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Kenskiing Have you happened to notice that the water level is lower in the lake this week?  That's because I drank half of it.  No joke.  I've been learning how to water-ski using just one ski these past few weeks and let me tell you it's not a pretty sight.  The guy skiing to the left is obviously not me (duh). That's our friend Ken.  If you've been anywhere near Juanita Bay and seen a shivering lady falling on her face 18 times in a row, that IS me.  And it's fine if you laugh out loud at me, because I heartily do the same (in between gasps for air). 

Lisatwetsuit A good friend of mine and fellow Kirklander, Lisa Kirkland (yes, that's really her name- previously Lisa Thoms), was a competitive slalom waterskiier at a national level for 7 years.  So, I asked her to share some wisdom with us.  The best places Lisatboat to ski in Kirkland are in Juanita Bay or out near St. Edwards Park in Kenmore at 6am.  That's your best chance at finding smooth water here.   There aren't any slalom courses in Kirkland, but there is one in Kenmore at Logboom Park and there's another down in Renton.   Lisa said that Mark Lord owns "Ski Masters" in Kenmore (425-481-2SKI) and gives slalom lessons.  I wonder if that's a hint for me?

Water-skiing involves every muscle of the body, so it helps to be in good shape and conditioned for such a workout.  I'm sure when Lisa beats me on the squash court I am helping her fitness for water-skiing too.  Now can you see why I'm so competitive?  Apparently, July's issue of WaterSki Magazine named one mistake that beginners often make is to hold their arms out longer than they should, Lisakenweddingski exposing themselves to shoulder dislocation.  And for those of you with bad backs, the most sensitive area of a skiiers body is the lower back.  Another pointer: don't forget to keep those bindings tight enough so that you need soap to get your ski on-I learned this after flying over my ski a few times.  You also need a good driver- slalom speeds are between 30-36 mph. Check out the pic of Lisa and her husband Ken wake boarding together on Lake WA at their wedding reception.  That's dedication.

OK, I should be ready for some glassy water again now.  Lisa took me out last Friday (yes, 6am!) and I'm eternally grateful for having such a fun and patient friend.  By the 8th try or so I finally got up and planed for a -short- moment or two.  And let me tell you, this is THE best way to wake up in the morning.  Far better than a triple tall mocha any day of the week.    ~Janis

Negotiating for Gas

I recently went along with my mom to help her purchase her new Toyota Rav4.  Well, it wasn't new exactly, it is a certified pre-owned 2006 with 3600 miles on it.  We went to the gorgeously new and monstrous Michael's Toyota of Bellevue and were generally pleased with our experience.  Nice sales guy (hi Joe), Asst. Sales Mgr (Brent) and Finance (Michael) dept.  Joe even went next door to the Dairy Queen to buy me a Strawberry Blizzard when I was getting worried the transaction might take longer than they would stay open.  Kudos to the team.

Oilwell The next day my mom realized that her "new" vehicle has less than 1/4 tank of gas in it.  They must have forgotten to fill it, I was certain, and told her to call so they could correct the problem or give her a voucher.  "Oh, we only fill up NEW cars.  USED cars will have just enough gas in them to get you home," is what she was told.   I realize that fuel is expensive right now, but so is that car she just bought from them.  A whole customer sevice experience was instantly soured.  They could have spent the $50 to fill the tank and had us bragging around town about how great they are, but instead here I am whining about it.  And I hate whining (it's in stereo at my house).    My mom's concerned phone call should have been a red flag for them to turn on their customer service shine and make her a happy client.

This bothered me enough where I figured I'd do a bit of legwork to see if this is what our Kirkland dealerships are up to as well.  Many thanks to these Kirkland dealerships that tell me their typical practice is to fill up their new AND used cars when someone purchases:  Infiniti of Kirkland, Honda of Kirkland, Eastside Subaru

These dealerships all fill up the new cars (and the CPO's says Toyota), but NOT the used ones so be sure to make that your last negotiating point before you shake hands on the deal if you're in the market for a used car: Toyota of Kirkland, Lee Johnston Chevrolet/Mazda, Kirkland Chrysler/Plymouth/Jeep, and Ford of Kirkland

Apparently, this corner-cutting is becoming 'standard in the industry'.  I did get some good chuckles from the sales guys I spoke to, though.  "Is that all you're worried about?"  one asked.  Another said, " Would that prevent you from purchasing a car from us?"  Good to know they read the objection-handling portions of their sales manuals.  Maybe they should bookmark customer sevice.    ~Janis

Chicano Band Quetzal Rocks the KPC

Kpc Ever been to the Kirkland Performance Center (fondly referred to as the KPC)?  We haven't and I must admit we always think about heading into Seattle, instead of downtown Kirkland, when we feel the need for a little culture. But then recently we got hooked up with  Rachel Jackson, the PR manager for the KPC(pictured right w/ House Manager Misha Neininger)Kpcmisharachel_1 , who was kind enough to invite us down to the KPC to show us around and let us take in a show last week.   

Kpclobby Before heading over to the KPC we stopped in at Mama Lucia's for some tasty Italian (in Kirkland Parkplace).  After dinner we walked over to the KPC where some pre-show wine tasting was being offered.   The crowd mingled in the lobby tasting wine as Rachel gave us a quick tour and a bit of history about the KPC. 

Here are some quick facts about the KPC:

  • Opened June 1998 in partnership with the City of Kirkland       
  • Seats 402 in stadium type format (not a bad seat in the house)
  • Breadth of shows include theater, live music, dance, ballet, and comedy
  • Lobby offers full bar and snacks
  • Facility is available for rent for larger groups/business meetings
  • Free parking is available in the city parking deck next to the library

So after our tour and chat with Rachel it was time to sit down and enjoy some live music.   Janis and I love live music so we were excited to get out (without the kids), sit back and listen to an East LA Chicano band by the name of Quetzal. Quetzalsinger

Slight tangent--I am no stranger to live music (as a fan, since I have no musical abilities).   I have been listening to my brother, Brad Rabuchin, play his guitar my whole life.  He is an accomplished guitar player who teaches at the LA Musicians Institute, plays gigs all around LA, and toured the world with Ray Charles for years.   Another little factoid is that my cousin Julie is married to Vivian Campbell--lead guitarist with Def Leppard.  Janis and I have taken in a few Def Leppard concerts over the years--yeah, baby, 'Love Bites'! haha.

OK, back to the story.   So Queztal came on stage led by singer Martha Gonzalez--they totally rocked!  Martha has the qualities of a Gwen Stefani in terms of stage presence/voice and she is backed by a group of extremely talented musicians.  There was a wooden box that she would get up on and stomp her feet to the beat of the music and it reverberated back out to our seats- a very fun and ethnic vibe.  Their bi-lingual music is an interesting cross-cultural fusion (with elements of jazz, Caribbean, folk, rock, and steeped in Mexican roots).  Most of the songs were not in english, which was kind of nice because it allowed us to take in the music instead of focusing on the words.  Janis did a little translating for me, but I think she was making it up.

Here is a link to Quetzal's myspace.com website where you can find out more about them. 

So who knew the KPC could be a cool place to go and it's right in our backyard?  Although there were less than 100 in attendance, Queztal gave us a world class performance.   I think we will be back to the KPC to hear some stand-up comedy soon and will plan to check the schedule more regularly.  Hope to see you there.     Steve

Stood up by the Kirkland PD

After my wife participated in a ride along with the Kirkland Police (and blogged about it)I figured I would do the same.  Kind of a follow up post to see if my experience was similar--or even better.  So I filled out the form and dropped it off.  I got my appointment scheduled and I was excited to go!

It's not the first time I have been on a ride along.   Several years back I went on a few ride alongs with the Sacramento PD.  Why Sacramento?  Well, my cousin is Sgt. Susan Feenstra out there.  The ride alongs were exciting and I went for the entire shift (from night into the wee hours of the morning).   There was lot's of action...calls into housing projects, gang related calls, a few stops for food, and lots of domestic violence calls.   Even saw a few arrests and bookings back at the jail. 

I have a ton of respect for police and their work and love hearing the stories whenever we are fortunate enough to spend time with my cousin and her husband.  Oh, I forgot to mention that my cousin's husband, Jim Hyde, just took the Chief of Police job at Antioch PD

OK, so back to the Kirkland PD ride along.   I was scheduled to have my ride along last Thursday night from 7:30 to 9:30 pm.  It doesn't sound like a lot of time, but I was still excited and wanted to see first hand how our police keep Kirkland safe.

I arrived about 7:25 pm (you should always arrive for an appointment early, right?).   I picked up the red phone outside the lobby--which by now was closed.  I told the operator I was there for my ride along.  She said "Great! I will buzz you in, please wait in the lobby and will tell them you are here.  Someone will pick you up from there." 

So there I sat, and sat, and sat and then sat some more.  I watched as police officers came back from one shift and left for the next.  Some officers looked at me as they walked by outside the lobby and just kept walking.  Then I sat some more.  Nothing but a camera pointed at me in the lobby and some forms sitting on a desk. I read them all.  At about 8:25 (almost an hour into my two hour ride along) I just decided to leave. 

They had my info, but no one called.  I thought they might want to know what happened to me (what if I was kidnapped?) or even apologize (I know...wishful thinking, huh?).   Hey, I am the first to admit that having a visitor tag along isn't a high priority and may even be an unwanted distraction for most officers.  That said, if you are going to offer a program for ride alongs my feeling is that you should run it properly and have some respect for the people who are carving time out of their schedules to participate.   

Nobody likes to have an appointment and be blown off.  Whether it's a dentist appointment, an appointment for a tattoo, a dinner reservation, or a ride along.   Why couldn't an officer just pop into the lobby and say they are "running late", or that they "had an emergency".  Anything would have been better than the cold shoulder!

After getting home and telling Janis the story she confirmed that the same thing happened to her, although she waited it out (about 45 minutes).   Maybe 7:30 pm is just a bad time?  Maybe they should either kill the program or tell people to show up at 8:30 pm.  Of course that doesn't leave much time to get into the squad car.   Anyway, I hope they take steps to improve the program.   It works well in other cities.    Does anyone else have a ride along story to share that's more exciting than mine?     Steve

Attention Hungry Boaters!

Carillon_landing I read a statistic recently that said one in four residents in the Seattle area owns a boat.  I wonder if that includes rowboats and kayaks because that 25% number seems high.   Anyway, the point is that there are lots of boaters and water around here.  Where do they all go when they need to tie up and eat?  Day and visitor moorage isn't always so clear--especially in Kirkland.

Not only is it confusing, you need to remember that any bozo can buy and operate a boat.  No qualifications or special Settlers_landing boater's license needed.  Just a checkbook and a line of credit.   I could tell you a story about how I discovered what the word "shoal" means, but why voluntarily embarrass myself?  (if you have to know, email me at kirklandweblog@gmail.com ).  Even above-average clowns like ourselves don't know where all the visitor docks in Kirkland are located or the exact protocol to follow.  Many docks are not clearly marked and one can't easily decipher the do's/don'ts of hourly mooring around Kirkland either. 

Cleatseats Then we heard about a book called "Cleats & Eats, a boater's restaurant guide" that does a great job of summarizing and illustrating all of the public tie-ups, complete with descriptions, photos and drawings that even tell you which side to tie on.  It's like a local 'boating for dummies' book that also includes a guide to all of the restaurants near the public tie-ups (this must be difficult to keep current!).  There's a section on Kirkland which includes Carillon Point, Clancy's Dock, Marina Park, Second Street Dock and Settler's Landing.  You'll also read about other secret finds in and around the Seattle area. 

The author, Lorena Landon (pictured right, on her 22' cuddy cabin runabout) is a Kirkland resident Lorena_picture and WA native.  She and her husband have been boating for over 30 years, and often other boaters ask them:  "Can I tie up here without getting yelled at?"  "Is this public or private?" "How long can I stay here?  Where is the restaurant?" She told her husband there should be a guide book and he encouraged her to write it herself.  She's working on her fifth edition now!

You can find these great guidebooks at a variety of locations around town (no on-line sales yet) which are listed on their website www.cleatsandeats.com .  The easiest place to grab one is probably Yarrow Bay Marina or the Downtown Association (on Lake St. next to Jalisco's). They run about $12 and are the perfect size to stick in the glove box of your boat next time you need it.  For long term moorage, check out our blog post: Kirkland Moorage...what is the best marina for you?    Enjoy the rest of these sunny summer days on your boat.  Or better yet, somebody elses!      ~Janis

Who's blogging about the Kirkland Weblog?

We have been meaning to list a few others blogs that have mentioned our blog.   Some of these are not so recent (we are typing as fast as we can), but thought it was interesting to see what other bloggers are saying about the Kirkland Weblog:

OK, so it's not the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Seattle PI or even the Kirkland Courier, but we appreciate these guys taking the time to mention us on their blogs.   BTW, each blog above has interesting content.  Enjoy! 

128 on State

Statest A new set of luxury residential condos is being built on State Street and is slated for completion late summer of 2007.  Love the name- "128 on State".  Very hip.  Although, I noticed the actual address on the city records is 320 2nd Ave South, in case you're looking for more info on the city permit site.  320 on 2nd doesn't sound quite as cool.

128onstaterendering2 Trammell Crow Residential (TCR) is the developer of the 5 story (2 are parking) 124 unit building.  The structure will appear as a 3 story building since 2 of the levels are below grade due to the land slope.  So, basically, this project will be the same height as their "Boulevard" project next door.   Seems the condo trend keeps going strong as all the baby-boomers are aging and hustling to downsize.

Units range from 630sf- 1400sf each, but generally most are under 800sf.  Pricing will be in the highOldpostoffice3  $200's and up.  I was trying to remember what occupied this space before.  Turns out it was "The Cypress Tree" (cute little old furniture/refinishing place) and the old Kirkland Post Office that had definitely seen its day (photo right).   If you want to learn more about 128 on State or preview finishes, their sales center just opened August 1st at 598 Central Way (corner of Central/6th) from 11-6 daily.  827-2090.    ~Janis