The News Tribune logo

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year Past Life

Happy New Year, 'hood! Here's a little ditty I found on You Tube from Tacoma's First Night celebration 2008. The music, editing, and sights on this production are pretty cool. Enjoy! Peace.

Your Invitation to Education


This event is
dedicated to the memory of
Leslie Rae Wermers
7/7/'67 ~ 11/2/'08
A Lyme Warrior

WHEN: Tues. Jan. 13th. 6:30pm
WHERE: Gig Harbor High School
(Donations may be made to Open Eye Pictures for the Turn the Corner Foundation, which funds Lyme disease research and education)

A Lyme-literate MD
A Lyme-literate ND
A Lyme-literate RN
Chronic Lyme patients
A full-time caregiver


Lyme disease (with co-infections) is the fastest-growing vector-borne disease in the world today, an estimated 200,000 possible new infections every year in N. America.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

December 30th. Sunrise

Golden skies in the morning,
Wind will rise
So take warning!

Tagging & Sex In The Backyard!

So, there seems to be a "tagging" game in blogs lately...a nice idea for getting the word out about each other's writings. My problem is that I don't know about many other bloggers, except the good folks here in the neighbourhood. I'm not much of a surfer (just not enough hours in the day) and, perhaps selfishly, my need to write is often greater than my need to read. When I was recently tagged, I felt a panic that I could not come up with one, let alone six!
Yesterday, with great serendipity-doo-dah, a bandmate of mine sent me an email and told me to check his friend Sally's writing out. With a friend named Poppy, they put out a blog called "Mixed Greens" which is just great and I wanted to point you in their direction.
In particular, I was told to check out this one particularly fascinating entry with a video. Mark's email was cryptic...and his subject line made me quite curious. "Sex in the backyard," it said. Well, I don't know too many people who wouldn't take the bait...though I was slightly nervous as I clicked on the link!
Oh my dear just HAVE to see this video, if only to prove to yourself that you are a genuine mossback who belongs here! I do believe you will also really enjoy the writing. I know I'll be going back. I've failed miserably at the tagging game...but I think I've found a treasure to share, so I shall. You ready for a little sex in the backyard?

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's Never Too Late To Explore New Horizons

It's been almost two years since the opportunity was made by The News Tribune for readers to blog at "In Your Neighborhood". Prior to that opportunity I was only vaguely aware of what has now become for me - the blogging universe, and it's difficult to remember on some days how life managed to be in those days before I got most all of my news online.

So it was with a great deal of interest that I read about the exploits of a fellow Washington State blogger by the name of Lorrene Lemaster, 80, whose story was profiled in a story by Pat Muir, at the Yakima Herald Republic and then picked up by the Seattle Times ("Yakima grandma is a rarity - a blogging octogenarian", Sunday, December 28, 2008).

According to Muir, Lemaster credits "letter how she developed the style, pacing and tone that make her blog so hard to stop reading." After reading this, I stopped briefly to weigh this bit of reasoning on my own and realized that for me it makes all the sense in the world.

But this also brought a thought to mind that this question of what skills we had prior to coming to this reader site played the largest or greatest role in what has come to be our regular output. So I'd like to take this moment to bounce this idea off my colleagues on the blog. So what do you all think?

Additionally were there any other factors that led you to take up blogging for the newspaper, rather than at a later date, or independently, or at yet another site, etc. Of course, if you haven't had the pleasure of doing so (readers as well as on-site bloggers), I'd encourage you to check out Lemaster's blog by clicking the link right here.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's Getting Cold And Grey Outside... But

I could see green fields, the melting snow, cleared streets, and I got in my car and went shopping.

Mild temperature, sun bright enough for sun glasses, and I just filled my house bound lungs with fresh air!

I was ready to start getting out to see what is going on and grooving with folks on the streets, at work, by phone, by blog... warm sunshine, warming my heart!!!

Time to groove through the grey days with Grover Washington

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cleaning Up My Act

Spring cleaning is good, but New Year’s cleaning is even better. It plays into the theme of discarding the spiritual clutter in our lives by making resolutions when we discard the clutter of our physical lives. In the Spring the weather is likely to distract you from an inside mission and the garden will call you as well.

Recently I was able to avail myself of the enforced seclusion of the snow storm by sorting, dusting, vacuuming and general cleaning. I have plenty left to do and will pause long enough to head to the coast to tend to my mother, but I have a few days when I return before I go back to work and intend to take up where I’m leaving off. Not only do I want to be cleaner and more organized for the New Year, I hope to keep up with it this year.

Along with developing a new relationship with my things I hope to develop a new relationship with my money. This would be a good exercise even were we not in a recession, but takes on a new urgency when trying to make do in hard times.

I am setting up an accounting system of a sort to keep track of every penny I have as advised in Your Money or Your Life. I will keep track of what is food spending vs. nonfood spending. I am particularly interested in those amounts as I believe that food and discretionary spending is the only sector of spending that I have control over. I want to see where I’m putting my money, or as Dominguez and Robin say in Your Money or Your Life, where I’m putting my life energy.

It’s a revelation to me to think of a pay check in terms of life energy, but that’s what it is. I am giving my time and my life to receive that money which deserves conscious spending. Obviously keeping good accounts (especially when one has been as lax as I in knowing how much money I have) will cost me time, but getting a handle on where my money goes will make it time well spent.

Another aspect of spending my life energy is to give it to others thoughtfully. I am too often one to submit to someone else’s desires in order to please someone special. It is in my nature to nurture those I care for, but I am going to nurture myself more in 2009 and say “no thank you” without explanation more often. At nearly 58 and past middle age, my time is more valuable than ever.

All this de-cluttering and voluntary simplicity not only will benefit me, but the environment as well. By keeping unneeded items in the thrift circuit and making purchases wisely, I can impact landfills and the air while keeping my money in my purse. I may not be able to afford a farm or have the expertise to run one, but I can make a difference in my little corner of the universe.

And so my time during this break from work is being spent cleaning the spiritual, physical, and financial clutter out of my life. January 1st is a great time for new beginnings and recommitments to last year’s resolutions.

Next stop, planning a garden and building a chicken coop.
Image by

A Few More Snow Pictures

It is 43 degrees in Gig Harbor and our Christmas snow is rapidly melting away into a memory that will no doubt be shared with children and grandchildren for the lifetime of those old enough to appreciate the beauty and challenges of what we've just experienced. I thought I'd share a few more pictures taken by Peacock Hill resident Jo Lucas. Ignore the screwy date on pictures. They are from this month.

Early morning sky after a night of snow.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Getting A Jump On My Resolution

It's my honour to invite you to a screening of the Lyme documentary "Under Our Skin," from Open Eye Pictures, to be held at Gig Harbor High School, Tuesday, January 13th. at 6:30pm. Following the movie, a panel consisting of a Lyme-literate MD, a Lyme-literate ND, an IV nurse and teacher, three chronic Lyme patients, and a full-time caregiver will be there to educate and answer questions.

Admission is free, though donations will be gladly accepted and sent to Open Eye Pictures for the Turn The Corner Foundation. Limited copies of the DVD will be available for sale at the screening.

Our beloved friend Leslie Wermers was going to try and come out here to be on the panel but, as I wrote here at the beginning of November, she succumbed to Lyme disease. I have the little angel pin her sister Tracie sent right next to me, here at my desk.

I'd like to let Leslie speak...from an interview done with Andy Abrahams Wilson during the shooting of the movie. Leslie drove four hours to be at this memorial in Iowa and speak to Andy, despite being so ill with Lyme disease. Please take the time to listen. Please join us, Tuesday, Jan. 13th. at Gig Harbor High School.

I'm tryin' Les...I'm tryin'.

The Worst Gift in the World

In these times of economic stress we need to be careful about how we spend our money. It is never fun to spend money on a substandard product, but when you have to be as careful as we have to be these days, it is even worse and I made a big mistake in the purchase of a lavender bath set that I intended to save for a friend’s birthday.

The packaging appeared to be a gift box with the contents artfully displayed and wrapped in plastic. Because I wanted to tuck the package away, I decided to lay the contents down in the box to save for the birthday two months away.

First of all, what appeared to be a lid to the box is only faux. It isn’t a lid at all. More importantly, and to my horror, the contents were affixed to cardboard with glue impossible to get off the bottles, jar, and tubes rendering the entire contents a disappointing mess. Rubber cement would have done the job and been easily removed. I am glad that I discovered this before giving it to an unsuspecting friend for what a job to try to make the contents useable.

My husband spent a significant amount of Goo Gone and 30 minutes of elbow grease getting the glue off one of the eight items in the box. He says that the company ought to consider marketing the glue instead of bath products.

I had intended to purchase another set for another friend, but will be careful not to buy anymore products from that company. I see that the manufacturing occurs in China. That may be the problem with the production. Normally I pay better attention to that. I am going to box it up and send it back to the manufacturer.

The Best Gift

The best gift has always been my beautiful family, both biological and logical. We're a family spread around the world, keeping it turning with our love, but keeping the circle close in celebration. Family and marriage are two sweet words, open to the possibilities of all interpretations and meant, with love, for every heart and soul. Yesterday my wonderful hubby gave us this sweet gift that says it all. We wish everyone the love of family, however that family is made, for a bright and blessed New Year of bringing the world into balance, as all prophets of peace have asked.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Beauty Is Beauty

It may be the bright moments we create in our imaginations.

the light we bring to our lonely moments.

the compassion we share in our challenging moments.

the desire to make things right.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Grab Your Partner For A Dance...Merry Christmas!

What Have We Done?

So this is Christmas....

Happy Yuletide, Neighborhood. Thanks fellow Bloggers for inspiring me, making me laugh, and making me think. Thanks readers for your enthusiasm and thoughtful conversation.

So, without further ado, take us out Mr. Lennon. This one is for all of you!

Take Me To The Tropics!

Above: This decidedly tropical looking plant can be found at Tacoma's Seymour Botanical Conservatory. Photo copyright 2008 by Mizu Sugimura.

I don't know about you, but too many days of non-stop cold winter weather such as we've been having makes me want to think about something warmer like the tropics. But where can one go for a quick fix of a tropical balm in the temporarily snowed-in environs of greater Tacoma and vicinity?

The city where art and nature meet is way ahead of us on this one, particularly the folks at the Seymour Botanical Conservatory, 316 South G. Street, at Wright Park where a number of our plant friends (see above) who prefer decidedly warmer temperatures are hanging out to celebrate the facilities 100th year celebration with some 250 or more pieces of bright and brilliantly colored glass art (see below) through February 22, 2009.

The beautiful glass is part of an installation from the studios of favorite son and international glass art star extraordinaire Dale Chihuly from 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday during regular botanical garden hours.

Evening viewing times will be available on January 15 and February 19 through 8:00 p.m. in conjunction with Thursday Night Art Walks and admission to the exhibition is delightfully free. For more details check this link. Link
Below: Similar but graceful lines of tropical climes are beautifully evolked in this stunning tribute to Nature's bounty throughout this decidedly warm and organic sculpture. Photo copyright 2008 by Mizu Sugimura.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Teach Your Parents Well

My daughter has taught me so much about making good lemonade from the lemons life hands us. At twenty-eight, she would love to be a mother but, with her chronic Lyme disease, that's not possible right now. Instead, she reaches out her love and support to a little girl in Calcutta, India, through Children International.
Anna did her research and found this organisation (with the chance to form a personal relationship through letters and pictures) to be her choice for sponsorship at $22/month. She spent a lot of time looking through pictures of children from the eleven countries in the world (including the U.S.A.) where C.I. has field offices and I remember the night we both fell in love with wee Hena. That was nearly three years ago now.

Hena just turned eleven and shares a one-room house with her parents, two sisters and two brothers. She goes to school, enjoys her language lessons most, and wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She's starting to add more English words in her letters (they are translated underneath) and writes more than the required two times a year. Anna's face lights up when a letter comes and she, too, writes often and sends pictures.
Through the year we put aside our spare change and occasional small bills towards a birthday surprise for Hena and her family. Spare cash is not easy to find at our house but we did manage to save $150 from last October to this. Perhaps that only buys you an Ipod on a Tacoma scale...but we were so excited to receive these pictures that show just how much was able to be given to a struggling family and a little girl of hope and promise.

The List includes--
* a mixer/grinder
(to grind spices faster than by hand; helps the mother cook & saves time)
* a dinner set
(plates, bowls, cups, etc.. to be able to serve guests)
* a carrom board
(a board game for Hena and her siblings to play)
* a steel utensil rack
(to help organise the kitchen area)
* 2 steel storage containers
(to store rice and flour and other essentials)

* 20 kgs of rice
20 kgs of flour
(more food.. which will allow the family to save some money in the coming weeks as they don't need to buy these products from the market)
* 8 litres of mustard oil
(for the mother to cook with)
1 jar of "Horlicks"
(a health drink)
* 1 kg of biscuits

Anna also requested the salwar kameez outfit for Hena especially. She's wearing the embroidered white shirt and pants in the pictures, sometimes with a red sweater and sometimes with the red embroidered dupatta hanging over her shoulder. In the letter that accompanied these pictures, Hena told us how she takes Anna's picture with her everywhere and tells everyone that she has a sponsor who "loves her so much." In that moment of reading Hena's words, the gift she gave back into our home was priceless. In that moment, our hearts and home were decorated with the sparkling love of this season.
Anna has taught her mother well...and I can't help but think how good this teaching would be for people who seem to have both expectation and ennui for expensive things on wish-lists. It's such a large picture, to think about changing the world, but for $22 each month with Children International (the saving for birthdays optional) you can bring about huge change for a little one and their family. The precious gift is allowing a corner of the world in to touch your family.

Making the Snowed In Blues Golden


Well, the snows are doing nothing at all to move me to go out and shovel away, create the greatest snowperson ever imagined, or go slipping and sliding over the side streets of Tacoma. So besides getting really warm and comfy:

Get lost in a film with lines like, "please forgive me, I have not been taking my medications:

Or let the beauty of life move me:

May Beauty Always MOVE US!


New Year's & Resolutions

Earliest celebrations of New Year’s date back to Ancient Babylon, about 4000 year which celebrated it at the first new moon following the Vernal Equinox—in other words, Spring. The Roman Senate picked January 1st arbitrarily in about 153 BC. This is the date we inherited as the turning of the year, but the advent of Christianity threw cold water on New Year’s celebrations which had lasted more than a week up to that point. The Renaissance loosened the Church’s hold over New Year’s and the Church added services of their own, to mark the passing of the year.

Tacoma's First Night family friendly New Year's celebration is a wonderful way to welcome in the New Year and would have been found acceptable even to the Medieval Church. If you don't like spending the night with drunken revelers and want somewhere to take the family, check out First Night. The community is fortunate to have this event that sets Tacoma apart from other cities.

New Year’s resolutions dates back to Babylonian times as well although most involved returning farming implements back then. Modern resolutions more often involve weight loss and fitness. Few and far between are those Americans who do not at least have good intentions of losing weight next year. It is an easy resolution to hit upon as most of us enjoy holiday celebrations that include yummy holiday food. Besides reducing my weight, mine include reducing debt, living more simply and recognizing that I have enough. What are you considering as a resolution for the New Year?
Poster by Joshua Casey, Joshua Casey Designs of Tacoma

Monday, December 22, 2008

More Picturing Steilacoom

More pictures from D. Scott Howard of Steilacoom.

The photographer

May We Have Enough

May the Yuletide find each of us with enough.

Enough health to accomplish what needs to be done,

Enough dis-ease to appreciate our health and never take it for granted,

Enough love to choose it over fear,

Enough wealth of those who love us and with whom to celebrate the season,

Enough food to eat,

Enough warmth and light,

And the ability to know what enough looks like.

Picture by dancingintheraine

I Am Camera: Part III

I needed the walking stick...and to stay out of the tire tracks on the side streets. They were as slick as a fifties D.A. hairdo!

I see this as a very funky woman with dreads, a mini-dress and a deep burgundy feather boa. Perhaps I've been inside, wearing my pjayjays too long!

Don't think my neighbour is going to need that lawnmower for a while yet. I'm punishing my Satanic stationary bicycle in the same manner, on my back porch.

Medusa...and the snakes offer green apples.
Or, on a lighter side...apples make the prettiest, natural, Washington Christmas Ball decorations. You can click on the pix to see them larger, btw.

That's the Key Pen Hwy. down there...with a laughable little stop sign...was not going to try this hill. I still had to go down a pretty steep hill the other way I walked...but the worst that would happen would be rolling into the bay if I fell. Thankfully I did not fall at all...just had big plunks of snow land on my head.

Colour always catches my eye on Winter walks.

What is a Winter pictorial without a snowy gate and red barn. This, to me, is quintessential American...from New England to the Pacific Northwest.

I really enjoyed taking you with me on this walk through my neighbourhood. Thank you for indulging my play!

I Am Camera: Part II

Looking from Joe's Bay out towards Carr's Inlet. The Pampas Grass seemed to lighten the mood and chill of both sky and water. It was around here I met some delightful neighbours who were also out for a walk in the milder temperatures.

Reminders of last Winter's storms, across the bay from us. Eagles often like to bathe around the fallen logs.

You just never know who you'll meet on a snowy walk!

The beautiful teal of our little bay. I can see a buffalo head in the bushes~as if it was leaning down to drink. The bigger viewing screen on this new camera allows me to work with my framing a little better. I can't say enough nice things about this Lumix.

Between the weight of the snow and the cones, these branches are touching the ground.

I Am Camera: Part I

Well, I got the camera battery all jazzed and just had to go for a walk to try out the snow walking stick my husband bought for me. I found out it has the added bonus of being a rest to steady my arm for taking pictures...oh yes, and very handy for finding out where the road ends and the ditch begins under the snow.

Poor snowy, slanted sailboat!

This photo of the lagoon on the other side of the Home bridge is one of my faves of the day. Yes, that's ice floating in the water.

The weight of ice and snow make browned Queen Anne's Lace bow to the water at the edge of Joe's Bay.

Slushy, yes, but downtown Home is open for business and the parking lots are being cleared...just don't try any side streets! Not only are they not plowed...branches and clumps of snow are falling everywhere.

This photo is for made me think of you.