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Friday, May 30, 2008

Lights! Action! Dance! Dances With Dancers Showcases Tacoma’s Finest

Be transformed by the magic of dance, art, and theatrics by the amazing students of Jo Emery Ballet School. “Dances With Dancers”—The Jo Emery Ballet School Student Performance. Staged at the beautiful and historic Pantages Theatre in downtown Tacoma on Saturday, June 7th at 7:30 P.M., the dancers in all their glory and finery will have their time to shine after months of hard work and preparation. Tickets are still available for purchase through the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts (click HERE for their website or call them at (253) 591-5894 for pricing and more information). The dancers are eager to wear their stunning costumes and take the stage to delight family, friends, and our South Sound community.

My daughter and her ballet group are dancing as little Tinkerbells in rainbow-sherbet colored costumes with embroidered roses (and to complete the effect they are going to have “magic” fairy dust). I have had the opportunity to see her class work on their routine and those kids are really amazing—there are many steps and cues to learn and practice. All of the dancers are confident, excited, and ready.

And that’s EXACTLY what Master Teacher, Jo Emery is after: confidence, excitement, and pride in dancing.

In further observations of Jo, her smile brightens the room and she is warm and kind. She is also is an expert educator, knowing how to work with young dancers to inspire, direct, and teach, while still encouraging fun and making the dancers feel good about themselves. The kids and parents adore her. In a recent chat with Jo, she remarked how excited she was for the performance. “This is a gift for my families,” explained Jo. “They can come and watch beautiful performances in a beautiful setting.” This is quite a gift indeed! With the school being around for many years, Jo’s gift is not only to her dancers and their families, but to our thriving arts community right here in Tacoma. Thanks, Jo!

Come and check it out, South Sounders. And while you can click on the links above to learn more about the school and what it has to offer, check out the Tacoma Performing Dance Company, (click HERE) too which is also affiliated with the school.


Thank you, sisters and brothers, for choosing to share your lives with each other and your daughters and sons.

If you had a chance to share in a public forum your hopes and dreams for your child or your loved one, what would you say? One parent, at a recent African American high school banquet, encouraged his son to do God's will, be an active member in a community, which is committed to serving others. (That is my take on the video that inspired this blog, you may hear other things and I sincerely invite you to share what you heard).

My grandmother and mother did their best to help me find God by sending me to God-oriented schools and bringing me to church with them every Sunday. I thank them.
My teachers, mentors, and counselors were individuals who proudly professed their belief in God to me in public and private places. I think that God can be found by each person who chooses:
1. to take time to listen to others' feelings and learn how to listen to her/his own feelings. I think that God can be found in the stillness of our own hearts, through meditation, careful attention to our dreams, and attention to the words and actions of others who, in their actions, show that they are honest, caring, and forgiving people. What do you think?

I have found that each person is unique and brings her/his own joys, sorrows, concerns, and inspirations to the group in which she/he chooses to participate.
I am learning that I should not expect nor desire the community that I decide to be part of to do what I think it should do, but rather that we, as a community, decide on what particular work we want to do, and we support each other in sharing who we are in, first, being ourselves with one another, and, second, helping our work to take a shape that is organic (comes out of the strengths and weaknesses of the materials available) and focused on the well being of its members and the world around it. What do you think?


The others... who are they, our sisters and brothers and all living beings in our world. I do not expect any other person to agree with my thinking and feeling. I do hope that each person I meet, if we choose to meet and converse rather than to just share a polite hi and hello and move on (which is just fine, if that is all we choose to do with one another) to share our hopes, our concerns, and our gifts honestly and clearly.
I know that centuries of hurt and many specific wrongs separate us. I know that many of us will never trust each other. I also know that I cannot afford to sit on some high perch and watch and judge and dismiss/invite others others into my life. I feel grateful when any other person takes my hand and says, "let us try to help each other."
I sincerely hope that I shall have the courage and energy to support each person who sincerely seeks to be part of my life and invites me to be part of my life.
What do you think?

This reflection was inspired by what one wonderful parent shared about his son and his own desire for his children. Do you see or hear anything else on this video or did you interpret this parent's words in a different way than I. Please share...


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lovely Spam

Paul Volcker may not be ready to declare the United States in a recession, but the signs are there. Housing prices are down and oil is up which is driving up the cost of everything else. While Volcker watches the unemployment rates and the cost of a barrel of oil, there’s a sure indicator that the nation is feeling the pinch as the Hormel Company enjoys a 14% increase in sales. Why are Hormel’s profits up? In no small measure because Spam sales are up.

The ubiquitous canned lunch meat that made its first appearance during the Great Depression in 1937 and became a running gag for Monty Python’s Flying Circus beginning in 1970 has been inexpensive and therefore a staple for people stretching their food dollars. I fed a certain amount of the stuff to my children in the ‘70s and ‘80s when money was thin.

Recently the San Francisco Chronicle published an article about the economy and Spam sales.

Food prices are increasing faster than they've risen since 1990, at 4 percent in the U.S. last year, according to the Agriculture Department. Many staples are rising even faster, with white bread up 13 percent last year, bacon up 7 percent and peanut butter up 9 percent.

There's no sign of a slowdown. Food inflation is running at an annualized rate of 6.1percent as of April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The price of Spam is up too, with the average 12 oz. can costing about $2.62. That's an increase of 17 cents, or nearly 7 percent, from the same time last year. But it's not stopping sales, as the pork meat in a can seems like a good alternative to consumers.

Kimberly Quan, a stay-at-home mom of three who lives just outside San Francisco, has been feeding her family more Spam in the last six months as she tries to make her food budget go further.

She cooks meals like Spam fried rice and Spam sandwiches two or three times a month, up from once a month previously.

Pulling Spam from the shelf prevents last-minute grocery store trips and overspending, said Quan, 38, of Pleasanton, Calif.
"It's canned meat and it's in the cupboard and if everything else is gone from the fridge, it's there," she said.

Spam's maker, Hormel Foods Corp., reported last week that it saw strong sales of Spam in the second quarter, helping push up its profits 14 percent. According to sales information coming from Hormel, provided by The Nielsen Co., Spam sales were up 10.6 percent in the 12-week period ending May 3, compared to last year. In the last 24 weeks, sales were up nearly 9 percent. (Fredrix)

Back when Seattle Flight Service was still part of the FAA the facility held a Spam-off each year. My husband received an honorable mention the year we made a “Spammobile” using canned pineapple for headlights, maraschino cherries for tail lights and marshmallows for wheels. Who knows, the stuff may end up on our table again yet.

Semaj Booker and Michael Kekoa Ravenell

Why doesn't someone, somewhere listen to the children?

Michael Kekoa Ravenell (right), age 3 1/2, is dead at the hands of his mother's boyfriend, a guy with a previous conviction for physical abuse of his own child who was under two years of age.

Semaj Booker(left), age 10, has made headlines the past couple of days because of a second attempt to get on a plane and return to Texas to live with his grandfather. Semaj ('James' spelled backwards) was a 9-year-old when he made his first attempt to return to where he felt loved and safe, i.e. in Texas with his grandfather, less than one year ago. It was all the buzz in the news at the time not only because of his age, but because he had stolen and destroyed a neighbor's car in his first attempt to flee, but also because he cleverly outwitted the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) screeners at the various airports he passed through on that sojourn.

It was reported that Semaj wanted to flee Lakewood (Pierce County) not only to be back with his grandfather in Texas, but also because of a sex offender who had recently moved into the neighborhood.

Since Semaj was apprehended -- again -- yesterday, all the tsk-tsk-tsk-ing is going on about his 'stunts' and his 'escapades' and KOMO's Denise Whitacre headlined her piece "The price of Semaj Booker's outrageous stunts." Then there are quotes from the neighbor whose car was destroyed last year, and how he is out $3,000, and a quote from the prosecutor Fred Wist saying that Semaj "hasn't paid a dime."

Where exactly is a 9-year-old supposed to be acquiring income to pay a $3,000 debt?

There's a reason this is happening. By that, I mean there is a reason that Semaj is compelled to try to escape his home environment over and over again and going to extreme lengths to get away. Is he just a bad kid, rotten to the core, 'the bad seed'? I don't think so.

NO ONE IS LISTENING to Semaj Booker.

More tragically, NO ONE WAS LISTENING to Michael Kekoa Ravenell. Now that he is dead, everyone will know his name. But it is too late for Michael Kekoa Ravenell. No one listened. No one took any action on his behalf to save him in time.

Meanwhile, Semaj is painted as a criminal, a repeat offender instead of a child in desperation for someone to listen to him.

KIRO TV even ascribed something more remarkable to Semaj Booker yesterday. The reporter said that he was 9 years old last year when he made his first unauthorized airplane travel to Texas "and now the teenager has done it again."
  • Teenager, huh? Wow! Semaj has super-human abilities that defy the imagination. Magically (thanks to KIRO TV) went from being a 9-year-old fewer than twelve months ago to now being a "teenager."

How many more Michael Kekoa Ravenell's will die before someone listens?

For Semaj Booker, at least he is still alive and there is still hope ~ if only someone will listen ~ in time, before it is too late.

Tacoma in Song (Again!)

Check this out Gritizens; I discovered this smoky little gem about Tacoma from You Tube earlier today. The music is sweet (even if the lyrics aren't the strongest) and footage of our Gritty City is cool and old school. A Gritty City Woman gift to all of you. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What's in Your Wallet?

The current state of the economy is playing havoc with American family financing and it promises to get worse. Very little of our budget is within our direct control. We can shop around for the best mortgage or a smaller domicile for a cheaper rent; we can turn off unnecessary lights, run full dish and clothes washers and air dry both, but the only real control we have is over what we spend on those day to day items we purchase at the grocery store. A new flat screen television can wait, but food on the table cannot. So what do we do to stretch those discretionary dollars?

My husband and I each came into our marriage with methods of stretching food dollars learned from experience—he as one of seven sons of two teachers and I as a mostly single mother. I am familiar with the best brands and methods of mixing powered milk; he with watering down orange juice. The latter I am totally opposed to. Watered down orange juice is worse than powered milk in my opinion. When the juice is gone, it’s just gone. Drink water.

There’s no getting around the fact that powered milk doesn’t taste like fresh. I use it for cooking, but in a pinch have mixed it with fresh to stretch it further in much the same way my mother-in-law watered the orange juice. Milkman brand is probably the best, but more costly than Carnation and others. I have found that mixing it in the blender nets the best result, but the milk will need a night to settle out the bubbles created in the process.

Cutting back on prepared and processed foods is one of the best ways to save money and increase health. It takes longer to make things from scratch, but it tastes better and keeps dollars in your wallet. I’ve written more than once about my love for our crockpot. Throwing things into it in the morning guarantees an easy dinner that evening and vice versa.

My daughter-in-law and I got into a conversation regarding grocery shopping recently. With the price of gas soaring, it is no longer feasible to hop from store to store shopping the sales as my mother-in-law did raising her family in the ‘50s & ‘60s. Now those of us on the Gig & Key Peninsulas can add an extra dollar to our bridge toll (an extra $52 per month for our family) and current $4 gas (headed to $5 by the end of summer according to the TNT)making a trip to Cash & Carry or Grocery Outlet a questionable bargain. Better to stay near to home and buy in bulk whenever something is on sale. Personally, I still believe that shopping a good sale at a regular grocery store is frequently a better deal than Costco, but it takes the planning of a military campaign and no spur of the moment meal planning.

Then there is the whole coupon debate. Many dyed-in-the-wool bargain shoppers claim that manufacturers’ coupons are not a bargain, that buying store or sale brands in bulk is best. I don’t save as many coupons as I did back in the 1980s, but for items used regularly I will go through the Sunday papers clipping away and keep an envelope of them in my purse. I use them when the item is also on sale.

What are you doing to cut costs? Where do you like to shop? Overall I prefer Fred Meyer, but I’ve seen even their prices inching upward.

Viafore's for the best Italian Meatball Sub

Today is a red letter day. After having lived in Fircrest for the past seven years, I have never -- until today -- had the pleasure of trying Viafore's Italian Delicatessen. We live across the street and down about a block from the deli. When we moved here, we had wanted to try it out. Twice we had gone and each time it was closed. We just never went back -- until today. Voila! It was open. What a treat!

Even just peering into the meat case and seeing rolls of specialty deli items that you'll never see at your neighborhood supermarket was quite intriguing...definitely an enticement to return again, and again. So many tantalizing selections: French Dip, Pastrami, Italian Meatball Sub...

Business was bustling even by 11:30. Good place to rub interesting people.

I ordered the Italian Meatball Sub. Sandwiches come with a choice of soup, salad or chips. On a whim, I decided on the Cheese Soup. It was scrumptious! Not the heavy, bright yellow cheese sauce/soup you find at other places. Oyster Crackers also accompanied the soup. The perfect pairing. Yummy!

The sub was delicious, too. It wasn't greasy or loaded with overpowering marinara sauce. It was just exactly right. Perfection!

Check out Viafore's sometime, if you haven't. They're open Tuesday through Saturday through the middle of the afternoon.

Note: Remember to bring cash. Viafore's does not accept credit or debit cards.

Smart business!

Excellent food.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

We’ve just had our first holiday weekend since the price of gas has reached $4 a gallon. My unscientific study of what Washingtonians did is that most stuck near home. Normally the Long Beach Peninsula feels crowded at holidays, but this weekend while there were tourists there they did not seem to be in the numbers of other years. Perhaps the best indication came on the way home Monday. When we stopped in Montesano at the Chevron station there, I was the only one pumping gas (and at $4.09 very little),and there was no wait at the bathroom where usually there would be a line. Our son and daughter-in-law had to travel via Olympia to pick up a car and planned to complete the trip through Shelton since the end of a holiday weekend can be gridlock on I-5. Not so on Monday. They said there were a few slow downs, but not the accordion stop-and-go that is the norm on summer and holiday weekends.

So what are you doing to curb your car’s thirst and what are your plans for the summer? Day trips to parks with a picnic packed from home may be the order of the summer. Are you seeing the rise in prices at the store that I’m seeing? Are you cutting anything from your shopping list or planting a garden to offset the bite food is taking from the budget? Having raised four children largely alone I think I’m good at making a penny scream, but the current state of the economy seems to indicate the need for more creativity than ever. We are cutting out dining out and out of the house entertainment. If it’s not on sale at the grocery store it doesn’t go in the cart.

Federal Way Salon Assists Local Blogger To Channel Inner Blonde

Has anyone in America come of age without hearing that blondes have more fun? If there are any such people, I invite you to flag the nearest Madison Avenue marketing firm to instantly remedy this sorry situation. Meanwhile, whether this adage is true or not doesn't seem to be of critical importance, I've come to conclude it's really whether you believe or you don't!

Left: Checking in the viewfinder of my camera, I quickly snap a documentary shot of this much anticipated session with Luanne Rogers at Federal Way's Salon Ina. Photo copyright 2008 by Mizu Sugimura.

From the time I was a wee girl of Japanese-American ancestry growing up in Seattle in the fifties, sixties and seventies - advertisers drilled the beauty-related adage about blondes into my head. Believe me, I tried my best to resist. Even my mother tried hard to instill more practical values preaching the importance of character and railing time and time against what she declared were "artificial values" and "crass commercialism."

Above: A view of the front door looking toward First Avenue at Federal Way's Salon Ina. Photo copyright 2008 by Mizu Sugimura.

Although to this day I remain the overly-serious natural brunette (as the black hair I'm told I have by many is not scientifically a color) I was born which goes along with the rest of my familial inheritance, I was keenly conscious from the get-go about the lack of offerings in the pages of national, widely distributed fashion magazines for women of color. As you can see, whether you opt in or out, not having a choice is worse!

I especially resented the fact that persons like myself were so completely not a part of what was considered to be the important beauty market back then when a revolutionary product called Summer Blonde was touted in my youth for towheads whose locks darkened as they grew older, leaving them the blonde option only three months of the year when the light of the summer sun bleached their hair.

The manufacturers were determined to elevate the lives of these unfortunate people and transform their existence with a lovely new product designed to allow them to be blonde the whole year around and regain those lost nine months of fun once again!

As happy as I could be for blondes who were still nevertheless members of the human race, I was depressed. For meanwhile brunettes and redheads - already dismissed as also rans in the beauty universe of yesterday - could try a henna-based rinse to add fun highlights to their tresses of which fashion magazine editors admitted even then that such products while available were not (mumble, mumble) really capable of delivering a uniformly smashing result.

In today's universe of abundant beauty options, I'm thrilled that being a color is no longer obstacle to becoming a blonde or most anything else, which is why that I now take special pleasure in my middle-years to occasionally yes, color my hair.

So let's be frank, I've been excited about my appointment at Salon Ina , 32921 1st Avenue South #C in Federal Way on Tuesday, May 27th where I'd made arrangements over a month before to become a tah-dah summer blonde with my longtime stylist and artiste extraordinaire Luanne Rogers.

Left: (from left to right) Savvy Salon Ina stylist Luanne Rogers and TNT Blog Squad member Mizu Sugimura.

Over the past decade I've taken the liberty of this fantastic opportunity at least half a dozen times as a very special treat! This time I received a haircut, foil, color and power protein treatment.

And while it is equally true that my infrequent patronage would absolutely kill the entire beauty industry if it were s
oley dependent on the earnings of customers like myself , when it comes to the process of becoming a blonde, with the aid of a skilled professional like Luanne Rogers - I always have fun.

Home Journal: Memorial Day 2008

I've been missing Gary Trudeau (and the whole Doonesbury clan) while he's been on sabbatical...yesterday especially because it was Memorial Day. Last year's non-comic roll-call of fallen soldiers' names stay, yellowed with twelve months of days, on our fridge. It took two Sunday-size strips to fit them all from the previous year.

I was grateful to the TNT for printing names on the front page and took the list down with me to the labyrinth in our magical garden. I went for my own Memorial Day ceremony. On the way I met two deer, now mostly shed to their beautiful chestnut coats, and I wondered if we'll have twin fawns for a third year in a row. Time enough for that...we stood a moment to acknowledge each other and then I continued down the gentle slope. They went back to grazing.

It seems right to honour and miss the fallen when new life is bursting everywhere. It balances the need to remember and yet carry on, having faith in the patterns and cycle of natural life. It makes you still enough to feel deeply...and strong enough to understand moving on. I thought about this as I walked the pathway marked with stones, to the centre. Above was blue, below was green and, between, the saffron of scotch broom in full glorious bloom. As I became still in the middle of the labyrinth, a wee sparrow alit amongst the spray of yellow and waited.

I could hear cars and the deep thump of bass speakers passing through the S-bends of Home but all that is hidden from sight on our secret level of lawn. I hope the Chinook pilots can see the labyrinth when they pass over and know they're thought of with fondness in Home. My father would've noticed, had he still been flying those big-bellied Sikorskys. I remembered how he taught me to read the man-made markers, not necessarily on the map.

I began to read the names aloud upon the air, somehow as if it gave comfort to someone, somewhere. I read the names to honour and witness their passing, feeling part of an ancient line of gratitude for the ultimate service. After each name the wee sparrow sang, as if translating to the natural world...and sparrows replied from their own territories around Joe's Bay to pass the names on.

Walking back up to the house, I found myself wondering if BD would've liked that.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


When LaVonne called from Portland asked what I would be doing Memorial Day, I let go of my desire to read my novel and, smiling, said, "whatever you want, I'm ready!" And the plan came to Lavonne, her husband, John, Jodie and Bruce, and their children and grandchildren coming together for one fine afternoon: Sammie, would be cohosting... here's Sammie

John, (who has agreed, with LaVonne, to support the Marriage Encounter Efforts, along with your friend, Joseph, in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montanna, and Alaska) and Bruce got the chicken burning...

and that barbecued chicken delighted everyone

we shared tough stories and inspiring stories... and there was teasing too... here I am humbly professing my eternal loyalty (if you believe that, I have a bridge I'll sell you) to our leader, John... (check out that blessing he's laying on me)

Sammie... quietly and lovingly attended to our needs and we almost did not meet his

I came home a much better person... thanks to my sisters and brothers here in Tacoma for helping me to become a better human being

how was Memorial Day Weekend for you

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sunny Weather Draws Crowds To View Northwest Folklife And International Films Over Memorial Day Weekend

Above: With the Space Needle not far in the background, a sampling of Saturday's crowd enjoyed the cooling views and equally refreshing spray off the popular International Fountain. All photos included in this blog copyright 2008 by Mizu Sugimura.

The weather couldn't be more divine for this year's Northwest Folklife Festival at Seattle Center over this Memorial Day Weekend as happy crowds shown here well attest. In every direction you could possible look there was either an abundance or over flow (depending on what size crowd you enjoy) of musicians, dancers, handicrafts and food items. Selections included talent and merchandise from around the region and over the globe, all to the very last deserving careful examination and enthusiastic sampling.

Additionally good crowds are always to be had on such beautiful afternoons in the festive playful atmosphere and cooling spray by the always popular International Fountain. As it has been over a full decade since my last visit, today's numbers looked pretty impressive.

Right: Any break in the crowd might reveal ethnic dancers...

My spouse and I were in the area after driving up from South Puget Sound about a hour and a half before the early evening screening of a Japanese film scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. in McCaw Hall that was being offered in connection with the equally famous Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) which made it's annual debut last Thursday night.

The folks at the Will Call desk told us earlier in the afternoon that movie seats were available on a first-come, first-serve basis and the line-up for the Seattle debut of the Yoji Yamada film Love and Honor would most likely begin forming about 45 minutes prior to screening.

So despite the powerful lure of activities on the grounds in connection with the Folklife Festival, both my spouse and I made a special point to hustle ourselves over to McCaw Hall sometime in the neighborhood of 5:50 p.m.

Above: ...or simply the most splendid tutus ever seen in sparkling rainbow sherbet colors.

And while I initially regretted the lack of more time to peruse what wonderful colors, sounds and textures were clearly part of this year's Folk Festival palette, the movie was the third in a trio of period drama's of which we've become quite fond, SIFF won out in the end.

Left: Traditional strawberry shortcakes attract hungry fans of all ages like a magnet.

The demands of our schedule turned out to be most fortunate for us, as we were not anywhere nearby the area of the International Fountain at 6:30 p.m. when a man was arrested by the Seattle Police for firing a gun in the area which injured two people.

Far right: One fan included this distinguished-looking male visitor. "So how's the shortcake?" we asked. His quick reply was a hearty and immediate : " Mmmmmn!"

Friday, May 23, 2008


10:30 Friday morning. I thought I had left my lunch in my car. After visiting a patient I headed for the parking lot. I was to find out this evening that I had left my lunch at home. But at that moment, with the rain lightly coming down and a chill in the air, I headed for my car. Here's a view of the street (S 18th) looking downtown that I crossed to get to the parking lot.

In the parking lot, gathering up rubbish, was a friend of mine. Something inside of me said, "see if he wouldn't mind my taking a picture of him. I knew that, if he chose, I would get a chance to let you enjoy seeing a very warm, generous human being. Even the rain would not keep him from smiling and spending a little time with another human being.

Somehow we got into this wonderful story where he talked about being a Q-KID... his generous community service was highlighted on Channel 13 for a month. Here is what he said.

Thanks, buddy, for bringing some much needed sunshine into my (our) life on a rainy day.

Friends... how about sharing some folks who bring sunshine into your life.

Tacos Guaymas for me

Carne Asada Platillo from
Tacos Guaymas

Ever since it opened decades ago, Moctezuma's has been my favorite Mexican restaurant in Tacoma, hands down; however, along came Tacos Guaymas and it has taken the title away from Moctezuma's as my favorite.

The food at Moctezuma's is consistently excellent; service is always gracious. It is still tops for office parties, family reunions, and especially delightful around Christmastime with the strolling musician who plays his guitar and sings at tableside; he even performs special requests. It lends a romantic touch that makes for a memorable evening.

But even with all the praise that I could continue to lavish on Moctezuma's, it is trumped by a lowly, little competitor: Tacos Guaymas.

Tacos Guaymas, in the humble, rundown, dive of a location (with the worst paint job and poorest combining of colors ever, e.g. Pepto-Bismol pink and pumpkin orange) in what once was the old Taco Time at 38th & Pine, in Tacoma.

Tacos Guaymas is even superior to Moctezuma's. The food is scrumptious and plentiful, served on massive platters and the presentation is artistic and authentic. The prices for comparable menu items are several dollars less than at Moctezuma's. I snapped a picture recently of the Carne Asada Platillo at Tacos Guaymas. I think you can almost savor the flavors just looking at the picture and it is less than $10.

The limited seating, minimal service, and yucky restrooms are the primary drawbacks to hosting a get-together at Tacos Guaymas. But it is fun to go there and enjoy the Mexican music, Mexican television cable channel, watch the sun as it sets, and most of all to savor the succulent, beautifully prepared foods. Take-out is available, too. 253.471.2224

Is This Tacoma Restaurant Cursed?

What’s the deal with Masa restaurant on Tacoma’s 6th Avenue? Friend and fellow blogger, Patty and I have wondered if there’s a Masa curse. Both of us have had the experience of having restaurant dates and meeting up with friends canceled or postponed when this restaurant venue is arranged. Then there’s the Masa division—you like this Mexican restaurant or you don’t (I’ve only talked to one person who was in the middle). The good news: Patty and I personally broke the curse with an early April dinner there together. And I have subsequently been back with family members just recently. As far as the like it/don’t like it argument, I still find the same division.

Personally, I like the food. I eat primarily vegetarian (though I have seafood here and there). For me, I can find some really great menu choices and I have enjoyed their margaritas. I know others who like the food, too. Mostly, my service there has been good, with the exception of some sluggish (though still friendly) service on my last visit. The menu had changed over a bit; for me, nothing changed, but for the party I was with, it gave them more choices.

Now for the other half of my friends, other restaurants tend to be preferred over Masa. These were the folks who were there with this restaurant in the early days, when there were kinks in menu and service.

I want to see this restaurant fly. Under the Asado restaurant umbrella (which by the way, Asado’s Argentinean flavored cuisine, is now my favorite place to go in Tacoma), I want its Masa cousin to flourish. I am not a restaurateur or particularly adept in the business, so I offer no hard core solutions. I do ask two things fine readers and bloggers: 1. What makes a good restaurant to you? 2. If you have eaten at Masa, where do you stand?

Signed, Kim, Tacoma foodie and willing to be the world’s oldest intern for Ed Murrieta.


Royalty free stock photos are available from several sources including A few months ago a long-time friend who is a Web designer told me about the site.

If you shoot large format, high-resolution images and would like to submit them, visit the site and read all of the requirements. They're quite selective in what they will include in their inventory, e.g. I've submitted photos that were rejected - even though I thought that they were great shots (and they were) but after I had cropped them, the resulting file sizes no longer met their criteria as they were too small. I've been uploading photos to the site for awhile by FTP. I'm starting to get the hang of it.

If you shoot great pictures and would like to share them with the world, this might be of interest to you. Here's a peek at a few of the images I've submitted that have been accepted...double-click on any of them to see the complete image in a larger version.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Remembering the Dead

There is a little cemetery in Greenfield, Missouri where three generations of my family are buried near an oak tree. Actually, relatives of mine are buried in several little cemeteries all over Dade County, MO. Half of my father’s ashes are buried between his parents and grandparents, which I find comforting since he loved them all so. If I could go to the Missouri Ozarks this Memorial Weekend I would lay flowers and American flags on the graves of my father, uncle and grandparents. Alas. I don’t know if I will ever again be able to afford to make that trip and since I cannot this year our family is spending the weekend creating a memorial garden where we can remember our loved ones who have gone on ahead.
This is the Dade County Court House and veterans' wall in Greenfield where the names of my grandfather, uncles, and father are listed for their military service.

The last nine months have been hard on our family. I’ve lost two aunts and an uncle whose numbers added to the relative recent deaths of my father and another uncle. It had been a bit much to bear particularly since another aunt had a heart attack the day of her brother’s death. Thankfully she’s recovering now.

I took a day off from work to deal with all the emotions attendant on losing family. My oldest and dearest friend planted the seed in my head and I spent my day at home planning a garden of remembrance for the adults who are no longer in my life. It soothed me. I ordered plaques with their names on them and probably spent too much money. Thank goodness my father doesn’t know!—or maybe he does, but it went a long ways in comforting me to plan a place where I can go and remember the people who so influenced my childhood.

In Missouri Memorial Day is called Decoration Day and is not limited to honoring those who served in the military although the practice began following the Civil War. Before his death Uncle Dick used to load up on flowers and visit 70+ graves for Memorial Day some of which could only be reached by climbing through fences and crossing pastures. One tiny cemetery he and my father discovered when playing in the woods as children. Some scandal had allowed the cemetery to deteriorate and even though the incident is more than a hundred years in the past, only my uncle visited it. I have a cousin who this weekend will wash all the graves of my maternal family in Vancouver, WA and leave flowers. I am grateful for his efforts. For those of us that are farther flung going to the cemetery to pay our respects is not always an option.

For some Americans Memorial Weekend means either vacation or shopping. While my son creates a walkway the rest of us will be digging out sod as we begin our memorial garden. My father already has two rose bushes which my mother gave me when he died. I’ve decided on a lilac for Uncle Rex & Aunt Shirley and a Rose-of-Sharon for Uncle Dick & Aunt Mary. In time I hope to be able to walk in my garden and tell my grandchildren about the wonderful people they are descended from. I hope my grandchildren’s participation this weekend will teach them to value their heritage.

I hope that amongst the hot dogs and potato salad consumed this weekend that Americans will take time to remember not only those who have died defending our country, but those who helped provide the tether for each of us that holds us here. It is, after all, in our hearts where we build shrines to those we have lost. How will you be spending Memorial Weekend?

Last Lyme Post of May

I'm proud to announce a Washington online support group for those suffering from Lyme, or worried that they may be. Here's the link:
Main Support Group

There is also a group for the Caregivers, family and friends who are impacted by a loved one's Lyme disease:
CG'ers Support Group

The last bit of news for Lyme Awareness Month is the release of "Under Our Skin," on DVD. This Lyme documentary was featured at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. Here's a youtube preview, with the website for information on ordering. Thank you for listening this month. Be safe; be well.

Diary of the Missing

Where oh where did Lorraine go? Well, life often derails one's train of thought...and then there's those far they haven't seemed to notice I'm back!

It all began on Mother's Day. After an Oscar-worthy performance of "Life is Wonderful" with my mother on the phone, my husband and I took our daughter (who suffers from chronic Lyme disease) to the E.R. Here I would like to give a HUGE shout-out to the very wonderful, capable, respectful staff of Seattle's Virginia Mason Emergency Room. Over the next forty-eight hours they worked as an incredible team on behalf of my beloved daughter. They realize that chronically ill patients need a different E.R. experience than the norm found in most hospitals. They were not there to treat her Lyme disease, or to argue the medical politics of Lyme. They were not there to run unnecessary, painful, costly and time-consuming tests. There was a problem and they set about fixing it with true kindness and professionalism. These wonderful people gave me the only present a mother could want...the best for my daughter...a speed bump instead of a wall. Monday night we drove back over the Narrows Bridge, singing our over-tired, crazy heads off with Peggy Lee's, "It's A Good Day!"

Tuesday was a day of rest. I wrote a couple of emails but quickly decided both the computer and I could take a little cat-nap. Little did I know the trolls were waiting for their chance behind the cyber-bushes. I didn't hear their chuckles as my eyes closed in the recliner, or the screams of the villagers. I didn't smell the burning of the Shire, preshuss! All I know is, when I awoke, the pooter had (as John Cleese would say) shuffled off its mortal coil...with nary a Bronx Cheer of goodbye.

On Wednesday Stephanie called and came down for tea and a stroll through the garden. Not only did she give me the ear of a friend, she brought with her (unknowingly) my most favourite of Brit cookies and a lot of comfort in her company. The next day a note and a great book on writing exercises came in the mail from Kim. Withdrawals from my computer forgotten, I picked up my pen and began to work in every spare moment. Stephanie and Kim, thank you so much for being lifelines in the neighbourhood!

My dear friend and bandmate, Mark, heard I had been unplugged and offered me a computer that he couldn't use in his studio because of a noisy fan. It took a little while to get it all set but finally I was back online and scrabbling to catch up. Finally I was able to cruise into the Neighbourhood Blog, to find Jaynie had put up a "Missing" poster! Joseph and I exchanged emails again and today I will reply to Mizu's supportive note. I feel truly blessed to have the friends and community that rally lovingly, that don't let me slip away into a lonely funk. Thank you all so much for caring.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Overnight

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is sponsoring an overnight, fundraising and awareness-raising walk to help bring depression and suicide out of the darkness. The event is called The Overnight and will be held in Seattle two weeks after a similar walk in New York City. Seattle's walk will take place June 21 - 22. The walk will start at dusk and end at dawn. Find out more about it. Consider actively participating as a walker or by donating to AFSP. It will be a time to make new friends, share stories and memories.


1935...Wiley College... Marshall, Texas
The Great Debaters focuses on a number of positive relationships:
A loving father (Forest Whittaker) and a dedicated teacher (Denzel Washington)

Two young people(Jurnee Smollett and Nate Parker) who are very much in love

Denzel Washington, Jurnee Smollett, Nate Parker, and Denzel Whitaker come together so well that, no matter what the obstacle, they become a winning team-- the great debaters

In a community where great joy and great pain are constantly being celebrated.

Any parent, teacher, friend, team members you would like to share with us...
Any person who stuck with you through bad times and good times...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Weekend Golf And Shopping For Art Papers In The Rose City

Above: Last weekend's weather was perfect to take a stroll downtown Portland where this helpful directional sign offers mileage between the City of Roses and equally fabulous venues such as Timbuktu, Walden Pond, Independence, MO; Hermiston, OR and New York's Times Square. Photo by Mizu Sugimura copyright 2008.

It appears that more than one member of the TNT Blog Squad was in the State of Oregon over the past weekend. (Stephanie! If I'd have known ahead of time that you were Oregon bound, I might have inquired in advance if you might be interested in meeting me for tea! But darn, that's just what I get for being out-of-the-loop! - Mournfully Mizu.)

After cooler than normal temperatures in Washington last week, trying to adjust to the mid-nineties heat in Portland, OR last Friday and Saturday was a real challenge for my spouse and I who were in town so he could participate in a annual out-of-town golf tournament on Sunday, May 18, sponsored by the group of friends from the Seattle area whom he has played for what now has become a good number of years.

Several players including himself went out on Saturday for a practice run at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course in North Plains, OR a few miles outside Portland. By the end of day when he returned to our hotel, it was clear that the unexpected heat had a dampening effect - especially on account of the fact he had chosen not to take-on the added expense of renting a golf cart for both days.

Much to the relief of us both, Sunday's temperatures were several degrees cooler allowing him more comfortable weather during the competition and myself a less jarring respite in between entering and exiting some of Portland's more interesting retail stores.

My favorite downtown stop is Art Media at
902 SW Yamhill which I was fortunate to discover on a previous jaunt to Portland about two years ago. In addition to all the usual wonderful standard art supplies, Art Media has simply one of the most delectable selection of art papers I have had the pleasure to shop. Without fail, even the most brief stop at this wonderful store is a guaranteed to lighten my wallet, and this weekend's visit proved to be no different.

Above and below: As so many of my previous visits to Portland over the last decade have been cunningly and cleverly timed to coincide with longer periods of liquid sunshine - the clear blue skies and sun drenched skyscapes, parks and walkways we encountered on this trip added to the friendly spirit of welcome we always enjoy when visiting the Rose city. Photos by Mizu Sugimura copyright 2008.

Below: As far as my better half is concerned there's no greater satisfaction at the end of a perfect afternoon of golf than checking-out what colorful and tempting offerings the busy chefs have placed on the revolving plate line inside Sushi Land in the Pearl District. Photo by Mizu Sugimura copyright 2008.

An Oregon Get-Away

If you want a weekend get-away (and still can afford the gas) I cannot say enough good things about the Portland area. Portland itself is a vibrant, beautiful city with many districts and shops to keep one occupied for days. Powell’s Books alone could keep a bibliophile busy for an entire weekend. But if you prefer rural settings I urge tourists to get off the beaten path a bit and check out rural Oregon for it has many diversions. This past weekend I did just that.

Mt. Angel is frequently a destination for me when I head south. A sweet little town named for the Monastery of the same name, it was founded by Swiss immigrants and this tiny berg has a Bavarian feel. Friday night my oldest friend and I dined at the German restaurant Glockenspiel, so named for the giant glockenspiel in the tower above the restaurant. The new apartment/business building was built to add to the Bavarian feel of this tiny town that every fall hosts the Pacific Northwest’s largest Oktoberfest.

Each summer this part of rural Oregon also hosts one of the largest lavender festivals in the NW. This weekend I got to check out the Barn Owl Nursery. Even though the lavender is two months away from being in bloom their large gift shop of all things lavender made for lots of happy shopping for two lavender lovers. I have every intention of returning for the Yamhill festival in July.

If you want a relaxing get-away, check out the many little towns of rural Oregon. There are wineries and fruit and vegetable stands galore here in this NW bread basket. The rich soil lends itself to farming of every sort including organic diaries, free range chickens, and fruit, vegetables and nuts of every sort. In addition, rural Oregon has many crafters’ shops where one can browse antiques and creations made from new and used materials. Girls’ Back Porch is just such a crafters’ mall located at 8030 Wheatland Road North, Keizer, OR, 97303, (503) 856 -8150 in Keizer, OR. The Salem area has many businesses as well as excellent Goodwills.

The many rural towns of Oregon have farmer’s markets and art festivals during the summer. Taking a weekend to tour some of these and enjoy the fresh produce (be sure to bring your cooler with you) can make for a relaxing and valuable get-away. If you want to by-pass Portland on your way to more bucolic areas get off I-5 and on to I-205 until you reach the second Oregon City exit. When you hit Canby, Oregon you will be well on your way to being out in the country. Pull out your map and breath in the fresh air.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tacoma Stores I Miss

I enjoyed reading Kim’s blog about the years of friendship of the ladies who worked at Rhodes Department Store in downtown Tacoma. What strong women they must have been working in an era when many women did not work and may have been frowned upon. I have so many questions for them about their jobs and their lives.

This story also makes me think of other Tacoma stores which are long gone from our streets of glitter. If I could go back in time I would shop at Lyons Department Store for the latest girl’s fashion; I would buy Swedish Fish at the candy counter at Sears; I would order a tuna fish sandwich at The Grill in Peoples Department Store; I would buy a plastic doll at Woolworth’s and while walking down Broadway Plaza I would stop for a piece of pie at the Pie Pantry. I would also buy a uniform for St. Patrick’s School at Eve’s Youngland; I would buy a greeting card at the Proctor Drug Store and I would buy a donut at Henry’s bakery. And if I could remember the name of the children’s shoe store formerly at the corner of North 26th and Proctor, I would go inside and ride on the toy train.

Missing in action

It has been over two weeks since the last post here from Lorraine Hart.

  • What has become of Lorraine?

  • Where is Lorraine?

  • Has something happened with her daughter?

  • Is Lorraine missing in action?

  • Did I miss something?

  • Am I the last to know?

Lorraine's eloquent writing style added so much to the 'Neighborhood.' Her absence and/or silence is quite noticeable.

MY OH MY!!!!----

Senator Robert Byrd... endorses Obama... what planet am I on...

Here's the text: "I believe that Barack Obama is a shining young statesman, who possesses the personal temperament and courage necessary to extricate our country from this costly misadventure in Iraq, and to lead our nation at this challegnging time in history. Barack Obama is a noble-hearted patriot and a humble Christian, and he has my full faith and support."


Anti-woman? Spiritual Conversion? ?????
He read this poem in the Senate a year ago... Is he going through some changes...


Is It Really The End of The Road for Rhodes?

A picture of Marge Kinder and her great granddaughter, Erin at Rhodes Reunion

Thirty four years of reunions, detailed planning, rich history, tears for the lost, hugs for those left, memories, laughs, deep Tacoma love—these are the ingredients of the former Tacoma Rhodes Department Store employees who gather together annually. Rhodes, the business beacon and Tacoma icon, opened its doors in 1903 with a promise of great customer service, employee loyalty, and quality. The store delivered on those promises until its downtown doors closed at 11th and Broadway in 1974. Some employees followed the business to the Tacoma Mall under the new moniker, Liberty House (which eventually morphed into Frederick and Nelson). Others chose new paths; but one thing was clear; the Rhodes employees were committed to staying in touch with each other. My grandmother, Margaret (Marge) Kinder, believed in this commitment and served as an active member of the reunion committee since it’s inception and even chaired it for a couple of years. At 87, she still serves as the reunion luncheon “greeter,” party favor creator, membership detail, and a variety of other things. I got to see Grandma in action last year and again this year at the Elks Club in Tacoma on May 17th, where the reunion members, now in their 70’s and beyond, braved the heat wave and gathered to say hello to friends, and regrettably, goodbye to a long standing tradition.

And indeed they came. By car, taxi, long distances and short, and even one spirited lady came by motorcycle. Many ladies donned their crisp summer whites and all embraced the refreshing cool air of the interior of the Elks. I helped direct guests to the luncheon room and even personally escorted a lovely lady named Maude who reminisced with me about her Rhodes days and her upcoming 96th birthday. There were lots of hugs and good wishes with folks checking in on each other’s health and well being. The tables were cheery and like last year, the Rhodes historic photos, food menus, sales slips, and other memorabilia were carefully and lovingly displayed; yet despite that, more attention seemed to be focused on the sheer number of obituaries of former Rhodes team members who passed away over the year.

Dorothy Hayden, long time, hardworking committee chairwoman, welcomed guests and read aloud messages from those long time members who couldn’t make it due to illness or other commitments. Memories were shared from the podium: the sweet little lady who worked in the business office that got robbed and chased her assailant, the nightly toilet paper thief, Christmas whimsy, the dreaded “boss” that nobody liked (and no, that “boss” was not in attendance), wee bits of gossip, prayers, women’s successes in a male dominated business world and insightful business discussion of today’s current retail scene. A hearty lunch was served and a sweet little raffle was held that boasted ten winners. Sounds like a heartwarming and delightful event, right?

Yes and no. The reunion committee was looking for new folks to step up and take over the planning of this yearly event. This did not happen. And it may not. There were misty eyes, tearful embraces, and difficult goodbyes because the writing was on the wall. Hearts hung heavy. While Tacoma enjoys a current downtown revival, these retail pioneers and friends know that the history books are calling out their names for the final chapters.

It is with this, that I honor the Rhodes team of yesteryear. I honor them as a Tacoma citizen for the contribution to our history, our growth, and our business world. I honor them as a businesswoman, for paving the way for others and for recognizing the value in team work and quality. I honor them as a person, who respects and admires these fine generations of folks who truly care about each other and took pride in their work. Personally, I honor my grandmother for her energy and enthusiasm. While this may be the end of an era, it’s the beginning of a fine legacy that will continue to flourish for all of us.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mount St. Helens: 28th anniversary of 'the big eruption'

Everyone who lived in the Northwest, in 1980, almost certainly has a story of their own to tell about May 18, 1980. Today is the 28th anniversary of 'the big eruption' of Mount St. Helens.

I was working for KTAC AM 850, in Tacoma, and we were regularly broadcasting wire service warnings from the National Weather Service in the days before the eruption about the potential "plume trajectory" (a previously unfamiliar term) and the repeated warnings to shovel ash off roofs as quickly as possible to prevent structural collapse.

That concept was way beyond me -- at least until May 18th.

The only 'ash' I was familiar with was the feathery, lightweight, seemingly inconsequential, virtually weightless ash that would periodically need to be removed from our fireplace. How on Earth could it be possible that 'ash' could cause structural collapse? It was baffling, incomprehensible.

Until it happened.

The mountain has gone a long way toward healing itself from the cataclysmic eruption that rocketed more than a cubic mile of pulverized rock and Earth into the sky and the pyroclastic flow that shot down the mountainside at more than 300 miles an hour, consuming everything in its path, snapping off whole forests as if they were little more than toothpicks along with the deadly mudflow that followed, clogging rivers, mangling and dismantling bridges.
  • KOMO Radio's Jim Reid scrambled to higher ground on foot to save his life, but lost a news car and all of the broadcasting gear to the surging mudflow. KOMO's sister station KATU, Portland, quickly dispatched another fully-equipped news vehicle to the area for him to use, but it was also swept downstream and a total loss and the mud flow wound its way down to the lowlands decimating everything in its path.

Monitoring the volcano cams (both the standard and the more recent addition of the high-definition imagery) is something I've enjoyed for several years now ever mindful of the power and might of Mt. St. Helens.

Many years ago, when the road into the area was first reopened, my children and I drove there one day on an impromptu outing.
The scale of the blast is beyond comprehension until seeing it in person. It was sobering and humbling.
We saw the burned out hulks of vehicles mired in the mud and sand, the massive trees tossed around like Lincoln Logs, and the earliest signs of new life coming back to the area as it was being re-seeded by birds. In the years since, the growth of the lava dome with all of the lesser eruptions and long-term eruptive phase has gone quite a distance toward filling in that gaping hole in the mountain's top.

I've captured many fabulous images of the mountain in recent years. The one supplied with this post is a picture this afternoon on the 28th Anniversary of 'the big eruption.' The most magnificent viewing is typically around sunrise and sunset. The following link with take you to the U.S. Forest Service site and directly to the high-definition image that is current. The image refreshes automatically every minute.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


What a fantasy trip I just completed! Robert J. Randisi's mystery novel, "Luck Be A Lady, Don't Die", was one nostalgic page turning, keep the midnight light burning book.
Here's a quick summary of the story:"Vegas, 1960. Gamblin', drinkin', and everybody's misbehavin'. Six months ago, whiley they were filming Ocean's 11, the Rat Pack needed Eddie Gianelli's help to track down the mugh who was sending threatening letters to Dino. Now they're back for the premiere and it's Frank who needs Eddie's help. Seems a babe he was planning to meet with in Sin City took a powder-leaving behind her luggage and a stiff in the bathtub. She's on the lam, and it's up to Eddie to find her and figure out if she's a victim or a killer."

Randisi's writing style is crisp and clear. He draws pictures quickly; he frequently used a word, phrase, or created a scene that got me chuckling. And the story's twists and turns led to a hard, inevitable conclusion.

And Eddie Gianelli, the story's hero, was neither the greatest of saints nor the worst of sinners... he was honest, courageous, self-righteous, and emotionally insecure.

Looking for some relaxing reading this summer... check out Luck Be A Lady, Don't Die!
I found this book at my wonderful Martin Luther King Library, Tacoma, Hilltop...

Joey B, Sammy D, the Chairman, Dino, and Peter L ... I love you

Enjoy the trailer from the original Ocean's Eleven Movie

Canadian Brew

I'm not a gourmet and I don't pretend to have the training or talent to properly describe the taste of things. I just go with what I like and hope I convey a little of it to you.

The Canadians love their beer. Molson's and Labatt's are the top two labels and statistically they tell me Labatt's sells more in Canada, but in the area I was in, Molson seemed to have the edge. Molson and Coors joined forces. Molson Canadian and Coors Light are somewhat ubiquitous in the Belleville/Trenton Ontario area. Of the two, Canadian, is the better. Coors Light is as tasteless as watered down kool-aid.

Molson also owns Rickards. Rickards is prety good, the Honey Brown Ale and the Red are tasty and usually available most places. OK, enough of the big guys, let's visit some places where you can get some real beer.

First on our tour today is a little brewery about 25 miles northwest of Belleville near Campbellford.

Church Key Brewing is in an old Church, seemingly out in the middle of nowhere.

These are pictures of the exterior. The church was built in 1878. Sometime in the late 90's, it was abandoned and in 2000, John Graham turned it into a microbrewery.

Here are the two fermentation vats inside the brewery. The other is Ryan, en employee, and he is kegging some Holy Smoke

A picture of John I stole off the web. I met John on one of my several trips to his Brewery. He is a big affable man who is dedicated to his craft and interestingly, to doing it as "green" as possible.

Here are the Beers I've tasted:

Holy Smoke Scotch Ale: This is an unbelievably smooth and refreshing dark ale. It leaves you with a hint of smokiness that goes so well with ribs or steaks. Undoubtedly, it is my favorite Church-Key Brew.

North Umberland Ale: This ale is also really refreshing. It has a bright crisp citrusy finish and great with Fish and chicken. My second favorite CK Beer.

West Coast Pale Ale: This Pale Ale is loaded with hops! Lovers of bitter ales will really like this one. I like it, but It is on the bitter side.

Cranberry Maple Wheat: It's a seasonal brew, mostly in the spring when the sap is running. It is has a sweet maple taste and finishes just a little tart from the cranberries.

Lactese Falcon: To be honest, it must take a real special pallet to enjoy this stuff or even finish a bottle. My friends and I called it Yak-tese Falcon because much more than a sip and we were ready! It tastes somewhere between sour milk, bad cheese and dirty feet.

Our next destination takes us in the other direction. Again, it's about a half hour ride, but this time, we are headed south into Prince Edward County to Barley Days Brewery.

As you can see, this is a bit larger operation.

Here's my take on the two that I tried:

Harvest Gold Pale Ale: Good Crisp and refreshing. Medium hops give it just the right bitterness. A good Pale Ale.

Wind and Sail Dark Ale: This is a really good dark ale. The roasted barley taste really comes through. One of my favorites and my favorite of the Barley Days offerings.

The Kingston Brewing Company is a great old brew pub in downtown Kingston, about an hour east of Belleville.

This is a picture of the bar in side. I tried two of the pub's offerings.

First was their Dragon's Breath Real Ale: It was drawn from an old fashioned beer engine and it instantly became my all time favorite ale. Nutty, malty, goodness in a glass!

The other was a cream ale (I forget the name). It was smooth and creamy as most nitrogen conditioned brews usually are, but this had a slightly crisp flavor that made it really refreshing!

The last brewery on our tour is Cameron's in Oakville , about 20 miles south east of Toronto. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to take any pictures as my camera was packed away, but I did sample their Auburn Ale. This was also an instant favorite. Refreshing with a nice clean bite on the finish. Worth finding and trying!

There you have it, those are the microbreweries that I visited. In talking to my Canadian Friends, they seemed to indicate that they really don't have the wealth of micro and small breweries we enjoy here in the US. What they lack in quantity, they certainly don't lose in quality.

Time to head for Engine House #9!!