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Monday, October 31, 2011

Seven Local Authors & Poets, November 10th.

On Thursday evening, November 10th., seven local authors and poets invite you to a celebration of our published works, at the Key Center Library, Bromes Room, from 6-8pm.  Each writer will give a short presentation and be available for discussion/book-signing.  Supporting your local artists is a wonderful 'twofer' when thinking of Holiday shopping, don't you think?  Books are budget-friendly and intimate gifts, while writers are quirky members of our neigbourhoods, worth getting to know, perhaps? 

Lorraine Hart.  Yes, I am one of the poets with a book, "There I Had to Go," for sale.  This collection of poems journeys the world outside, and the worlds within.  I'm honoured to be a part of this evening, and to read for you.  Cards made from the book's black and white illustrations will also be available.

Leslie Bratspis', "Good Fortune," is an inspirational novel of Chinese wisdom, secretly passed through hand-written fortunes, connecting the lives of two men from different cultures.  Each overcomes adversity to achieve happiness and inner-awareness through personal journeys.

Dick Dixon's, "Dillon's War: The Weretiger of Kontum," is a dark, edgy novel about the adventures of a young man who bonds preternaturally with a tiger, in the jungles of Vietnam.  The pair is detected in their predations by primitive natives, who see them as a single entity--the legendary Weretiger, able to shape-shift at will.

Karen Lovett's, "Beneath the Surface," combines Romance and Suspense in a novel set on the west side of Puget Sound, in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains.  Jason and Carla's convoluted courtship comes to a crisis after a murder verdict and a sudden near-death experience.

Colleen Slater's, "Blue Deer--Four Generations of Poetry," covers over six decades in western Washington by the author, her father, a son, and three grandchildren in a variety of poetic forms.

Kim Shaumburg's, "Her Last Race," is a story of horse-racing, relationships between mother and daughter, owners, trainers, jockeys and horses, as well as ethical dilemmas.

Aaron Wayno's, "Heckling Charles Barkley, a Stuff-Novella," is a mystical chain-reaction of people, places, events, memories, animal behavior, wild weather, and universal imagination, around modern, recession-era Puget Sound.

There you have it, seven diverse neighbourhood writers in one room!  So, put on your comfortable shoes, your local literary foot forward, towards Key Center Library, Thursday November 10th., from 6-8pm.  We will be so very happy to see you there.  Don't forget to check out our brand new intersection!  

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Relish The Variety And Get Your Creative Shot-In-Arm at Tacoma's Annual Art At Work Month

Above: (Photo by Mizu Sugimura. Copyright 2008.) Dressed for fall, the University of Puget Sound campus shown during Art At Work month several years ago, paints a welcome and relaxing setting for artist professionals, would-be-artists and those who work with them to polish up on their knowledge of how to navigate in today's arts waters as well as share much needed with colleagues in a safe and highly supportive backdrop!

I don't know about you but it's all I can do to keep a bright face painted on during some of our exceeding dreary Pacific Northwest fall and winters (or spring or summers some years for that matter) but Tacoma's annual ART AT WORK MONTH never, never fails to put the sun on my face.

Get ready for yet another form, image, color and textured path month by hunting up the recently released program of activities at art and cultural venues around the area or by taking notes at this online link.

Above: The much beloved institutional campus is covered with multiple examples of colors, forms, shapes and tectures. Photo copyright 2008 by M. Sugimura.

As an artist who adores the universe of paper collage, I have felt fortunate to be able to indulge in the feast of offerings during several years of the event's now ten year history, and annually feel as a creative person and area resident so much more fulfilled, enriched and better off having been privileged to do so.

This year my second excuse to be excited about Art At Work offerings is that a long, long-time friend of my family and her equally brilliant spouse are directing and delivering as Dukesbay Productions the second installment in their highly successful Tacoma based theatrical foray entitled "Java Tacoma: Episode 38: Friends, Neighbors And Siblings". It's delightful to see plugs for the show emerging from the beautiful four-color annual program saluting the artists and art communities in the South Sound.

For those who might be interested sitting in the audience at Java Tacoma the nitty gritty details of the highly entertaining home grown production please turn to my earlier published blog right here In Your Neighborhood published on Monday, October 24, 2011.

Two other monthly favorites from the past Art At Work months are the highly-rated and superlative tour of local Artist Studios on the weekend of November 5 & 6, and the highly praised and detailed Arts Symposium at University of Puget Sound's beautifully landscaped campus. Whether your cup of tea is visual art, performance art or a chance to draw from a live model or to meet emerging poets, photographers and performers from all corners of the arts universe, Art at Work will surely be the shot-in-your-arm which can revive and refresh all.

Months Festivities Kick-Off With Party at Museum of Glass

An art buddy of mine of long standing and I are quite fond of the beautiful splash organizers have created at a party launching the beginning of each Art At Work month we've been fortunate to attend. This year's festivites begin at the Museum of Glass on Thursday night, November 3, from 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. and featuring fire dancing, and iron and ice pour, barbershop quartet Two Old, Two New, contemporary dance performance by BQDanza and the 2011 winners of the AMOCAT awards!

Engaging People and The Arts

The overall goal of Art At Work: Tacoma Arts Month, which takes local entertainment forums and stages each November, is to illustrate the collective talent in our city and get people involved in the arts. The month is not just for is an opportunity for all community members to be an active part of Tacoma's cultural life. Tacoma is ripe with activity and offers a multitude of events. Delightfully there truly is a little something for everyone. For more details or questions call organizers at the City of Tacoma at (253) 591-5191. Bon Appetit!

Below: (Photo copyright 2008 by M. Sugimura) Another view of the picturesque campus.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Post Office Mail Boxes and U-Haul Offered to Customers of Innovative Fife Consignment Mall

An old-fashioned style car cruise today up and down a busy highway such as Pacific Highway here in Washington State is replete with scenes of standard style strip malls and accompanying roster of buinesses - many associated with national chains and franchises.

And while we are happy to admit most of us often have our list of favorites - those leaseholders who truly offer both convenience and a gentle slice of personable interactions as in less harried and more personable days past while many in theory are actually few and far between.

The pleasant surprise about Fife's 2nd Hand Treasures Consignment Mall located at 5303 Pacific Highway E. is that while the merchandise competes head to head with it's competition there's a warm and friendly touch of what made old time mom and pop stores a hit in their time - a sincere and engaging welcome more like a neighbor.

You are not just a number and the sunny super whitened toothpaste smile offered you at the Fife area store does not fade immediately after your purchase is rung up and you are encouraged to scoot out the automatic sliding doors as in other establishments so uniformed store personnel can deal with the next cluster of paying customers.

Mail Box Rentals, Faxing, Copies & Notary Services

As proof of this philosophy and dedication to customers and old-fashioned service oriented philosophy is underscored by two of the businesses' newest offerings for patrons visiting the north Pierce county store.

Enterprising store owners Reggie Starkey and John Brehmer have taken a much appreciated and much needed service 24 hour accessible post office boxes which has been fondly recalled in the experience of this recent area shopper by former nostalgic patrons of businesses which previous served the Fife/Milton/Edgewood community at the same location of which this link to a photo of one and the same is now available.

During the interim - former customers had to head either to Milton or Puyallup in order to enjoy the service of a post office box - and while the drive in a vehicle was shorter than the horse and buggies of the pioneer past, the convenience is genuinely appreciated!

2nd Hand Treasures is now authorized United States Postal Service shippers which will be a great boon to area residents during the busy upcoming winter holiday season and save precious gasoline dollars as well. As for the conversation? If you are strapped for time they'll give you the same quick and efficient service you would receive at any of their competitors.

Fife's Newest U-Haul Authorized Dealer

In addition, persons contemplating a change of address either in the general local or across the nation will be delighted to know that the store has also received word they have been accepted to offer customers authorized services as a U-Haul Authorized Dealer. So whether you are moving or if your holiday packages are of more unconventional size and you'd really prefer to not to ship them by USPS but deliver them wrapped and in-person yourself - the staff at 2nd Hand Treasures will be more than happy to assist you or answer your U-Haul questions at 877-272-0508.

Another Day Of Love

A Fall Morning, another school day. At school, work, home, again for another day, each one of us has to choose to either enjoy loving and being loved or to let ourselves get chooked and drowned again in our fears, hurts, and frustrations.
Or is it possible that we can choose to enjoy working through our fears, hurts, and frustrations, and sharing ourselves with others, strengths and weaknesses, worry marks, warts, and overall beauty?
Beneath our proud protector, Mount Rainier, I rejoice to see

Life lovingly going on...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Java Tacoma Perks Again November 4-19

Above: Three cast members from "Java Tacoma: Episode 38" courtesy Dukesbay Productions. (Photo by Jason Ganwich)

One of Tacoma's youngerand totally homegrown theatre production companies takes the stage to bring South Sound audiences a second annual helping of Java Tacoma November 4-19 during an exclusive engagement at Trinity Presbyterian Church.

Dukesbay Productions , dedicated to showcasing talented area playwrights and artists of all ethnicities headed up by Tacoma actors and entertainment professionals Aya Hashiguchi and Randy Clark commissioned the series starting last year in 2010.

They are both delighted to share the original debut of their newest theatrical prodigy, yet another hilarious and heartwarming romp through the coffee grounds with local playwright Curtis B. Swanson aptly entitled "Episode 38: Friends, Neighbors and Siblings".

"Episode 38" continues to explore the lives and adventures of three lifelong female friends and coffee aficianados who daily touch bases, drink their brew and share, support and encourage each other at their all-time favorite and totally fictional Tacoma coffee house.

The plot involves notice that Perky's Coffee has just lost their lease. Java's own Kate and Jeri spring from their regular seats and into action hoping to completely rescue ot their beloved java joint. Strong performances are racked up by equally talented members: Samantha Camp, Mick Flaaen, Aya Hashiguchi, Demetrick Louis and Betzy Miller,

For tickets go to www. Readers will be pleased to note Java Tacoma is reasonably priced at $15.00 per person for audiences aged 13 (due to mild language and adult humor) and up and comes complete with complimentary cup of coffee or tea, and your choice of delicious locally prepared baked goods from the popular Blue Moon Tea in Tacoma.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

World Food Day...October 16th

I have never had to worry about where my next meal was coming from. My grandmother ran a wonderful restaurant in Houston, Texas in the early nineteen forties... "Mary Lou's Cafe." She always had a big pot of chilli and beans with wonderful cornbread on the stove for me when I came home from grade school in Houston and high school in Seattle.

These days I am having to learn how to eat healthily rather than "keep my stomach full." And I am glad I lived long enough to appreciate the difference between feeling full and being spiritually satisfied.

So many of our sisters and brothers have never had a chance to make that choice. And one of the time you and I are asked to reflect on their needs is this Sunday, October 16th.

That is the focus of Archbishop Tutu's Oxfam Reflection below.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Meet Our Neighbors at Fife's 2nd Hand Treasures!

Above: A street view from Pacific Highway South of Fife's newest shopping destination! All photos posted with this blog copyright 2011 by Mizu M. Sugimura.

As I was unable to take a picture of Reggie Starkey and John Brehmer while visiting their new retail consignment venture 2nd Hand Treasures in Fife, WA it was necessary to do so as soon as possible. What's the point of writing about "In Our Neighborhood" if we can't be introduced to the wonderful people who make up the area?

While I've enjoyed shopping second hand and collectible stores for more years than I can count with and without friends, being that this little treasure in the heart of Fife has become my most recent favorite shopping destination I'm happy to report that this bit of unfinished business "In Your Neighborhood" has been speedily taken care of.

So without further ado, may I introduce you to the guys. Better yet, plan a trip to the store and let them know you've come visit on a tip!

Above: 2nd Hand Treasures Owner, Reggie Starkey.

Above:2nd Hand Treasures Owner, John Brehmer.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Local Men From Fife's 2nd Hand Treasures Aim High To Warm Hearts, Build Community

Above: Not without a sense of humor, independent minded Fife entrepreneurs Reggie Starkey and John Brehmer include a bit of time to coax a smile from patrons touring constantly changing inventories in the South Sound store as evidenced by this recent sign on display.

Above: Much loved items such as this beautiful wooden hutch vie for attention at Fife's newest shopping destination - a thrift and consignment bonaza by the name of 2nd Hand Treasures which aims to pair much loved donated items with brand new owners , supporting several local charities and building a bit more community paralell to a busy section of I-5 S. and along an equally bustling section of Pacific Highway S. Photo copyright 2011 by Mizu M. Sugimura.

While big rigs and commuters daily fly through the busy intersection in front of Fife's famous Poodle Dog restaurant (a local destination and hangout for several generations of patrons since 0000) the new owners of 2nd Hand Treasures a local non-profit have been dedicating much time and careful effort Reggie Starkey and John Brehmer have pooled a thick resume of retail skills and highly polished people skills to pump much needed life and energy into the community west of this highly popular and bustling corner.

Having spent a good many of their formative years growing up in the South Sound communities both men have returned to the fold to gather a team of volunteers and help raise much needed funds in a challenging economic era for a number of local charities as well as contributing to the health, wealth, vigor and sense of community that were sorely challenged since the closing of the previously loved and fondly remembered pharmacy and postal outlet at the same location in years past.

Starkey is especially pleased to fund among their selected charities research and resources dedicated to persons suffering symptoms related to vitiligo, a condition related to depigmentation of patches on the skin of which one of the most famous persons having to deal with it was the late, great showman and entertainer Michael Jackson.

Vitiligo has regretfully made a personal appearance in Starkey's own family. He and one of his siblings have been challenged by the condition since they were teenagers, especially difficult because the original diagnosis came in the late 1970's years before the more widespread publicity and media coverage which surrounded Jackson.

2nd Hand Treasures' Starkey and Brehmer paint for this bloggeer a vision of a friendly, warm, welcome and informal gathering place where people, resources and helpful solutions to the basic and everyday concerns of area residents of all ages can be addressed in a caring new community remiscient of the city's rich historical past.

To that end the pair recently secured permission to serve as a new postal outlet by offering residents a place to both send and receive packages via the US Postal Service and will be offering area citizens wishing to rent a post office box in town another opportunity to do so. Coming just ahead of the opening of a new city library a few months into the future, 2nd Time Treasures will deliver it's own brand singularly new energy coursing through the veins of town as Fife heads toward the middle of her second decade in this new century.

From a newly arrived young retail employee on her lunch hour looking for a boxspring to support a recently purchased mattress in her new apartment to a seasoned gentleman of indeterminate years hoping to add to his highly discriminating collection of vintage memorabilia, both Starkey and Brehmer believe they can offer area residents a variety of viable options by combining value as well as thrift in one great single package!

Above: All items in this snapshot are previously owned.
Photo copyright 2011 by Mizu M. Sugimura.

Recent customers may have noticed some changing developments in products and services being offered at the location over the stores initial transitional phase. One of the initial store-within-a-store tenant RJ'S Helicopters has already left the fold to set-up elsewhere. Brehmer has undertaken an inititative to offer Avon Products through the store and undertaking a new working relationship for this time-honored company for which he has shown increasing enthusiasum.

Another fairly new and budding development involves an application for the store to become a dealer for U-Haul and offer products and services associated with the brand under the same roof. More innovations may soon follow as the owners assess the skills of their volunteers and developing needs of newly acquired store customers and friends.

As such Brehmer and Starkey represent perhaps the best and most positive attributes of newer activity in the area of local retail in these changing economic times which ought to be watched -for these gentlemen insist that it must irrefutably be linked with the overall health and welfare of local shoppers, city residents, visitors, neighbors, nearby businesses, family and friends.

Below: This vintage typewriter was spotted by this reporter is an all-together quaint, welcome and friendly reminder of a fondly
remembered collegieate past, although my own Royal typewriter in the 7o's was even more aged
than the veteran machine shown below in this picture. Picture copyright 2011 Mizu Sugimura.

Below: A varied store inventory including gift items and card rack shown here will appeal to those customers looking for a quick and appropriate rememberance for some special someone! Photo copyright 2011 by Mizu Sugimura.