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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Local Russian Bakery Combines Best of Cultural Diversity!

Above: I don't know about you, but these buttery spritz cookies cross cultural, country and generations and taste equally good in any language or dialect!

An elegantly wrapped cylindrical carton of Little Russia label cookies swathed in shiny red foil loudly whistled from the table of a vendor at a holiday gift fair in Fife, WA on December 18. Three rooms along the side of the famous Poodle Dog Restaurant in Fife along the busy Pacific Highway were brimming with holiday themed merchandise, gift items and treats!

I was attracted to the latter as what comprised this year's holiday gift shopping in my household is for the most part complete, but who launch any kind of celebration without a small selection of festively decorated sweets?

So I was naturally unable to resist the aforementioned spritz cookies at a table ably manned at the time of my visit  by Barbara Lilly, operations and distribution director, Lion Market Enterprises, LLC.Lilly, elegantly clad in a festive red Russian folk costume offered me a sample of the cookies while I inspected the rest of the display featuring fresh, locally produced baked goods from this growing Northwest community.

Meanwhile Lilly went on to explain to me how it came that herself, a native of London, UK, and two area women of Russian descent have combined forces to bring these delicious and mouth-watering baked goods in the Russian tradition (including rye bread without caraway seeds) to Pacific Northwest tables.

Goods as these have been available for the most part in some area specialty markets, mostly mom and pop stores owned by first-generation Russian immigrants. For those of us not lucky enough to have relatives of Russian descent, such businesses are not usually on our  normal list of everyday suppliers whether due to shyness, a language barrier, unfamiliarity with the goods, product lines, ingredients, prices or band names.

What Lion Market Enterprises aims to do is develop and repackage these popular and traditional favorites, promote their use outside the community of their origin, and bring them into mainstream grocery stores, allowing consumers from every area of the region a greater opportunity and choice.

To further this end Lion Market Enterprises will soon be be opening a retail outlet store a few short miles up the road along Pacific Highway in Federal Way, WA by Secoma Lanes. For more details about the company and products including Little Russia cookies feel free to access the company website at I think you'll be glad you did!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Morning Beauty

Woke up this morning. I had a billion things on my mind... health, state of the nation,  crises here and there through out the world, loving and being loved.  Then I looked out the window.

And for a wonderful few moments, I stopped thinking and I started living.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Warm Socks, Warm Hearts - Local Drive Fosters Both

 Above: It will be fun to play Santa for others this winter. Even if budgets are tight, there's a project in the community for all of us.

Every year we're reminded during the winter holiday season about opportunities to remember less fortunate members of the community as we shop for little remembrances for friends, family and colleagues.

When my son was younger, we used to enjoy shopping for the Giving Tree project at the old Sea-Tac Mall in Federal Way. He graduated from high school some years ago and I recently realized it has been a considerable time since we have directly placed a purchased gift for a needy person.

These Merino Wool socks pictured above will go into a box of donations being collected at the Fife office of the Pierce County Community Newspaper Group, 2588 Pacific Highway, (253) 922-5317, who are participating in a drive to bring homeless men, women and children warm pairs of socks for our neighbors who don't have the luxury of coming home every night to regular roof over their heads.

Last week I read about the drive when I stopped to read a delightful pull-out section devoted to gift giving ideas in the current issue of the Tacoma Weekly over a cup of coffee. When I say "delightful", I truly mean just that, as a veteran reader of such sections for more years than I want to admit!

The very first piece in the section on what you might not want to give say, from your mother's point of view will bring a broad smile and wink - to anyone who has secretly has had just a little too much of their own, their siblings, friends or even a total strangers darling children. Top quality research from an enterprising local journalist! Oops Santa! Can you forgive me - just this once?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Meal

Folks in my house, all priests, will be in and out this weekend. They will be visiting family and friends, or leading prayers experiences in their parishes or other prayer centers. We came together this evening for prayer, fod, and conversation. conversation.
     We gathererd around the chapel altar

first to join each other in thanking God for loving us and asking God to bless the people we know, love, and serve. I was so happy that a member of the community at the time during the Eucharistic Service (Mass) asked the Lord to quickly bring peace to the Middle East.
       After that we went to our dining room and took time to hear about our joys, aches and pains, and future plans. Those conversations continued around wonderful food.
The evening went by quickly,  lots of laughter, good food, great company.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone


Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Very Good Day

  Saturday, November 17-- one of those days I was glad to say I am going to get some much needed R and R. Wet and windy outside.

Dry and cozy inside.
 I am no Superperson, that is for sure, going like so many folks have to do, five to seven days a week, from "It is much too dark in the morning" to I am not too numb to care at night. Working two days a week, eight hours a day as a hospital chaplain like I do would, if she/he made enough to cover home, food, safety, insurance, travel, clothing, and entertainment, would delight a whole lot of folks.
   My salary does not cover the best of what I listed. All I can say is one day as a chaplain puts me emotionally away for another day. Those who know me would say that is because I put my whole self into listening and feeling. 
    I have four positive things to say about my ministry at the hospital.  First, I am very, very pleased to have  a position that requires that I give all that I have to offer emotionally and mentally. Second, I am humbled to be able to support patients and their families during some very hard times. Third, I am so pleased to work in a situation where I feel known, accepted, and cared for. Four, I am so pleased to be a member of a team, the pastoral care team, where I feel affirmed, listened to, and challenged to be a sensitive and compassionate human being.
       So this evening I am so happy... lots of quiet time, some great phone conversations with friends, and  I
 am so grateful that I did not have to hit the asphalt and keep my eyes on the cars in front of me or behind me. I give the folks out there working and shopping and playing and praying all the credit. I am so glad I was not one of them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Wrong Man

       If you have not read John Katzenbach's mystery novel, The Wrong Man, I would strongly recommend you get on the waiting list at the Tacoma Public Library now! This novel had me going through all kind of emotional changes... now putting the book aside because I did not want to experience what would happen in the next few paragraphs, then wanting desperately to say to one of the heroines (I liked  the four women characters in the novel a great deal)  "get moving, get out of there," and every now and then feeling angry and possessive with the villain.
       When I was a boy in short pants in Houston, I used to enjoy playing the villain when my friends and I would go running through the neighborhood doing the sheriff and the robbers thing. As an adult I have spent a lot of time trying to be the loving, rational, loyal African American male.  Katzenbach just grabbed me and put me right inside the arrogant, manipulative, obsessive villain in this one. I am convinced I needed to have his help to look again at the negative, hidden side of myself.  I hope that makes sense.

         Then the author dragged me into the final hard choices that had to be made in this book. And I found myself thinking of the hard choices you and I make daily in our personal, professional, and civic lives.
         I have become a John Katzenbach groupie! He helped me to look at  my vices and my virtues a little more closely and accept myself a little more humbly.
         Try this book. I think you will like it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

South Puget Sound High School Fair

Local public and private high schools with gather on Tuesday, November 6, for the
second annual South Puget Sound High School Fair from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Annie
Wright Schools, 827 North Tacoma Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98403.

Middle school students and their parents are invited to learn about local high school programs.

Representatives from the following schools will be present:

Annie Wright Upper School, Bellarmine Preparatory School, Charles Wright Academy, Federal Way Public Academy, Foss High School, Life Christian Academy, Mount Rainer Lutheran High School, and West Sound Academy

Each school will give a five-minute presentation. 

Attendees will have an opportunity to visit with each of the school representatives to ask questions and learn more.

For more information, directions and registration, go to or call 253.272.2216.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day of the Dead marked with Partner UP event

The University Place-Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the City of University Place brings people in the local business community together each month at a designated business location in what is known as "Partner UP" ("UP" as in University Place).  For the November 1st gathering, New Tacoma Cemeteries and Funeral Home was the host business.  With November 1st being the Day of the Dead it seemed a perfect pairing for the location and the observance.  

Dozens of Chamber business members and other business and civic leaders in University Place including the mayor, several council members, and other city officials came together for conversation, sharing business challenges and successes, exchanging ideas, and enjoying each other's company in the quiet comfortable location, becoming better acquainted.  

Business today is all about relationship-building.  Partner UP is a valuable networking and relationship-building event where there is time for face-to-face communication not simply via text messaging or e-mail as so much of our contact is today.

Pamela Maddess of New Tacoma had special white luminary bags die-cut with a lovely design.  They were made available on a table for the guests to decorate in memory of their loved ones.  She included adhesive stickers with several different sayings such as "In Loving Memory..." and a rainbow of colored pens. Some of the guests were more artistic in their creative expression than others; some simply wrote the name of their loved one as a tribute in their favorite color.

Each guest had an opportunity to create customized luminaria (similar to the way in which the track is lined with luminaria during the Relay for Life).  It was a time for thoughtful reflection about those who have gone on before us, perhaps have made the path better for each of us, and just to take a few moments to remember them, decorate the luminaria in their honor, and when complete white sand was added into the base of each, and a battery-operated votive was placed inside.  

Then the luminaria were displayed outside the entrance to the building along the walkway.  As the sun set, it was simply lovely to see their flickering gentle lights illuminating the pathway.  When guests left for home at the end of the evening, they were invited to take the luminary bag they had created and keep it as a memento of the gathering and the 2012 Day of the Dead.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Little Shop of Horrors performances in Tacoma

Boy Meets Girl. Girl Meets Plant. Plant Eats Girl. Come witness Annie Wright Upper School's rockin' take on the 1960s cult classic, Little Shop of Horrors. The girls will perform two showings: Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3. Both showings are at 7:30 pm at Annie Wright’s Kemper Theater, 827 North Tacoma Avenue, in Tacoma. Tickets can be purchased in advance at

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Holiday Food Drive underway through November 17

The holiday season is fast approaching.  Many families in University Place rely on the generosity of community members to make sure they have something on their tables for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  

Bridgeport Place is the one and only designated drop-off location for donations of non-perishable food items.  A donation bin is located in the lobby near the elevator.  

The Lions Club welcomes donations by check or cash so that they can purchase food items in bulk at the best prices. 

Donations for the Thanksgiving baskets must be received by November 17.  The University Place Lions club calls Bridgeport Place ‘home’ and holds their twice monthly meetings in the Parkside Lounge. 

Bridgeport Place is located at 5250 Bridgeport Way West, in University Place.  Donations can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week from now through November 17.  

To receive a complete list of suggested food items, please call Jaynie Jones at 253.565.1960 or e-mail your request to and a list will be mailed to you or sent to you via e-mail. 

The University Place Lions thank you for your support of their community outreach efforts in University Place and making this possible. If donations of non-perishable food items exceed what is needed for the holiday food baskets all extra items will be donated to the University Place food bank.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day of the Dead Altars at Tacoma Art Museum--and Omiyage

Sunday ( October 21) was a brilliant Autumn day in the Northwest.  I drove in sunlight, watching blue iron storm clouds to the North, a brilliant rainbow at its edge, diving into Commencement Bay; the Foss Bridge for separation, then a phantom rainbow on the East side of those slanted, definitive lines.  These are the kind of days to celebrate skirting the edge of storms, days where the veil is thin, when trees are losing their red and gold leaves to the wind.  On these winds of change, we can feel the caress of our ancestors, feel time passing our mileposts.

My destination, this day, was the Tacoma Art Museum, to see altars made for the Day of the Dead celebration.  If you are not familiar, this is a yearly custom in Mexico, to honour ancestors on November 1 and 2, All Saints Day and All Souls Day, respectively.  Graves are cleaned up, dressed up, and sustenance shared and left, for their loved ones.  It seems a wonderful and loving way to honour lives, and to continue living.  Awonderful collection of altars lined the museum's hallways upstairs, made by those who were invited for the event, including my dear friend and colleague here in the Neighbourhood, Mizu Sugimura.

Mizu is not only a local gem of an artist, but also a champion of truth, with hope for America in her art, and in her essays.  She has taught me so much about the injustice done to Japanese-Americans during WWII, while working through the silent shock waves of her family’s trauma, and her need to speak of them, to honour her loved ones.  This event was perfect for her, picked from the melting pot that makes this country.

A majority of the altars followed the colourful, painted skulls and Madonnas, marigolds and mementos, traditional Dia de los Muertos form, but some put the same love, and honouring, in slightly different presentation.  The simplicity of one dedicated to women, missing in Mexico, photographs speaking volumes, was sad and sacred.  A gilded Weeping Fig stood for one family, coloured-glass ‘jewels’ on some of its leaves, and a canvas below that invited you to write the name of an ancestor you would like to honour.  My hand felt a little shaky, as I wrote my mother’s name there.

I knew Mizu’s altar as soon as I saw it, the colours muted—black, white, grey, with pale, watery blue-greens, except for bright red lips, buttoned, red suns on toy airplane wings, red koi and red stripes on tiny flags.  Silent ghost figures, and that one small suitcase, orders, identifying papers, a miniature sign of Tulle Lake and picture of the camp, all tell the story of Mizu’s family members, chosen for her altar.  Omiyage, is title of this piece.  I asked what it meant.

Mizu:  “I'll explain in shorthand [it] is a specialized obligatory gift that oils and cements relationships outside and even inside family. In this case however, idea of the gift wasn't quite about obligation and in my experience when it returned it isn't either!”

Lorraine: “ How did it feel for you to step back and look at the work as a whole? Did it bring your ancestors close to you, in sustenance, and do you feel the satisfaction of honouring them, by speaking through your art...loudly, proudly, Amercan-ly?”

Mizu:   “Oh YES! In fact I got the impression while I was making pieces for the altar - particularly the little people cutouts, that whatever I was looking for when I originally decided on impulse to take advantage of the opportunity to build one this year at the museum, that I was being answered. While that would sound ordinarily presumptuous, and maybe it still does in some circles, that's how I feel and that is why, when we were asked to give our pieces a title by museum staff, I decided upon the name "OMIYAGE."  It may well be the piece I make that has the shortest life (many of my previous two-dimensional collages are still following me around to this day) right now, it certainly appears to be my favorite and perhaps the most satisfying one I have ever done. The original questions asked about what family, relationships (w/relatives) and whether I wanted to be a member of this particular ethnic-American community if it were, had I a choice have all been addressed. Ditto the question out there over the years, did I belong and did they all accept me, and if they did, why didn't it feel like it was enough? I don't think I'm the only one in the history of the world who’s asked these questions. But I know that we don't always get the answers in one lifetime. In this respect, I feel like I've hit the jackpot.”

On one side of her altar, next to the raven, Mizu put up a copy of a quote she found from a well-known young woman, Taylor Swift:

"I think you deserved to look back on your life without this chorus of resounding voices saying, I could of but it's too late now. So there's a time for silent, and there's a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it. I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now."

Mizu:  “… [This Taylor Swift quote] seemed to apply quite well to the words a younger version of myself might have said, back in the day. And that part of me is the one who was most anxious to have some resolution in regards to the family questions and that is the part of me who was also most anxious to put the whole interchange out there in the public eye at my present age.”

A thin aqua scarf seems both sad and soothing.  It drapes over one corner of the suitcase, as if to bring cooling water to the desert camps, ghosts now, themselves.  Within, at the heart of her altar, lie the personal, family things, a tiny doll’s crib, Bible, an abacus, photos, a candle, and slippers, to name a few.  Her uncle occupies the top, beside the head of Lady Liberty.  Yes, freedom is tenuous—and precious.  We are obliged to bring our best intents—honour, respect, humility and love.  These are palpable in Mizu’s Dia de los Muertos altar.

Art speaks.

Why do we have the need to create, as artists in whatever form?  Because we seek to solve the puzzle of self, the lines we come from, the ancestors we will be.  As we age, we get a little better handle on weaving our ideals with obligations and love.  With this piece, Mizu and her ancestors really do seem to have reached through the veil, to meet and give one another sustenance.

As I left the museum, the sky continued to make an incredible backdrop to this day.  A rolling giant of a cumulus cloud began to eat the afternoon sun, giving me my last pic—this shadow of a wing.  It was, indeed, an auspicious day.  May you flow and fly with your ancestors, and give thanks to your Elders, as my friend, the Liquid Muse, has done.

 All photographs copyright 2012 Lorraine Hart

Friday, October 19, 2012

Lives of Area Bus Drivers In Spotlight During Free Performance

Who says you need cast to see good theater? A grant from 4Culture allows Federal Way Regional Library patrons to enjoy a free live performance by solo performer Stokley Towles to present excerpts from his one-person performance entitled Behind the Wheel: Life on a Metro Bus this Wednesday, October 24, at 6:30 p.m., 34200 1st Way South.

According to King County Library publicity "For more than a decade, solo performer Stokley Towles has been studying us. He examines the mundane aspects of life in Seattle like an anthropologist from another planet. Behind The Wheel is based on interviews with Metro bus drivers and attempts to see the world through their eyes.

One of the driver's Towles talked with is a twenty year veteran driver named Pat who is quoted as saying: "You work inside but you're outside. You're always moving but you sit all day. You deal with hundreds of people but no one knows your name."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spinning A Family Story In A New Key!

A popular saying I grew up with has something to do with whether mature canines can learn a few new tricks. We'll skip my age so I can happily write about the wonderful opportunity Tacoma Art Museum extended to area residents in connection with Dia de Los Muertes!
For those of you with Latin, Mexican or Catholic roots, I wasn't as fortunate. My American-born parents attended Protestant Christian churches in my childhood and so did I. They also didn't feel particularly comfortable in places where they weren't among familiar surroundings and in their element. And my grandparents on both sides of the family immigrated from Japan before World War II. Hence my need for some education in mid-life on a few of the particulars surrounding this empowering celebration of life and death now more often associated with Hispanic cultures.

Above: Handmade felt "buttoned lips" will be part of Mizu Sugimura's Japanese-American take on an altar she's creating at Tacoma Art Museum for their upcoming community celebration of Dia de Los Muertes.

That introduction Tacoma Art Museum personnel were happy to supply on Saturday, September 22, at the award-winning facility along Pacific Avenue. Since then, I have kept my eyes open for little bits of this and that while setting aside a portion of my living room floor to construct a mock-up altar on which to use as a 3-dimensional blackboard on a few passing ideas. More significantly, I feel like I'm getting a glimpse of seeing the pattern of my regular ordinary life unfolding out in a totally different way and the invaluable and truly priceless educational component of it all hasn't cost me more than a dime!

However family members will heave a deep, deep sign of relief when I load what I have into the trunk of my car this Sunday, October 21 and head for the museum with over 24 others who have answered the museum's call for community members to come and build the altars that will grace the third floor during the eighth annual free family-oriented celebration of Dia de Los Muertos at TAM scheduled for Sunday, November 4, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Above: Handmade life preservers represent an artistic riff on traditional shapes of bread. Photo copyright 2012 by Mizu M. Sugimura.

The free community festival will merge music, dance, food, art-making, live performances and an exhibition of sand painting as well as the community altars and celebrate the cycle of life which I've come lately to believe is one of the more deep and meaningful connections we have lost certainly during my own lifetime.

And while I am very much looking forward to launching my ideas of what the time-honored tradition means to mean as a third-generation American of Japanese descent the exercise in creativity I am very happy to report has already paid off.

For those of you who like journaling or know of someone who does, making an altar for Dia de Los Muertes is something like putting a pen, pencil and a handful of art supplies to a pristine blank page. In short, it's very addicting.

Fortunately, more experienced and talented hands than mine will also be at work fashioning the altars you will enjoy at this year's celebration. At the time I attended the offical training in September, several local high schools were in board in additional individuals, families and organizations. And while you'll have to wait until November 4 for the free community celebration, everyday museum goers and their guests may enjoy the finished altars during regular museum days and hours as part of their Fall 2012 TAM experience!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Server's idea of honesty over-the-top

Overheard in a Tacoma area restaurant at lunch this afternoon: our server was talking to the party of 8 at the next table.  At the conclusion of their meal when they inquired about desserts that might be available, she informed them flat-out, bluntly, directly (not jokingly) that ... 

"Our desserts are terrible! They really are. None of them are any good. Even the ice cream is an off-brand and it's horrible. The cheescake is the worst. It tastes like cardboard. I'm just being honest with you.  They're terrible!" 

  • Would you have thanked her?
  • Tipped her generously for her candor?
  • Not tipped her at all for the blistering review of the restaurant's desserts?
  • Applauded her personal integrity? 
  • Reported her to management?

Annie Wright Schools host PNAIS Conference

Friday, October 12, Annie Wright Schools are hosting the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools (PNAIS) day-long conference for 900 educators.  Special shuttle service and parking arrangements have been established; however, there is little doubt that with 900 visitors arriving, traffic itself will be quite congested around the area.  

The Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools will be presenting the conference theme "Risk + Failure = Growth:  Developing the Resilient Learner and Educator".  

Keynote speakers include Kathryn Schulz author of "Being Wrong:  Adventures in the Margin of Error" and Rob Evans, Ed.D. "Helping Parents Face Risk and Foster Resilience" and "Getting to No:  From Congeniality to True Collegiality."

More information on PNAIS is available at  For questions regarding the conference at Annie Wright Schools, please contact Jen Willey, Communications Director, at 253.284.5419. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Is Here

Children, Teenagers, Adults, Seniors... all adjusting to the ups and downs of the weather. And all have the power to choose to accept their gifts now:

And recognize that every day they can move with beauty and graciosness

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Community Garden Project Grows Produce, Community, One Plant At A Time

Above: The Tacoma Narrows Rotary provides integral support at University Place Community Garden. All photos copyright 2012 by Mizu M. Sugimura.

How do you build a community? If Tacoma-Pierce County's two-year old Community Garden Project is any example you can do it with tomato plants. Don't like tomatoes? How about bonding over a bag of bush beans? Chatting up the new neighbors over cauliflower, crisp stalks of collards or by sharing the full bounty of the harvest with wheelbarrows brimming with colorful striped gourds, ripening pumpkins and delectible summer squash?

Over a week prior ago I answered an online blurb at this newspaper that caught my eye that reservations were being taken for a FREE  four-hour bus tour aboard the Art Bus to visit locations along the 2012 Community Garden Harvest Tour on Saturday, September 15!

Above: Each garden as each neighborhood and community has its own individual  personality and charm.Handpainted sign and handpainted rock creatures greet visitors at the beautiful Dometop Community Garden.

Owing to circumstances that will be familiar to many of my fellow residents,  any free entertainment is immediately an engaging offer, one in this case that I couldn't refuse so I immediately made a reservation for two by phone. Pre-event publicity stated that while seats aboard the bus were limited to space on hand residents had the option to choose taking a self-guided tour by car or bicycle.

Above: Keeping an eye on the Galluci Learning Garden at the intersection of South 14th & G Streets, this exotic visitor and non-native species member catches a few more warm summer rays.

Despite my early commitment, it is almost embarassing to share that I almost completely missed taking this delightful tour when not one but two of my more experienced garden-oriented friends had to bail out on the tour due to unexpected commitments, leaving me with no choice but to cancel or go it - gasp, alone. Happily I decided to place myself in the hands of Fate and I'm sooo glad that I did!

First and foremost, had I not I would not have been treated to the warm and generous hospitality offered by gardeners at several locations to those of us who had registered to ride on the Art Bus including a taste of some of this year's crop and coffee, cake and cookies at a garden manned by volunteers at the University Place Community Garden many of whom belong to the Tacoma Narrows Rotary.

Above: Touring the new Lakewood Community Garden.

Secondly, I would not have been able to be impressed by the work gardeners have wrought for example in the Dometop Community Garden here in Tacoma at Rogers Park by not only by transforming an area formerly considered a local eyesore, but banding together and bonding over plants to raise money and a crew of hardworking area residents to replace a much needed playground space after previous equipment dilapidated by wear, tear and neglect was removed by bulldozers from the city as a  neighborhood hazard.

Thirdly, by missing the tour I would not have enjoyed the delightful company of some other thirty-something other area men, women and children some of whom were gardeners directly from the Community Garden programs as well as the bright, refreshing and entertaining commentary by Art Bus "Celebrity Tour Guide for the Day", the veteran newspaperwoman and recently retired TNT staff writer, Kathleen Merryman.

Above: Two handsome and comfortable benches at McCarver School/Zinna Linnik Memorial Community Garden are dedicated in the memory of the school-age Linnik and an older, much loved community garden volunteer. They provide a place for gardeners to briefly rest and or take-in full the fruit of their labors.

In addition to Merryman, bus tour guests were accompanied by the personable Angela Jossy, Art Bus owner,  and Kristen McIvor, coordinator, Tacoma-Pierce County Community Gardens, who were also on hand during to provide additional program information and answer individual questions.

Other community gardens included on the tour were: Swan Creek Community Garden in Salishan, Lakewood Community Garden, , the McCarver School/Zinna Linnik Memorial Community Garden on Hilltop, and Charlotte's Blueberry Farm owned by Metro Parks.

Above: A small slice of just what's growing in the Salishan neighboorhood.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fife Historical Society Is Looking for World War II Memorabilia With Local Connections

World War II memorabilia is being sought by a local museum in connection with an upcoming exhibit on how residents of Fife, WA coped with the war on the homefront and overseas during the 1940's according to a posting on the organization's page September 5, 2012 on the social network Facebook.

Above: In addition to objects and artifacts, the museum displays documents, books and newspaper clippings from Fife's past to inform, educate and entertain visitors and community members of all ages.

The Fife History Museum is located a few miles south of the Pierce-King County line off I-5 at the 54th Street Exit in the northwestern corner of Pierce County. The museum is located directly across the street from Columbia Junior High School and inside the former residence of Louis Dacca, a member of the original Fife City Council, at 2820 54th Avenue East.  It is run and operated by volunteers from the Fife Historical Society, a local non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

Above: Early area residents hailed from several major ethnic communities including Swiss, Italian, Japanese and Scandinavian communities.

The Dacca family home was renovated to serve as a history museum. and was acquired by the City of Fife along with an adjoining parcel in 2000. Its mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, publish and exhibit materials about Fife and ensure that the history of Fife and the surrounding area is accessible and kept alive providing  for present and future generations a valuable record of the various histories of its people.

Above: Early occupations pursued by Fife residents included logging, dairy farming and other forms of agriculture.

Current exhibits include Logging in Western Washington, Cultures of Fife and the Little Fife Schoolhouse.  Museum hours are Wednesday from 12:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. and Friday through Sundays from 12:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

While the mission of a history museum is rooted in the past, society volunteers actively engage modern methods of marketing and communication to assist ardent fans of local history and first-time visitors alike to offer direct and personal access to a rich legacy of history that they share with other members of the greater Fife community.

Follow this link to the website of the Fife Historical Society. For more information on guided museum tours please call Louise Hospenthal at (253) 896-2593.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Washington State Wants You!

Washington State is looking for our help to gather statistics on ticks…by gathering ticks to get statistics on. The state wishes to put together a tick distribution map and check said ticks for infections, such as Lyme.  This is something the Lyme community in Washington has wanted for a long time, excited about the education it will bring.  When my daughter was first showing the symptoms of Lyme, almost fourteen years ago now, we were constantly told by physicians that Lyme did not exist in this state.  Today, you will still be told that Lyme is extremely rare here, most cases coming from out of state, by most physicians you see.  As we searched for another doctor for Anna, the ignorance and panic was palpable in so many who rejected her as a patient.  One doc, hands in the air, said, “I don’t know anything about Lyme’s disease!” (that’s Lyme disease, folks, not Lyme’s!) “I don’t want to learn!”

Residents of Washington are being asked to submit any ticks we find to its tick identification program in Olympia. Use the online tick identification submission form at

If you find a tick, follow these steps:

1. Keep the tick alive, if possible.

2. Use one or two blades of grass, or you can moisten a small piece of tissue paper with one or two drops of water. Place the grass blades or moistened tissue, with the tick, into a small plastic or metal container (an empty pill bottle works well). Close tightly.

3. Put the container holding the tick into a sealed plastic bag. Place the bag into a padded envelope for mailing.  That’s pill container, plastic bag, and padded envelope, around the wee bugger!

4. Provide the location and county where the tick was collected and mail it with your tick to:

WA Tick Identification

Zoonotic Disease Program

P.O. Box 47825

Olympia, WA 98504-7825

If you wish to be notified as to what kind of tick was submitted, provide your telephone number and/or email address.

Getting statistics is so important in this fight…however…should that tick be found after attaching to you, or a loved one, my advice remains the same as it has ever been.  That tick should be packaged and sent to one of the country’s best labs for tick-borne infections, like Igenex, Frye, or Clongen labs.  Your health is the statistic to be most concerned about.