3 Things Thursday

Once again it’s time for the blog challenge Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”

There’s some awesome art work on public display in our neighborhood. Here are three examples.

1. Antique Sandwich Co.

Antique Sandwich Co

One of the most interesting places nearby is the Antique Sandwich Co., founded as a family business in 1973.

5102 N Pearl St, Tacoma, WA 98407
(253) 752–4069

The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offers a varied menu that includes granola, cinnamon rolls, sandwiches, soups, lasagna, quiche, pies, cakes, and a big selection of teas and coffees. They also host frequent musical performances.

The mural pictured here graces the N. 51st Street side of the shop’s antique building.

2. Don’s Ruston Market

Don's

Just a few blocks down N. 51st Street from the Antique Sandwich Co. is Don’s Ruston Market and Deli.

5102 N Winnifred St, Ruston, WA 98407
(253) 759–8151

Don’s has graced its corner in the little city of Ruston for more than 30 years. It offers seasonal kayak rentals, but its main attraction is the antique soda fountain that features a lengthy list of milkshakes and sodas. For more information, check out this article from our local Tacoma newspaper, The News Tribune.

This photo shows the decorative mural on the N. 51st Street side of the store. The mural is actually much bigger (it extends further off the left side of the photo), but I couldn’t get the whole thing because a van was parked on the street.

3. Octopus on The Waterwalk at Point Ruston

octopus

About three steep blocks down N. 51st Street from Don’s Ruston Market is the new development of Point Ruston, currently under construction. When finished, the development will include apartments, condos, restaurants, retail shops, and a movie theater.

5005 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98407
(253) 759–6400

The Waterwalk is a park that stretches along the edge of Commencement Bay at Point Ruston and eventually connects to a walkway into nearby Point Defiance Park. This octopus graces an entrance into the park off Ruston Way. There are other art spots along the walkway featuring fish, jellyfish, and squids. I photographed the octopus because the Giant Pacific Octopus, prolific in this area, is one of my favorite animals.

Lunch Bunch: Adriatic Grill

Today’s Lunch Bunch destination was:

Adriatic Grill
Italian Cuisine & Wine Bar

4201 South Steele Street
Tacoma, WA 98409
253–475–6000

Awards

KING 5 Best of Western Washington

  • Winner: Best Mediterranean Restaurant (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Winner: Best Italian Restaurant (2013)

Best of the South Sound

  • Winner: Best Chef Bill Trudnowski (2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Winner, Best Italian Restaurant (2012, 2013, 2014)

Ratings

The restaurant has a 4+-star rating on the following sites:

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The cream of mushroom soup at this restaurant is the best I’ve ever had. (For more on the mushroom soup, see this article from our local Tacoma newspaper, The News Tribune.) I started with a cup of the soup, then followed with their clam linguine. The white clam sauce I’m used to contains cream. I could tell from the menu description that this one did not use cream, but I went for it anyway. And I’m glad I did! It was a garlic broth that was absolutely delicious.

There were 14 people in our group. A couple of people said they were a bit disappointed because the food they got wasn’t what they expected. But everyone else seemed pleased. M. said, “I like what I had so much that I can’t wait to come back and order the same thing again.”

And what was the menu item that got such a high endorsement? The prawns over spaghetti squash. Kudos to the chef for offering a non-carb alternative to pasta. (I thought about asking for the clam sauce over spaghetti squash instead of the traditional pasta but in the end decided to go traditional.)

We had good service at this local, family-owned restaurant. I highly recommend it. And don’t forget to try the cream of mushroom soup.

3 Things Thursday

Once again it’s time for the blog challenge Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”

three-things-thursday-participant

Today is birds’ day Thursday in Tacoma, WA

Here are a few birds we’ve seen on recent walks around the neighborhood. Thanks to my husband for supplying these photos. (He’s the one with the huge telephoto lens.)

Information below comes from the following sources:

We are very amateur bird watchers, so if you find anything here that needs correcting, please post to the comments. (Of course, you’re also welcome to post even if everything is correct.)

1. Pileated Woodpecker

Woodpecker

These guys are big: 16.5–17 inches (42–44 cm) long.

If you’ve ever been walking in a wooded area and heard a sound like loud hammering, you may have been around these magnificent woodpeckers. Another indication of their presence is large holes in dead trees. Woodpeckers feed by pulling the bark off of dead trees to get at insects underneath. They also use large dead tree trunks as a way to announce their presence during courtship by hammering their bills against the tree’s resonating surface.

Woodpeckers are called “primary cavity nesters” because they excavate their own holes in dead trees for nesting. They do not reuse nesting holes but rather create a new hole each year. The physical motions of creating a new nesting hole stimulate reproduction. Their older holes then become homes for other birds, such as bluebirds, chickadees, nuthatches, and house wrens, which are known as “secondary cavity nesters.”

2. Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are tiny: 3–4 inches (10 cm) long. In Washington, both Rufous and Anna’s hummingbirds live west of the Cascade Mountains. This is probably an Anna’s hummingbird, since that’s the only species that stays here year round; other hummingbirds arrive in western Washington in May and depart in October.

3. Bald Eagle

Eagle

These magnificent birds are 31–37 inches (79–94 cm) long, with a wingspan of 7–8 feet (213–244 cm). This one was soaring over the water, looking for fish.

Bonus. Western Grebe

Western Grebe

At least we think this is a western grebe. In Washington western grebes occupy near-shore marine waters during the winter. We saw this one on the rocks next to the water of Commencement Bay. Fish, which grebes pursue under water, make up 80% of their diet

According to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, “Wintering western grebes have declined by almost 95% in Washington’s inner marine waters since the late 1970s (Puget Sound Action Team 2007). Recent data suggest that numbers may have stabilized since 1998 … Up to 20–25% of the world’s population of western grebes overwinters in Washington.”

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If you find anything here that’s incorrect, please let me know in the comments.

Three Things Thursday

Once again it’s time for the blog challenge Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”

three-things-thursday-participant

Since we’ve recently moved to Tacoma,WA, USA, after living in St. Louis, MO, for more than 40 years, I’m still discovering awesome aspects of my new life. Today’s offering is a 3-in–1: 3 things that we saw around the neighborhood on a walk last Sunday, January 25. It was a beautiful, sunny day that we felt we had to take advantage of, because we don’t get many days like that during a Pacific Northwest winter.

1. I used to think that moss growing in trees was a strictly Southern thing, but I discovered it isn’t. Here’s what one of the trees outside our house looks like when it has no leaves:

Tree Moss

Here’s a close-up of some of this green growth on a twig:

twig and moss

Maybe this isn’t really moss at all. Some time I’ll have to look it up.

2. I hope you won’t get tired of seeing photos of Mount Rainier. I won’t keep posting them during the summer, when we can see the mountain on most days. But in the winter views of the mountain are much rarer, and therefore photoworthy.

Mt Rainier Jan25_05

3. There’s a cargo slowdown at ports all up and down the Pacific coast, including here in Tacoma. I don’t understand the politics of this situation, nor do I have an opinion on it. But it does mean that we get to see lots of big cargo ships lined up in Commencement Bay awaiting their turn at the port.

cargo ship

“If you don’t like the weather. . .”

I grew up in Connecticut, where I often heard the old Yankee saying “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a minute and it will change.”

When we moved to St. Louis, MO, right after getting married, we didn’t initially have a car. I had to take a couple of different buses to get to work. On my first day of transferring from one bus to another, I asked an older woman at the bus stop if I was in the right place to get the bus I needed. She told me yes, I was. Then she asked me if I was new in the area, and we began to chat. Out of the blue she said, “One thing about St. Louis weather: If you don’t like it, just wait a minute and it will change.”

Now we’ve retired to the Pacific Northwest, and guess what people say about the weather here. Yes, “if you don’t like it, just wait a minute and it will change.” But this time people are right.

I arrived in Tacoma, after a week on the road from St. Louis, the night before I was scheduled to move into my cottage at the retirement community. I stayed at a nearby hotel that night. When I arrived at my cottage at 10:00 the following morning, it was pouring heavily. I was thankful that I had an attached garage to keep me dry as I unpacked my loaded-down little hybrid car. By 11:00 I had all the boxes out of the car and placed in the appropriate rooms (though not unpacked). I was ready to head off to Costco, Target, and Safeway for additional necessities such as food, a coffee maker, a vacuum cleaner, and kitchen storage containers. And when I left to run my errands, the weather was beautiful: a sunny, clear, warm spring day. What a difference an hour had made.

After about a year and a half here, I’m still getting used to this changeable weather. In St. Louis the hottest part of a summer day was usually from noon until about 2:00 or 3:00. After that the temperature would usually begin to go down at least a bit. But here in Tacoma the hottest part of a typical summer day is from 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon until sundown. In the winter we do get quite a bit of rain here. (Have you ever noticed that when a movie or television show is set in Seattle, the indicator of the setting is always rain?) But even in winter a day often starts off with drizzle and fog that gives way to sun, or at least less rain, by mid-morning or early afternoon.

In fact, I find the weather here one of the attractions of the Pacific Northwest. I know that if I don’t like it at any given moment, all I have to do is wait a minute and it will change.

ML King Day at WA State History Museum

Yesterday we attended a panel discussion called Diversity and Changemaking in Children’s Literature in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day at the Washington State History Museum in downtown Tacoma. Here’s a summary of the panelists and their messages.

Belinda Louie, Ph.D.
Dr. Louie is a professor of education at the University of Washington Tacoma. She immigrated to the United States from China to attend college. ( See her website ). In her presentation she stressed two points:

  • Authenticity.  She exhibited two books that present the same Chinese fairy tale. One of the books she bought in China. The other was published in the West. She pointed out that the illustrations in the two books are very different, with the Western version picturing a Chinese woman in a way that would not appear in China. She made the point that when looking at books aimed at diversity, it is important that the books depict the authentic experiences and beliefs of the culture represented.
  • Empathy.  Books that present the experience of people of diverse cultural backgrounds help children develop empathy. As an example she offered Black Misery (1969) by Langston Hughes.

Sundee T. Frazier
Frazier is an award-winning novelist of books for young people. All of her books feature biracial main characters. She stressed that seeing a main character in a book who is like them is a validation of children’s right to exist in the world. All children deserve this experience, she said, and she hopes her books show that being from a biracial or interracial family is normal. ( See her website ).

Richard Jesse Watson
Artist Richard Jesse Watson is a best-selling children’s book author and illustrator. His work was featured in a recent solo exhibition at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and is also on display at the Washington State History Museum. In his illustrations especially he aims to present people from all over the world. ( See his website ).

Laurie Ann Thompson
Thompson’s books aim to inspire and empower young readers. Her first book, Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters, is a guide for teens who want to change the world. Another book, Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, is a picture book about a young man from Ghana who changed his country’s perception of people with disabilities. ( See her website ).

Lois Brandt
It took Brandt 10 years to find a publisher for Maddi’s Fridge, her children’s book about friendship, promises, and childhood hunger. No one wanted to publish a book about childhood hunger, she said. The book is based on Brandt’s personal experience of visiting a friend whose refrigerator was as empty as a display refrigerator in an appliance store. ( See her website ).

Carmen Bernier-Grand
Bernier-Grand is a native of Puerto Rico. She said that she was surprised when a publisher asked her to write a children’s book about César Chavez because she was not Mexican. Apparently the publisher thought that anyone who spoke Spanish could write the book. She took on the challenge and immersed herself in the life and culture of her subject. She has since written several more children’s biographies of Latino artists and changemakers. She is a professor of creative writing for children at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts on Whidbey Island. ( See her website ).

Jesse Joshua Watson
Jesse, the son of Richard Jesse Watson, is an artist whose passion is portraying the diversity of people from all over the world. He said that he loves expressing both the differences and the similarities among people in his illustrations. ( See his website ).

Kathleen (Katie) Monks
Monks is head of instruction services at the University of Washington Taooma. She manages the children’s book collection at the university’s Tioga Library. The collection was begun with the donation by Professor Belinda Louie of her children’s books. The children’s and YA (Young Adult) collection now holds more than 8,200 books.

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Another source of information about the need for diversity in children’s literature is We Need Diverse Books:

We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. We Need Diverse Books is committed to the ideal that embracing diversity will lead to acceptance, empathy, and ultimately equality.

The organization also has a Twitter page and a hashtag: #WeNeedDiverseBooks.

Mandolin Sushi & Steak House

My husband F. and I are regular participants in the Lunch Bunch, a monthly bus trip to a local restaurant offered by our retirement community. This past Friday we went to the Mandolin Sushi & Steak House:

3923 S. 12th Street
Tacoma, WA 98405
253–301–4969

There were about 15 of us, just the right size party for the separate room in the back, where the hostess seated us.

This restaurant offers many different kinds of food. F. and I went for our usual, steak and shrimp cooked at the table habachi-style.

Some of our friends ordered sushi, which arrived in a dramatic presentation:

Sushi in a boat
Sushi in a boat

I don’t claim to be an experienced food critic, but we liked what we had. Discussion on the bus on the way home suggested that most of the others had enjoyed their food as well. The restaurant has overall good reviews on yelp.

We were all impressed with the service. Our group consisted of couples and some individuals, which meant a lot of separate checks. Our waitress did a fantastic job of keeping all the orders straight, even at the end with all those separate checks and credit cards.

Zoolights 2014

Every year Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium holds Zoolights, a fantastic display of color highlighting many of its animals and several local features (e.g., Mount Rainier, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge).

The weather has not been very cooperative lately, but last night we finally got a clear and relatively mild night, so off we went. Check our my SmugMug album. Keep in mind that it’s very hard to get good shots in the dark, at least for a non-professional photographer like me.

Zoolights is a glorious sight!

Tacoma’s Fireman’s Park

It’s a beautiful day here in Tacoma, so hubby and I ventured into the outskirts of downtown for lunch.

After eating, we visited Fireman’s Park, which we entered at the corner of Pacific Avenue and S. 7th Street. From Pacific Avenue, this park looks about the size of a postage stamp, but in fact the park extends along the bluff behind the buildings on Pacific Avenue.

fountain
Fountain (now non-functioning) at Pacific Ave. entrance to Fireman’s Park

Fireman’s Park offers expansive views of the working area of the Port of Tacoma, including the entrance of the greenish-gray water of the Puyallup River into the bluer water of Commencement Bay.

marina
marina

A statue called “Clearing the Way” commemorates logging as the foundation of the Pacific Northwest:

statue: "Clearing the Way"
“Clearing the Way”

And logs are still ubiquitous around here:

logs
logs at the Port of Tacoma

A vertical drawbridge provides an unusual frame for Mount Rainier:

Mount Rainier and drawbridge
Mount Rainier and drawbridge

Just across Pacific Avenue from where we entered Fireman’s Park stands Tacoma’s Old City Hall:

Tacoma's Old City Hall
Tacoma’s Old City Hall

On the Menu: Golden Raspberries

Aren’t they beautiful? I had never seen these before.

gold raspberries

We bought them at Metropolitan Market, located in Tacoma’s Proctor District.