3 necessities for weathering a Seattle power outage

(originally posted December, 2015)  I have lived my entire life in the Pacific Northwest and I have never awoke to a thunder and lightning storm in December.   Until today.

As this latest El Nino continues its dicey dance with record flooding and wind storms we all need to be prepared for the subsequent power outages this winter.  There are many online lists http://www.ready.gov/power-outage of how to best prepare for a power outage, including items we should all have on hand (batteries, generators, non-perishable foods, etc.).

But I would argue there are three additional necessities EVERY Pacific Northwesterner should have at the ready to ensure the best possible outcome the next time your power goes out. Continue reading

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Let There Be Peace On Earth, And Let It Begin…. With Coffee

At my recent Neighborhood Coffee Klatch, the participants noticed something wonderfully unique: in attendance that morning there were just as many multi-national transplants as there were ‘Yanks’.  Our neighborhood is growing to be a true melting pot of many different countries and cultures.


Peace on Earth can start with a simple cup of coffee

Photo taken from coffeedrinker.net  I’m totally with Santa on this one.

The growing diversity of my suburban neighborhood is beautiful; it’s as beautiful a landscape as I’ve always imagined the diversity of America was at the turn of the last century.  The tech boom is changing who ‘we’ are. And we can take advantage of this newest migration and build a beautiful legacy for Seattle. Continue reading

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How we overcome sadness when that great neighbor moves away

When I launched my neighboring journey and blog 18 months ago, I got an insightful comment from someone about one of the possible reasons we Seattleites develop ‘Freeze Mentality’:

“The Seattle Freeze was totally a thing for us when we first arrived, and I didn’t get it… but now, I’ve been here for 5.5 years, and in that time at least two really good friends moved away. There is a definite time investment involved in making friends, so it’s hard when people move away. Now I find myself cynically asking how long people have been here, if they’re planning on staying, and asking about their families “back home” (wherever that may be, stateside or not) before deciding whether I can safely be friends without losing a part of myself when they leave.”   – Annette

Yes, when we invest time in our neighbors, there’s always the looming eventuality that one day they – or we – will move. It will happen to all of us. And it kinda hurts. It doesn’t hurt because we’re offended.  It hurts because we miss them and it can sometimes feel like we’re faced with ‘starting all over again’.

I’ve been there. Last weekend I hosted a breakfast party for our former neighbors Sherry and Hal.  They used to live across the street and have since retired to California. They were in town and I was able to pull a few of ‘the ‘ole gang’ together and enjoy a simple Saturday morning breakfast together.


Sherry and Hal. Great (former) neighbors. We miss them.

Sherry and Hal were great neighbors. For many, many years Sherry and I shared fruitful conversations over our shared love of gardening (she taught me a lot!) and I have strong memories of her azalea hedge blooming each spring.  I will always remember the first time I had “plum pudding” was when she made it for our book club. And I think of her each time my fragrant red rose and lemon day lilies bloom that she gifted me right before she moved. Continue reading

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An Important Halloween Message From Ms. LeStrange

Hope you enjoy the video. Below are some quick ideas to make this Halloween count in your neighborhood! Continue reading

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The comforting memories of favorite family foods

Today is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 88.  She passed away earlier this year, and to pause and remember her today – and my dad – I’m spending the day with some family.

It’s funny the things that we inherit from our parents and funnier yet the things that we don’t. My brothers got the lion’s share of the musical talent in the family. They’re both incredible musicians and singers – never took formal lessons but both of them can pick up any instrument and play it. I’m a passable singer, but my mom was an amazing soloist.

My passion for cooking and entertaining actually came to me via my maternal grandmother. It kinda ‘skipped’ over my mom. My Aunt Delphine got it, but when it came to cooking my mom was more of a what-takes-the-least-amount-of-time-and-makes-a-huge-amount-of-it-so-I-don’t-have-to-do-this-every-night kind of woman. I know. Many of you are thinking “soul sister”.   Continue reading

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Pampered Chef: a springboard for connection. Who knew?

On a day that was raining

And I should have been blue

I did something so wonderfully fun

That you could easily do too!


I hosted a Pampered Chef party

7+ freezer meals we each took away.

It was all about food and friendship,

Is there a better way to spend a day?

Kirsten at Pampered Chef

At first I anxiously wondered

“Would people really want to come?”

It’s one of “THOSE kinds of parties?”

To my invite would friends just feel numb?


But within just a few minutes

Of a hitting a keystroke for “send”

Six, Seven, Eight pinged YES!

“Absolutely I’ll come, thank you my friend!”


I was overwhelmed and overjoyed

I had no idea of such proclivity,

Of so many Pampered Chef mavens out there

Who are looking for just such a festivity!


Longtime friends and those that are new

Came to partake in all the fun fixins.

We laughed, we chopped, we connected,

And all I had to provide was my kitchen.

Pampered Chef Party

No, I don’t sell Pampered Chef

That’s the job of my dear friend.

I just love finding new ways to connect,

A passion that seems to have no end.


Women, so often we find ourselves stretched

Our families we work hard to please ’em.

And finding time to actually cook?

That’s scarcer than a Mariners winning season!  D’Oh!


Increasingly we live disconnected

And we’re thinking of ways to thaw the freeze.

Why not let Pampered Chef do all the work

And you just toss ‘em your keys?


Why not start a monthly Pampered Chef group?

A regular gathering for good food and wine.

You could enjoy dinner together,

Letting friendship develop over time.


Use Facebook, use your directory

Or put a postcard invite on their porch.

Pampered Chef enthusiasts are lurking everywhere

See if they’re living outside your front door!


As the dark days of winter draw nearer

And the Seattle sleet starts to pound on your roof

I pray you won’t let S.A.D. have its way

And you won’t choose to be aloof.


Instead, think about taking that risk

The one you’ve been putting on hold.

Now is a great time to open up your heart,

To increase that friendship circle, come on, be bold!


I had the greatest time in my kitchen

With new friends and with old.

Think about hosting a Freezer Meal Workshop

You just never know what connection might unfold.


Up for another fun limerick? See Becky’s Happy Halloween post “An Important Halloween Message From Ms. LeStrange.” 🙂

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45 great reasons to use Facebook to start a book club!

So, you want to start a neighborhood book club or a coffee klatch but you’re wondering how.  Pull up a chair. I’ve got an awesome story about a little Facebook comment that launched a neighborhood book club overnight.

We’ve all been there: brand new in a neighborhood. Sometimes we move across town, sometimes from one side of Puget Sound to another, and sometimes from out-of-state or out of the country. Each of us has been ‘the new person’ on the block.

We want to get to know our neighbors; we want to make new friends. But how do we get started? Continue reading

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Why Suicide Prevention Month matters to Seattle, and to me

September is national suicide prevention month. While Seattle is not among the country’s top cities for suicide, we are 6th in the nation for depression.  Couple depression with prolonged stress factors such as harassment, bullying, relationship problems or unemployment, and a person can venture into unsteady emotional ground.

Because the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has done a great job getting their message out this month, I’ve learned that: Continue reading

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Second Sunday Potlucks: where neighbors become friends

I love hearing about and celebrating what others are doing to intentionally build community right in their own backyards. In the past year, I’ve continued to meet like-minded people who are trying new things. Last spring I met fellow neighboring sojourner, John Crilly, at a conference in Seattle. Following is an excerpt from his own blog post from earlier this year about his family’s experience moving into a new neighborhood, and how a routine potluck brought his neighborhood together: Continue reading

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Seattle block parties: if you host it, they will come

In the world of blogging, you’re supposed to have a catchy (and sometimes misleading) title to get people to click and read. You are supposed to write posts that have numbered lists and bullet points for easy reading. Slick gifs and graphics also help.  Well, I don’t really have any of that today; what I have is much better. Continue reading

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