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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Yes, I still haunt Tacoma!


Happy Halloween Grit City!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Change of Seasons Reminder

The sky lightens to a silvery-grey over the spikes of evergreens across Joe's Bay. The recent storms have blown a lot of leaves off the saplings before they had chance to turn and more of the bay becomes visible from our Aerie. In the orchard, the leaves on the apple, cherries and pear tree stay green and attached. The maple that is usually on fire by this time has only a few deep red leaves, but the giant maples have dropped so many of theirs to be embedded in the road, thinning with the rain, while the roadsides are red with shedding cedars, firs and pines.

It's the time of year for cleaning-up in the garden, preparing for what some are saying will be the worst winter in sixty years. There's leaves to rake and wood to be split and piled for the stove, anticipating power losses. The recent accident of a logging truck hitting a transmission station on Rte. 101 brought home the need to restock all emergency items for the household and have them handy.

Ah yes it's a busy time alright, every season needing preparation and clean-up. I just want to remind all my cherished neighbours that tick protection is a part of every season too. In our Pacific-Northwest climate, ticks are active all year round, and looking for hosts. Even in the mid-west, snowy winters, ticks are found on dogs, horses, deer and birds, where once it was believed that 28 degrees took care of the problem. Now is as important as the spring, to check yourself and each other after working in the garden.

What kid isn't drawn to leaf piles? Please check them at bath-time and teach them to tuck their socks inside pants before going out to play. Show them what a tick looks like and tell your kids to come to you if they have one attached. Learn how to properly remove a NOT squeeze or try to burn it! Google tick tools and make sure your First Aid Kit has one. I keep one on my key chain, a very simple and effective tool to use. If you are bitten, be proactive with your doctor and ask them to read-up on the latest information, rather than sit back to wait and see...the deadliest of approaches.

I was just able to attend, via webcasts, a conference on Lyme disease at the Institute Of Medicine in Washington DC, where the rise in cases of Lyme, Babesia, and Bartonella nationally, was talked about with great concern by the participants...well all except for Dr. Gary Wormser, head of the IDSA (Infectious Disease Society of America) panel that infamously made the allegedly criminal Lyme Guidelines. To have the doctor who is in charge of caring for the Lyme community call chronic patients "Lymenuts" is a bigoted disgrace. A disgrace is what Dr. Bergdorfer, who first discovered the Lyme spirochete bearing his name (Borrelia-Bergdefori) called the political situation. I watched and listened as scientist after scientist called for more research, talked of the chronic forms (which Wormser denies exists) of tick-borne infections, and called for more gathering of national surveys and statistics...more information. Dr. Wormser smugly said they had all the information...he "just didn't bring it that day...chuckle."

In the same week I watched the first day of the ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) conference and was given great hope as I listened to new research and heard hope for my daughter and the thousands upon thousands of chronically-ill patients, dealing with tick-borne infections. If you are interested in reading some exciting news for our family, check out this link below.

This has been a rough year for my daughter...making twelve rough years now. She was bitten just before she turned 18 and is turning 30 this December. Due to the doctors in Washington being woefully uneducated in tick-borne diseases, it took eight years to get her on proper treatment. Now she is in the fifteen percentile of chronic patients. Today, despite how she feels, we will sit and talk to some nursing students about Anna's case so they can learn. Still I try to work for simply getting a proclamation making May officially Lyme-Awareness Month in Washington, as it is in so many other states. I have worked on it for almost a year now, with no reply from the department that deals with proclamations in the Governor's Office. We have talked to so many politicians, Derek Kilmer being a staunch advocate and ally, and yet move forward so slowly in educating Washingtonians. Funnily enough, one certainly remembered my number when a family member was bitten.

Yes we've returned to the wet and cool, rainy season down here in Joe's Bay, the snowy season up in those beautiful mountains. I'm just going to keep reminding you to be prepared in every way, in every season, and urge you to ask questions. We're right here as advocates. Living with the wildness, as we are so gifted, I believe my neighbours want to be educated. I want to keep you and your family safe, giving thanks, in our season of Thanksgiving, for this opportunity.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Words & Music Finale, Oct. 16th: Elizabeth Austen and Amy Petty

The sun was slipping behind the Olympic mountains, flashing a molten beacon between the passing trees as we drove towards Pam and Jerry's. Hard to believe that eight months had passed, and now we were going to the finale of "Words & Music" for the year, October 16th. I thought of all the sunsets, music, lyrics, stories and poems, all the conversations between artists and audience that have filled this series of house concerts, replaying some of my favourite moments as we wove our golden way. A grand finale it was to be!

Before we go any further, may I just stop for a minute to give three cheers for National Public Radio? Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! Yes...I heard many of you join me!

KUOW's own Elizabeth Austen was our poet of the evening, her voice offering the far-reaching intimacy of radio, a microphone unnecessary for everyone to hear. A seasoned performer, she let each line breathe and deliver. Her first poem she selected to read, said Jerry, had been read just the evening before on "The Writer's Almanac," by none other than Garrison Keillor. It was called "On Punctuation," a most delightful romping rebellion against the strict usage of certain punctuation. I could be led happily into a poem that begins, "not for me the dogma of the period...." and laugh along the lines in this rhythmic playground. With my eyes closed, I could hear Mr. Keillor's voice echo hers.

To check out the rest of "On Punctuation," and read more of Ms. Austen's wonderful poetry, do check out her website Her new chapbook, "The Girl Who Goes Alone" is now available. Treat yourself to some poetry for the coming early dark evenings...and don't forget to tune her in on KUOW.

Amy Petty moved to the microphone like La Bella Luna, in her midnight gown. She beamed a goddess smile and told us how happy she was to be out here for the first time, coming from where they live in New Hampshire. Then she began to share her stories and beautiful voice. Amy was a member of the Michigan Opera and classical training showed in her exquisite control and sound. It was obvious she could easily hit the back of a hall, but compressed that power to suit the smaller room.

There was a twinkle in her eye when she sang "Single Girl" but it was obvious how much she loved her husband/roadie/soundman. When Amy mentioned that they had been caregivers for her husband's grandparents, I loved them both. Not that she had to sell me anymore...but she did "Summertime" as sweetly as you please...mmmmmmm. Hand me a mint julep, honey!

Technology is Ms. Petty's friend, and the old Men-At-Work song, "I Come From the Land Down Under" became layered recorded loops of guitar, tin-whistle and harmonies, to the delight of her audience. She chuckled as she told us it was cheaper than traveling with a band! I settled back in my cushions and looked over at my friend Trish, who reached over and squeezed my hand with a smile. Amy began another looped song and I closed my eyes to go with it, to go with the night and dreamy ease of her voice. Do check out Amy Petty on youtube and look for her new CD release, November 1st.

So ends the 2010 house concert series "Words and Music," held within the salon of the Libstaffs, benefiting the young writers of our Key Peninsula. Tweed Meyer has painted each and every artist who has appeared this year, some more than once. Her performance at each month's event, in itself, was reason to be present.

Thank you Jerry and Pam...and thank you neighbours...for some wonderful times out here in the wild woods!

(Pssst...I've seen some of next year's line-up and it looks good!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Is The Election Over Yet?

Are you feeling like this about all the election and campaign brochures that you are receiving in the mail, via e-mail, or from door-to-door campaigners?

Or maybe you feel like this (a bit greener with those pesky brochures):

Of course there's the nasty campaigning, belittling of opponents, and overall negativity. I wonder if this is how voters feel?

Instead of talking about the issues, looking for ways to unite people, and finding solutions to better our overall communities, folks are talking about how desperately they want the election NONSENSE to be over with.


What do you think?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Here's a New Favorite Tacoma Neighborhood

I am absolutely smitten with the Tacoma neighborhood businesses on 21st street, right near the bridge over the gulch on your way to Lowell Elementary. I've covered several of the businesses there in this little blog and over at Gritty City Woman. Here's another one to add to the list: Elysium Spa in the Saravida Health and Wellness building. I did piece on my spa experience over on Check it right HERE. Yet another rockin' Tacoma business!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Life Wonderfully Goes On

I celebrate the love and dedication of parents and laborers, the openness and high energy of all students, the commitment to service of teachers, administrators, and maintenace folks who keep our educational institutions humming along...sunshine, rain, cold, fog... thank you for choosing to live in the moment.

Thank you for choosing this day to share yourself with other people!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Key At Kiana: Art, Words and Music

As soon as we drove onto the Suquamish tribal lands, I felt a warmth and welcome that made me smile. We were there to look at the Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo, which sits at the water's edge overlooking beautiful Bainbridge Island. Large flower beds anchored tall trees and mystical figures carved themselves spaces throughout the driveway to Kiana's grounds. Living colour was everywhere, spilling over walls, pots and hanging baskets at the entrance of the Main Lodge.

Oh my, how our world was changed as we entered and were held in the warmth of honey-amber cedar logs. Windows and skylights everywhere let light polish the wood's finished sheen and gave each of the three rooms that delicious garden and water view. Each room wrapped around huge granite fireplaces, the mantles holding woven baskets and carved bowls. There were nooks and crannies for private conversation, overstuffed chairs and leather couches, a tucked-away bar and...did I mention that dreamy view...from everywhere?

Kiana Lodge, we knew as soon as we saw it, was definitely the place to hold Watermark Writers celebration and sharing of "The Key At Kiana: Art, Words and Music" November 14th, from 1-6pm. On that Sunday afternoon you are invited to come and meet the artists, authors and singer-songwriters as you are introduced to their works.

In the main entrance room, authors will read from their books and musicians will perform songs from their CD's. In the hall that is lined with a wall of windows, skylights and warm lighting, some of the Key Peninsula's favourite artists will be showing and selling their paintings, photography and jewelry. The writers' room has those wonderfully overstuffed chairs and leather couches, good for reading and conversations with the authors. A fire will blaze in every room, and an auction later in the day will surely keep everyone warm.

Artists will be, in alphabetical order:

Jan Buday, Dale Goodvin, John Lonning, Laura McClintoc, Tweed Meyer, Reni Moriarity, Beverly Pedersen, Robin Peterson, Kurt Solmssen, and P. Anthony Thompson, all from the Key Peninsula.

Authors will be:

Lana Hechtman Ayers, Scott Heffernan, Robin Peterson, and yours truly, Lorraine Hart. Lana is the only one off the Key, though still a local mossback.

Singer-Songwriters will be:

Carolyn Cruso from Orcas, Larry Murante from Seattle, and Danielle Gasparro from New York, just a little farther across the way.

We feel "The Key At Kiana" will be a very special and intimate event, a perfect way to do some shopping for the Holidays, while supporting the Arts and artists who are (mostly) your neighbours in the Sound area. Come and enjoy with us, this warm Suquamish welcome.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Keep Your Dreams Big

"Keep your dreams big," he said to me, "because, even if you only get half-way, you've gone further than most." This wisdom was shared as we rode along through a blue and silvery winter night in his Rolls Royce Silver Cloud. He was, of course, impeccably dressed while I...well...I was in the '70's day-glow-orange-with-the-gold-stripe Burger Thing uniform. Yeah I know, I've imagined that scene many different ways since that night over thirty years ago.

I was working nights (and not on music) because I had a baby, and a husband to put through school at the time. My gentleman driver was considering buying some Burger Thing franchises, so I was asked to show him around. I had no idea what he was driving when I accepted his offer of a ride home in the snow and I must say, my heart did a little jump as I walked out of the front doors to see the classic lines of this beautiful car waiting for me.

In those comfortable leather seats and warm space we sat talking for quite a while. He asked me about my life, my dreams and I, like any twenty-one year-old, let loose and told him of my passion for singing, performing, writing, being a good parent, supportive partner...and on and on I went. I knew it sounded like I needed a few lifetimes to do it all, and it was all feeling so very far away from that orange polyester pantsuit that I laughed at myself. That's when he gave me the gift of his advice, which I've never forgotten.

The following year we moved to New York and I began to make the music connections that were to lead me to working with some of the best musicians around, the road bands and session players for some of the biggest names in Rock and Roll. I began a wonderful songwriting partnership and lived a bunch of my dreams in performing, writing and recording.

I tucked all these memories in my heart and headed west, nearly fifteen years ago now, different dreams bringing me back to the edge of the Salish Sea. I remember starting to write IYN and getting to know the other writers in the core group that began it. Each of us branched-out from this very supportive space, into some of our other writing, artistic and spiritual dreamscapes. Still we share them with each other, as friends do.

Here in my 55th. year I hear my friend in the Rolls Royce once again. I live in paradise, above Joe's Bay in Home, watching the eagles and osprey fish while I sit here at my desk writing. After joining the Watermark Writers Group on the Key Peninsula this year, I was invited to perform in a different way than I have in the past forty years. Instead of singing with my band, I read some of my poems, prose and ramblings at Jerry and Pam Libstaff's house concert series "Words & Music" and, thanks to them, in September I opened a box to lift out yet another dream for my string of pearls.

I have from time to time shared some poetry IYN, and now I'm pleased to share with you the news of my first book of poetry, and some illustrations. I'm here to tell you, it feels pretty darn good to hold a dream in your hands. Don't let anyone tell you to pull your dreams back to some "realistic standard" in this lifetime. Keep your dreams big. Even if you only get half-way there, you've gone further than most. Oh yes, and dreams get better with age.

Should you be interested, books can be ordered through

I'm also excited to take part in "The Key At Kiana: Art, Words and Music" November 14th. Stay tuned for more on your chance to meet artists, authors and singer-songwriters in one of our areas most gorgeous settings. I can't wait to show and tell you's gonna be dreamy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tacoma Blogger Launches New Site

Regular readers of this blog are aware that Kim Thompson (moi) moonlights over on Gritty City Woman, a local blog with a twist or two or three. Today, I am pleased to announced that I have launched my own site, I've got a fresh new design and some cool new features, but the writing is staying pure gritty with that essential Tacoma flavor. Stop by and visit. I'd love to have you come check it out. I am actually on Twitter (OMG!) and soon on Facebook (grittycitywoman). I know I put the link already in already above, but I am so jazzed, I'll give you a clickable link right HERE again.

Okay. I am done! See you HERE in the neighborhood and on the other side at Gritty City Woman!



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Life Giving Day

Beautiful, busy day... luncheon engagement with friends and my computer programs got all bollywopped messed up... spent a good hour with folks helping me... and we got things done... for the moment!
So I headed out to take care of some business and there was one glorious moment on the top of Bellarmine High School's hill.

Students, teachers, cooks and cleaners, administrators and volunteers-- all focused on moving through the day as best they can. And quietly in the quadrangle the bubblihg water fountain kept inviting passerbys to stop, listen, let go, relax.

Sunny warm day... sunny warm spirit...all so very life giving


Does Anyone Read the Tacoma Edition on is a site that has hired approximately 40,000 freelance writers (known as Examiners) to write national and local posts/articles. The site gets lots of hits and page views per day.

Does anyone read the Tacoma page of this site? If so, what do you read? Do you like it? What do you think of this style of news gathering? Are you aware of the criticisms made about this website? If so, do you care?

Any and all comments welcome!