Friday, July 31, 2009

I love a good dog story, don't you?

Phil and his beloved dog

Many downtown Rentonites will be familiar with Phil Johnson in his motorized wheelchair and his darling, smilin' dog My Oh My - a red haired pomeranian that was never far from his lap or watchful gaze. Just two days ago, Phil's best companion died and left him alone and heartbroken. The very next morning, the crowd of dog lovers that gathers in front of Liberty Cafe on South Third Street proposed a plan - get a rescue dog for Phil as soon as possible. As in, that very day. With tears in his eyes and a borrowed dog to pet and love on his lap, Phil agreed to become a pet owner once again.
Phil and Lucky 13 Johnson

By noon, Sue Rider and Linda Middlebrooks (with Lady P tagging along for the ride) were bound for Enumclaw to see a lady about a dog. Becky Shrewsberry had helped rescue some dogs from a puppy mill some weeks prior and had advertised for loving owners on the internet. Sue, Linda and Bill Collins pooled money together to purchase the dog for Phil. This is what I love about Renton. Dog lovers one and all, they were well acquainted with what the loss of a companion animal can be like to a person who lives on their own and lavishes great care upon their pet. Getting a new dog for Phil was just what should be done, full stop. No thinking necessary.

The photo above was taken at a few minutes past 10 am this morning, surrounded by a crowd of happy Renton citizens seeing a new relationship between man and his dog transpire. Meet "Lucky 13 Johnson" - Phil's new shotgun riding dog. Let's just say that there weren't too many dry eyes for a few moments this a.m. The dog is a "Cotton" - a rather seldom seen breed of dog and adores being held. It was a match made in heaven. Phil will lavish this dog with as much love and care as is possible. Good story - happy ending.

Linda Middlebrooks and the new clan addition

But that really isn't the full story - just Phil's portion of it, that is. The first dog that was purchased from Becky from her batch of well loved and revived rescue dogs was an adorable poodle - and it had been advertised for sometime with many admirers. Sue Rider first thought that the dog was a perfect match for John and Linda Middlebrooks, owner of an older adult poodle, who last year took in both a rescue poodle and adopted a poodle from a dear friend who passed away. The dog looked like a perfect match to the growing Middlebrooks Poodle Crew, but Linda was certain that she shouldn't take on another dog. However, the new dog bore an uncanny resemblance to the younger poodle, Bruno and Linda's poodle heartstrings were being pulled - hard.

Linda took the dog home ( purportedly to take care of him till the next morning when the plan was to give Phil his new dog) and said that he walked into the house "and it was as if he sighed a sigh of relief and immediately made himself at home and began playing with the other dogs." She decided to not say anything to her husband, John, when he came home and see what he would do. John was tired from the P Patch and the heat, but soon came to see that there was an extra puffy little tail in the house. The rest is Poodle history - the photo below is of the new clan and they are all doing fabulously well. Can you spot the new addition? No? Well, no surprise there - they are quite the matched set.

So where did Phil's dog come from then, you might ask? Since the first dog was initially picked up for him? Sue Rider knew in her heart, since first seeing the ad for the poodle, that it was meant to be a "Middlebrooks" through and through. Rising at 7 am, Sue took the hour drive out to Becky's again and picked up Lucky 13, arriving back at the bench in front of Liberty Cafe at exactly 10 am, the time set to hand off the new dog to Phil.

Two great dog stories in one glorious day - thanks, Renton you rise to the occasion more times than I can say
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Funny thing I saw on Wells Street

This is the "funny" that I ran into the other day at the construction site of the new Savings and Loan building for First Savings Bank on Wells Ave. S. yesterday. When on my way to the a.m. coffee spot, I saw bright and frilly umbrellas and thought "photo op!". By the time I returned to the spot with camera in hand, the sign had been added. The foreman on the site was laughing and taking a shot with his camera as well when I returned, explaining that the guy was getting ragged so much that he made and hung the sign to deflect being the butt of some of the jokes coming his way.
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Too bad you missed out

Last night, on, yes possibly the hottest evening of the year, Jones Park was the place to be in North Renton. The annual picnic hosted by the North Renton Neighborhood Association was very well attended. Could have been the draw of free hot dogs cooked on a huge grill to perfection, or the door prizes or just the fact that the park is heavily shaded and adjacent to a very nice river to dip into.

Brad and daughters Ellie and Evan.

The potluck tables were full of contributed food dishes and a raffle was held , each ticket purchased for a dollar, which boasted some great gift certificates from local restaurants and other assorted goodies. No one went away hungry and everyone who stopped by to check out our fuss was feed.

Ray Giometti on the front left with Mary and friend Yvonne Beck.

See what tempting picnic fare you missed?

The picnic was also attended by a consultant group, Makers Architecture & Urban Design, that are working on formulating a plan for the city center. This is the first neighborhood to be chosen for this formulating of a plan on how Renton will move forward and create a vision for it's future. My understanding is that North Renton is a part of the area chosen and the consultant staff were on hand to ask what the citizenry liked and disliked about their neighborhood and city and what they would like to see developed. The ideas were written in colorful pen, sometimes with drawings (the one that stated "more ice cream trucks" with a drawing of a rainbow Popsicle being amongst my favorites) and then hung up on a line strung between the support of the pavilion for all to see. Creative and fun way to interact with the public, I thought. Everyone was encouraged to sign up for updates via email

Also, feel free to call or contact Angie Mathias (425) 430- 6576
with any thoughts, questions, recommendations.

Check out the City of Renton Community Planning link also.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beat the Heat - take in a movie

Okay, this is yet another suggestion on how to get out of your basement and yet still remain cool.
How about a cheap movie date? The tickets are a mere three bucks, they have food and drinks (maybe invest in one of those refillable tubs of popcorn and soda - you know the "Supersize Me" type) and hang out in air conditioning that you don't have to pay for watching films that you missed the first time around.

You will see some other Rentonites there, to be sure, as I got this idea from one hardworking Stefeny Anderson (of Farmers Market fame).

Today's Movie Menu:

Year One, Imagine That, Land of the Lost, My Life in Ruins, Angels and Demons, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Soloist, 17 Again, State of Play, Monsters vs. Aliens

Go as early as Noon today and as late as 10:15 tonight. Click on the link below to see exact times of movie showings.
Tickets - $3

Regal East Valley 13 Cinema
3751 E. Valley Hwy Renton, WA 98055
(425) 873-2077
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How to "Beat the Heat" Farmer's Market Style

It started with a cooling thought, earlier this morning. Linda Middlebrooks, Volunteer Manager at the Renton Farmer's Market was on the horn to McLendon's, our favorite local hardware store, to see if they would be interested in letting a pair of "misters" be out on loan to the Kid's Patch at the market. Kiddies need to be nice and cool if they want to play. So do adults.

Needless to say, the misters were a Big Hit - with everyone at any and every age. With about a third of the usual crowd today, but still a rather full complement of vendors, it was essential to find ways for the farmers market faithful to keep as comfortable as possible.

Who doesn't love a little water? People just naturally gravitated to the moist and cool spout.

It was like mini-bath time at the mister for these two.

"It tickles!"

Vendor from Tiny's Organic Fruits drenched himself before heading back to the trenches, I mean, work.

When not in water, people drinking the water was the next best way to cool down. Hawaiian Shave Ice - great suggestion for really any kind of day. Just really good for today.

She was very proud of her own snow cone.

Dean at Sound Bites & Spread Co. was taking advantage of a plastic top and turning it into her own handheld ventilation system - a fan.

Joe and Pat both agree that Ice Cold Lemonade is the best "beat the heat" technique in town.

By far, the best drink of the day was a Mojito inspired green tea beverage that Huyen Martin at Pacific Mist Tea concocted up just for the day. She made each one to order, like a cocktail, with fresh mint and lime to top off this incredibly refreshing libation. At $2.50 it was heaven in a glass.

When asked, this sporty gentleman said that they way he intended to "beat the heat" today was to head off to the swimming pool. Which is just what I intend to do - as soon as I post this to all of you.
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Ice in July - where?

So many people with one thought in mind - how in the hell do I beat this heat? Well, the Ice Skating Rink is a great place to start. Free admission from 12- 3 for today and tomorrow folks and the rental for the ice skates is a very nominal $3 and it is right here in Renton! You could just go and take a chill in the lobby, and be comfortable cool at around 60 degrees. With the weatherman predicting that this heat spell will last for 5 days, getting even hotter tomorrow and possibly putting us into the triple digits, we all need to find a very cool spot to hang out at, if only for a moment.

Hats off to Renton Reporter's newest addition, Celeste Gracey, for reporting about this great idea here, and for being in the company of news teams from KOMO and KING while at it.
Castle Ice Arena
12620 164th Ave. S.E.
Renton, WA 98059
(425) 254-8750
Get directions
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Come to the Picnic, people

It's time to meet your neighbor - and share some of your favorites summer eats. The North Renton Neighborhood Association will be holding their annual Picnic - you all are invited, this Wednesday from 5- 7:30pm at Jones Park. That location is right on the Cedar River and just off Wells Ave., so you have no excuse not to come.

Too hot you say!! Why, the river area has got to be cooler than at home. And why not share in some hot dogs and drinks in the abundant shade in that park. If you are feeling in the mood, it's also a potluck - so bring a dish to pass around and a copy of the recipe in case you get fans. My latest email from the North Renton peeps reports that there seems to be no legal reason why you can't even get naked in our lovely local waters. Now, I don't want you to think that is the best of all reasons to come (and not a legal loophole that I will personally be taking advantage of anytime soon), but isn't it nice to know that you won't have any restrictions if the day proves hotter than your sensitive skin can just bear.

There will be face painting for the kids and other fun activities to keep one and all occupied. Please come and join us - for the best little Neighborhood Picnic in the Park!

Wednesday, July 29 Jones Park 5 - 7:30

Okay, okay - there are some of you out there kidding us North Rentonites that our little ole picnic is being held in South Renton. But, according to the North Renton Neighborhood Association, Jones Park is in North Renton. Don't shoot the messenger - see for yourself here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lucky Ducks

One of the final acts of Renton River Days is to send hundreds of bright yellow rubber duckies floating down the Cedar River in the Rubber Ducky Derby. A $5 donation gives you the number to your own special duck, which you then root for from the banks of the river. A precious moment was one a young girl was trying to convince her skeptical mother that their ducky had a good chance of winning, and her careful examination of the rubber toys from her perch onto of Wells Street bridge as the victors floated on by below. Alas, not everyone could be a winner today, but the crowd was excited just witnessing the yellow migration downstream just the same.

The river is pretty low these days - but there was plenty enough water to get the duckies afloat.

Some ducks had a little heat stroke and were unable to keep up with the others. They received yells of encouragement to finish the course, and no one tried to pluck them out or help move them along. Patience and polite observance won out.

From the west side of Wells Street bridge, the net was cast to round up the duckies and give them a rest until this time next year.

Family members joined together to help catch the bright colored critters. Some are slippery little buggers!

The last duck frontier - bearing large fishing nets, diligent ducky snatchers were ever ready to pick up any strays that tried to make a break for freedom.

I don't know who the winners were - but the lucky ducks were immediately whisked away in the direction of Houser St. Bridge where the derby all began today. With cash prizes of $1,000 and $500 bucks, plus gift cards to Ikea for $500, King and Bunny's Appliances for $500 and Renton Westernwear for $400 - those were some very lucky ducks.

Update 7/28:2009 Rubber Ducky Derby Results

1st Place: $1,000 Cash donated by Renton Coil Spring Company - Bob Mjleda
2nd Place: $550 Cash donated by Rotary Club of Renton - Steve Olson
3rd Place: $500 Gift Card donated by IKEA - King Parker
4th Place: $500 Gift Certificate donated by King & Bunny's Appliance - Bill Moss
5th Place: $400.00 Gift Certificate donated by Renton Western Wear - Jerri Yeoman

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Last Day to go play at Renton River Days

These are some highlights from yesterday's parade down the streets of Renton and just a reminder of some outings to consider today, the last day of the IKEA Renton River Days.

11th Annual Cedar River Quilters Exhibition - Free at the Renton Library - go take a look at both the workmanship on those quilts and of course, check out a book!
10am - 3pm Renton Public Library

Renton Annual Art Show - Noon - 5pm at the Renton Community Center. Free to look, many pieces are available for purchase - just fun to look at our local talent.

Don't forget your Rubber DuckY!! Rubber Ducky Derby at 4:30 pm Houser Street Bridge. Purchase your chance (only $5 ) to win valuable prizes at the Festival information booth in Liberty Park.

Car Show 11am -3pm at Cedar River Park - 8 decades of cars and motorcycles.
Art Market 12pm - 6pm at the Gianini Stadium/Liberty Park
Nibble of Renton 12pm- 6pm Gianini Stadium/Liberty Park
4th Annual Cascade Canoe& Kayak Regatta 8am -1pm at Gene Coulon Park
Renton Historical Museum Open Free Noon - 4pm
Explore the Downtown Rubber Ducky Windows - Ginger's Closet on Wells Ave. won the Grand Prize this year - check them all out!!
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Art Market Favs

Spooky Mama Creations by Alicia Sigala - fun, a little dark (I like it!), whimsy that was affordable and cool.

Kettle Corn - absolutely necessary.

Lilie de Vallee lovely organic bath and body products.

Eric Newman Porcelain Stoneware and Earthenware - gorgeous

Alexandria Sandlin - Artist and creator of lovely "big eye" art. Cards, jewelery, and other lovelies all with her fab figures on them.

Noxenlux Chapeaux - Unique Hats for ANY Style

The Art Market at the Renton River Days
12pm - 8pm Saturday and Sunday still
Gianini Stadium/Liberty Park

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