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Monday, August 26, 2013


On Sunday night, more than ever before in my life, I felt the urge to fly. I wanted to be far higher than my location would allow in order to fully appreciate the spectacular sunset. It began with an eerie golden glow on the clouds without the sun actually being visible. (All of these photos are completely unedited, taken with my point-and-shoot digital on the "scenes" setting and "sunset" selected.)

Like all sunsets and most of life's richest experiences, this one required "being in the moment." It changed from one second to the next. From its beginning of a luminous apricot color, it deepened quickly to a more reddish hue while tints of purple crept in. Soon a crack in the cloud cover appeared on the horizon. The previously hidden fiery sun burned beyond, igniting the edges of the fissure with electric brilliance.

By this time, lines of dots started to appear, as shown above. I wish I could have capture an image of the patterns of orange against purple that developed, changed, and disappeared before me.

The original widespread orange glow had disappeared, overtaken by purple clouds. There on the horizon, the setting sun blazed through its final glory. Then it, too, was gone.
As I first became aware of that strange golden glow from my home office window in Tacoma, my husband saw it from the summit of Snoqualmie Pass on his way home from Eastern Washington. I wonder how many others happened to notice this drama in the sky. Did you? In case you missed it, I hope you enjoy these photos.
I also hope you will "like" Good Life Northwest on Facebook. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Rumors that housing is hot in the Pacific Northwest proved true for a Tacoma spider living inside my steam iron this past week. Yes, I do mean a spider living inside a heavily used iron, not an iron just sitting on a shelf. I have no idea how it survived under these conditions. 

As shocking as it may seem to those of you who consider an iron as necessary to modern life as a butter churn, a few of us still use one regularly. I iron more than anyone I know, either pressing laundry or working on a sewing project. That’s why I noticed something wrong with my reliable little household friend.

We all lose steam as we get older, but in iron years (the small appliance equivalent of dog years) this one was still a healthy, young “hotty." Then, a week or so ago, its heavy-breathing, wrinkle-busting cloud of hot vapor began to decrease day by day until it ended up more like a butterfly sigh than a train whistle. I tried cleaning it. I checked the vents. I cranked up the heat and used the “blast of steam” feature, which caused a little bit to come out while in the upright position but none when I actually ironed. Nothing helped. Then for the first time, when I tried to fill the water reservoir the water just spilled down over the edge.

Don't you think this looks like a glob of spider eggs?

“That’s enough!” I exclaimed out loud, completely annoyed. “What is going on inside this thing?” Plenty, it seems.
I looked into the hole and noticed a white membrane-like thing completely blocking the tube about a quarter of an inch from the opening. I couldn’t imagine what it might be. I took a toothpick and ran it around the edge. Then I pulled. After a slight resistance, out came a glob of sticky white material that seemed to shrink into a ball, quickly followed by a very much alive and very agitated spider. Apparently it liked life in a sauna, and no one takes eviction well.
Iron-dwelling spider trapped inside a drinking glass.
Some people kill spiders on the spot, but I didn’t. With amazing speed and dexterity, I grabbed a small drinking glass to trap the little intruder as it scampered toward the edge of the ironing board to disappear somewhere into my house and my imagination. I wanted to look closely to identify it, since I had never seen this type before. Have you? It was probably about the size of a nickel but wouldn't hold still to be measured or photographed clearly.
I compared this spider with photos of Pacific Northwest spiders on the internet but still haven’t found a sure match. Considering where it decided to live, maybe it’s a native of the tropics.
Now you have a new excuse for leaving your iron on a shelf in the closet. Just don’t let it gather spider webs!
spider photographed in a plastic container
I would like to learn more about this little critter, so if you know what it is, please leave a comment.
Even if you don't like spiders, I hope you will "like" Good Life Northwest on Facebook. Thanks!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Free Dance Theatre Northwest Performance Inspired by Local History

Three sisters—Bertha, Inger, and Pauline Leland—came from Norway in 1904 to settle in what is now University Place, Washington, located on the shores of Puget Sound southwest of Tacoma, an area once covered with forests of mighty trees. All three sisters married men involved with logging operations and established lives and families in the community. The sisters could never have imagined that 109 years later, the stories of their lives and other aspects of local history would inspire Dance Theatre Northwest’s Artistic Director Melanie Kirk-Stauffer to create a new work titled “Impressions.”
This unique dance interpretation of the community's past will be presented to the public free of charge, at 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 17, at the University Place Library Atrium, performed by DTNW Regional Company members, including Katie Neumann and Chhay Mam, as well as students of all ages. The program includes classical ballet, jazz, tap, and musical theater style dance.
DTNW Junior Company member Solana Sartain      Photo by Maks Zacharov
Kirk-Stauffer said, "We hope to honor our long time relationship with the University Place community. It has been fun for all of us to learn from the historical society and from the visit made to the fairly new Museum of History now located near UP City Hall.”
In the era of the Leland sisters' arrival, residents and the school district were so determined to build a university they gave their community the name “University Place” in anticipation of the future. The dreamed-of university never materialized but the name stuck. So did the community’s attitude toward the value of education, leaving a legacy of  excellent schools. The area also became known for its apple orchards, tomato farms, horse ranches, and early fire fighters, all of which have influenced "Impressions.
Kirk-Stauffer added, “I am grateful to the museum board members Howard and Barbara Lee for this opportunity as well as to the UP City representatives and to our dancers, volunteers and board members helping us to coordinate it all."
The Library Atrium is located at 3609 Market St. University Place, WA 98466 (Between 37th St W and Bridgeport Way W).

The company will also present a mini performance at Bridgeport Place on Friday, August 9th at 2:30 p.m. Bridgeport Place is located at 5250 Bridgeport Way W.

Admission and parking are FREE and both facilities are handicapped accessible.  For more information call: (253) 778-6534.
The photo of the Leyland sisters was provided by the University Place Historical Society.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Relax With These Photos of the Long Beach Penisula

I love my life as a freelance writer, but in July I worked on projects and articles non-stop until my small office seemed smaller than ever, and I grew restless. Just as I finished all my assignments, made my deadlines, and felt ready to collapse, Cousin Diane sent me an e-mail with an offer equivalent to winning the lottery. She invited me to spend a few days as her guest in a World Mark resort condo, in the town of Long Beach, WA. Two of her women relatives were there with us, and we "girls" had a wonderful visit. For the first time in months, I could finally, truly, relax.

Now that the heat of August is here, I'm remembering those breezes off the ocean, the sound of the surf, the mossy trees and fences, and the laid back feeling of this place, one of my favorite spots in the Northwest. Just in case you need to relax, I'm sharing some photos with you. Take a deep breath now, as we visit part of Ledbetter Point State Park.

This historic village on the east side of the Long Beach Peninsula has a fascinating history, beginning in the mid-1800s. It was once the county seat and a thriving center of commercial oyster harvesting. Now it is a place of rare peacefulness. Click on this link to learn more and read about a walking tour.

Looking north from our deck
Our condo as seen from the beach.
View to the east.

Evening walk at Long Beach.

There now. Don't you feel better?
You might also enjoy this earlier post about vacationing in Long Beach, including video of deer and shorebirds at sunset. 
All photos Copyright 2013 Candace J. Brown

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Summer is rushing by and today is the first day of August, but the good thing is that this also means the return of the Proctor Arts Fest in Tacoma. This Saturday, August 3, you can join in on the fun, centered around 26th and Proctor in north Tacoma, where the arts will be king for a day.

"I am totally excited about Proctor Arts Fest coming up this Saturday," said Nancy Frederick, co-chair of the festival committee. "I hope people will come out to Proctor to see some fantastic arts and crafts, hear some great music, and have a fun day. There's a lot happening!"
Beautiful yard art by Moss Studio
Enjoy live professional entertainment on four stages, with an exciting appearance on the Center Stage, by Merrilee Rush. 

This year, Dance Theatre Northwest joins the lineup on the Chalet Bowl Stage, which will also feature The Oly Mountain Boys, Kimball and the Fugitives with Stickshift Annie, The Summer Januaries, and the Mike Nelson Trio. 

View the beautiful entries in the juried art show. Bring the whole family to partake of children's activities, a dog parade, the Bite of Proctor food feature, and approximately 140 vendors who are selling beautiful arts and crafts, like this hummingbird garden decoration from Moss Studio Metal Art.  See you there!

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