This story begins in a parking lot in Michigan. And it wasn’t just any parking lot. It was the enormous, newly paved “rink” that surrounded Michigan State University’s Spartan Stadium. It was spring and we were young, armed with inline skates and hockey sticks. We were free, my new husband and I and about 30 others who had broken up into several pick-up hockey games. We played fast and rough. And in that singular way those who live in climates that drive them indoors for several months a year feel when warm weather finally ends their confinement, we were full of that delicious, fizzy combination of pent-up energy and careless, 100-proof joy.
Fortunately for me that day, I broke my leg. Just like that. It wasn’t even spectacular. One minute I was up, the next I was down, and there were stars. Then the stars were replaced by the banged-up knees of my teammates. As I lay there on the warm asphalt, it occurred to me that I really had no business playing with guys like this. At 28, I had only recently grasped the idea of my own mortality, and here were these 19- and 20-year-olds looking down at me, shocked that someone had gone down and stayed down.
I said it was fortunate that my leg broke that day. Here’s why: Without that screeching halt, I’d have never started to notice what amazing machines our bodies are, how strong I actually am, or why movement moves me.
See, this lucky break happened about two months before we were to pack up all our worldly belongings and drive west. I’d planned this road trip for months, had even spent careful consideration on the perfect cowboy boots in which to drive off into the sunset, a plan suddenly curtailed, alas, by the honking plastic boot that replaced my cast. I drove the width of Wisconsin and South Dakota with my left foot working the gas and brake, useless right leg flopped over the console in the middle of the Ryder truck. I stumped around rest stops on that trip instead of swinging out of the truck in the dusty boots of my imagination.
Once I finally traded in my boot for a smaller brace which I could fit right in my tennis shoe, I had the opportunity to nurse my poor, shrunken leg back to health. And in Washington, where I knew no one, had no idea where I was, and almost everything was utterly foreign, I began to gingerly explore my new home on foot.
I walked miles in those first few months. My favorite place to walk, though, was along the river and marsh at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. At first, I’d walk a ways then find a place to sit and write or read or whip out my field glasses, then walk some more. I could feel my leg getting stronger.
A few months later, after my walks had gradually become jogs, and then runs, I met the Ft. Steilacoom Runners’ Club in Point Defiance Park. I’d never considered myself a runner even though I was now regularly running about three miles at a time by myself. I thought I could hang. As it turned out, they were running their usual five to six miles on the trails that day and I balked. They coaxed me to join them, however, and I did, in fact, hang with one runner named Jim (who’d also recently overcome an injury) for the whole run. I felt triumphant as we sailed down the hill to our cars and I remember crying tears of gratitude and something like pride while I drove home from that run. I was astounded by my body’s ability to repair itself and bounce back. I was hooked on running and on a phrase that started circling in my head that night and has roosted there ever since: “Physical activity will save your life.” Truthfully, the original phrase was, “Running will save your life.” I have since learned, after various running-related overuse injuries, that it’s sometimes OK not to take inspiration literally.
And as long as we’re talking about the truth, there were a couple years since my Point Defiance epiphany during which I fell off the wagon—hard—and couldn’t hear my mantra anymore. Luckily, though, I eventually found a great gym near where I lived.
One day, as I held an impossible pose in a yoga class, I clearly saw my little interior flame spring to life. It was back. I was back from some difficult times in my life. As I stopped straining against the pose, against gravity, I concentrated on that flame, on using my breath as a bellows to nurture it. Physical activity was, in fact, going to save my life. Again.
Today, I’m a cross trainer, a weight-lifter, a step aerobics fanatic, a yogi on occasion. I love pilates and kickboxing, tai chi and salsa. I drag my husband to a nearby field to play Frisbee, I walk to the grocery store, the dry cleaner, the gym. I’m a fitness instructor and a proponent of the “walking meeting,” (preferably conducted while sucking down an Emerald City Smoothie.)
My relationship with physical activity has been a complicated one all these years: From the reckless parking-lot hockey games, to the discovery of how a long run in the rain can temper my confidence and resolve, to dark days when physical activity was the furthest thing from my mind, to today. Today, I awaken every morning and I ponder, “How will I work it in today?” Circuit training? Weight training? A long run? A casual walk? Mowing the lawn? As I lay deciding, my little flame burns, the day awaits, I feel strong and ready for anything.
From the moment you set foot on the property… You are struck by the fact that this place encourages you to integrate with nature. The clean clear sent of pine wafts through the air and you hear the wind rustling against the trees as you enter. There is a sense of relaxation combined with a curiosity to experience all that Suncadia has to offer. Like a child that has just glimpsed a beautifully wrapped present, my eyes were wide in wonder at all the beauty that this mountainous resort had to offer.
Inspired by the grand lodges of Washington’s National Forest Parks, the lodge’s classic gabled presence captures the spirit of the Pacific Northwest, with magnificent architecture and craftsmanship that honors the beauty of it’s natural surroundings. This place is really about getting out and “experiencing it“. Championship golf, fly fishing, and miles of spectacular hiking and cycling trails, fine dining and spa services. So many fun things to do, yet this trip centered around exploring the wellness center and spa.
Hidden amidst a sanctuary of pine trees, Glade Spring Spa focuses on mind and body by renewing spa goers with the sensuous elements of the earth. The 9,900 square foot spa is centered in a serene mountain glade with 14 indoor spa treatment suites offering a variety of facials, body treatments and wet and dry massages. Ooooo la la!
Entering the spa, we were warmed by the natural light that flooded the area. Brown tones and wood along with huge windows integrate the out doors with three sanctuary salt heated pools. Much like an ice cube in hot water, the pools allow your cares and worries to melt away and disintegrate.
We proceeded to our changing area where—I must admit—I fell in love with the bathrobes that were to adorn us during our stay. Ok, call me a romantic but they were really lovable, after all they wrapped around you and instantly you were warmed. They were like butter, soft to the touch and yummy.
Speaking of coziness… we proceeded to the waiting area. As we relaxed on comfy lounge chairs we could hear the sounds of the meandering creek that runs through the property; water literally runs under the sanctuary room itself. This connection of elements also translated into our rejuvenating facial and massage treatments, which were infused with indigenous elements of the Northwest, including lavender, honey and chardonnay wine.
Then I embarked on a vino therapy massage. The blissful full-body massage uses wine-infused massage oils which are known to have anti-aging benefits. After which they offer a glass of Chinook Chardonnay to complete the experience. The massage was followed by a soak in the sea salt tubs! Ahhhhhhh!
I have often loved an adventure that couples natural surroundings with luxury… Suncadia Resort was the perfect pairing of luxury and experience with room to breathe…
More information at:
www.suncadiaresort.com or 1-866-904-6301
240 W Kent Station St, Kent
Not unlike bistros and cafés in France and Italy, Mama Stortini’s is the community gathering place where food is savored and friends mark the spontaneous moments in their lives.
The welcoming scents of minestrone, Bolognese sauce and pizza waft from the kitchen into the dining area. The atmosphere is casual. Framed artwork adorns each booth; adding interest are antique candlesticks, lamps, and plants placed on low partitions.
Stortini’s resides in the space formerly occupied by Zephyr Bar & Grill at Kent Station. The remodeled eatery feels open yet intimate. A bank of windows adds light; cozy booths are suitable for a romantic dinner; larger booths and tables can accommodate a family or group of friends. Seating is also available in the bar or outdoor patio.
The wide-ranging menu is suitable for a variety of situations and occasions, from grazing to special occasions. It’s evident that executive chef, John Spearman, feels passionately about having fine Northwest ingredients well-represented. Fresh, local products are prepared in a rustic European style. The menu has many choices and a range of prices to appeal to a wide variety of expectations, needs and occasions. Flavors are simple, bold and delicious. Diners can be assured of high quality and creativity. Portions are attractively presented and generous.
Starters include smoked mozzarella and tomato bruschetta, crispy calamari, and coconut crusted black tiger prawns. Maytag blue cheese salad, grilled steak salad, and chicken and pear salad with maple vinaigrette are a few of the many salad offerings.
Pizzas are baked in a brick oven. Brushing the crusts with garlic olive oil and lightly grilling them imparts a light smoky character and crisp tender texture. Italian sausage from Verone’s in Tacoma is featured for a unique and authentic Italian flavor.
Chicken parmesan is finished with mozzarella and zesty marinara, accompanied by a side of spaghetti. Also available are veal Marsala, scallops picatta and petite grilled filet mignon. Stortini’s uses only certified Nebraska beef, choice grade and aged for twenty-eight days for tenderness and full flavor. Veal is purchased from America’s finest veal producer, Provimi Foods in Wisconsin.
Among the pasta choices are Pacific shellfish fettuccine, baked chicken cannelloni, and traditional baked lasagna. Mama Stortini’s imports La Bella’s all-semolina pasta; the sauces are made in-house. Many entrees are available in both lunch and dinner sized portions; the restaurant also offers a children’s menu. Another option is the family feast; as the name implies, an abundance of food is served family style.
Luciano Pavarotti said, “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” The attentive service, fine fare, and casual ambience at Mama Stortini’s ensure that attention is well spent.
Waterstreet Café and Bar
610 Water Street SW, Olympia
Local Pride Makes For Perfect Dining
Only a few restaurants between Seattle and Portland have been awarded the prestigious Wine Spectator Award. The Waterstreet Café and Bar is one of them. Hundreds of wines are evaluated each year; only those that are delicious in their own right and harmonious with the eatery’s food are selected. The evening we dined there, we took the advice of the sommelier who paired every course with a suitable wine. We were not disappointed.
Our dining experience began with appetizers. Crispy spring rolls filled with marinated tofu and shredded vegetables are complemented by sweet pickled shiitakes along with two dipping sauces. A light peanut sauce hints of miso; a red chili condiment is both sweet and hot. Empanadas stuffed with sweet potato and Carlton Farms pork are served with blackened garbanzo bean chutney with roasted poblano crema and cilantro. The pastry is tender and the chutney innovative. Other starters include Barolo spiked sausage, roasted asparagus, and an antipasti platter.
Roasted beet salad is a combination of the diced root and julienne carrots; the vegetables are dressed with orange vinaigrette and served on a bed of spinach. Piquant stilton crumbles contrast with candied walnuts completing the classic first course. Warm, creamy, hazelnutcrusted chevre is the highlight of baked Cypress Grove goat cheese salad. Butter leaf lettuce is tossed with charred cherry tomato shallot vinaigrette, topped with the distinctly flavored cheese and served with crunchy crostini. Also available are insalata Caprese, Caesar salad, and mixed organic greens with walnut-Dijon vinaigrette.
Tender shrimp ravioli are sauced in light lemon cream accentuated by bits of fresh basil. The entrée is topped with crispy fried calamari; the contrast in textures is what makes this dish remarkable. Lamb chops are served with “macaroni and cheese”, a misnomer—the tender meat is accompanied by penne quatro fromage. The rich, creamy sauce is made with Parmesan-Reggiano, Provolone, Asiago and Fontina. The elegantly presented chops are topped with truffled arugula. Coconut-crusted snapper, braised pork loin involtini, and rustic Italian meatloaf are among other offerings.
All desserts served at the Waterstreet Café and Bar are made in-house. An old classic with a new twist, brandied apple and walnut bread pudding is custard-like and comforting. Decadent raspberry glazed chocolate almond torte is garnished with Chambord crème and toasted sliced almonds. Chocolate pecan pie and crème brulee are other options.
A lifelong resident of Washington, chef/owner Jeff Taylor left his career in finance to open a restaurant. He describes his style as “French technique with Italian and northwest influences”. Committed to quality and sustainable ingredients, he uses local products whenever possible. Since the dishes are fairly simple with relatively few ingredients, his philosophy is “all ingredients must be perfect”.
Almost every element is made from scratch from the sandwich buns to sauces to salad dressings—even the catsup. Pride in the product is reflected in the low turnover of the staff, both in the front of the house and the kitchen.
Jeff Taylor’s goal is to create a dining experience where, even if just for a couple of hours, “cares just melt away”. With an innovative, well-executed menu, knowledgeable staff, and an inviting, stylish atmosphere he has without a doubt achieved it.
Deceptions gone wrong. Christmas music and drama. An incredible journey. Unwelcome visitors and a Shakespearean comedy. An updated Scrooge and classic Agatha Christie. Nuns—some fundraising, some poisoned, one teaching. South Sound theaters have an impressive line-up scheduled for this fall. With comedies, dramas, and musicals, from Olympia to Seattle and places in between, there’s something for every theater buff.
The season gets underway at Olympia Little Theatre. Celebrating their 70th year, the playhouse presents Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest. Two young gentlemen have taken to bending the truth in order to put some excitement into their lives. Jack Worthing has invented a ne’er-do-well brother, Ernest, whom he uses as an excuse to leave his respectable country life behind and visit his ladylove Gwendolyn. Intrigued, his friend, Algy, borrows the identity of “Ernest” to visit Worthing’s young and beautiful ward, Cecily. Things start to go awry when Jack, Algy, and Ernest all make an appearance at the same time and the deception is discovered—which threatens everyone’s love life.
Olympia’s Harlequin Productions features Shakespeare’s As You Like It, in which treachery, jealousy, banishment, escape and a disguise all lead to a hilarious romantic romp in the forest of Arden. The daughter of a banished duke, Rosalind, flees the court with her cousin Celia. Once in the wild wood, she takes on the disguise of a boy in order to advise her heart’s desire, Orlando, and cure him of the foolery of love.
Next in the Harlequin’s line-up is Stardust Homecoming. It’s Christmas Eve 1942 and a mysterious man from the Fulton Street Fish Market makes a delivery to the Stardust. The fish are fresh but he’s long overdue and has a story to tell and a song to share. Stardust Homecoming brings 1940s music, comedy and romance for Christmas.
About a quarter mile east of The Harlequin is the Capital Playhouse. In Nunsense, the Little Sisters of Hoboken need to raise money to bury the sisters accidentally poisoned by the convent cook’s tainted vichyssoise. The five surviving sisters decide the best way to fundraise funeral cash is to put on a telethon variety show. This show has become an international phenomenon bordering on cult classic. These sisters may be on their way to heaven, but they are here to raise some hell!
Olympia’s Washington Center for the Performing Arts produces Late Nite Catechism II. The fun continues in Sister’s second catechism class. It is not necessary to be a graduate of Late Nite Catechism to enjoy this one—Sister will give extra attention to her slower students! She has felt banners, a filmstrip, handouts, historical facts and hysterical insights to explain the goal of every nun: getting into heaven and bringing along as many of the faithful as possible. Using a special version of Chutes & Ladders to demonstrate her point, Sister tells us where we have gone wrong, and no one is excused from her firm belief that “sometimes we feel guilty because we are guilty.”
To the north, The Mousetrap is offered by the Lakewood Playhouse. In the well known Agatha Christie murder mystery play, a crazed murderer seeking revenge stalks a group of victims snowbound at a country inn. Audiences will find this classic suspenseful and funny.
Next up, the cast of the Playhouse performs Tuesdays With Morrie, based on the best-selling true story. Sixteen years after graduation, a journalist happens to learn that his old professor is battling Lou Gehrig’s disease. Mitch looks Morrie up, and what starts as simple visits becomes a class in the meaning of life.
The year ends with Tom Sawyer, the Musical. Mark Twain’s delightful story of Tom, Huck and Becky are freshly set to music conceived and written by the masterful comedic writer Ken Ludwig. The perfect holiday show for the whole family!
Further north, Tacoma Little Theatre’s cast performs Lend Me a Tenor. Saunders, the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, is expecting Tito Morelli, the greatest tenor of his generation, to appear for one night only as Otello. Through a hilarious series of comic mishaps, two Otellos end up running around in costume with two women chasing them in lingerie.
TLT moves ahead with A Christmas Story. It’s 1940 in the town of Hohman, Indiana. Nine-year-old Ralphie Parker wants one thing for Christmas—an official Red Ryder BB rifle with a compass in the stock. Everyone tells him “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” Between the bully at school and the Old Man’s leg lamp, Ralphie is having a tough Christmas this year.
Tacoma’s Broadway Center has been partnering with a new local acting company, Theatre Northwest. The two entities copresent two shows in 2009-10, utilizing each organization’s strengths and abilities.
One production will be Streetcar Named Desire. Set in the French Quarter of New Orleans during the restless years following World War II, this is the story of Blanche DuBois, a fragile and neurotic woman on a desperate search for someplace in the world to call her own. Blanche turns to her sister Stella for safe harbor, but Stella’s husband Stanley is suspicious of Blanche’s abrupt arrival. The two quickly form a volatile rivalry and Stella increasingly finds herself torn between the two. Stanley’s temper and Blanche’s past threaten to tear their relationships apart. Don’t miss the cultural touchstone written by American playwright Tennessee Williams.
Up next is The Salvation of Iggy Scrooge. A cross between Dickens and a rollicking trip down pop culture’s memory lane, this is an evening of irreverent Christmas cheer. Ebenezer is a burned out misanthropic superstar who snarls through Christmas Eve until a top of the charts gaggle of ghosts shows up: rock legends Buddy Holly, Bob Marley and King Elvis come to boogie with Iggy and set his warped values straight. This inventive Christmas offering reverberates with show stopping tunes and characters that may have never occurred to Dickens.
In Federal Way, the Centerstage Theatre proudly debuts Contact, the world premier of a new musical based on Carl Sagan’s best-selling novel and the hit movie which followed. Contact tells the riveting story of a young woman who embarks on a voyage that humans have only before dreamed of—and the incredible truth that she learns as a result. It promises to be the theatrical experience of a lifetime.
Just in time for the holidays the 5th Avenue in Seattle brings back one of their most popular and beloved productions ever, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. The story of two ex-soldiers who pursue a pair of lovely ladies right to the lodge that their ex-commanding officer is running is a song-and-dance extravaganza. This show played to large and enthusiastic audiences here in its premiere in Seattle back in 2006, and had a similar reception on Broadway this past winter. Now it returns in a brand-new production with all of the old favorites still intact.
South Sound Theater is alive and well. With too many shows and too little time, reserve your tickets now—there’s something for everyone.
Few can boast that a U.S. President chose to be photographed with one of his works. Bonney Lake sculptor Larry Anderson can. An image of President Barack Obama was captured with Anderson’s sculpture, “Springfield’s Lincoln”. The bronze portrait is a lifesize sculpture of Lincoln, his wife and two of his sons.
Art is Larry Anderson’s calling and has been for over half a century. His high school and college transcripts would show an insatiable craving for artistic knowledge. Fearing he couldn’t support himself as an artist, he majored in education with a minor in art; in graduate school, he studied painting and minored in sculpture. After teaching for twelve years, he took a gamble to follow his passion—he left education to pursue art full-time. He has been at it for almost thirty-five years.
What inspires you?
For commission work, I do what’s appropriate for the site and setting. I like working one on one with clients, talking with people and doing the research. I try to make my pieces relevant to common, everyday people. Most of my sculpture work is life-sized and ground level so people can touch and relate to them.
What’s made you successful?
I’ve been very fortunate to have had opportunities. We all learn from our mistakes and keep working.
How long does it take to complete a piece?
For life-size work, sometimes it takes nine to twelve months to get it designed and put in place, including research, concept, foundry work and installation.
What was the most surprising compliment you’ve ever received?
While hiking in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, I was riding on a tram to the trailhead. Someone noticed my Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine t-shirt and asked me what my connection was. I showed them the picture of my sculpture, “Continuum” on the back. The individual, a Denver veterinarian, became excited. He had graduated from WSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine and had seen some of my work there. I was surprised at meeting someone in that context who had seen my work.
Which work do you consider most successful?
A Civil War sculpture “Coming Home” at the Ohio Veteran’s Home in Sandusky, Ohio.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your work?
It’s always nice to get a compliment about a piece I completed quite a while ago. I enjoy having so many in the greater Tacoma area.
Community members indulged their senses at the 3rd annual Northwest Corks & Crush in Puyallup. Guests enjoyed tasting and bidding on offerings from nineteen northwest wineries, classic and unique automobiles and other auction items. Following the auction, high heels and boots were moving on the dance floor to the tunes of Shelley and the Curves. The event proceeds go to support Puyallup Fair Foundation’s Traveling Farm and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Good Samaritan.
“Northwest Corks & Crush has become our favorite event of the year. We are incredibly blessed to be a part of an event that supports two of the best causes in Puyallup – and frankly Pierce County as a whole.”—Sophia Hall, Executive Director of the Korum for Kids Foundation