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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Brain Clearing Needed

Just watched Classified X
a challenging documentary written and narrated by Melvin Van Pebbles. He took me way back in film history... back to the Tarzan movies of the forties when my Black sisters and brothers were all running away from the great White hero who kept them from rioting and killing, to that moment in those treasured moments in Shaft when my Soul Brother hero proudly walked away from the White'Black skull duggery which had been destroying the neighborhood.
I thank God for the wonderful work Denzel Washington has done in films like Malcolm X, Inside Man, and The Great Debater. I have cried and clapped and talked about him for days at a time.
After seeing Classified X I see that I have been missing films where Black human beings fail, succeed, and keep trying. Far, far
different from films that shamed/frustrated/angered me from the time I was seven years old in Texas until the films of the eighties, nineties, and today.
Check out Classified X. It's well worth your time.

The Sun-Catcher Tree

One day last year my friend, Jan Buday, gave my daughter a glass bead she had made.  Anna immediately held it up to the light coming in her window, and pronounced it a "Sun-Catcher."  Well this gave Jan the idea to make Sun-Catchers for people's windows, and they are a hit!  They were little drops of happy colour during the cold, grey winter...oh, they were little drops of happy, anytime.

Last year I hung the few we had on our Solstice-Yule-Christmas tree, looking so pretty with the white lights becoming little suns.  It was then I had the idea of a tree full of Sun-Catchers, and our year-long project began.  Each month, instead of a wee thrift store splurge, I bought a few of Jan's beautiful creations.  On special occasions, my family bought me some; other friends bought them for me too...lucky me!

My friend, Shelly Ely, had given me this 3D Dreamcatcher, a long time ago, and it seemed perfect for hanging Sun-Catchers from.  A beautiful mobile began to take shape in the window above, and to the right of, my desk.  Each morning I stood in front of it, facing the east and the rising sun.  From here I could begin calling the day in, my gratitude reflected in happy drops of colour, taking fire from morning light.  Each month I went to Jan's studio and chose a few more, always keeping the tree in mind.

So my friends, come and see this beautiful tree with me.  It glows with the creations of an artist friend I am proud to know and support.  It glows with the creative eye of my son, who led the tree-trimming so well, and the love in our home.  I hope you enjoy the pictures...and may we wish everyone in the world, a little peace, love, and the glow kept within our heart, knowing the light returns.

Our completed tree.

Now that's a Sun-catcher!
Heavenly beams!
Up close.

Towards the top.

Our card to you, neighbours!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Candy Canes, Strings of Holiday Lights Brighten Year's End At Fife, WA City Hall

Above: As the year 2011 rolls toward it's final conclusion at Fife City Hall, local citizens and their families might consider a quick stop to view the lights and enjoy a group photo opportunity at the foot of this cheery and celebratory homage to the holidays while taking a small moment to contemplate all the blessings of the season. Photo copyright 2011 by Mizu M. Sugimura

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fife, WA - When Local History and Popular Media Universes Collide

I'll be up front. There was a time when I spent much of my free time immersed in the Star Trek fan universe - which included going to a movie or two. To be exact, I went to almost all of them. Years later there are still select scenes which remain deeply engraved in my memories.

One in particular from Star Trek: The Voyage Home (1986) when Admiral Jame T. Kirk and Vulcan's Mr. Spock finding themselves back in twentieth century San Francisco attempt to raise some quick cash while on a mission to save a pair of Humpback whales by reselling a pair of prescription antique spectacles that the Admiral received for his birthday from his former first officer.

Recently it just tickled my fancy when I learned that the man who played the part of the antique shop dealer has a direct connection to the City of Fife, WA, where I've been spending a good deal of time enjoying numerous opportunities to study and view the interesting and well-thought exhibits at the Fife History Museum, 2820 54th Avenue East, (253)896-4710.

Yes. I am a nerd. But it's moments like this when one universe in your life collides with another and the Serendipity which is life on this planet strikes a clear note. Happily this phenomenon is not limited to the mentally engaged and socially awkward. Having been personally aware since primary school days that my budding personal interest in United States and family history was not equally shared by many of my peers - of whom a famous slogan "History is dead" was attributed to an entire generation I'm glad to observe I'm not completely alone.

However I am occasionally lead to wonder if old classmates are able to relish with the same feeling as I the way so many wonderful people and events from your past have a unique way of coming back from a totally unexpected angle, allowing us the privilege of seeing something play come around in a full circle and re-enter our lives.

In this case an actor playing a bit part on the big movie screen turns out to be directly related to the same William Hutchinson Fife, who prior to the Panic of 1893 was said to possibly be the richest man in Pierce County and his son Spanish-American War hero, William J. Fife, an attorney from Tacoma, whose surname was bestowed on Fife, WA a growing settlement at the northwestern tip of Pierce County.

They in turn were respectively the great-grandfather and granduncle of actor Joseph "Joe" William Knowland. Joe is the son of William F. Knowland, who served in the United States Senate between 1945-1959, including a stint as the Senate Majority Leader for two years during the early to mid fifties. William F. Knowland in turn was the son of Oakland, CA publisher Joseph R. Knowland and his first wife, Elinor J. Fife. Elinor was sister to William J. Fife and daughter to William H. Fife.

Now anytime Fife residents have the opportunity to view an entertaining film as Star Trek: The Voyage Home; review how important legislative decisions were made during the Eisenhower Administration; or analyze how community institutions and resources came to be in the early days of Tacoma - it will be difficult not to be aware of the vibrance, industry and character delivered by members of this pioneering Pierce County family.

Needless to say, the Fife's of Tacoma are nowhere alone in offering area residents some interesting stories . Current exhibits at the Fife History Museum touch on life and day-to-day experiences of individuals and families pulled dsfrom the ranks of the majority Swiss, Italian, Japanese and Scandinavian immigrants and settlers. And all generations continue to benefit from the rich treasury of resources and history patiently gathered and cataloged under the stewardship of a dedicated and hardworking team of volunteers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tacoma's Holiday Zoolights Transform A Clear Winter Night!

Above and below: Photos copyright 2011 by Mizu Sugimura.

If Gulliver stumbled upon the Point Defiance Zoo last night, he'd be fortunate to catch a panorama of Tacoma and the South Sound in miniature during the popular holiday season show Zoolights! More details at this link.

One of my dearest friends and I bundled up and headed for the park (despite being well past a few decades since our childhood) enjoyed the crisp air, holiday light artistry as well as the sights and sounds of several generations of area families happily enjoying an evening of viewing to savor for holiday seasons to come.

A few of the regular exhibits were available for viewing during the evening stroll. Most popular I'd say are the resident sharks whose interior aquarium home with large glass viewing screens attracted constant crowds despite the muliple colors and patterns of all the seasonal attractions outside.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving Day. Overcast and chilly... no rain so far. I was born in Houston, lived there until I was twelve. I am used to the rain. But the, no, no

Still as long as I have friends and the strength to love and be loved, I am warmly grateful.
Grateful for my mother and grandmother who loved me,grateful for my teachers and mentors(everyday I remember Dr. Dorothy Donnelley who spent many, many hours teaching me how to listen to others, to myself, and to God).

My favorite restaurant,Wok Teriyaki, is closed today. I smile when I reflect on the warm welcome and sweet goodbyes I have gotten at the Wok over the years I have gone there. The Wok is a warm space where I have eaten well, laughed, cried, been challenged, and affirmed by my friends, Jeanpierre and Gaye many, many times.
So, like you, wonderful readers, I am so very grateful that I am learning to deeply appreciate the love of friends and the wonderful people on the Pastoral Care Teams at the Franciscan Hospitals.
I hope that this will be a wonderful day and weekend for everyone.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gold-Medal Level Trio Scores At TAC 6th Annual Arts Community Symposium

Having returned from this year's 6th Annual Art at Work Month Symposium November 19 and 20 at University of Puget Sound, sponsored by the Tacoma Arts Commission over the weekend I'd like to give a loud and hearty thank you and shout to three superlative presenters on this year's program namely: Andy Fife of Shunpike and consultants Miriam Works and Gigi Rosenberg.

The quality of this trio of professionals in an equally impressive field of speakers is of such caliber that if the local and regional art community were to have organized an Olympics-type competition, each of the three aforementioned professionals would have taken down all comers in their respective professional brackets and departed with multiple strands of gold!

Self-taught artists, scholars, arts community supporters and arts volunteers of any era are too long familiar with the long litany of public platitudes about the importance of the arts in our culture from leaders in government, business and other areas of the community in times of abundance followed up by irregular commitments, spotty appropriation of public funds and almost too common endless dry spells when the economy begins to contract.

Combine with a historically too short list of easily identifiable, qualified yet affordable resources, arts organizations can point only too many up/down histories of organizational anxiety as they try to navigate and make sense of more current and contemporary pathways.
The City of Tacoma, her governors, educators, businesses and citizens all can be immensely proud that the caliber of their art community, art businesses and support industries, has been so rich to offer attendees to this year's Art at Work Art Symposium such close and personal access to this stellar assemblage of three.

Shunpike's Fife has lit the enthusiasm of national audiences garnering recent attention on Entrepreneur Magazine online for his work nurturing over 2,500 arts-related businesses and arts organizations in Washington State with solid financial foundations according to an article posted by Randy Woods, October 25, 2011.

It is a credit all citizens of Tacoma, WA that support for the arts, for opportunities to nurture innovation, creativity and richness of among residents of all ages have been deemed both a worthwhile and necessary component of community life. Kudos to the Tacoma Arts Commision and its leadership from who only too keenly understand how an informed populace and a viable arts community slip seamlessly into the larger framework of a developmentally rich and innovative metropolitan future.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuck A Bit Of Local History In Your Holiday Stockings

Historic cards and handmade kitchen towels are among the unique and local holiday gift possibilities on sale at the Fife History Museum, 2820 54th Avenue E., Fife, WA, (253) 896-4710, for shoppers looking for something different!

Say "Happy Holidays" twelve months a year with a gift membership or equally desirable a copy of the soon to be published "Images of America: Fife, Washington" paperback photo history link here with gifts like these which not only please but educate friends and family of all ages and areas for years to come!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tile Makes Great Gift For Some On Your List Who Has Everything!

Gift opportunities for the folks on your list who have requested no gifts because of lack of storage etc. include time-honored items like gift certificates to their favorite restaurant of choice, beauty salon, spa, shoe repair firm - and contributions to make sure that tiles mounted and displayed below the famous Clock Tower Bell formerly located at the old Federal Shopping Way and saved from immediate demolition several years past are being taken this month and beyond.

One of the few remaining pieces of this much beloved shopping destination from years past is delightedly being taken cafe of by volunteers at the headquarters of the Historical Society of Federal Way, 2645 South 312th, Federal Way, WA 98093. The city itself is located at the south west corner of King County. Individual, family and company memberships can be made by calling the FWHS at 253-945-7842.

Clock tower tiles can be purchased for $40.00 donation which covers installation and lifetime maintenance once installed at the park for $40.00 a person (up to 4 lines of information on each tile.

A Holiday Bazaar Opportunity Blooms At Federal Way Retailer

Shopping for stocking stuffers and other special holiday gifts? In addition to the regular stock at Federal Way's Craft City, 35415 21st Avenue SW, Suite G, holiday crafters and vendors extrodinaire will fill brightly decorated store tables on Thursday through Sunday, December 1-4.

Store owner Coryn Morgenroth invited area artisans and producers of handmade items to come to the store and participate in the first of two holiday bazaar opportunities at the southwest Federal Way retailer on Thursday through Sunday, November 3-6th from 10:00 a.m. - 8:oo p.m. to the delight of area shoppers such as myself.

I was able to pick up two great ideas in time for winter gift giving occasions as a handmade knit scarf/stole for decking out a ho-ho bottle of any unnamed beverage and a cute machine knit "hat" to add a bit of holiday pizzazzz to all of those very adorable mini-holiday size Hershey chocolate bars made by a well-organized group of women from Maine View Presbyterian Church in Northeast Tacoma.

Click on this link for a flyer about Craft City's holiday bazaar.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Seven Local Authors & Poets, November 10th.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 29, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Months Festivities Kick-Off With Party at Museum of Glass

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

Engaging People and The Arts

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

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Mail Box Rentals, Faxing, Copies & Notary Services

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

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

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

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

Fife's Newest U-Haul Authorized Dealer

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

Another Day Of Love

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

Life lovingly going on...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Java Tacoma Perks Again November 4-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 13, 2011

World Food Day...October 16th

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 10, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Above: 2nd Hand Treasures Owner, Reggie Starkey.

Above:2nd Hand Treasures Owner, John Brehmer.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Random Acts of Camera

Late afternoon sunlight caresses Quan Yin, Chinese Goddess of Compassion.
Sometimes it's not about a picture of the whole subject, but about having some fun with cropping.

Early morning...and a rose bush gone wild.  

Purple asters mixed in with fennel for a Fall cascade.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011... Associated Ministries Hunger Walk

This Sunday,October 2, the Thirty First Annnual Associated Ministries Hunger Walk will be happening. The mighty runners and walkers will be putting those boots on the ground in Fort Steilacoom Park, 9601 Steilacoom Boulevard, Lakewood, Washington 98498.
Has this walk helped in feeding the hungry? This comes right from the website: "This annual event raises more than a quater million dollars for hunger relief!" The wonderful folks at Associated Ministries say that much more money is needed.
This is what Helen McGovern, Executive Direcotr of the emergency Food Network says: "Money raised through the Hunger Walk will allow us to purchase at least even semi-trucks full of nutritious food for those in need." She contines: "they have never seen the demand on local food banks as high as it is right now."
Here's the schedule:
12:00-1:30 p.m. -Registration
1:30 p.m. -Run Starts
2:00 p.m. -Walk starts
3:00 p.m. -Food and fun!

for map and directions:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Variety and Color In Plenty At Federal Way Farmers Market

Above and below: Surely nothing hits the spot in the summer quite like fresh produce brought home direct from
the Federal Way Farmer's Market! All photos copyright 2011 by Mizu Sugimura.

The Federal Way Farmer's Market (FWFM) has become a popular Saturday stop for many area residents over the past few years between the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. One of my dear friends is such a market stalwart that she actually made it into a frame in this year's FWFM video online.

Two weeks ago I was invited to accompay her to the market, set up now at it's second location at the north side of 320th Street (just up the gentle incline kitty corner to the Federal Way Transit Center) on a roomy site overlooking busy mall shoppers at The Commons. This year market organizers began experimenting with a select sample of vendors to cater to area crowds on Wednesday nights between 4:00 pm - 8:00 p.m. creating a different yet exciting vibe through the end of September.

Above: MMMMMMN! Now THIS is a peach! Photo by Mizu Sugimura.

Arriving there at mid-morning we discovered that whatever warm summer sun shone overhead the previous week had all but disappeared, dampening down the temperatures and painting the skies overhead into a scene resembling a typical Pacific Northwest day in mid-October. This year market managers have experimented with a distinct sample of vendors to cater to nearby crowds on Wednesday nights. The Wednesday's evening market creates yet more opportunities for local residents to enjoy something different in the heart of the town.

Fortunately the liquid sunshine that fell that day couldn't damper our spirits. One of my favorite produce purchases that afternoon was a novelty to me. It was round like an onion but varigated like a watermelon so I asked if it was a squash! After I inquired the vendor pulled out a trusty pocketknife, selected one of his samples and both peeled and sliced a sample for my tasting pleasure. Wow! It was both tart and lemony. Salads will never be the same at my house again!

Above: Dreaming of radishes.

Above: Who says ears of corn can't hear!

Above: There's simply no end to all of these
heartbreakingly perfect potatoes!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Waiting For Impact

How do you feel on a morning that you shouldn't really be here?  Let me tell you.  I'm looking at the tide rippling its way out of Joe's Bay, the sun playing peekaboo in and out of clouds scudding across the Sound, looking at leaves trembling in the breeze, and light of the morning playing through my suncatchers, like a moving stained glass window...and I'm feeling so lucky, so happy to be here, in this crazy world.  It is so good to be alive and not broken!

Yesterday was Anna's doctor's appointment, so we headed to West Seattle, then to a friend's house near Husky Stadium, for a visit.  Traffic was beginning to build up for the afternoon as we merged onto 520, heading west towards I-5.  The lane we were in came to a full stop from congestion up ahead.  I braked and kept my eyes moving, as my father taught me, from front window to side mirrors and then the rear-view mirror.

What I saw made my heart go cold and heavy...and time slowed down to details, in sections of seconds.  I made some kind of noise because Anna quickly turned in her seat.  We both saw a small black car coming up on us...FAST!  I wondered if this was to be the end, held the steering wheel, pushed my foot further down on the brake and closed my eyes, trapped, waiting for impact. 

At the last possible moment, the young driver managed to swerve, missing us, but then lost control and smacked head-first, into the concrete median wall.  I opened my eyes at the sound and saw back end of his car raise high in the air, as his head went into the deployed airbag.  The line of cars in front of us began to move so I pulled a little further forward, allowing traffic room to pass through and told my daughter to call 911.  In shock, Anna still kept her cool and gave the operator the situation and our location.  Meanwhile, the young man got out of his car, dazed, with blood streaming from his nose.

Barely two minutes had passed but cars were now amassing behind and beginning to weave between his Chevy and our little Nissan.  Anna relayed that to the 911 operator and asked if we should stay, as witnesses, or move.  A car had stopped in the lane behind him and the people were talking to the young man, seeing if he was alright.  The operator told Anna that she had her phone number and we should continue on home.

We talked about what just happened as we joined the southbound auto-flow out of Seattle, to 16 west and over the Narrows.  We had to stop for prescriptions in Gig Harbor, and it was then we both began to feel the shock wear off and the oncoming tightness of our bodies' reactions.  Anna told the woman filling her prescriptions what had happened and repeated what she had told me.  She said, when she looked back at the car coming for us, she saw the guy was looking down in his lap and then suddenly looked up, just in time to pull at his wheel and spare us. 

It was the woman behind the counter who suggested that might have meant the young man was texting as he drove.

This morning, my little world in the Aerie above Joe's Bay seems more beautiful than ever.  I drink the view in and give my thanks for still being here.  I hope that young man is alright, with nothing more than a broken nose.  I hope he is grateful for living through the impact of this lesson.  We are fragile beings, hurtling ourselves through the air inside these high-powered machines.  Every move we make, every moment our eyes and mind stray from being Captain of the cockpit, we risk not only our own, but everyone's life on the road around us.  This should be our first thought as we strap ourselves in.

Kudos and thanks go to the 911 operator who led Anna calmly through giving information and then instructed us to leave the scene.  Indeed, this morning I give thanks for all 911 operators and First Responders.  Bless you in your work...and in your commute!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later

I can't seem to call it an anniversary, rather, a marker of time and our steps to remember.  I remember trying to get in touch with my son first, perhaps near the hell, with me three thousand miles away.  Oh the relief of hearing his voice.  It was the only call that seemed to go through for me that day, and the next two weeks were spent trying to find everyone we knew.

What I did know, was that 'my firemen' guys, were decimated.  I sang to them, I served them in a Queens bar for years.  Two days after, this song just wrote itself...then Uptone Studios in Tacoma donated time, and musicians, singers, kids, dogs...all came in and poured our hearts into this song.

Then mayor of Gig Harbor, Gretchen Wilbert, included the CD in GH's official gift to NYC, and a NY Fireman came a year later, hugged me and said thank you.

In the following few months, after that awful day, everyone was more patient, more kind.  It seemed an enemy without created more of a family within.  Firemen everywhere were treated with respect and loving kindness, for the realization of what they truly lay on the line, every day, with their job.  But we began to forget the heroes in our backyards, and each other, a few months in.

I find myself a bag of emotional guts today.  With our humble thanks to heroes everywhere, the musicians of Tacoma send this out, with love.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Late Summer Pictorial

Seems like ages since I had fun putting some pictures on the blog, so come and walk with me on these warm late summer days.  We can watch the sun dance upon an incoming teal tide.
Most of the honeysuckle flowers have given way to bright red berries, but a few remain knotted with purple clematis on the side gate.
Blackberries are everywhere, in every stage from hard green knuckles to soft, sweet, dark pearls.  Huckleberries are just beginning to turn blue, making me think of my friend Trish's Huckleberry Buckle...mmmmmmm, yeah!  Apples are large and green, ripening for some autumn applesauce.  These are the glorious days, when friends drop by with squash and lettuce spilling from their arms, oh happy harvest!
I love to spend quiet mornings in the side "Buddha Garden," welcoming each day.  I chose flowers that were the colours of the Dalai Lama's robes, to honour the Buddha of Compassion.
Glorious evenings to enjoy, especially at the house of good friends on the west side, overlooking Case Inlet and the Olympic Mountains.  Enjoy these days in paradise!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Birthday Gift

Friday, September 9, is my birthday. I had the privilege of leading my religious community in prayer today, the eight. Fifty years ago, on September 7, I first joined the Society of Jesus. Since I entered, Malcolm X, John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy have been cruelly killed.
In one of my classes I had the opportunity to meet Huey Newton. While I worked at Seattle University I attended a lecture given by Elridge Cleaver. I have visited the grave of Frederick Douglass. I have spoken to FBI men following an arson fire in Tacoma, Washington. I was targeted in Tacoma by a local hate group.
I have attended the funerals of my grandmother, uncle, stepfather, mother, and three of my closest women friends.
I have begun to consider my own dying. And this evening I had an opportunity,at the Mass, to talk about my wonderful grandmother. She wanted to be a nun, was sold to an African American minister who married her. She got away from him, married again, was abandoned by her husband. She and my mother took care of me and made sure I got to attend a very good high school and college.
I highlighted my grandmother's courage, prayerfulness, commitment to service, and love for God and all people.
She and my mother taught me how to love deeply and persistently. What a great gift they are to me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Most Precious Sunday Afternoon

The one thirty pm worship gathering at St. Leo's in Tacoma, hosted by Native Americans, is becoming one of my happiest moments. I enjoy feeling welcomed and accepted there. I value the sincerity, honesty, and affection. of the members of that Catholic group.
Many of them have seen very hard times and they continue to keep working to encourage other Native Americans and other human beings to live honestly and compassionately.
Father Pat Touhy, a member of the Society of Jesus, was the leader of worship. He is a creative, open, and loving human being. He is the beautiful man on the right in the picture.
The little child in the picture kep the Mass going, moving, talking... what a joy to be around such a beautiful person. His mom and dad are thoughtful and warm human beings.
I left the Mass that Sunday feeling refreshed. I am so very grateful.