Friday, December 11, 2009

Recycled Wrapping

I love White Elephant parties, and I'm so excited to be attending one tonight. Our instructions were to wrap our present, but not in holiday paper as this was not a Christmas party. A White Elephant present is a wonderful way of recycling (or re-gifting) unwanted presents, and I thought the wrapping should follow the recycling theme. So here's my idea on recycled wrapping paper:
For my present I taped a page from a coloring book on the sliding glass door (my answer to a light table), taped the paper over top, and outlined with a sharpie pen. Then I wrapped the present, used some old unwanted yarn to crochet a ribbon, and tied it around a box of crayons that was part of a promotional hand out I got this summer.
For Paul's present I used the same ironed out craft paper, and attached some unwanted practice pieces (leftover from my attempt to learn how to crochet flowers) to the chain ribbon I crocheted, and ta-da!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A day to remember

Yesterday Heather and I joined hundreds if not thousands of citizens to line South Tacoma Way to pay our respects as the bodies of the four slain Lakewood police officers were driven to the Tacoma Dome for their memorial service. We stood for over three hours before reluctantly we had to leave, and the processional went on for another hour after we left. So much to take in -- the numerous police agencies from California, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Minnesota to name a few. There were representatives from the Indian Nations of Puyallup, Menominee (Wisconsin), and Tulalip. The DEA, Department of Corrections, US Customs, and Homeland Security along with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

It was a sad day, knowing that four families had to formally, and publicly say goodbye to their loved ones. It was a proud day to see how the community rallied behind the police. It was a humbling day to see the national and international support of the four fallen officers, their families and fellow police officers. And it was an experience I hope to never again witness.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Craft Fairs and Fundraisers

Today I went to the Tidefest in Gig Harbor, a fundraiser for their high school. Several people I know had booths at the event, so it was fun visiting with them as I did a bit of Christmas shopping. As always, my tour started with my friend Charan, but it was nice to see Mark Hudak, Dan Barnett, Ron Carson, and Susan Thompson -- potters all. There was a wonderful mix of painters, sculptors, woodworking, textiles, and crafts.
Afterwards I went to Bridgefest, a yearly event for the N. 21st Street Business District. Sonja added a fundraiser and silent auction with all proceeds going to the families of the four Lakewood police officers who were killed in an ambush last week. I had fun purchasing some chocolates and buying a T-shirt. KIRO TV was there interviewing Sonja, and unbeknownst to me took footage of me selecting chocolates which was aired on the 5:00 o'clock news. Ooh! I'm famous!
Lucky for me I ran into Rick and Heather at Sonja's so I had good company as I looked through the shops. Then we stopped at Upper Crust where I ordered some lunch to bring back to Paul. Rick and Heather split the special of the day: Chicken and Dumpling Soup -- all you could eat! Of course we couldn't pass up sampling their wine flight while we were there. What a fun way to spend the day.

Busy Day

Thursday I drove my mom to the airport to see my nephew Billy and his wife Sarah off on their new adventure -- a three year contract with Boeing in Hungary! I marvelled at Sarah's cool as she negotiated with the counter agents who seemed bent on keeping their pets from making the trip. Luckily all was settled in the end, and Billy, Sarah, and their two dogs and two cats are now happily settled in Hungary.

Then I dropped my mom off in Puyallup, drove into Tacoma, and off I went with my friend Jennevieve to Seattle. Jennevieve had a meeting with a private school to learn about a art project for an upcoming fundraiser. If her bid is selected she's offered to hire me as a contractor on the job (wow!). Anyway, we spent the afternoon collecting information on the project, and doing a walkaround, taking pictures of the project space. Wish us good luck!

Wheat Meat

My friend Brenda and her husband Brian are vegans, and she invited me over one day to learn how to make Seitan (or wheat meat as it's commonly called). I was happy to accept even though I'm not a vegan. I am also not a big meat eater so I enjoy finding meat subsitutes whenever I can. It was a very interesting process: wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, all sorts of spices and vegetable stock kneaded together into a dough that's cut into balls and then simmered in vegetable stock -- pretty delicious stuff. I wish I could say I made all sorts of delicious recipes from my share of the day's work, but honestly I just sliced it up and made sandwiches -- yum! Anyway, I have a standing invitation to come back anytime to make more. Soon as the holiday rush is over I plan on taking advantage of that offer.
The best part were the vegan cupcakes that Brenda had made for us to snack on!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Paying My Respects

My conscience wouldn't leave me alone. It had been urging me since Sunday to go to the Lakewood Police Department to pay my respects. The entrance to the police station looked just like it did on TV. I grabbed the flowers that I had brought, and walked over to the corner. People were quietly milling around to look at the flowers, candles, balloons and stuffed animals. Every once in a while an officer would be embraced, and condolences given. I laid my flowers down without the card I had purchased -- I just couldn't come up with the right words. I put the bouquet down right next to a drawing done by two school aged girls -- I would guess third or fourth grade by the writing. It was a picture of four headstones with RIP across each one. The grass was colored green, the sky blue, and above the picture three sentences written:

I'm sorry that you're dead. I'm sorry you were gunned down. I'm sorry that you're not here.

I couldn't have said it better myself.