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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Key For an Autumn Weekend

I just came back in, after a delightful walk through the garden on an early Autumn day. How blissful is this, that Raven has returned the sun to the sky for us to enjoy the harvest time! I closed my eyes, facing the south and the Sun's afternoon rays. Oh yes, bathing in it is the correct term for this feeling. Wearing black like the Raven I soaked in the gold and breathed the sweetness of Nature's fulfillment, three better-late-than-never tomatoes in my hand. I had massaged rosemary, mint and lavender before picking the tomatoes and the heady mixture stuck on my fingers, the wind expertly stirring, gave me such a connection to the joy and gratitude of Harvest.

This Saturday, October 2nd., is our 4th. annual "Harvestfest" a farm tour that offers a cornucopia of Fall delights to enjoy, less than forty-five minutes from Tacoma, right out here on the Key Peninsula. Let me run down the list of Autumnal delights for you:

1. Bea's Flowers, 11819 Creviston KP N, Gig Harbor 98329

Here we have gardens, animals to pet, a performing goat (?) fresh produce and flowers, not to mention my dear friend Tweed Meyer will be in the garden to paint with kids.

2. Blue Willow Lavender Farm, 10615 Wright-bliss Road KP N, Gig Harbor 98329

Some planting-to-harvest demos, wreath-making classes available, and lots of wonderful lavender products, pottery and jewelry for sale.

3. Morgan Creek Farm, 11415 Bliss Cochran Road KP N, Vaughn 98394

Pumpkin patch, vegetables, flowers and greenhouses with floral arrangements and seasonal produce available.

4. Gentle Giant Meadows Ranch, 17307 68th. Street Ct. KP N, Vaughn 98394

I'm really looking forward to meeting the Shire horses here, which give the farm its name. There will be some Bluegrass music, hayrides and all sorts of things going on at Maureen and Greg's.

5. Marble rock Hoof Wellness Center, 8010 158th. Avenue KP N, Lakebay 98349 (Next door to the Art Barn)

Thirteen horses have overcome lameness issues at this most special place to learn and meet the horses. An equine photography show will also be here.

6. Barefoot Boys Garden, 16305 Pollack Drive KP N, Lakebay 98349

Here's the spot for a cider-press demonstration, Bee Lady honey products, a lavender field and a mock bee hive.

7. Trillium Creek Winery, 17812 18th. Street KP N, Lakebay 98349

Tour the vineyards, stomp the grapes (but not like Lucy!) visit the wine cellar and taste what's happening from TCW. Lakebay Pottery will be their guest.

8. Creviston Valley Farm~Event Headquarters~3421 Creviston road KP S, Longbranch 98349

From music to horse-whispering, sheepdog trials to tractor hay rides, this is the stop that has a gazillion things going on and lots of corn-on-the-cob to eat. The harvest is definitely in and ready!

9.The Fiber Art Show at the Longbranch Improvement Club, 5213 Key Peninsula Highway KP S, Longbranch 98351

This is the third annual "Threads Through Time" Fiber Arts Show. Included will be demonstrations of weaving, quilting, spinning, Kumihimo Braiding, cross-stitch, and knot-tying. Beautiful stage costumes will be on display. Feast your eyes here!

So, a little something this Saturday, for anyone and everyone, with an added plus of a beautiful Autumn drive in the country. How I love this time of year. From walking in my garden to walking the farms of the Key, sweet fulfillment dances on the air, and the harvest begins to gather grateful folks.

For more information on events, please call (253) 884-5746

What are you going to do this fall?

Once I get over the pure shock of losing the warmer, sunnier parts of summer (all right, maybe not so much this year), I am all about fall. I love this season in the South Sound; it goes beyond the colorful leaves, harvest moons, and cozy, crisp autumn evenings. There is a lot of STUFF to do around here. Here's my list (so far) of fall activities that I plan to enjoy and savor:

What's on your list?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September's Words & Music: Lana Hechtman Ayers and David Wilcox

As beautiful rain drummed its change-of-season song last Friday, I let myself fall through the day's misty veil into a magical night of Words & Music at Pam and Jerry's. Two delightfully-slightly-demented storytellers, poet-author-editor Lana Hechtman Ayers and singer-songwriter David Wilcox, were our guides through the storm's inner-space, there at the "Farthest Shore."

Lana told me she was nervous before her reading, but her amber eyes glowed warm with stories of the Wolf, her peacock blue top radiated cool as a wrapping for stories of Red Riding Hood, her shiny black curls telling sweet, wild stories of their own. I liked her immediately.

"You can't find yourself without first getting lost."

Lana Hechtman Ayers is author of "What Big Teeth. Red Riding Hood's Real Life" and "A New Red. A Fairy Tale For Grown-Ups" among other works. The red-caped woman as her Muse, Lana's poems are first and foremost, fabulous, witty fun. She read to us in a humble voice, still tinged with an east coast accent, a lovely cadence in sweet little inside rhymes like, "...neither could you conceive her..." Her flow was joyful in its freedom and her rhythm carried us all. As you know though, her story begins in the dark, the woman is made a mark and sent into the woods with her own longing. Lana took us all with her, safely through this very entertaining, stepped-up version of the hip-to-herself Lady in Red. Her humour was deep, her understanding of a journey to Self deeper still. I came home with a signed copy of "What Big Teeth" and can't wait to add "A New Red" to my collection. Check Lana out at

Now I would say, David Wilcox dances with all the many spirits that are in his songs. They speak to him, whether on the set list or not...and all have delightful conversations, we the audience only privy to his side and his delight! He smiles and giggles like a wee boy with a secret toadie in his pocket. He does, in fact, look like a forever-innocent one when he performs, with his t-shirt, jeans, and an indestructible guitar. It was a beast, bright-sounding, black textured non-wood something, a guitar strangely beautiful and different.

David began with a bouncing blues groove to serve up some serious words about the BP oil-spill, called "Crude Greed" which made the whole audience (and it was Standing Room Only folks!) wanna dance and shout. There is a video of this song on his website. By his second song I was smiling at his wordsmithing over the fire of melody. By song three, my eyes were closed and he was singing just for me. "Charlie Parker's Swan-Song" was sweet and beautiful; one note held forever...and then softly changed on that same breath. Ooh yeah. I understood then what my friend Faye had said about playing his CD's and having him sing to her in her kitchen every day. Faye is a long-time fan and was a lot of fun to sit with as she told me stories between songs.

David closed his eyes and smiled as he finger-picked the intros to his songs; that smile that says, I LOVE what I if he saw the original story play in his mind each time.

"You will always have what you gave to love."

For the second time in this series I heard the song "Let Them In Peter" and this time it was by the songwriter himself. The spirits of thousands of soldiers lost in this first decade of the 21st. century spilled their tears outside the windows. Hard rain gave David accompaniment. Inside her element, Tweed danced, drew and rubbed what she heard onto her paper. Inside the dark and stormy night the audience laughed, teared-up, clapped and sang along with songs long familiar.

From my reserved gallery-seating (sweet!) I could often look into the black mirrors of windows and watch Pam in the very back of the kitchen, swaying to the music, or listening with her head leaning to one side. At one point I didn't see her silhouette, and it was then I felt her come behind me as she often does, and lean into me with her hands on my shoulders. She curved to come 'round my left side and whispered, "Doesn't he have a wonderful voice." We both smiled because there was no question. Friday was a wonderful night in Vaughn. We were taken somewhere in the woods, whether we were Wolf or Red Riding Hood. If you were to ask me, I would say that the sweetest magic of the night was to see such intimate joy beaming on the faces of our loving hosts.

Sex In the Gritty City

Sex in the Gritty City? South Sound? Here? Really?

That's right folks. Yeah, it's here. And I suspect it's flourishing (duh, don't we all? ).

Over on Gritty City Woman there's a tale that's been told by this lil' ol' Gritizen author and it's all about a little sex ed event happening in local homes (and the added bonus of a little girl power). The passionate purple colored link above will take you there if you want to check it out. 

Enjoy and rejoice (particularly you ladies out there)!

Note: article has mature themes. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Morning

I have had a great vacation. Spent some wonderful hours looking our of this wonderful second floor window while reading, thinking, praying, listening to Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Aretha Franklin....

Had a wonderful birthday. Not feeling any older but getting there, and I thank the Lord and all my friends who are helping me to keep my EYE ON THE PRIZE-- every day in every way choosing to share my dreams and hopes and gifts with others because that is the reason I have been given life.

What is life...sharing space with other human beings who are hoping, dreaming, fearing, failing, choosing to try again, or just giving up... joy and sadness and all, all such a wonder and a mystery.

We are always breathing and changing... all of life, always changing

Friday, September 17, 2010

Open Studio Tour 2010...Don't Forget The Key!

This weekend, Sept. 18th and 19th., marks the 2010 Open Studio Tour for Gig Harbor, Fox Island, and one special studio stop on the Key Peninsula. Thirty-two artists and twenty-eight studios are involved in this mini-tour of splendid art. Those who embark on the journey get their passports stamped, with the chance of winning incredible baskets full of art and special things! Don't you know, one of these beautiful baskets is sitting in my friend Jan Buday's studio, right now. Here's a sneak preview, just because, but to see the real thing you will need to drive down to Home.

As an added treat, Jan has asked another wonderful friend and artist out here, P. Arnold Thompson, to show his paintings at her studio. Mr. Thompson is special to me for his love and support of my daughter Anna. At one exhibition, she stopped in front of one of his paintings and told him all she could see in it...and he immediately gave it to her! He is well-known on the Key Peninsula as a landscaper extraordinaire, and for his own prize-winning garden. I'm so happy to share with you examples of his colourful, moving paintings. Many layers dance under the still water of this man's gentle personality. Come down the highway to see their vibrant being!

Jan Buday has been hard at work, making incredible glass beads and putting them on her exquisite Kumihimo braids. She has beautiful necklaces, earrings, and wonderfully whimsical knitting needles topped with glass beads! I love everything Jan does, and a Kumihimo lesson is in my Winter plans. Of course, it's my wedding anniversary next week...and I do believe there's a necklace that should whisper into my husband's ear, but that's just between you and me...sshhhh!

Both of these artists are well worth your time and gas to come down the Key...and let us not forget the beautiful "Art Basket" that you'll be able to visit and hope for. Get your tour map for the weekend and come this way, over the double bridges, over the Purdy Spit and down to Jan's Studio. Yes, hit the furthest point first and work your way back, through Gig Harbor and Fox Island. Check out for all the details. Happy and safe touring!

Yeah, Shame On You! A South Sound Fish Tale of Woe

A friend of mine did a recent post on Facebook about this encounter she observed while shopping in Federal Way. She was in line at a store when she heard the woman in front of her chatting it up with the clerk. The woman explained she was from out of town visiting relatives. She had never been to the Pacific Northwest before. She asked the clerk where she could find an excellent piece of fish to dine on for lunch as she heard  about the amazing seafood we had in our region. The clerk (and self-proclaimed native) happily referred the woman to an establishment that served the most delicious and best fish ever. And conveniently, it was right across the street!

Here's the food she recommended. Can you tell what it is and where it was from?

If you guessed it was the Filet o' Fish sandwich from McDonald's, you are correct!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

South Sound Warriors Compete in Portland, Return Victorious!

In an event where I was merely going to be an observer, I ended up at the last minute a participant and my life got a jolt.

On Sunday, September 12th, on the eve of my 42nd birthday, I competed in the Warrior Dash in the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. This is a 5K running race with obstacles to complete scattered throughout the race terrain. Examples of obstacles included traversing through chest high water and hoisting your body over large logs, climbing through rope mazes, up and down steep ladders, crawling through dark tunnels, climbing over broken down cars, jumping over a fire pit, and slipping about on slick dirty, squishy, muddy paths in soggy shoes and clothes. The crescendo? A massive slide in the mud that covers one from head to toe. And when your race was complete, the only way to clean yourself off was to dip into muddy and ice cold pond. Sounds a little miserable and maybe a task for the young and/or foolhardy, right?

Oh hell no. This event had my name written all over it. This middle-aged, wife and mom of two, little writer from Tacoma, Washington kicked booty, met the challenge (even though parts were pretty darn hard), and had a ball despite it all.

Like many others, I was dressed in costume. Here's what I wore. And that mask stayed on the WHOLE time!

Admittedly, when I started running, I had trepidation. I felt like I was running on fumes and dehydration immediately set in. The uphill start was really hard for me and I panicked. That was,  until I hit the first obstacle--chest deep, cold muddy water, and scrambling over large logs.

Something clicked in my brain and I went right into the water,  no hesitation. I moved fast and efficiently. I didn't think, I DID. I found myself forging past women (and men) half my age and not only did the spirit of all my years of athleticism come to the fold, but I was in this zone of CAN DO, WILL DO.  I don't care for heights or climbing, but wouldn't allow it as a barrier. I kept going.

The best part? I've been suffering through various health problems and some stress, and while I probably wasn't in the best shape ever, I pushed through the elements anyway and got to suspend my daily life and issues and do something new and extraordinary. And that is one powerful elixir, a healing salve, and one heck of rush.

Here's some more pics, pre and post race!

Our happy group readying for competition

Children of the mud! Post race. We are now Warriors.
Me and Gritty Husband, Post Race, Now Clean, Enjoying Sun, Suds, and Grub

Warriors in Celebration! 

 So, now I am hooked.

My sights are now set on the The Winter Pineapple Classic, right here in Puget Sound.

Here's to playing in the mud and finding your inner warrior! It's good for you.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Martin King Library--One of my favorite hangouts

That's right... the library. I thank my mother and grandmother, my teachers and friends who taught me how to read and speak with skill and power. They helped me to tie my imagination, memory, reason, and senses together in such a way that I can pass away many hours considering the meaning of various fictional, historical, and scriptural creations. I was in the shower just a few moments ago and I found myself thinking of the types of discipline used in the bible and how those forms are still used (to our detriment) today. I wonder how many folks get off into outer space like I do.
Check me out... proudly standing next to the picture of Dr. Martin Luther King in the King Library!!!

Three novels by Grace F. Anderson... mysteries...and that wonderful soul sister just knocked my socks off!!! She (and Walter Mosley) are teaching me so much about Black self-hatred. Self-loveI am a better person because I have come to see my own life a little clearer through Grace F. Anderson's eyes.

Kudos to the staff at the Martin King Library (and thanks to all my buddies at the downtown library.) You are providing a safe place and enjoyable space for me and so many other folks.

Thanks to Mayor Strickland and the members of the Tacoma City Council for providing funds for neighborhood libraries to stay open...

This video was taken on 19th, off Cedar, a quarter of a block away from the Martin Luther King Library (19th and Cedar)

Friday, September 3, 2010

I Have (Erin) Rose-y Skin! And You Can Too!

 Hi Neighborhood Readers! This appeared on Gritty City Woman and I am sharing here, too!

I haven't gotten a facial in 100 years. Okay, well, let's say the last time was in a foreign country (alright, Canada, not so foreign)  and it was when my kids were little. Whatever. So 100 years ago I got a professional facial and it was wonderful. 

So, it was to my delight to score a beauty basket at a charity auction in spring and guess what was inside? Yep, you guessed it,  a facial donated by Tacoma businesswoman and skin guru Skincare by Erin Rose.  I couldn't wait. Readers of this blog KNOW how much I love skincare and lotions and potions. I pride myself in my skincare finds and skills and consider myself knowledgeable and adventurous. But I wanted the perfect timing to go to a true professional and get a fresh look. 

Then I lost my mojo. Blah.

But I got it back recently and I was ready. 

So, recently, I visited Erin Rose's inviting home-based spa business and was transfixed. Here's why. 

E.R. (initials done purposefully as my skin was a mess after the mojo loss and I needed a skincare Emergency Room), was friendly, a perfect blend of energy, warmth, and calm, and offered a super cool, inviting space. I instantly felt comfortable and welcomed. E.R. walked me through the process, and me, being my chatty self, sent her a barrage of questions which she fielded with friendliness. After a soothing foot soak, I was treated to a paraffin hand treatment. Felt great. But the real treat began right after. I got the 60 minute facial which included deep cleansing and exfoliation, a thorough facial, and mini hand and arm massage. Now, "extractions" are included if needed (yeah, I needed 'em--had little white bumps I hated and couldn't get rid of). After the treatment, my skin felt smooth, fresh, clean, and youthful. The full mojo revival treatment. Since I left E.R's hands, I have had compliment after compliment about my "glow" in my face. Wow! 

As always, I can supply more wow, folks.... I asked E.R. to throw in a brow wax too (fab!). And this talented woman is a jewelry designer, too. I bought some cool dangly lavender stones set in sterling silver--modern and cool, right there on the spot. Now...wait for it.....The best part. 

Ladies and gentlemen, E.R.'s prices are reasonable for all services and goods.  I put the link above; click on it and review the menu and you will see. High quality for a great price (same deal for her beautiful jewelry!). You cannot go wrong. Plus, you don't get hit up for purchasing a wad of products or some other sales pitch. E.R. doesn't roll this way. 

What does roll is another kick ass Tacoma business. If you are local (or within the Puget Sound area) check out Skincare by Erin Rose.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Red Hot Gritty Artist Spotlight: Mizu Sugimura

I am pleased to announce, that Gritty City Woman, a woman's blog with a Grit City twist, has a new feature. I will be featuring local artist profiles and samples of their works on the Red Hot Gritty Artist Spotlight. And to kick it off, I am featuring collage artist, writer, blogger, and photographer, Mizu Sugimura (who I am also pleased to call my friend). You recognize Mizu from her amazing contributions over the years to this blog. Please join me over on Gritty City Woman to view and learn about a sampling of Mizu's spectacular collage art. It's easy: click HERE.