Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Tree Bike: Fact or Fiction

There’s currently a story circulating on Facebook about the bicycle in the tree on Vashon Island. It’s a made-up story of a boy who left his bike by the tree, went off to war in 1914 and never came back.

I intend to set the record straight. In actuality there is a bicycle that a tree grew around on Vashon Island. But the true story of how it got there is quite different.

In 1954 Helen Puz (who is now 99 years old) moved to Center with her five children. At that time she had been recently widowed.

“People were very sympathetic and generous,” writes Puz in a document on display at the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Museum. “We were given a girl’s bike and my 8-year-old son, Don, seemed the natural one to ride it.”

Don was none too happy having a girls bike, said Puz, but it was better than none.

The neighborhood boys, including Don, liked to play behind a local restaurant called, “The Den.” (This restaurant is now called Sound Food.)

One day Don told his mother that he had lost his bike and he wasn’t sure where he’d left it. They both let it go because Don was a little embarrassed to be riding a girl’s bike anyway.

 This is a photo of the bike in the tree before someone attached the front wheel. Courtesy of the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Museum

Forty years later Puz read in the Beachcomber, Vashon’s newspaper, that someone had discovered a bike up in a tree near Sound Food. The bike was five feet off the ground and the tree had grown around it. News of the tree bike even carried to Japan where they made a film about it.

The mystery of where Don Puz left his bike had finally been solved.

If you’d like to see the bike in the tree, directions on how to get there can be found at roadsideamerica.com.

Snow White and a Milk Flight

As a child I always wanted to be a ballerina and dance on my toes. Instead my parents signed me up for accordion lessons. If I’d known how hard toe dancing was then, I probably wouldn’t have minded the accordion. The special pointe shoes help keep your toes together, but the dancers still have to have tremendous strength in their feet and legs.

Courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet

While watching the Pacific Northwest Ballet School’s production of “Snow White” in Seattle this past weekend, I marveled at how many of the dancers spent prolonged periods of time on their toes. What a feat.

All the footwork looked clean and crisp. The 70+ students performing showed extreme flexibility and graceful movements at every turn. This was the opening performance of “Snow White” yet everyone seemed well-rehearsed.

I went to see this ballet with my daughter and three-year-old granddaughter, Kita. I thought Kita might fidget or even have a full-blown melt down having to sit still for awhile, but she never once took her eyes off the dancers. Upon arrival we were given a booster cushion for her to sit on so she could easily see the stage. Of course, there was a lot of movement on stage, brightly colored costumes and a King who narrated the action.

As you probably remember, in the story the Evil Queen, Snow White’s stepmother, wants to be “the fairest of all.” Every time she asks her mirror who is the fairest, it replies, “Snow White.” In order to get rid of her competition, the Queen tries to harm Snow White in a number of ways. Finally, disguised as a beggar woman, the Queen tempts the fair young maiden with a poison apple. Snow White can’t resist, takes a bite and falls into a deep slumber. It’s not long before a handsome young Prince happens by (after all it’s a fairy tale), falls in love and wakes Snow White.

When the Evil Queen discovers her nemesis is still alive, she tries to put a curse on the mirror and becomes caught in her own image for all eternity.

The entire ballet lasts an hour, which is just perfect for young children. At the end, the dancers were met with some well-deserved, thunderous applause.

There are only two performances left:  Noon and 3:30 p.m. on March 25 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. For tickets, visit www.pnb.org or call (206) 441-2424.

Kita trying to decide which flavor of milk to try next at the Purple Cafe.

We stopped for lunch at the Purple Café and Wine Bar in downtown Seattle prior to the ballet. There Kita was served a milk flight – glasses of white, chocolate, strawberry and caramel milk, which kept her entertained until her food arrived. All in all it was a totally kid-friendly outing.

A Partnership that Worked

Saturday I attended the 18th Annual RAGS sale that benefits Pierce County’s YWCA domestic violence programs. Participating artists, selling wearable art, donate 33% of their sales to the cause.

Last year this same event raised $97,000, which helped the YWCA assist 2,845 women and 2,860 children.

Tables and racks full of beautiful clothing, high quality jewelry and attractive scarves were set up in every crack and crevasse of the venue. Besides being eye-pleasing, everyone was friendly and accommodating, plus they had streamlined their checkout system so there was virtually no wait.

But the reason I’m writing about this event, that won’t happen again until March 7-10 in 2013, is because of the partnership it forged.

The sale was held at our local Mercedes dealer – Larson’s Mercedes-Benz of Tacoma, which is located in Fife, just outside of Tacoma. The space looked new and shiny, it was huge with lots of maneuvering room for shoppers and you felt like you were rubbing shoulders with the rich and elegant. The dealership had their deli open for the event, so you could eat and then shop some more.

I love it when diverse businesses form partnerships or businesses support a charity in a big way by hosting their event. It’s always beneficial to both parties.

What businesses can you think of that have forged successful partnerships?

A Peak at Pacific City, Oregon

Every so often I stray from my home state. Most recently, I visited the Oregon Coast, which I must admit has some appealing qualities that our coast does not, including more accessible beaches and gigantic rock formations in the water (you’ve probably heard of Haystack Rock). This time I stayed overnight in Pacific City, a tiny coastal town, so I’d like to share the possibilities it offers with you.

Beach at Pacific City, Oregon.

 

I stayed at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda, which is directly across from the beach and a few steps from a very good eatery, the  award-winning Pelican Pub & Brewery. My husband and I had been to Pacific City before, but never stayed overnight because the accommodations looked expensive from the exterior. As it turns out, they are not. Rooms at the Inn start at $139. All of the guest rooms have ocean views from a private, covered balcony, gas fireplaces, microwaves, small refrigerators and high speed wireless Internet. Really, what else do you need? If you want to bring your “best friend,” dogs love the beaches on the Coast and the Inn is pet-friendly.

What to do

As the iconic single’s ad says, “you can take a long walk on the beach,” watch sunrises and sunsets, look for glass balls and watch the waves crash.

Pelican Pub & Brewery and another Haystack Rock.

 

If you’ve come to storm watch, you might also want to read a good book and create a scrapbook of memories.

Kids can search for agates in the sand, feed bread to the seagulls, go horseback riding and eat s’mores on the beach.

And then you can get a good night’s sleep, slumbering with ocean noises in the background and find even more activities for the next day.

A good breakfast spot is The Grateful Bread, which is a full-service restaurant and a bakery.

Cinnamon roll french toast at The Grateful Bread.

Tip:  In Oregon, an employee always pumps your gas for you. There are no self-serve gas stations.

What is your favorite coast and why?

Art at the Airport

Seatac Airport literally bursts with art of every kind and dimension – so much that the Port of Seattle (the airport’s overseer) offers a map of where the artwork is.

Glass, sculpture, photography and sound installations by both renowned and emergency artists are represented.

In the Central Terminal you’ll find Pacific Marketplace, a city streetscape with boutique shops, restaurants, a view of the airfield and public art. Designed by Fantress Bradburn Architects, this space encompasses 60,000 square feet and has 60-foot high ceilings. During daylight hours it’s flooded with sparkle and lights.

On the concourses you’ll encounter portraits of jazz musicians who have roots in Washington, talking water fountains (they gurgle loudly), mosaics, stained glass windows and more.

Art is displayed in the satellite train station, on the third runway embankment wall and wing ferns hover over the 188th Street Tunnel. Rotating exhibits grace the glass showcases.

Art installation of lost luggage over one of the baggage carousels at Seatac Airport

But until last night I had no idea that they’d created overhead art with lost luggage.

Fascinated by Fascination

 

I have a new favorite game. It’s not as accessible as Words with Friends but it is equally addicting and even more fun plus it’s a little physical.

I just returned from a trip the northern Oregon Coast and in Seaside at the Funland Arcade I had the opportunity to play Fascination.

Invented in the 1920’s, it’s a game similar to Skeeball or Rollerball. You roll a ball under a Plexiglas screen and when it falls through one of the 25 holes provided, a light lights up on the backboard. Your goal is to get a “bingo” either across, down or diagonally with the lights. An auctioneer-type emcee lets everyone know how many lights they need for a bingo to keep the challenge going.

Sometimes he gave us two balls, which really confuses non-multitaskers like myself or sometimes we played black out. In the end I finally won a Frisbee. Others walked away with Seaside coffee mugs, six packs of soda made in Seaside and saltwater taffy.

I highly recommend it as a delightful family activity free of video games and screens. Fascination is operated by relays like our telephones used to be.

The Fascination Room is open seven days a week in the summer and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday the rest of the year.