Believe it, I’ve found a Picasso in downtown Renton

picassoRenton
Owner and auctioneer Lawrence Mroczek, right, of Mroczek Brothers Auctioneers & Associates, and his son Grant Zahajko, also an auctioneer ,pose with two Pablo Picasso pieces that will be going up for auction on May 12 at their auction house on South Third Street in downtown Renton. / CHARLES CORTES/RENTON REPORTER

 

“That’s worth about $20 at auction,” Larry Mroczek said matter of factly.

As if he’d seen everything before, including me and my picture. The one I’d just lugged down Third Street with a frame the size of a small canoe.  Mroczek Brothers Auctioneers have been in business for more than 45 years. Larry is the patriarch of the family.

As we stood, Larry and I, considering the subject of my painting, the image of a woman peering deeply into a peach-sized glowing fireball held aloft in her fingertips.

“According to my husband,” I begin feeling a little like I’ve just pulled my Dorian Gray out of the attic, “I have unwittingly amassed art with a similar theme.” I smiled at Larry. The watercolor scroll was called “A Woman Searches the Unknown by Following her Heart.”

Larry was a bit intimidating. He was cool as a cucumber. His demeanor reminded me of a thousand-year-old vampire in the presence of an only slightly amusing human. I don’t mean to compare him to the undead — he was sophisticated in a worldly, no nonsense, Donald Trump sort of way.

And here I was wearing a Transformer T-shirt, black muddy leather boots and jeans with mud caked at the knees.

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This poster isn’t an order: Take Time to Read, really

Signs, signs, everywhere there’re signs.

“Hey, don’t yell at me!” I say to another flashing sign around Renton. Something I seem to do more frequently than I’d like to admit.

Especially, the sign on Duvall Street. When it flashes angrily at me, it feels personal.

“Jeez-Louise, I’m slowing down,” I chide at the flashing-metallic-digitized-solar-panel-control-freak that thinks it can tell me what to do.

OK, so I admit I have some issues with authority.

Given my distrust of signs/authority, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw my first full-color gigantic book cover poster on the outside wall of the Service Linen building.

To a writer and lover of books, it was like seeing something sacred on a grill cheese sandwich. I spied two more book covers pedaling down Third Street.

I was happy.

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Amelia’s Scroll of Life

Amelia was drawing on her art table when she asked me how to spell, scroll.  I thought it was a bit odd but answered her without question…even though she’s only seven, she’s an amazing artist with a deep soul.

Fifteen minutes later I was brushing my teeth when she handed over a white, rolled “papyrus” style scroll.  I unravelled it and discovered some sage advice.

Allways in Life be The best you can be!

In life tell the truth!  except if your a spy!

In life take care of your self!

Exceot if someone else is in danger!

In life be peaceful!

If you follow this you will be super!

The end.

By Amelia

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In search of the perfect tomatillo salsa with Chef Tom

Famed Chef Tom Douglas, at left, poses with Carolyn Ossorio and her daughters Amelia and Sophie.— Image Credit: Carolyn Ossorio
Famed Chef Tom Douglas, at left, poses with Carolyn Ossorio and her daughters Amelia and Sophie.— Image Credit: Carolyn Ossorio

 

“Good job,” I say, helping to chop the last bits of cilantro.

I stand beside my daughter Sophie in our Mad Men-era kitchen. The double oven is yellow, the countertops are a rusty orange Formica.

This afternoon I’m Sophie and Amelia’s sous chef.  I lean into the mini island and watch as Sophie slips my cilantro into the beginnings of our Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with Chicken Skewers.

The kitchen island overlooks our open living room where my mom is watching over Baby Ty cruising the furniture.

“The smell is amazing,” Mom says referring to the potent, freshly chopped onion and garlic we picked up at the Renton Farmer’s Market last Tuesday.

There is definitely a difference between mass produced and local produce –like wild from tame.  The cilantro was jalapeno green, wet and damply alive like flora in a rainforest.

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A few tense moments and a life saved at McLendon in Renton

Kim Blake, right, a service manager at McLendon Hardware, helps customer Gordon Iwata of Mercer Island find a part. Blake recently used an in-store defibrilator to save the life of a man who had a heart attack in the store's parking lot.— Image Credit: Matt Brashears/Renton Reporter
Kim Blake, right, a service manager at McLendon Hardware, helps customer Gordon Iwata of Mercer Island find a part. Blake recently used an in-store defibrilator to save the life of a man who had a heart attack in the store’s parking lot.— Image Credit: Matt Brashears/Renton Reporter

 

Dec. 27 was a dark and stormy night. Kim Blake remembers that detail because that was the night — technically afternoon — on which the service manager at McLendon Hardware in Renton saved a life.

A customer came into the store a little after 4 p.m. that day and told workers that another customer, a 52-year-old Renton man, had fallen to the ground of the parking lot.

Sharina Brock, another McLendon’s manager, rushed out to the parking lot and returned inside, where she announced that the man wasn’t breathing.

Blake, trained in CPR, grabbed the store’s Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and attached it to the fallen man. The laptop-sized machine jolted the man’s heart back to life, and Blake then performed CPR on him until Renton Fire and Emergency Services Department arrived.

“It felt like an hour and a half, but I bet you it was maybe five minutes,” Blake says of how long she performed CPR on the man.

She says it took another 45 minutes to get the man’s heart beating on its own.

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