If you ever want to cut through a dense crowd I highly recommend following a news camera man—as I did the other day at the Renton Boeing Plant.
My media badge was swinging around my neck like a monkey as the local camera man cut through a sea of Boeing employees like an ice breaker in the Bering Sea.
I had intended on writing a column about kids and aviation.
Like most people I had heard of the amazing things going on at Boeing: the new accelerated production rate of building 35 737 each month (from 31.5) a feat that helped secure the recent deal to build the new 737 Max in Renton.
I thought it would be fun to bring the kids on a tour and learn about Renton’s rich aviation history.
I discovered that tours aren’t allowed at the Renton plant (public tours are available at Boeing’s Everett plant).
But Linda Lee, 737 Program Communications Manager was nice enough to invite me to join a party celebrating the accomplishments of Boeing employees this past Tuesday.
Lisa is the Education Program Manager for Seattle Tilth and a kind of blooming rock star of sorts in the Pacific Northwest landscape of urban farming.
We were here to tour The Rainier Beach Learning Garden and harvest something yummy to cook up as a part of the new program called “Community Kitchens Northwest” whose purpose is to build community by cooking and eating healthy food together. Both programs were created through a partnership between Seattle Tilth and South Shore Pre-K-8 school.
“How did this garden come into being?” I asked looking around at the wonderful garden space that was integrated into the schools curriculum to teach kids how to plant seeds, compost, and ultimately harvest the bounty into healthy recipes.
“Nearly 50 volunteers gathered for five days in August 2009, to build paths and raised beds.” Maren Neldam, Learning Garden Coordinator explained joining us with rakes.
“You guys ready to work in the Learning Garden?” Lisa asked.
It was Friday night and I toyed with the idea of ordering a Black and Tan: a blend of Guinness and Harp that layered perfectly in a pint glass like a two-tiered petit four.
Just the kind of beer to enjoy at an establishment like A Terrible Beauty: a 7,000-square-foot Irish pub operating in downtown Renton since 2010.
However, our family was first-time customers, we made the assumption that it was a 21-and-older kind-of-place. Not so.
The upper-floor seating flanked above the lower floor providing an inviting open space and like a hungry eagle I surveyed the new territory from high above: a poster of JFK, a grand old bar and the pleasant acoustic guitar accompanied an impressive cover of a Cranberries song.
I’m Irish (family lore dates a great-grandfather on my mother’s side who came to the New World from Ireland).
But aside from the freckles and fair complexion, everything I know about what it means to be Irish I learned from Kells and the Anglo Irish literature I studied in college.
My very favorite holiday tradition is making homemade soap with my kids for simple holiday gifts for family and friends.
After Thanksgiving I resurrect the kettle from the garage and dust off my well-worn soap making recipe book. I open up my special box that contains a trove of herbs and resins such as dried calendula, lavender petals, French green clay—these ingredients add texture, color or have healing properties for the skin like oatmeal. I open my apothecary case filled with little blue bottles of essential oils: peppermint, lavender, jasmine, fir needle and rosemary.
To put it mildly I know a lot about making soap.
The love of soap making began as a little kid when I would spend hours concocting special “magical” concoctions out of empty shampoo bottles and mushy soap bars. That love was reawakened after my sister gave me the simple gift of a bar of homemade soap.
In fact, the art of soap making is the muse for my new middle-grade book just released on Kindle,“Soap for Hippies.”
My novel chronicles the adventures of two sisters who find themselves at a strange commune in the Siskiyou Forest where Blaine and Celine learn (among other things) how to make soap from the strange and wondrous workshop of a mysterious character.
Through my open car window, my girls and I were taking in the sights and sounds of the Capitol Hill neighborhood of downtown Seattle.
We live in the ‘burbs so the advertisement of a local band alongside the image of a pin-up girl in tiger swag stapled to a city telephone pole was quite a sight. Also the rainbow flag festooned to a local business prompted a conversation about the origin of the rainbow flag. The neighborhood is famous for open-mindedness and artistic freedom.
Eight-year-old Amelia and her eleven-year-old sister Sophie peered out of their respective windows like excited pups: wind blowing through their hair and tails wagging as we drove past modest studio apartment buildings next to some of the city’s grandest mansions. I parallel parked our minivan beside a pale blue Vespa.
911 East Pike Street is the home of a boutique media production agency, World Famous. A vintage affair with a brick façade and a telephone coded entry that I didn’t have the number for. Luckily, Steve Manning, the publicist for World Famous and our official guide on today’s family “art for art’s sake,” thrust open the door.