chambers Creek Properties (adjacent to the Chambers Bay Golf Course) in University Place has been a source of pure joy for my family and our family dog, eight month old Border Collie, Kona. The park is clean, lots of water for pooches, and benches and great scenery for humans, it's a great play to play with your dog and to meet other folks with their four-legged friends. The park is maintained and organized by a local volunteer driven organization called SUNDogs. Click on the link to check them out and see how you can help, too. It's a fun place and neat group that's easy to love.

Speaking of love, my Kona gets so excited when we say dog park to her! She loves to run like the wind and catch a frisbee in her mouth. She socializes with other dogs a little, but as a Border Collie (a working breed), she is focused on her human family and her work (work being defined as getting that frisbee). It's fun to watch her have so much joy and the other dogs as well.

The other enjoyment that I personally get is talking to the other owners. Dog park folks are so darn nice! And I love to learn about their dogs, the dog's breeds, if there were a rescue/adopted dog, and the dogs little quirks. I learn so much, get fresh air, and with the upcoming springtime, perhaps a little sunshine too!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Little Movie That Could

This morning we found out that Under Our Skin, a documentary on Lyme disease and the politics of medicine, did not make it onto the final list of five nominated for an Academy Award. It had been on the short list of fifteen nominated in the beginning of the Oscar process and we are so proud of Andy Abrahams Wilson and all of the crew at Open Eye Pictures. They have done more for Lyme disease awareness, since the film's release in 2008, than over a quarter-century of advocacy for chronic Lyme patients.

Do check out February's People Magazine for an article on Lyme disease and this little film that could. We are out to stop an epidemic coming, especially here, where the climate makes for a perfect storm. Do you ever wonder why the Pacific Northwest has the highest numbers of M.S., an idiopathic condition that puts a name to a list of symptoms? Do you wonder about how Lyme and other vector-borne infections mimic the symptoms of over three hundred other diseases, including M.S., Lou Gehrig's disease, R.A, C.F.S., F.M.S. and Parkinson's, to name a few? We are not zealots, telling you EVERYTHING is Lyme. We are advocates with years of research experience...because we could not turn to our doctors, uneducated in vector-borne infections.

Again, we congratulate Andy and Open Eye Pictures on their initial nomination for an Oscar.

A Good Wine Made In...Tacoma? You Bet!

Tacoma wine.

Yes, it is true! The Pont 21 label, created by Philip Coates on North 21st in Tacoma's North End, is a micro-winery. The current release is a cabernet sauvingnon blend. Tacoma Super Blog, Exit 133 got to the wine first before me! Click HERE to read Exit's scoop. The writer didn't review the wine's taste, but gives a good background and a nice plug on the winemaker.

I however, had the wine last night, and unlike my friends at Exit 133, I will give you my thoughts (and no, it's not really my deal either, but what the heck!).

For wine that retails for about $20, this is GOOD wine. I really enjoyed it. It was smooth and easy and was a superb accompaniment to my pasta with vodka sauce. Now the wine description terms used by those in the know are kinda goofy sounding, but here's my take: the wine had a smoky, oak-y (which I personally like), licorice feel to it and a smooth texture. Hey, that doesn't sound that bad for a novice like myself, hee,hee. Can't wait to try something else.

I suspect that this winemaking adventure in Tacoma will continue strongly. Check Pont 21's site (use my handy dandy link above) for the available local retail locations. One to add: I bought the wine at Azarra Salon and Wine in the Harmon Building in downtown Tacoma (my happily obligatory Azarra plug: I love this salon and their local community spirit. Check 'em out HERE).

Cheers Pont 21! Cheers Tacoma!