Journal Magazine
Looking Back to the 2013 Feb issue

For several years this was the website for online version of Journal Magazine, a monthly publication, serving North King County and South Snohomish County.
Content is from the site's 2013 archived pages showing an edited version of the 2013-02-27 issue.

When the domain's registration expired a new owner in 2014 used the site as a blog post. The newest owners of the domain have chosen to return to the original archived content when Elizabeth Griffin was the editor of the magazine. This brief glance of the February issue is a tribute to all the hard work that went into Journal Magazine. We say kudos and thank you.



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Issue Highlights 2013-02-27

Books to chew on at The Town Center at Lake Forest Park

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Don't miss The Edible Book Festival at The Town Center at Lake Forest Park this month.


LEXI: A leadership summit for women to connect, create and innovatep

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If you are a woman, you are a leader whether you think so or not — and you need this conference!


Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra may hold the keys to success in local high school jazz programs

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Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra (SRJO) members are also instructors in some of the best jazz programs in Washington state.


Village Theatre brings “trail magic” to world premierep

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Read about the latest new work being premiered at Village Theatre — Trails!


D.I.Y. wine tasting roomp

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Read about the beautiful wine cellar and entertaining area one couple built in their home.


Plan ahead for a successful kitchen remodel

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Planning a kitchen remodel? Follow these expert tips to make it successful.


Rain gardens are beautiful and beneficialp

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Learn how to make your own rain garden to improve the drainage in your yard and increase the beauty of your surroundings.


The true cost of clutter

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Need some motivation to clear the clutter from your life? Maybe reading about what it's really costing you will do the trick.


editor's letter

“Love is in the air, everywhere I look around
Love is in the air, every sight and every sound...”
Remember this 1977 disco song by John Paul Young? It was the singer’s only U.S. top 40 hit, but it spent two weeks at No. 1. Oddly enough, I can’t get it out of my head today — maybe because Valentine’s Day is coming!
If you just groaned, consider these reasons to look forward to Feb. 14. First, it’s winter and the color red is bright and cheery; we could all use a bit of that right now. Next, it’s a great excuse to indulge your sweet tooth along with the rest of the world. And finally, we could all use more love, and Valentine’s Day reminds us to do something about that.

The February Journal Magazine offers some great suggestions on how to improve your relationships: Les and Leslie Parrott tell how to liven up your marriage in “Romantic To-Do List”; Shannon Woodward details making a romantic dinner in “A table for two”; Abbey McGee highlights Seattle’s Underdog Sports League as a way of making new friends; and two innovators provide options for meeting compatible singles in “Find the love of your life (or just go out on a date) in 2013.”
Have a great month and let us know how you celebrated the people you love!


Elizabeth Griffin, editor


editor's letter

What does it mean to thrive? Is it asking too much in life to be overjoyed or should we be content with “pretty good?”

In anticipation of a new year — a clean slate, a wide open expanse of time to fill, and hope for grand opportunities — we explored the topic of living life to the max for our January edition of Journal Magazine.

We interviewed experts in the field of psychology, life coaching, philanthropy and business, and it turns out that thriving in life comes down to a few simple concepts, well within our ability to attain. It’s more about attitude than circumstances; more about what’s inside than out; and more about what’s right in front of you than some far-off adventure. I think you will be encouraged by what the pros have to say.

This issue of Journal Magazine will also inspire you with ideas for reinvigorating your home decor, your physical conditioning, and your relationships. It includes information on the new MOHAI and other local entertainment, as well as a list of suggestions for things to do this year. There is so much the Puget Sound region offers — let’s take advantage of it all and live this life to the fullest!

Wishing you a happy and fulfilling 2013!
Elizabeth Griffin, edito


Small world: The first time I encountered Journal Magazine I was sitting in the community living room at the Hart Heritage Assisted Living facilities which are located in the Bel Air area of Harford County, MD. The magazine took my attention away from the butterflies in my stomach. Partway through my read I realize that the Journal Magazine must have been left there by a visitor from Washington State since it was focused mainly on events in North King County and South Snohomish County. Nevertheless it was a good distraction until the tour began. You see, my sister and I were looking for  assisted living facilities with a supportive senior living community for our father. We had spoken with our father about moving into a home for seniors about a year after our mother died. But he insisted he was fine on his own. However a stroke left him quite shaken and he agreed that we could start a search as long as it was close by. Our first impression of Hart Heritage Assisted Living was positive and we left that day feeling much better about the situation. Later that evening we showed our father the facilities' website. We spent a lot of time on the site pointing out all the benefits of living there. He was agreeable to visit the next week.

Later that year I visited a friend out in Washington and mentioned the magazine. She was familiar with it since she lives just north of Seattle. She was curious about how I knew about this local magazine. Sometimes it is indeed a small world.




Batter up! It's time to play ball

Written by Elizabeth Griffin Thursday, 28 February 2013 

It’s a sunny day and an enthusiastic crowd is pushing toward the entrance gate. Your dad buys a program, a bag of peanuts and a couple of frosty chocolate malts, and you both climb over several dozen legs to get to seats in the center section. Within no time there are peanut shells piling up at your feet and you’re waving at the uniformed hawker selling pop to quench your thirst. The malts are gone and the announcer calls the teams onto the field. You stand for the National Anthem and then pull the stubby pencil out of your pocket as your dad explains how to keep score on the chart in the back of the program.

It’s baseball season and there’s nothing like it. If you grew up with a dad like mine who never considered a vacation real unless it included America’s favorite pastime, you understand the intangible thrill of perching on a rock-hard bleacher for three or more hours each Saturday afternoon in spring, ready to leap to your feet to cheer for a line drive or home run.

Sure, you can buy tickets and head downtown to watch the Mariners play. You can circle around for parking or pay the fee at the stadium. You can brave the crowds and make it an all-day event. But there are other options. If you like baseball up close and personal, take in the games in the upcoming season of community college ball. Home games are played at local fields with athletes who are familiar to the communities of Everett, Edmonds and Shoreline, making it a great event for baseball enthusiasts and families to attend.

The Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) is the parent organization of 34 community colleges in the states of Washington and Oregon. Within it, there are four divisions, with the Northern Region considered the most competitive. It is comprised of teams from Bellevue Community College, Everett Community College, Edmonds Community College, Douglas College, Skagit Valley College, Olympic College and Shoreline Community College. Games are played on Saturdays and Sundays from March through May.

Why play community college ball?

Many community college baseball players are as good or better than those who attend division 1 schools or are drafted by professional teams. Often a player chooses to attend a junior college because he will get more playing time as a freshman than he would at larger schools, according to Scott Kelly who took the position of head coach of the Edmonds Community College Tritons last December.

Other reasons players choose to play junior college baseball include financial, exposure to coaches at larger universities for scholarship opportunities, academic accountability, and the flexibility to say “yes” to a pro team draft. According to Major League Baseball rules for the first-year player draft, four-year college players must have completed their junior or senior year or be at least 21 years old to be drafted, but junior college players can accept a draft at any time.

“Community college is a great option for kids because if you’re a local kid you can spend $8,000 and earn an associate of arts degree, which is a big savings over university tuition; you can move on to a four-year college; and junior college sports give you the drive to be successful academically because you have to work at the academics to be on the team,” Kelly said.

 The Edmonds Tritons

Coach Kelly was excited to take the position of head baseball coach for the Edmonds Tritons this year. The team has won seven NWAACC Championships and 19 North Region titles in previous years. “I want to maintain the tradition of the program,” Kelly said. “Winning NWAACC championships and moving kids on to the next level will still be goals here. [Former head coach] Brad Ditter brought in a heck of a recruiting class and I’m excited to get the season started. I’m going to hit the ground running, especially with recruiting for next year.

“When I was growing up in Maple Valley and playing baseball, Edmonds was one of the premiere programs,” Kelly continued. “Then I started coaching and recruiting [at Missouri Valley College], and I really enjoyed the kids who were from the Edmonds program. I liked the way they went about baseball. When I came back and coached at Green River and St. Martins, Edmonds was still one of the best programs. In my whole experience with the NWAACC system, it has been one of the top three programs. So when the opportunity came up and I was in the position personally to take the job of head coach, I did.”

Athletic Director Jorge del la Torre was thrilled when Kelly took the job. “He knows this conference, really stood out as a candidate, and played professionally, which is invaluable. I thought, ‘This is the guy I really want’ after talking to him. It’s really important that a coach wants to develop people, not just win. Scott’s priorities are to move people through to earn an AA or go to a four-year college.  I think we’re going to have both winning programs and great student athletes who will be successful on the field and in the classroom.”

Though he came in halfway through the year, Kelly said the athletes are adjusting well to a new coach, and he is pleased about where the team is headed.

“The focus on preparation for spring really starts in January,” he said, explaining that the team practices the game for six weeks in the fall and then adds weight lifting. They meet five times a week for agility, weight lifting and study hall.
“It’s a real change from high school ball,” Kelly said. “In high school the season is about two-and-a-half months; in college it’s about eight months. It takes a toll, so the kids need to be prepared during the off season as well as academically. We really try to help them with managing their time.”

Some of the key players on this year’s roster for the Tritons are pitchers Kevin Sheets, David Reynolds, Zach Johnson and Jimmy Schmidt; catchers Kyle Olson (potential high draft pick) and Jeff Beckmann; shortstop Ryan Archibald; infielder Conner McKeever; and outfielders Jonny Varriano, Kyle Baumgartner, Carl Svanevik, TC Florentine and Sid Livingston.
The Tritons play at Triton Field on the campus of Edmonds Community College.

The Everett Trojans

Levi Lacey, head coach for the Everett Trojans, is a hometown boy. He grew up at 20th and Lombard in North Everett playing ball at the Boys & Girls Club and Everett High School. But when it came time to go to college, Everett Community College didn’t have a baseball team, so he attended Olympic College, then transferred to Albertson College in Idaho on a full-ride scholarship for athletics to complete his education.

After playing independently as a professional for a couple of years, Lacey returned home in 2001, just in time to hear that Everett was starting a baseball program — something it hadn’t had for 20 years. He applied for the position and got it.

“Larry Walker (Athletic Director at Everett Community College) believed in me,” Lacey said. “He said, ‘If you want to be committed to this, if you’re going to coach, you might as well get started.’ It changed my life. Eleven years later we’ve won 330 games, and I’ve gotten six coach-of-the-year awards.”

Lacey is understandably proud of the program he birthed and has driven for the past decade. Everett is currently ranked 11 out of 250 teams for junior colleges on the West Coast, including California and Arizona.

“In the last four years, because of the success we’ve had, I’m finally getting to the point where I can be more selective and get really good baseball players who are good students and citizens, not to mention keeping the local guys home,” Lacey said. “We are looking for top-level potential division 1 pro athletes — even if they get there down the road. Obviously, we want first-class citizens, good students, and good teammates, which is the most important quality — someone willing to put the team’s success in front of his own. If that means laying a bunt down today when he could get a hit, we want a guy willing to play for the team and not just for himself.”

The Everett team has a tough mentality, according to Lacey. “Winning is contagious,” he said. “Once you win, you find ways to get it done. We teach next pitch mentality. We don’t dwell on the past. If I make a mistake, I can’t dwell on that; I have to be mature — not live in the past — and learn from my mistakes. Baseball is a very humbling game.”

Practicing a minimum of three hours a day, six days a week, Lacey’s goal for his athletes is twofold: earning an AA degree so they can move on to earn a four-year degree and reaching their ceiling of potential.

“Several pro players have come out of Everett, as well as hundreds who go on to four-year colleges,” he said.

Lacey pointed out three players to watch this year at Everett: infielder Dylan Lavelle, outfielder Max Whitt, and pitcher Jo Jo Howie.

The Everett Trojans play at Everett Memorial Stadium.

The Shoreline Dolphins

Ryan Browne is beginning his third season as head coach of the baseball team at Shoreline Community College. A Sacramento State graduate, Browne had early success in the game and gained interest from several professional teams, but injuries prevented him from accepting a pro position and he went in the direction of coaching. He met Levy Lacey while playing for a semi-professional team and worked with him in Everett as an assistant hitting and first base coach for several seasons. Then he coached with Steve Seki at Shoreline and took over for him when he retired due to health concerns.

Since taking the position at Shoreline, Browne has made some drastic changes to the coaching staff, adding Dave Snell, Andrew Hutt, and Rick Teegarden as assistant coaches.

“My staff is finally in place,” Browne said. “Dave Snell has opened the doors for recruiting more players and practicing indoors at Showcase Sports in Shoreline.”

Having an indoor practice facility and access to Meridian Park, a brand new field in Shoreline, has helped attract more players too. When it comes to recruiting, Browne attends the majority of showcases in the area, builds connections with summer teams, and looks to professional scouts to send players to his program. The biggest thing he looks for in a player is “having heart.”

“I look to see whether they have a passion for the game or not. Community Colleges don’t necessary get all the values that a four-year school gets, but a kid with heart is easier to work with. I look at personality traits and how they act on the field.”
An ambitious guy, Browne has ambitions for the athletes on his team too. “I have a bigger picture for players. I want them to be successful in life,” he said. “I have them put together a six-year plan so they have a vision in place for athletics and academics. I ask them, ‘Where do you want to be in six years?’ My dad taught me that nothing is dynamic until it is specific. A plan helps you wake up in the morning and know what you’re doing. It helps the players excel as individuals.”

Players to keep an eye on this year at Shoreline include first baseman Kaiona Ahsing, center fielder Luke Merkel, pitcher Henry Macerry, and pitcher and infielder Joshua Fitch.

The Shoreline Dolphins play at Meridian Park. 


LEXI: A leadership summit for women to connect, create and innovate

Written by Elizabeth Griffin Thursday, 28 February 2013 

Whether you need a kick in the pants to move up to the next level in your life or some help figuring out exactly what the next level is, LEXI is the place you want to be on March 23. Now in its fourth year, Leaders Engaged to Exchange Ideas (LEXI) is a summit for women in leadership. Occurring during National Women’s History Month, it will be held at Starbucks Corporate Headquarters, located at 2401 Utah Avenue in Seattle.

“All women lead in some way in their lives every day,” says founder Shandel Slaten. “LEXI connects these women, equipping them to examine, engage, and elevate their lives.”

Surveys show that the bulk of decisions in every household are made by women. LEXI is about leadership representing the decision maker in every aspect. It’s also about women supporting each other.

“Sometimes men are more supportive of women than women are,” says LEXI co-producer Debra Trappen. “We need to recognize that, leave the competition at the door, and collaborate rather than compete.”

LEXI’s six-hour day will follow the style of TEDTalks, with a variety of women speaking for 15-minute segments on this year’s theme: 

Connect • Create • Innovate

During the day, women will learn about their unique styles of leadership and communication; listen to entrepreneurs tell their stories about success and failure; reflect on new information in small groups; attend breakout sessions on topics as varied as starting your own business to juggling the demands of family and the work place; and gain inspiration through the honesty and camaraderie of other women.

Trappen attended her first leadership summit three years ago and it changed her life. Not only did the conference give her specific skills that she uses on a daily basis in her personal relationships and business, it also empowered her to accept and capitalize on her unique strengths. This led to the start of her own consulting firm, d11, and a much more fulfilling career.

“I love inspiring dreams and helping someone understand how he or she can create better experiences without a whole lot of extra,” said Trappen. “I did that in corporate America for 1,100 people on a daily basis. One of the things the summit opened my eyes to is that there are so many more people I can do this for if I just take a leap of faith. Shandel said, ‘You are safe; you want to get a little risky here! You may fail, but when you succeed it will be fantastic.’ I did that and I’m loving it. I have a white board full of clients and proposals and events where I’m speaking, and it’s what fires me up every day. Now I don’t get to do what I love to do just for some part of each day, I get to do what I love to do for the entire day.”

A unique aspect of LEXI is connecting women to mentors in order to extend the benefits of the conference beyond a single day.

“This year we are looking at taking the time between summits to another level with a webinar series, workshops, and staying connected to attendees through technology,” says Trappen. “We want to share information with the women and keep them engaged with one another. Our vision is to keep that connection happening all year round.”

LEXI takes place on March 23 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Starbucks headquarters, located at 2401 Utah Avenue in Seattle. Early birds can attend for $129 and groups of 10 or more for $100 per person. After March 15, the price is $179. 


D.I.Y. wine tasting room

Written by Abbey McGee Thursday, 28 February 2013

Washington state boasts some of the best wines and most beautiful wineries in the world. Wine enthusiasts Sam and Debbie Baugh enjoy visiting local wineries and wanted to bring a little piece of wine country to their Snohomish home. The perfect space, coupled with a detailed vision, resulted in a custom wine-tasting room. The room they built is used to store wine, entertain friends, and perhaps most importantly, unwind after a long workday.

“We started building our tasting room in spring 2009, shortly after our son left for college. We wanted a project,” said Sam. “It took several months to complete, but we really enjoyed the design and building process.”

The Baughs built their 11’ x 11’ wine room in an existing space that had served as a dog kennel, and before that, a garden shed. The room’s vaulted ceiling and close proximity to their garden made it the perfect location.

Sam is a general contractor and carpenter specializing in custom homes and remodels, so he is well-practiced in building projects, but he said a project of this scope is doable for the do-it-yourselfer.

Determine a space and its function

Do you simply want a temperature-controlled environment to store your wine collection or do you want a place to enjoy the company of friends? Or maybe a combination of the two?

“If you have that spare little room or closet, you can create your own space,” Sam said. “We knew we wanted to use our space for entertaining, not just exclusively a place to store wine.”

The Baughs didn’t want the additional expense of bumping out walls, so they got creative with what they had.

Find inspiration

Inspiration can come from many places, including magazines and pictures, but the Baughs found most of their design inspiration in wine-tasting rooms they’ve visited along the West Coast.

“We really enjoy going to wine-tasting rooms. Many of the elements we’ve incorporated in our room, we’ve seen in local wineries,” Sam said. “We like the rustic look of big beams and dark wood.”

The focal point of the room is a large stone wall with a beautiful nook, inspired by a painting the Baughs owned long before the room was even an idea.

“We visited Artiste Winery in the Santa Barbara area and fell in love with a painting called Pinot Noir After Work by Aldo Luongo. “We’ve had the painting hanging in the kitchen, but we knew we wanted it to have a prominent place in our room and designed a whole nook to display our favorite painting,” Debbie said.

Consider the environment

Think about how temperature, humidity and light will affect the space you select. The Baughs’ tasting room naturally stays at about 55 degrees, an ideal temperature for storing wine, but they needed to come up with a cooling solution for the summer months.

“We didn’t want to invest in a huge air-conditioning unit and thankfully, the room naturally stays pretty cool,” Debbie said. “We purchased a small air-conditioning unit that we use on the warmest summer days. We also put exterior shutters on the one window in the room to keep the light and heat out of the room, since those both spoil wine.”

Repurpose and recycle

Sam estimated that if they had purchased all new materials, it would have cost $5,000 to $6,000 (not including labor), but that cost is somewhat flexible, depending on what you use. The Baughs emphasized that you don’t have to buy all brand-new materials. Almost all of the cedar and window trim were left over from various jobs or projects.

“We decided to incorporate many things that we already had on hand,” Debbie said. “A lot of the art, materials, and even some of the furniture we already had sitting around. We were able to repurpose certain things to fit what we needed.”

For the materials they couldn’t find, the Baughs enjoyed searching for items at rock-bottom prices. They frequently checked Craigslist and eBay for good deals. “We made it our goal to find things we could use as inexpensively as possible,” Debbie said. “There were a couple of things we found for dirt cheap.”

Have fun

After the hard work is complete, enjoy the fruit of your labor. Nearly four years after completing the space, the Baughs still appreciate the calm and serenity this little escape brings them. “We love the ambience of the room,” Sam said. “When we step into the room, we’re transported away from the busyness of life.” 




Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra may hold the keys to success in local high school jazz programs

Written by Elizabeth Griffin Thursday, 28 February 2013 


The question is often raised at regional and national high school jazz band competitions: Why do the schools in the Puget Sound region always win top honors?

Maybe part of the answer to this question is found in the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra (SRJO). Many of its members are as comfortable in the classroom as they are on stage, and the group is dedicated to passing its knowledge of jazz to the next generation.

Among its members, SRJO includes UW professor Michael Brockman, Cornish College of the Arts professor Randy Halberstadt, Garfield High School director Clarence Acox, Roosevelt High School director Scott Brown, Mercer Island High School director Dave Bentley, and many private music instructors.

For Brockman, who is co-artistic director of the group with Acox, performing and teaching are mutually beneficial.

“Performing adds constantly to my teaching,” he said. “Every time I give a performance it refreshes for me the list of things that my students need to be trained in and that I know are important in pursuing their own careers. It keeps me very honest. I know immediately at the close of a performance what I want to share with them — what went well and what didn’t go well. It makes my job as a teacher a lot easier because the material is right at my fingertips, based on my own experience.”

In addition to individual teaching positions, for the past 13 years SRJO members have put on $1 concerts through “Jazz for Kids.” The Saturday matinees are played to a sold-out house at Benaroya, with members of the group demonstrating instruments, answering questions, and encouraging kids to dance in the aisles. Kennelly Keys even sets up instruments in the lobby for kids to try out.

In addition, SRJO established a “Jazz Scholars” program five years ago at Denny Middle School. It provides professional musicians to coach students and support Marcus Templeton, the school’s band director. According to Brockman, the program has helped change the entire culture of the school.

“The band has grown from 20 to 180 kids,” Brockman said. “It’s become cool to play an instrument, and now the kids have a peer group to belong to. It’s a message that gets lost in the discussion of budgets — that the environment of a school can be changed greatly by that kind of activity for the kids.”

SRJO performs six times a year at Benaroya and the Kirkland Performance Center. Its April 13 and 14 concerts will spotlight Duke Ellington. 


Village Theatre brings “trail magic” to world premiere

Written by Elizabeth Griffin Thursday, 28 February 2013 

The latest in a long list of new works produced by Village Theatre is the musical Trails, a show about a pair of reunited childhood friends who walk the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, and the memories they recall along the way.

“Certainly a lot more than just a walk in the woods, Trails is about the emotional miles — not just the physical — that it takes to genuinely recover from loss,” said Trails composer, Jeff Thomson.

The idea for the production originated with Thomson after he reconnected with a childhood friend. “We found it interesting comparing what we had wanted as kids to what ultimately happened in our lives,” he said. “Both of us were rather directionless at the time; life had dealt us a hand we didn’t expect.”

Thomson’s friend asked him to walk the Appalachian Trail with him. That never happened, but it struck him as a great idea for a musical. His childhood home was located several yards from the trail so it was familiar territory.

When Thomson called his collaborator, lyricist Jordan Mann, and told him the idea, Mann said, “Are you out of your mind? How do you write a story about two guys walking for six months?”

Nevertheless, the pair started researching the topic and were inspired. Those who “walk the trail,” whether it is the Appalachian or another long-distance trek, are usually on a quest. They are looking for something or trying to figure something out.

“It was 2009 when we started writing, and everything in the nation was falling apart — CEOs were working as janitors and people who had worked for 30 years at the same job were suddenly unemployed. We began to think about what happens when life throws something like that at you; how do you find out who you truly are? And this idea of walking in the woods to do that was kind of appealing,” said Mann. “So Jeff and I started writing songs.”

But the real heart of the story was discovered when the pair joined forces with Christy Hall. Hall is a playwright who had always wanted to be a bookwriter — the member of a musical’s writing team who creates the book, which is the musical’s plot, character development and dramatic structure. When she told Thomson and Mann her ideas for the musical Thomson took a black felt marker and wrote on the script in large letters, “Book by Christy Hall.”

The threesome has worked on Trails for four years, with workshops at the Los Angeles Festival of American Musicals and the New York Musical Theatre Festival, leading to a reading at New World Stages off Broadway and the 2011 Festival of New Works at Village Theatre, leading to its upcoming world premiere. What usually takes a decade has happened quickly for the team.

“To know that there is a next step is a blessing beyond measure, and since we have embarked on the journey of Trails, we have always had a next step, which is nearly unheard of,” said Thomson, who credits the ease of the journey to what many call “trail magic.”

Mann agrees, explaining that many walkers on the Appalachian Trail claim that if you ask for something that you need, the trail provides it. “We’ve been lucky to have trail magic throughout the development of this musical. Basically, every step of the way there has been something or someone saying, ‘Keep going, keep going,’” he said.

Hall, who recently walked the 500-mile Camino de Santiago across northern Spain with her sister, said it is a story that needs to be told. Her experience in Spain confirmed the plot of Trails.  “It’s true that all you are doing is walking, but you’re also thinking a lot,” she said. “In this modern world with cell phones and computers and deadlines, all that melts away when all you have to do is walk every day and you have nothing but your thoughts. You really start to face yourself in the most out-of-body experience — you are walking for 10 hours a day and you are just thinking about your decisions and your life and who you are and who you want to be. Our model for Trails is two guys walking and thinking, but there are these flashes of memory and that’s ultimately the structure of the show.”

The team is thrilled about working with director Eric Ankrim and the rest of the cast and crew at Village Theatre to bring Trails to life.

“Eric as a director is incredibly focused on how to get the story out as clearly as possible,” said Mann. “Every time the actors have thoughts or ideas, they are always so intelligent, and it’s great to have the feedback in a space where there is mutual respect. Everybody contributes and offers a piece of what it takes to make the show live and breathe.”

Hall agrees. “A musical is a true collaboration, moreso than a play. This is the beauty of a musical, when you get a bunch of people in the room who are open to new things and making suggestions. You have to check your ego at the door as a writer. It’s intense and exhausting — we are intensely listening for 8 hours a day. We’re in the trenches right now, and every day the cast and crew are getting pages of notes, new songs, new lyrics.”

Though Trails can be produced with a couple of boards, a cast of six, and some imagination, the creative team is ecstatic about the mountain that Village Theatre has built for its stage. And they sense more than a little trail magic in the fact that it is premiering at the base of the Cascade Mountain Range.

“We look out every day and see the mountains here, and I can’t think of a more beautiful place to be telling this story,” said Mann.

The world premiere of Trails takes place on March 14 at Village Theatre, located at 303 Front Street in Issaquah. After the Issaquah show closes on April 21, it will re-open at the Everett Performing Arts Center, located at 2710 Wetmore Avenue, and run from April 26 through May 19. 




Rain gardens are beautiful and beneficial

Written by Elizabeth Griffin Thursday, 28 February 2013 


When winter storms caused basements to flood and sewer lines to back up for many North Everett residents in 2010, the city stepped in to help. It collaborated with WSU Extension and the Snohomish Conservation District to design and build seven rain gardens — a low-impact solution for drainage problems. In exchange, the homeowners signed a contract with the city to maintain the gardens for five years.

In addition to adding beauty to the yards on Lombard Street, the rain gardens have removed 123,000 gallons of stormwater from the combined sewer system each year since they were installed.

“Many of the homes in North Everett were built with a trough around the basement,” said Marla Carter from City of Everett Public Works. “Now the owners are reporting that their basements are dry. They haven’t been in years, so we know the project has been effective.”

Everett was recently acknowledged for its Rain Garden project by Puget Sound Partnership as one of several “Puget Sound Champions.” 

“Storm water is the number-one polluter of Puget Sound,” said Curt Moulton, director of WSU Snohomish County Extension. “When people invest in rain gardens for their own homes, it is a way for them to reduce the pollution in Puget Sound.”

Washington State University and Stewardship Partners are leading a campaign to install 12,000 rain gardens in the region by 2016. According to their website, rain gardens work like a native forest by capturing and infiltrating polluted runoff from rooftops, driveways and other hard surfaces. If the goal is met, the rain gardens will soak up 160 million gallons of polluted runoff, which will protect local waterways, significantly helping to stop the storm water crisis in the region.

“The alternative is a treatment plant,” Moulton said. “Rain gardens have a much lower impact and allow everybody to take responsibility for the storm water from their property [instead of paying more taxes].”

 Making a rain garden

Although the steps to making a rain garden are fairly straightforward, there are a lot of details to the process, according to Moulton. Here are the basics:

Choose the location. Determine the area in your yard that needs drainage and where the water from your roof drains to identify the best location for a rain garden. Make sure to place the garden at least 10 feet from the house, on fairly level ground, and away from utilities.

Do a perk test. Dig a 24-inch fence post hole in the potential location (when the ground is moist) and fill it with water. The water must disappear “at a decent rate” (specifics can be found in the Rain Garden Handbook by WSU Extension). If it doesn’t absorb into the ground, either choose another location or amend the soil until it does. To amend the soil, mix it with compost. If the soil is clay-like, add sand as well as compost. For advice about perk testing and unique problems associated with soil drainage, call the Conservation District in Snohomish County at (425) 335-5634.

Design and build. Once you have determined the size and shape of the rain garden, excavate 18 to 30 inches of soil, and level the bottom of the garden without compacting the soil. Place the amended soil mix into the garden, leaving at least six inches below the edge of the garden, and level the surface. Then install a swale, pipe or landscaping for water to enter the garden and make a rock-lined overflow area.

Plant. There are three zones in a rain garden, and each requires a different type of plant. The bottom zone, where water may pool up to six inches and then gradually drain, must have plants that can tolerate saturation. Above that, the transitional zone is sloped and should have plants that can tolerate some moisture but not saturation. And the upper zone, or berm, around the garden can be planted with the same foliage and flowers that are in the rest of the yard. Call the Master Gardener Hotline at (425) 357-6010 for help with plant choices. 

Maintain. Mulch as needed to prevent erosion and weeds in the rain garden, keep the inlet and outlet clear of debris and well protected with rocks, water the plants as needed, and do not use fertilizer or pesticides. 


The true cost of clutter

Written by Rebecca West Thursday, 28 February 2013 

If you’ve been putting off that deep cleaning and clutter clearing, it may be costing you more than you think. That pile of stuff in the spare bedroom, those unpacked boxes in the garage, your great aunt’s dining set in the attic — what is the price you pay to hold on instead of letting go? Here are five costs of clutter you might not have considered:

It’s a waste of money

Americans spend over $22 billion a year on storage units. A mid-sized 5x5 unit in Seattle might cost $50 to $90 a month. Even if you are utterly convinced that you’ll pull that old treadmill out of storage some day, at $600 to $1100 a year, when the time comes that you finally want to get active again, you could buy a new machine that meets your needs better. Meanwhile, someone else could be using that treadmill. If you are storing stuff to avoid buying new later, it’s likely costing you.
 There is money on the table

Forget the money for the storage unit itself. What about the money in the unit? With Internet sites like Craigslist and eBay, it is easier than ever to sell your stuff, or even trade it for something you might actually use (through eBay, Kyle MacDonald once managed to trade a red paper clip for a whole house). If you’re convinced that bobble-head collection will one day be worth thousands, it might be time to face reality. And if you hate your grandma’s old dining table, why not sell it to someone who’ll love it and do something with the money that you’ll really cherish? Cash in now, save your storage unit costs, and lighten your load.

It’s weighing you down

Just because you don’t have to physically carry that clutter around doesn’t mean it isn’t taking an emotional, and even physical, toll. If you are surrounded by stuff, it’s hard to make room for something, or someone, new. Just creating space in your closet can signal to the universe that you are ready for the next adventure and that you are no longer anchored by a past that doesn’t serve you.

Clutter can cause shame

One couple, Kristi and Stewart, faced a clutter crisis. They spent years living in a clutter-filled house. Then Stewart lost his job and became deeply depressed. For him, the house was an outward reflection of his failure. Seeing it every day reinforced his belief that he was no good, and it even kept him from inviting friends into his home. Kristi decided to call in professional help. By changing their physical environment, the couple started to feel that bigger changes were also possible in their careers, health and marriage. With hope renewed and clutter-busting tools in hand, they even tackled an off-site storage unit and saved some money.

Clutter keeps you stuck in the past

When you lose someone, their stuff can be a source of comfort as you grieve. Maybe your child has left for college or you’ve lost someone through death or divorce. It’s okay to hold on for a while, but when you are ready for the next chapter in your life starting to get rid of the person’s stuff will begin the renewal process. One client needed to wait for four years after her divorce, but when she finally started clearing out old pictures, CDs and paperwork, it allowed her to face her ex-husband, clear the air between them, and forgive the hurt they had caused each other. That let them both move on and helped them be better parents to their kids.

If you’ve been meaning to clean out that closet, you’ll be more successful if you have a targeted reason for doing so — something more than just a feeling that you should clear the clutter. Think about the true cost of clutter and what you could do if you were free of it.