Thursday, April 30, 2009

As some of you may have noticed, I consider Mike Moscowitz of the newly opened Liberty Cafe at the top of South Third Street to be a good friend - and if you have ever met him yourself, you would recognize as well that he is just good people. SO, Happy Birthday, Mike! from all of us that have the pleasure of knowing you.

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The Vital Volunteer

Last night at the Renton Senior Activity Center it was crowded and filled with vital, giving souls.

The heart of any city is it's people - and if they choose to share of themselves with others, to help more than just themselves to thrive, then that city becomes a true home to many. Renton is lucky in it's citizenry - they volunteer in the stewardship of our town with their time, experience and wealth of ability.
I have never lived anywhere that hosted an Annual Volunteer Recognition Banquet. This is the second year that I have had the honor of attending. The MC was fellow blogger and Council President, Randy Corman. The factoids he delivered concerning the volunteerism in 2008 for Renton was mind expanding. Over 5,000 individuals, logging in close to 65,ooo hours at a total savings to the city of 1.3 million dollars in wages. Wow. The most salient point he made was that most of these "jobs" could never be filled by regular workforce - years of experience is required for some posts and others have people "on call" all the time.

There were those that have volunteered for so many years, that the number eludes them - like Ron Regis (yes, the guy the park is named after) . He volunteers for - you got it, the Parks Dept. and has for over 40 years.

Joe, who sat at my table has been the go-to man for the Baccy Ball Court at the Center for the last 19 years. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morn at 9:30 am - weather permitting.
John Springer met Linda Woo (pictured directly above) after he left years of washing dishes at the Center, and got front and center on the dance floor and met his love, Linda. He now volunteers at the Piazza during the Farmer's Market, and hasn't stopped dancing since.

Shirley Phinney brought along her daughter, Debbie to enjoy the night. Shirley has been working for the Renton Historical Museum for years. No telling the number - Shirley just doesn't know and it doesn't really matter. She just enjoys going and that is all that really counts. Shirley embodies the city's new call for assistance through Volunteering - Now More Than Ever! without even being asked.

Larry Sleeth and Don Persson are often to be found in the kitchen at these events, hustling up the food and doing all the catering. Larry worked for the city for years and is on the board with the museum. It is just a natural for him.

The evening had some lovely moments. It was made all the better by a really good performance by the Lindbergh High School Vocal Jazz Ensemble. There was a little Latin flavor in their song selection and a lot of heart in their delivery.

If you want to donate any amount of time - be it one afternoon handing out fliers to finding a more regular niche for your abilities, you can go the City of Renton's website, scroll down to the heading of Volunteers and a whole list of opportunities will present themselves, from ham radio, to the library, Renton River Days, etc.
Randy Corman , Master of Ceremonies and Rich Zwicker, Volnteer Server

When looking across the room, I saw many seniors who have been active for longer than they have raised their kids. The city can always use an infusion of new blood. If those volunteers say anything to me, it's that they were raised with the notion that to give is to receive. I hope future generations will represent as well as they have.

Things in motion

I love the implication of this bike under the heavily blossomed tree. Take a load off, stop pedaling too fast ... otherwise, you'll miss the season, the spring.
The fountain near the library started to flow again when we had that deliciously warm weekend just before Easter. And now the ground is covered in a flurry of flower petals.

Smalltown, USA - where you can sit on a bench on the high street in downtown and casually watch the train roll by. I love the train, it's whistle warning us of it's approach and the traffic stopping. A moment is made where we all look together in one direction and breathe in the passing commotion.
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Les Fleurs

More lovelies are beginning to bloom - and with such wonderful comments that the photos of the flowers, you are just encouraging me to indulge myself. The colors, the textures - it isn't hard to see why I might be won over by Spring.

The Book of Answers

Times are tough - we have all admitted that to ourselves and others within the last couple of months. Sometimes the right answers, the best direction to take, it can be elusive. Enter The Book of Answers. So easy, it's foolproof (?). Just close your eyes, and make a wish - I mean, think of your pressing question and then open the book to the corresponding page. Within seconds, life has become simpler. There, in black and white print, you will find the answer you have been looking for. Maybe even an answer that you didn't ever imagine receiving. Anyone can use this method of clarification when the road to life gets full of rocks and stones and you need to clear the way.

Here is our dear friend and local artist (here), Mike Ferguson, demonstrating his easy technique of divination with the book. Remember, levity is always part of the answer when using the book. I mean, if we can't laugh now - when will we ever be able to?

Unfortunately for all of us - Mike didn't get the "no, you can still stay and live in Renton" answer and it seems that he will have to move to Tacoma. Now, I don't like the book for that - but I can't stand in the way of the fate. Mike, we will all miss you. Please consult the book again - and think of our fair city. Are you sure it's time to leave the place that professes to be "ahead of the curve"? I think Tacoma just has some sort of dome thingy...
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Uncle Mo's

The Best of Renton has to include a bar or two - not a pub with an area for kids, not a swanky place that has wine that comes from a bottle instead of a box, but a tried and true bar. Uncle Mo's Snappy Inn is just that place.
My Mom and I have been here a couple of times. The staff is good and the regulars always seem to want to talk. There is a pretty extensive menu serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. All in all, the best seems to be the breakfasts for us. You can get the "Hair of the Dog" with your a.m. meal, if you catch my drift. Last time in, there were some good looking breakfast specials. We will be heading back.
One of the best attributes has to be this cute outdoor seating area. This is gonna come in real handy when we have a few more of those sunny days. Uncle Mo's always has some cute flowers planted and you can watch a bit of the world go by from your stool, and relax in the shade. This way you can be out of harms way should the Karaoke start without you. Or the five televisions screens all placed directly in a line over the pull tabs and beer taps, sports and gambling stations ever on, start to get on your last nerve.
The eight beers on tap are really regular (Blue Moon being the height of specialness), and there is lots of liquor, but you don't come here for anything to crazy or out of the ordinary. You come to here to have an easygoing, down to earth moment. Probably to just drink - if we are going to be honest. And you can honestly do a lot of that here - then walk to a couple more watering holes if you are still able.

Uncle Mo's Snappy Inn (425) 917 - 3130
321 Williams Ave. South Renton, WA

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Renton is one big garden

It is still amazing to me to see what I can find in the way of beauty when I go for a walk about our little town. These lovely views are all out there - waiting for any of you to discover. Amazing, really. Renton is just one big garden.
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Noooo! Is that really your final color choice?

Okay - I am going just come right out and say it. When Mucho Bueno was sold, and I noticed the new paint job going up at the building, I thought "Good". I always thought that huge block of a yellow and orange was just a bit hard on the eyes. But the other day, when just one windowsill had a rim of fluorescent puce green newly applied, I visibly winced. I mean, my eyes grew sore and initially refused to recognize the color. But I gave the owners the benefit of the doubt. Just one window and a couple of days pass by. Just trying it out for size, I figure. No harm, no foul. Couldn't be serious with that tone of green, now could they? I mean, I get that it's Seahawk country, it's a Northwest Sports Bar in the making.....but, really - is this your final decision guys?
Please - let me help. I know a friend - she does murals, has great artistic sense. She can lend a hand. Before this gets to far out of hand, please let's talk - 'cuz this color scheme is hurting me. Really. Maybe not just me, if you know what I mean...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Please Sir, may I have a bit of awning, please?

There they are - three lovely examples of awnings on the top block of South Third Street, our main thoroughfare in the DTR (Downtown Renton, that is...). Aren't they a helpful? They let us know the name of the establishment when we glimpse them through our car windows. They stop the rain from all but drenching us at the door when we ready our umbrellas to make a mad dash for the safety of another dry spot.
Mike of Liberty Cafe would love to have one of those - what do you call them? Awnings, yeah that's it. Could you please consider letting him have one of his very own, like his neighbors have? It would be so nice of you, City of Renton.

If you did let one of those handy dandy sunshades be installed, then we could all do a happy dance - like Frostie here does - when he hears good ole Ray Charles sing some good old fashioned tunes...

Wags 'n Wines tonight my firends!

I have been meaning to finish this posting about Vino's at The Landing for sometime, and I have been computer challenged as of late, so unfortunately, been remiss. If you have been like me, missing your initial chance to check out this new hang in town - a place that is completely local, completely Renton homegrown - with great lunch specials that are easy on the wallet and tasty for the palate and Happy Hour with appetizers that are a couple of bucks cheaper and a wine list that is notably good - now is your time to kiss and make up.

Vino's is the site for tonight's fundraiser for the Renton Off-Leash Dog Park. It begins at 6 pm and runs until 9, tickets will be $35 bucks at the door and there will be a silent auction with some fab gifts, which is slotted for 8:30 pm. More information can be had at or visit What a great boon this park will be for both furry and other Rentonites. We will all benefit to break ground on this new project.

Right there at the Cedar River Trail
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Coolest window in town

Caught at the Comic Den, 234 Wells Avenue - this image of Wolverine is tops on my list as the Coolest Window in town - whew! I love the Wolverine....
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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Renton Peeps on a Sunday Afternoon

I ran into the Corman/Jones Clan as they were parading out from the Common Ground Coffee and Cupcake Shop - Randy and Cathy are now one my blog in a photo - ha ha, got you now! Damn, does their whole family have to be photogenic?!!

This is Spike and Wookie - two of my furry buddies - they belong to the Chinese Crested Clan. Wookie is a hairy hairless, while Spike is, well, primarily hairless....

This is the ubercool new artwork that mysteriously appeared overnight at the Liberty Cafe. Whoever the artist is needs to step up and take credit - we are all loving it!

The Newly Departed

Mt. Olivet Cemetery is the final resting place of Renton's Pioneers. It has tombstones from the mid 1800's - entire families sharing plots side by side for generations. But there is always room for new generations to come to rest on this grassy knoll above the city - and so it is that a large Asian community has begun to place their ancestors just outside the front gates at Mt. Olivet.

Having lived in Asia myself for sometime, I can say that the feng shui of Mt. Olivet is regarded as highly auspicious and sought after - water in the front (a wonderful view of Lake Washington) with a green hill/mountain behind the graves. This rather new development of tombs is beginning to fill up.

Above are some photos of a recently departed soul's flower arrangements and offerings. The belief is that the afterlife is modeled on our life here on earth. The newly dead will need food and money in the other world, so fruit and meat are placed at the grave, and the red metal urn is for burning paper money and other paper effigies of items that might be of use to the dearly departed. I have even seen paper cars created and sent through the flames to the other side.

You'll be feeling the pain if you take a walk up the hill to see the view - but the workout is well worth it. Our Pioneer Cemetery is a beautiful shrine to our yesteryears and now, our new tomorrows. We'll all end up, hopefully, somewhere just as lovely. I would love to imagine my relatives coming to picnic on the hill, partaking in the lush green and blue hues of this preserved piece of Renton.
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Tuck it away at Tommy's Today

Something about breakfast out on a Sunday morning never stops feeling just right. I relish the thought of having some traditional egg dish and a cup of regular coffee and watching a bit of the town walk right by my table. If you head to Tommy's, that is exactly what you will see. If you go often enough, the waitress will greet you by name and remember your ordering preferences. It's a friendly, familiar place that has enough chairs to hold quite a few citizens and has decent enough fare to keep you wanting to go back for more.

The morning I went, I saw the Rosa family along with the newest edition - cute little baby Julia. The whole family was glowing. That is exactly what Sunday mornings at their best is all about - some quiet time with the family and/or a friend, shooting the breeze and watching the sun fall across the table as the day slowly starts to hum.

Tommy's Cafe 74 Rainier Ave. S. (425) 227 - 9910

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Eye Candy

My friend calls these photos of mine "eye candy" - and I think she may be right. I can't stop popping them into my blog, nor stop myself from compulsively clicking the shutter on my camera. There are never enough pretty pictures....
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