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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Most Memorable Thanksgiving

Years ago when my husband Charles was on dialysis and having so many health-related, life-threatening medical complications, it seemed that we careened along from crisis to crisis.  One of those years he was hospitalized as an in-patient at St. Joseph Hospital following an emergency surgery and was not going to be discharged until sometime after Thanksgiving. 

I arrived home from the hospital late one night just a couple of days before Thanksgiving and there was a phone message from a stranger on our answering machine (we didn’t have voicemail or Caller ID then).  

The young woman and her siblings wanted to come over – right then.  She insisted it was urgent and would only take a few minutes. She wanted me to call back as soon as I arrived home, no matter what time it was. I was both exhausted and hesitant, but she sounded so sweet and upbeat, I returned her call. 

She explained that their family anonymously adopts a family each year for Thanksgiving. She seemed to know that Charles was hospitalized and we were having a difficult time.  She said they could be at our apartment in a matter of minutes and indeed they were.  It was four or five young adults who were all brothers and sisters; this tradition of theirs is something they had grown up doing. 

They arrived in several vehicles and formed a bucket brigade to haul in bag after bag, and box after box of every type of grocery item anyone could ever imagine including a turkey to roast and all of the trimmings to go with it. 

Additionally, they presented me with a wreath for our door as an expression of hope and encouragement that things would get better.  It was so humbling and overwhelming to be on the receiving end of so much love and generosity, I will never forget it. 

They filled our refrigerator, freezer, and pantry so full we didn’t need to buy groceries for months afterward. 

When Charles was able to come home from the hospital the week after Thanksgiving, we had one of the most memorable Thanksgiving celebrations ever. 

We vowed then that in the years ahead when we were able to do so, we would adopt their family’s tradition as our own and bestow those blessings on another family anonymously as they had done for us.

We will never forget Thanksgiving from that year.  

Please know that whether you give a jar of peanut butter to a food bank or a whole shopping cart full of groceries to a family in need, they will always remember it and be grateful that you cared.  Those needs exist daily, not just during the holidays and 'season of giving.'

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween Candy and Pumpkin Donations for UP Seniors

Here is something fun that we, as a community, can do to support our seniors locally.  Activity Director Emily Murer at University Place Care Center has a request for two things:  pumpkins for planned activities for the nursing home patients, and donated bags of wrapped candy for Halloween. 

Emily is seeking "...approximately *50 sugar pumpkins for activities at our intergenerational Halloween party (on the 31st) and perhaps two dozen full-size pumpkins for the residents to decorate/carve in the next couple weeks to decorate the building."  *Happily, they are already halfway to their goal for the sugar pumpkins and some other pumpkins have been brought in.  Special thanks to the donors!  

Donate additional pumpkins for the seniors to enjoy and the bags of wrapped Halloween candy for their big party on Halloween!  

Drop off donations during business hours at University Place Care Center, 5520 Bridgeport Way West, University Place, 98467.  Let's see what we can do to help achieve this goal for the seniors and their grandchildren.  Thank you in advance for your support. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Forum for Intellectually Curious Students

Jen Willey, Communications Director for Annie Wright Schools, has provided the following announcement about the upcoming Forum for Intellectually Curious Students on Sunday, October 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

The Scholar Search Educational Forums are a combination of talks and workshops where parents and students are exposed to and can explore pertinent educational concepts and processes and other topics that tickle the mind. They also offer students and their parents a chance to be engaged with others who have similar interests. These discussions and workshops provide considerable food for thought by people who are experts in their fields.

Annie Wright Schools and ScholarSearch Associates. Other participating organizations include: Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, Northwest Gifted Child Association, University of Washington, Seattle Theater Group, Washington Imagination Network.

Registration is required:

Founded in Tacoma in 1884, Annie Wright Schools are two schools on one campus. Annie Wright Day School serves boys and girls in Preschool through Grade 8, while Annie Wright Upper School offers all-girls day and boarding programs for Grades 9 through 12. Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School. Learn more at

Thursday, August 1, 2013

International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidates at Annie Wright

Annie Wright Schools proudly announce that 100% of their full International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma candidates have been awarded the prestigious IB Diploma. The 100% pass rate of Annie Wright girls exceeds the world average pass rate of 78.54%. Annie Wright girls scored highest in physics, mathematics, business and English. Eight girls earned bi-lingual diplomas.

The IB Diploma recipients come from a range of backgrounds. Manmit Dhami achieved her IB Diploma as a five-day boarding student. Originally from Ferndale, Wash., Manmit heads to the University of Redlands this fall, making her the first member of her traditional Sikh family to attend college. 
Manmit's Family

Three of Manmit’s friends and classmates, Zoe Adberg, Emma Middleton and Inessa Palchikova, also received the IB Diploma. Zoe, a day student from Tacoma, will attend Emory University in the fall. Emma, another five-day boarding student, from Seattle, will attend the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Inessa, an international boarding student from Russia, will attend Boston University School of Management in the fall.

“We are exceptionally proud of our students,” said Head of Schools Christian G. Sullivan, who is a native of the United Kingdom and has worked at schools in the UK and Kenya, as well as on the East Coast. “Successful completion of the IB Diploma Programme means our students are prepared to compete and collaborate according to international standards of achievement, as opposed only to local or national standards. That is 21st century learning at its best.”

Recognized worldwide as the gold standard of education, the IB Diploma Programme aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. The program prepares students for success at university and life beyond.

The IB Diploma Programme was initiated at Annie Wright Upper School in the fall of 2009. All junior- and senior level courses at Annie Wright Upper School are IB courses. More than 50% of Annie Wright Upper School students have opted to participate in the full IB Diploma Programme, which requires comprehensive exams in a range of subjects, in the past three years. 

Annie Wright is currently in the authorization process to offer the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) for boys and girls ages 3-12 and has already begun to integrate the PYP and Middle Years Programme into its curriculum.

Founded in Tacoma in 1884, Annie Wright Schools are two schools on one campus. Annie Wright Day School serves boys and girls in Preschool through Grade 8, while Annie Wright Upper School offers all-girls day and boarding programs for Grades 9 through 12. Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School. Learn more at

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The News Tribune's new online format lacks link to In Your Neighborhood blog

Chihuly glass at The News Tribune
I like the appearance and overall functionality of The News Tribune's new online format. But what concerns me is that the link to our "In Your Neighborhood" blog is absent.  The only blogs I can find listed anywhere on the site are three for various sports teams.  I've clicked on every tab and reviewed every drop-down menu on the site, but have come up blank on finding the "In Your Neighborhood" blog.  So, perhaps I am just writing this to myself at this moment.  I dunno.  I've submitted an inquiry to The News Tribune regarding the matter -- complimenting them on the new design -- but also questioning where our blog has gone.  If we, the contributing writers to the "In Your Neighborhood" blog have been kicked to the cyberspace curb, it would have been nice to have been informed of that.  We have contributed 1,350 blog entries in the years since we were invited to participate by The News Tribune for the launch of the "In Your Neighborhood" blog. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Community Health Fair Today -- Bring the Family

We've got the sunshine we've been hoping for!

Bring the whole family and your friends to the Community Health Fair today, Saturday, June  22, from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. at University Place Care Center, 5520 Bridgeport Way West, in University Place.  Dozens of health and wellness businesses are participating.

The Health Fair is free and everyone is welcome to attend so bring your friends and family.  

Health screenings such as blood pressure checks will be included today, plus take a few minutes to sample seated chair massage, and more.  The Oasis Spa is opening soon inside University Place Care Center and will feature massage therapy, acupuncture, professional nail care, and more for residents and their family members, and for staff members, too.  

Puget Sound Blood Center's Bloodmobile is on-site receiving blood donations.  Plan to donate today!  You could save someone's life.

Parking is free. 

Visit the Facebook page at

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

2013 Community Health Fair on June 22 -- Bring the family

Bring the whole family to the Community Health Fair on Saturday, June  22, from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.  The location is 5520 Bridgeport Way West, in University Place.  

It's an outdoor event that will be held in the large parking lot of University Place Care Center (weather-permitting).  If there is heavy rain, the event will be moved indoors, but "the show will go on" no matter what the weather may bring.  

The health fair is free and everyone is welcome to attend so bring the whole family.  

Have your blood pressure checked and gather information from every imaginable aspect of health, e.g. spa services, massage therapy, hypnotherapy, the latest in eyewear, and much more.  

Puget Sound Blood Center's Bloodmobile will be on-site receiving blood donations.  Plan to donate while you're there.

Parking is free, too. 

Bring the family!  

For more information or for any questions, please call 253.566.7166and ask for Chris, Jeanne or Sheila.  Visit the Facebook page at

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Worldwide Lyme Protest, May 2013

Photo by Dale Goodvin.

Where have I been? Clouds dance across the Sound and I wonder, where indeed? We’re still in the Aerie above Joe’s Bay in Home, holding up our little patch of sky, standing firm on the land we pay to take care of, “watchin’ the tide roll in…just to watch it roll away again,” as one of my personal top-ten songs of life testifies. I really don’t know how sane I would be at this point, if not for Mama Nature’s kinetic art, movement that so soothes me. Seems normal is a very movable fulcrum, on this little ball that wobbles through space. You don’t go looking for a cause…a cause slaps you, upside the head, as I’ve said in this space before.

My family is in our fifteenth year of a journey with my daughter’s Lyme disease, complicated by co-infections…and a deplorable set of guidelines that perpetuate abuse in our medical system. At first we felt so alone, trying to understand tick-borne infections within a firestorm of political, “yes it is—no it isn’t,” and definitely not understanding why we were told Anna was “cured” of Lyme by a short course of antibiotics, told that it was all in our heads when it was so obviously an ongoing infection, the symptoms of which began to fill more and more pages with each passing year. Slowly we began to meet other patients, families, advocates, and activists. Anna has been interviewed in print and on the radio, as have so many patients (even famous ones like singer Daryl Hall) trying to get the word out about chronic Lyme and the Infectious Disease Society of America’s chronic denial of this very real and growing problem.

Then Connecticut State Attorney General Blumenthal, now a Senator, felt there was enough evidence to move forward with a criminal investigation into the panel that made, and profited from, the Lyme Guidelines. We kept telling anyone who would listen, but a last-minute deal was reached, wherein the panel would review their guidelines. We held our breaths…but the new panel slapped the old ones on the back, and kept the exact same devastating misinformation as fact. Head of the original panel, Dr. Gary Wormser, actually used the term “Lyme-nuts” when speaking of the suffering patients he was supposed to help.

Anna has had a new primary since last July, when Medicaid required doctors to sign contracts with them, in order to pay for treatment, and her Lyme doctor refused.  He had taken her on as primary care physician six years before, promising to see her through her illness.  The change in rules made it easy for him to break his promise to Anna.  Being let go as his patient turned out to be a blessing in disguise though, as this doctor had lost interest in her, and other complicated patients who weren’t responding to basic ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) antibiotic protocol and Naturopathic supplements. He had left ILADS and now seemed more concerned about moving his practice and home to an upscale Seattle neighbourhood. He added “Shaman” to his Medical Degree (after what amounts to two months of weekend ‘study’ at over two years) and began charging some $600 to make patients lie on the floor, listening to a CD of drumming, while he “retrieves parts of their broken souls,” as it says in his clinic’s literature.


I worked with a Native American Shaman for seven years, was taught Honour, Respect, Humility, and Love… how to recognize scat when I see it, and name it. Patients looking for doctors would do well to visit before making appointments. Problem was, Anna was now bounced to the side of the fulcrum that takes her Medicaid insurance, but full of doctors who have been trained to ignore Lyme. Many refused her because of her chronic illness, and the doctor who did take her states categorically that he is “not interested in learning about Lyme.” Every appointment, for nearly a year now, has been a carousel of ‘first-visit hell’ while the DVD of “Under Our Skin” we gave him sits unopened in his office. He treats her like a drug-seeker when, for six solid months, she had to keep correcting him on her narcotics prescriptions…DOUBLE the amount, on one prescription! When mistakes are made, his office is unreachable, until I ask to speak to the Clinic Manager. Dr. Useless has a pamphlet which states, “I treat patients like family!” Well, I wouldnae want to be in your family, Jocko, as they say in Glasgow!

But there is a difference, here in 2013, from 1998.

Photo by Paul Mall.

Even Dr. Useless keeps Anna on a maintenance dose of IV antibiotics. Slowly, chronic patients, and those who advocate for them, are making some sense to mainstream doctors, albeit precious little. George W. Bush was treated with antibiotics, over the whole last year of his presidency and, when the word got out, common sense trickled just a little from the mountain-top, seemingly. It is not enough…but it is a change I can report to you, here in year fifteen.

Paul Mall, taking part in the Lyme "Die-In"
For a few years now, I’ve been taking action in May by standing at the intersection of SR302 in Purdy with a sign that says, “Lyme Lives Here!” and have been heartened by the waves, honks and best of all, those who stop to ask me what Lyme is. 2013 was different. This year, Lyme patients, families, friends, advocates, and activists from thirty countries around the world (Australia, UK, Romania, Canada, and the USA, to name just a few) banded together for a two-day protest, May 10th and 11th, a Friday and Saturday. Social media like Facebook and Youtube exploded with events, sites for posters, support and just about everything else. Story after story, after story, after story came up, refuting the IDSA Guidelines that denied chronic Lyme.

This year Anna, with more of our family and friends, joined me on the Saturday, at my usual stand in Purdy. We made posters, and tied green ribbons around the posts in front of us. We had a tremendous response from hundreds of good folks. In our hearts, we felt the closeness of every person around the world, standing for the truth at the same time. We couldn’t help but also feel the pain inside the Lyme community, finally reaching numbers that can gather strength for an audible shout. Even though I wrote to every major news station, we were not enough bodies to deserve a story. You get used to the duality, living with Lyme. Let me say here, we’re indebted to Cas Slater and the Key Peninsula News, for her ‘where are they now’ follow-up interview with Anna this year, helping us to get the word out about our worldwide protest.

The State of Washington represented!  Photo by Dale Goodvin.

Anna has been wiped-out, ever since—me too! Think I’ve aged thirty years, inside this fifteen. Still, we managed to get information into doctors’ offices, pharmacies, and online throughout the month. Saturday, May 25th saw a larger than usual number, rallying for a March to the White House, in Washington DC. If it was not covered well by the mainstream news, it was ALL over that beautiful world wide web! If you only knew what this cost patients to do, physically and financially, after so many have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, trying to achieve some quality of life, trying to get help with research and healing. Other side of the coin is how this push has fed the spirit of Lyme patients who are having a hard time holding onto hope, while personal worlds crash and burn. Sixty percent of personal bankruptcies are because of medical debt in this country.

Lyme is not going away any time soon. There are quite a number of deadly tick-borne infections present in Washington State actually, like Bartonella, and Babesia. It is a myth that ONLY the black-legged deer tick, riding on white-tail deer, carry these infections. It is fact that Lyme can be passed in-utero. It is a fact that Northern California is endemic for Lyme, and that birds carry ticks on their coastal migrations, north and south. This month some very interesting facts have come to light, about some less-than-transparent dealings between people at the CDC and the IDSA Lyme-Guideline Panel members, in Pulitzer-worthy articles by Mary Beth Pfieffer, for The Poughkeepsie Journal.

Look to the bottom of the front page for all the Lyme-related articles. There’s a big tick…ewww! And below is a link to the article from Kris Newby, who made the request for emails from the CDC, through the Freedom of Information Act. It’s not supposed to take over five years to have a FOIA request filled. It’s supposed to take no longer than thirty days. A cover-up is no longer speculation.

Yesterday was the last day of May, Lyme-Awareness Month. It was an incredible thirty-one days of advocacy and activism. Clouds still dance across the Sound, on their way to the mountains of Washington, and we look to our next steps. Medicaid is moving Anna to a different system, where we have some hope in clinics that say they are used to having chronic patients, and will spend time listening to them. We’re going to try and get Anna to a good Lyme specialist in Northern California, and hope for more help. Around the world, patients with tick-borne infections hope for help. Those of us who love these patients, and have witnessed their private anguish, ask you to join us in the fight to see them cared for with respect and compassion. The IDSA Lyme Guidelines would be a joke at this point—if they were not still so damn deadly.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

College Fair for Seattle-Tacoma

Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Rice University, and the University of Chicago will present an information session to families from the greater Seattle-Tacoma area on Wednesday, May 8, at 7:30 pm at Annie Wright Schools’ Kemper Center.

These five universities, all highly selective and providing broad-based education in social science, humanities, mathematics and science, reach out to seek not only academically strong students, but also a class of dynamic students that represents diversity in every way.

The event will open in the Kemper Theatre with a one-hour presentation that will include a brief overview of each institution as well as information on admissions and financial aid. A 30-minute college fair, which will offer students and families the opportunity to speak informally with admissions representatives, will follow in the adjacent gym.

Although the information shared will primarily cater to high school families potentially interested in applying to these schools, the event is open to everyone. 

Registration and early arrival are strongly recommended for this popular event, as space is limited. 

Further information and a registration link are available at or by contacting Jen Willey, Communications Director, at 253.284.5419.  Learn more at

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

JBLM Community Listening Session

The South Puget Sound online newspaper published a press release last Wednesday announcing a Community Listening Session with top military officials the following morning at Eagles Pride Golf Course (just off I-5 at Exit 116 for Mounts Road).

Happily, my new work schedule allowed me to be nimble enough to attend on such short notice.  Another press release appeared in The Suburban Times at 4 a.m. on the day of the event.  It included phone numbers to RSVP plans to attend.  One was an 'after hours' number.  I called at 6 a.m. and reached Maj. Arnold.  I was concerned I might have awakened him by calling so early.  It turns out he was in the midst of PT.  Despite that he was happy to take my name and contact information to add me to the list of those planning to attend the event, which will be the first of several.  I made a point of meeting him at the event.

The purpose of the gathering was to allow local business leaders and community members representing civic groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, and an array of local government officials to bring their questions to the top brass regarding mandated budget cuts that will result in the draw-down of active duty Army troops.  (Air Force personnel are not affected by this)  However, nationwide the numbers will be decreased from 570,000 to 490,000 between now and 2017.  The impact to local businesses as it relates to the economy, housing, and health care were among the concerns.  Approximately 125 people were on-hand to listen to Lt. Gen. Brown (on the right in the picture below) and then the question and answer session with the public in attendance.  Here is a link to 5 minutes, 23 seconds of video from the General's presentation:

Interesting facts included:

  • 70% of all active duty military and their families live off-post in the local communities
  • Stryker Brigade alone represents $231 Million in salaries
  • 5,000 soldiers from JBLM are currently in Afghanistan
  • Highest number of troops affected at JBLM by draw-down will be 8,000 and this represents 12,000-15,000 including their families
  • 4 Brigades have been in Europe, but this has been reduced already to just 2 (1 in Italy & 1 in Germany
  • JBLM is home to 52 C-17 aircraft
  • Madigan is the "crown jewel" in the Defense Health Agency.
  • Madigan trains 300 physicians each year and is "the farm system for future doctors."
Virgil Clarkson, the Mayor of Lacey, expressed concern that the "medical component" of services in this area might be cut-back, but was answered with "not significantly."  The Defense Health Agency regards Madigan as the "premier military medical center west of the Mississippi."

Connie Ladenburg inquired about whether or not the National Guard and Reserves would be affected by the draw-down, but the answer was that the numbers pertain to active duty troops only.

Bob Levin of the City of Tacoma asked whether some of the cut-backs will be from attrition and that was affirmative.

Another matter that was explained was that of some 500 current Lt. Col. positions, 100 will be asked to retired after having been "looked at twice for possible promotion."

One audience member joked that the troop draw-down "could be as simple as moving a Stryker Brigade to the Korean Peninsula."

When Don Anderson of the City of Lakewood inquired about "encroachment" he was referring to how close civilians live to the perimeter of JBLM.  It was explained that in many areas there is a larger buffer of some 5-10 acres established when a base is first set up to ensure that there is less "encroachment" and fewer noise-related issues and concerns.  However, Fort Lewis "is the only base in the world, which was established in the early 1900s where citizens gave money and land" for its establishment.  Over the years the local residential communities have grown up around it. Prairie grass preservation is just one of the concerns the military is mindful of environmentally.

There is a Facebook page where noise complaints and other concerns can be registered.  Here is the link to that page: and it is maintained by David G. Johnson, Director, Public Affairs.  He added that it is their intention and mandate to "ensure feedback gets back to the decision-makers."  Interestingly, JBLM is interested in purchasing or leasing land from areas adjacent to the base to "introduce habitat."  Letters from community leaders and other citizens are welcome input, as well.

The Washington State Fish & Wildlife Department work closely with the Department of Defense to protect rare or endangered species such as these (thanks to The News Tribune):  
 • The streaked horned lark, a ground-nesting bird also sometimes found near South Sound airport runways.
 • The Mazama, or Western pocket gopher, which leaves crescent-shaped mounds of soil in its wake.
 • The Mardon skipper, a little, brown, spring butterfly.
 • The Taylor’s or whulge checkerspot, a showy, multicolored butterfly that also emerges in spring.

Read more here:

(Photo left:  Charles Jones, resident of Tacoma, and Cindy McKitrick, President of the Steilacoom Chamber of Commerce)

I was on-hand to represent Soundcare, Inc., a local corporation that owns and operates four health care facilities in the South Sound region including Nisqually Valley Care Center, in McKenna, nearby to JBLM.  I asked about how to facilitate serving more wounded soldiers in their rehab at Nisqually Valley Care Center.  Tri-Care has transitioned to Tri-West and Tri-West is transitioning to United Health Care.  A lot of changes, but officials ensured that those rehab services are going to be made available to soldiers and other veterans.  Col Dallas W. Homas, Hospital Commander, and David Johnson, Director, Public Affairs each gave their assurance.

Rick Hansen, Mayor of Puyallup, inquired about government contracts here in the State of Washington.  We were told that Washington ranks 17th to 20th for the number of government contracts.  The Sequestration $80 Billion budget cuts are separate from the reduction in force cuts, but the "ability to use local contractors will be decreasing" as a result.  Construction work, for example, from 2016-2019 will be reduced.

Javier Figueroa, City Councilman from the City of University Place, wanted to know more about the reduction in force and how it may affect those who desire to re-enlist.  Often they will not be allowed to re-enlist, but in most cases will be made aware of that at least a year ahead of their separation from the military.

(Photo:  Linda Smith, President & CEO of the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce)

Presidents & CEOs of at least three Chambers of Commerce attended and participated in the Listening Event including Tom Pierson, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Linda Smith, Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, and Cindy McKitrick, Steilacoom Chamber of Commerce  

Dave Winslow, Mayor of Sumner, was concerned about the impact on local housing.  The explanation of how city-by-city those numbers would play out was difficult to anticipate.

Mary, the Director of the Washington State Government Affairs education programs spoke about helping soldiers transition back into civilian life through job training, other education programs, Job Fairs, the Army Career Alumni Program, Soldier for Life program, VA employment services, need for college money, and unemployment compensation.  After serving in the military students with that background are "mature, disciplined, creative, agile, and are skilled at solving complex problems."  All of that translates for military members to enter 6-month apprenticeships before the soldiers even get out of the military.  Careers available include pipefitters who will be hired in Japan immediately, or HVAC system apprenticeships have also just started.  Currently, the Upward Bound program is not available in Washington, but work is being done on making that available to military personnel.  It is a program that accelerates studies. has begun what they call "Amazon Warriors" and give hiring preference to veterans.  A Marine is in charge of that program for Amazon.  Here's an article from the Puget Sound Business Journal regarding the program:

Senators Cantwell and Murray have done a lot to ensure that more engineering jobs are going to a higher percentage of veterans.  The central point of contact -- again -- is through the Facebook page given above.  

The GI Bill is still in effect.

It is important for businesses to come to events and have a booth with information about employment opportunities and to advertise training that is available with their companies.

For soldiers dealing with PTSD there are new ways to reach out for help.  It's called "Virtual Resiliency" and is a website that offers financial assistance, chaplaincy services, PT, a website kiosk and easily visible, easy to find information, e.g. a 24/7 suicide hotline number, and for people who are more comfortable texting rather than talking there is now 24/7 chat available as an alternative to the toll-free phone number for suicide prevention.

Others who attended and presented some tough questions to Lt. Gen. Brown and other military officials included Kevin Phelps of Pierce County regarding OEA services, Rick Ritz (USAF) from the City of Orting regarding discretionary income and bomb squad bonuses; Ken Swarner, newspaper publisher, regarding overseas duties; Mayor Hardy of the City of Yelm, Bob Young of the City of Olympia; Dan Penrose of the South Sound Environmental Board, and others.
(Photo:  Eagles Pride Golf Course)

Day By Day

Grey days, sunshining days... cold, warm, getting warmer--- so many changes. And what keeps so many of us going...

Need for food and shelter and security...

Desire to support family and have others see us as responsible and successful

Wanting to be surrounded by positive human beings who accept us

Focused on helping others to be successful and happy

Enjoying sharing love and life in the moment


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Holocaust Conference for High School Students

For the first time, Pacific Lutheran University’s Annual Powell-Heller Conference for Holocaust Education will offer a program designed specifically for high school students. The conference, now in its sixth year, will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, March 13, through Friday, March 15. The high school program will take place on Friday.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Empowerment,” and the goal is to give educators, students and members of the community a way to use the lessons of the Holocaust to empower themselves and others. The high school curriculum, designed by Annie Wright history teacher Bridgette McGoldrick and Charles Wright history teacher Nick Coddington, addresses issues such as identifying injustices and taking personal responsibility, and uses resources developed by the Jewish Partisan Education Foundation. 

The program includes breakout sessions on defiance and empowerment, a talk with Holocaust survivor Suzie Sherman, and a campus tour and discussion of the college process.

“Our aim is to provide students with an opportunity to grapple with ideas about this topic that both complement and contradict their own personal worldviews,” said McGoldrick. “They will hopefully leave with a better understanding of the Holocaust, not only as an important historical event, but also as a part of the unfolding narrative of world history in the 21st century context. Experiences like these, outside the classroom, ultimately provide history students with a better sense of how they can be active agents of change in their communities and the world.”

The entire senior class at Annie Wright Upper School will attend the conference, which is free for all high school students. Parts of the conference will also be streamed live on the PLU website and Facebook page. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Travel Talk at Annie Wright

Annie Wright Schools host a monthly World Affairs Council Tacoma "Travel Talk" featuring international scholar/travelers and countries around the world.

World Affairs Council Tacoma "Travel Talks" are free and open to everyone in the community. The events take place in the Great Hall at Annie Wright Schools, 827 North Tacoma Avenue, Tacoma, WA, 98403.  The next one is:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Harps and Harpists Around the World:  A Musical Journey

The World Affairs Council Tacoma (WACT) is an organization devoted to promoting activities that enhance public awareness and interest of international, cultural, economic and political issues.

For more information, visit

Founded in Tacoma in 1884, Annie Wright Schools are two schools on one campus. Annie Wright Day School serves boys and girls in Preschool through Grade 8, while Annie Wright Upper School offers all-girls day and boarding programs for Grades 9 through 12. Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School. Learn more at

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Loving Service

The teenage daughter of one of the women chaplains responded to her mother's story about the loneliness one of the patient was going through by asking her mother to give the patient her favorite stuffed bear, and



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Free documentary movie screening at the Grand Cinema

Jen Willey from Annie Wright Schools asked me to share details about an upcoming free screening of the documentary Ikkatsu: The Roadless Coast, at the Grand Cinema on Wednesday, February 20, at 7:00 pm.  This is a great opportunity for students and the public.

Ikkatsu documents the journey of three professional kayakers as they survey the debris on the Washington coastline from the Japanese tsunamis of 2011. 

Tickets are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis on the night of the film. 

A question-and-answer session with the producers will follow.

The documentary is part of the Ikkatsu Project, dedicated to exploration, education and advocacy in the service of the ocean. The kayakers, Ken Campbell, Jason Goldstein and Steve Weileman, traveled with a team of scientists to the Olympic Peninsula in the summer of 2012 to explore wild shoreline to bring back data. 

An estimated 1.5 million tons of debris washed into the Pacific as the waters receded from the tsunamis.

Annie Wright teachers David Gardner and John Hunt collaborated with Campbell to create an experiential, cross-curricular study for Annie Wright Middle School students. The program launched with a screening of the film at school and moves on to incorporate almost all areas of the curriculum for sixth graders, including a field study this spring in which they travel to the Olympic Peninsula to survey and catalogue debris.

"Not only does the study of ocean currents and the way that marine debris is distributed provide students with a greater understanding of the way their planet works, but also it illustrates the central truth of oceans: we are all connected,” said Campbell, who will be traveling with the students. “The vast expanse of the ocean isn't something that separates us; it is what joins us together."

The project will tie in directly with nearly all of the sixth graders’ core subjects. Students will use their analysis of data for both statistical studies in math and for their science fair projects on the Earth’s water supply. Students will also read a novel with a thematic connection to their journey in English and learn about Japanese history and culture in World Studies.

"When this experience comes to an end for these students, it is my hope that, for some of them, it is not the end at all, but rather the beginning,” said Campbell. “This will be a special opportunity for each of them to learn about their planet, their society and themselves.”

The first art show

If there were a book for aspiring traveling artists, one of the first things in the book would be… to find opportunities to show work. Having saved references to shows for a few years, ever so slowly an index of places that provided good information started to reveal itself. There are a lot of places and a lot of events during some times of the year. Most well established events require applying many months in advance. Sometimes, there is the luck of circumstance. Some experienced fair gipsies use this kind of thing to their advantage. But a newbie can dive into this pool and suffer death by a thousand places to look, or worse, go through this process and then suffer death by going to the wrong kind of events.

There are a lot of reasons finding suitable events is a challenge. Some events don’t have a very large attendance, some are intended for $3 to $5 dollar and other inexpensive items. If you are at one of these selling something for $10 or more, you probably won’t have a great show.

Some great places to look for events include what you’ll find at the following links. Note that some of these sites require membership.

Don’t limit yourself to the search locations noted above but they display only some of the shows in the area. Some of the best shows are shared by word of mouth.

I remember reading about an event at Auburn’s Emerald Downs Race Track and thought: “Wow, a Holiday crafts festival at a race track. There will be 100 vendors. Sounds like a good prospect.” So I made the booking and the 10’x10’ space I rented for the event was about $155 for a 3 day show. It included electricity. I should have opted for a corner booth for a few dollars extra, but declined it. That was a mistake as I found out at the show that corner booths are nearly always a better choice because you can display more stuff and most importantly more people can see your stuff if they can see it from two sides. Oopse for me.

It turned out to be a good work out for a first venue. I arrived and found it was impossible to use their loading dock. First there were dozens and dozens of other vendors waiting to use it, and next, it had a stairway, which rendered my cart named the “Shlepper” completely useless. And more to the point, would mean I’d have to lift hundreds of lbs. of boxes and other things. No thanks. So, I parked near the front of the building, and started to load my stuff into the building through a side door, along with about many others.

It was supreme chaos.

Not only was the loading area not well designed for this many people to be using at the same time, it was horribly designed for volume use in general and everyone had to take turns loading a few at a time into 1 freight elevator for a ride to the 3rd floor. There a few people and their full carts would unload, then more people with their empty carts would load, and the elevator would descend back to the loading dock are where the doors opened open in front of many more people with full carts.

Despite this tortured process, and to my amazement, most were in good spirits. I’m not sure exactly why but perhaps just bowing to the absurdity of so many people confronting common obstacles had something to do with it. Or maybe it was the group of Sisters who were amongst the rest of us as the Nuns too were setting up a display booth. It is amazing how a group of people of faith can bring an end to so many typical comments made by people who are busy pinching fingers and legs on things and running into bigger things, while everyone was trying to do something between cooperating and competing with each other to get their stuff to their area so they could setup their booth.

On a personal note, many of the randomly acquired boxes for my art works would not fit through the doors because the boxes were too wide. Some of my art was too tall to fit through the doors when using the Schlepper. This meant I got to load the Shlepper, move it a distance, then unload it and hand carry stuff through the doors and stack everything up against a wall. After that I’d reverse the process to reload the Shlepper. It added a lot of work to the day. The ultimate instance of this ritual in moving was when I found my Pro Panels would not fit through the doors. And this was only one of the many nuanced details that were part of a nearly 10 hours it took to get the booth setup. It was a very good work out.

Solving puzzles is a part of doing these kinds of shows. As I’ve learned, so is waking up at 3 in the morning with some kind solution to a problem.

The day after load-in was a Friday and that was the day the show opened to the public. I returned to the facility about 2 hours before the show’s official start, so that I could finish setup and generally be nervous. During the drive in I snacked on about a dozen Tums to try and soothe my acid stomach. It didn’t entirely work.

Once I got to the show and fussed in the booth for a bit, I took the opportunity to distract myself and look at nearby booths. That let me settle into a nice sort of apprehension.

One of the first booths I noticed was another photographer at the show, and who had a beautifully done 10x20 display. His works were presented like something you’d see at Cabela’s. As soon as I saw the display, I realized I too needed a bigger booth space. My panoramic works are up to about 6 feet long and you can really only get a few of those into a 10x10 booth. The next thing I noticed was that there were a lot of people selling very inexpensive things such as holiday ornaments, baby clothing, candles, beads, and so on. There were some selling more expensive items ranging from various art objects, to trip planning to beauty aids and services, to fine jewelry. The event participants offered a wide variety of items.

I returned to my booth to find some neighbor vendors looking at my work and I started to talk with them about the work and about the show and shows in general. It’s actually a lot of fun to talk with random people about art and other stuff. I asked a lot of questions of my neighbors and received some really great feedback on a wide variety of topics. Things like never eat in the booth as most visitors are too polite to interrupt so they walk past the booth. This can cost a sale or more. Things like - it is good to have pricing prominently displayed, so no one has to ask. Things like it’s not great to offer a lot of hand-outs, because most end up in the trash or forgotten in one of the bags that people hand out. Things like: It is good to make what you hand out unique. I regret that I was too busy to take more notes.

Time marched on and the event transitioned from being there early into a trickle of people walking past and many detouring into my booth to look at my works and talk. Over the course of the event I talked with what seemed like several hundred people and the pace was mostly non-stop, so not enough got written down.
Other vendors said they felt that the event was not very well visited. I later learned from the organizers that about a thousand showed up over 3 days. While that is a poor turnout, for me it was ideal and I got to start to learn about the nature of my potential customers. My work received lots and lots of positive feedback. I sold a few works and also received some excellent recommendations on other places to show.
Getting out of the building was nearly as much chaos as was getting in, except that it took place right after the event ended, and nearly everyone was tired. My partner Jan helped all day Saturday and Sunday, and she also helped pack the exhibit back into the trailer. Due to her help, the load out time was about 3 hours. Of course, it was night time and raining while loading stuff back into the trailer. To add to the fun of this, my SUV decided to blow a fuse when the trailer’s interior lights were left on for more than a minute. Loading a trailer in the dark, what joy!
Once back home, I wrote down a bunch of notes and reviewed what I wrote while at the show and planned a number of changes. The first was to bring a flashlight with replacement batteries for the trailer! I also had to find out why the SUV was blowing a fuse when the trailer lights were on. In addition I made some changes to how some things were presented, by adding a table and some smaller print bins. I also thought to change how nearly everything was packaged, but didn't get around to doing this for several more shows. I also looked into what was needed to expand my display area to fit a 10x20 space. Not too much was needed for that, as it turned out.

It was a great first event. After months and months of work, and lot of Tums, I was happy to see the event complete with few problems. In fact, the only negative other than the car’s blown fuses, was that some of my smaller print bin works disappeared at the show. Hmmmm.

Next time, event #2 and what happens when a newbie gets to sell to a crowd.

PS: I will be at the Seattle Home Show, held at Century Link Field Event Center between February 16 and 24. You can find my exhibit in the Marketplace section in booths 5019 and 5020. Look for Justan Elk or look at my web site, which is . For information on the show see

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

University Place Proclamation Honors Sandy Nelson

University Place Mayor Ken Grassi (left) and Sandy Nelson (right)

The City of University Place honored Sandra E. “Sandy” Nelson, Executive Director, Bridgeport Place Retirement and Assisted Living with a Proclamation in recognition of her community leadership and contribution to the quality of life for seniors in University Place – not just those who call Bridgeport Place home – but in the broader local community with her leadership and support of events and activities organized by the University Place Senior Activity Center.  
The "Saturday Senior Soup-tacular" is an example of her community outreach.  
After the operating budget for the UP Senior Center was slashed to only a fraction of what it had been in the past, she came up with the idea of sponsoring a free lunch for seniors on the third Saturday of every month. It has become a popular social event and those who attend say they "wouldn't miss it."
When Mayor Ken Grassi read the Proclamation before the council and citizens last Monday evening, Sandy Nelson spoke briefly and attributed her success to the management team she leads at Bridgeport Place.
Sandy Nelson was named 2012 Administrator of the Year by the Washington State Association of Activity Professionals.  Bridgeport Place (under her leadership) achieved 100% occupancy for the first time ever during 2012. 
Nelson was nominated for the Administrator of the Year award by her management team.  She is beloved by her staff and senior residents.  She is a homeowner and resides in University Place within a mile of the senior living community she serves.
In celebration of the Proclamation, she and her management team from Bridgeport Place gathered at El Toro, in University Place, to mark the occasion.
When she had first learned of the pending Proclamation to honor her, she had quipped, “What next?  A street named after me?!?”  Members of the management team surprised her with their own tribute. They presented her with a customized street sign reading “Sandy Nelson Blvd”.  The sign was created by Judi and DJ Brown, owners of Getting Personal Imprinting.  They are endlessly creative.  If you ever need a trophy or some other type of award (even a custom street sign) they can do it for you in no time.

2013 US Junior National Champion is Clare Jeong

Clare Jeong (front row, far right)

A quick update on Clare Jeong, an amazing student athlete from Annie Wright: 

Over the weekend, Clare became the US Junior National Champion at the US Junior National Championship speed skating race in Roseville, MN

Clare has won two National Championships in her age groups before, but this one is the biggest—for the entire Junior (18 years and under) age group. This has been her dream and by far the biggest achievement in her speed skating career. 

It was a closely matched race. 

Clare competed in four events:  500m, 1000m 1500m, and 3000m. Her times from each event were calculated based on a standardized score. She became the champion by a 0.055 second win over the skater who placed second.  By doing so, she qualified and will lead the US Junior world team to compete in Italy in February 22-24. Wishing Clare continued good health and success!

As an all around champion, Clare will compete in all four events, plus the Team Pursuit and Mass Start.