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Totem Lake- can you feel it?

If you want to know what it feels like to be an eagle soaring through the new Village at Totem Lake that's under development,  click here for the YouTube video.  The virtual reality of the sunshine in there is just a bonus. Hopefully said eagle does not take aim upon any of those very fancy cars in the parking lot. 

Let us know what you think!  I'm super excited for a movie theater close by again.

The Houghton Buzz

Houghton Everest Neighborhood Center Map 2016 (photo from kirklandwa.gov)

Everyone is talking about it.  You've probably heard the chatter around town about the potential land use and zoning changes being considered at the Houghton Everest Neighborhood Center.  That's the fancy name for the big intersection at 6th and NE 68th St where you'll find Met Market and PCC. There's a public hearing tonight (Thursday 3/23) at City Hall 6-7 Open House, 7pm is the open hearing. There are three scenarios being considered which are the 'Preservation', 'Moderate Change', and 'Greater Change' options.  There are already plenty of citizen concerns around traffic/congestion, schools that are already maxed out, the impact on the Cross Kirkland Trail, and also how the combination of development here would fare with the Kirkland Urban project that is still underway just down the street.

Get up to speed here and if you have feedback, get involved!

PS- Speaking of traffic, there's an "Eastside March for Justice" this Sat 3/25 going from Houghton Beach Park (9:30) to Marina Park (speakers until 1pm). So if you're not participating you may want to sleep in or drive the long way around. :-)

Fire Breaks Out at Brown Bag Cafe

BrownBagFire   BrownBagSign

Oh nooooo! A little past 10 o'clock on Saturday night there was a structural fire at the Brown Bag Cafe on NE 116th Ave.  Early reports say it was likely a kitchen fire that extended into the attic, which did not sustain major damage. Thank goodness for the fire crews that quickly contained it, however, the restaurant did suffer quite a bit of smoke damage.  When I drove by on Sunday, the front door was boarded up (photo) and there was a burnt smell in the air. The cause of the fire is under investigation and there is currently no estimate as to when the Brown Bag will re-open to serve those family-sized skillets that we have all appreciated at the Kirkland location since 1994.  Big community hugs to the Brown Bag for a quick recovery!

This rain is NOT FUNNY. So NOT FUNNY anymore.

I have to say, for the record, this winter has been a doozie.  Even for many seasoned Seattlites that typically laugh in the face of sideways rain, people are beaten down.  The last time I can think of a winter like this was when Steve and I first moved here from Atlanta in 1999, which was the year a local milestone was broken for raining 100 days in a row.  Not really our proudest moment.  Now I recognize the same faces of apocalyptic zombie people with pale skin and dark circles under their eyes moaning grievances about the weather.   It's appropriate that I am typing this in my sweatpants with a blanket wrapped around me and a cup of tea.  That's not so bad, my daughter has her pajamas on and it's only 6:30.  A friend that just moved here from CA is about to lose her mind, so I find myself constantly texting her apologizing for the weather, as if I'm somehow personally responsible.  How can we all help each other? 

I'll start the list but I need you to chime in too. We are going to have to get really innovative here, Kirklanders. People's sanity is at stake.

Here goes:

-Turn up your heated car seats as high as they go. Sometimes I start sweating and it makes me forget it's cold and rainy. Not advisable for menopausal women.

-Dress up.  Long ago when I worked in inside sales we all still dressed up b/c apparently your professionalism would come through the phone that way. Be fancier than the rain.

-Escape! Save all summer so that you can plan a sunny weekend getaway or two in the winter (AZ, So CA are quickie remedies and a 2 hr flight)

-Turn all the lights on as bright as they go. I am all for energy conservation but we are in a bonified sun-deprivation crisis.  Perhaps we can trick out minds this way?

-Smile at everyone you see. It bring out the inner sunshine. Smiles warm hearts.

-Spray tan. Darn it the chemicals are bad for you (use the nose plugs!), but you'll feel tropical. Side bonus: it creates an optical illusion that you're 5 pounds lighter

-Exercise. Natural endorphines cannot be denied. Side bonus: getting back in bikini shape for when the sun finally returns

-Stop checking your weather app. It might look like this and that's daunting at best, if not dismally depressing. Delete it. Sunshine will feel like an unexpected gift when it peers through.


 Help. Please. Tell us YOUR secrets. 




The Free Little Pantry in Rose Hill

  FreeLittlePantrybins  FreeLittlePantryOriginal   FreeLittlePantryfirstsign<--the original "Little Pantry" that started out by the street

In Sept of 2016, Radonna Nelson started out placing a small enclosed cabinet that she bought for $10 from Value Village out in front of her house (10745 126th Ave NE) with some extra pantry items inside of it.   The concept is similar to that of the "free little library" that is based on the honor system- take what you need, and if you can, put in something to share with others.  She started a Facebook Page called “The Free Little Pantry in Rose Hill” whose membership quickly exploded to what is now over 500 members.  Radonna bought another cabinet and friends started bringing over refrigerators to store lunch meat, milk, cheese, eggs, butter. Her pantry was quickly expanding to include fruits/veggies, socks/gloves, toiletries and freezers full of meat.  She goes grocery shopping every Mon/Weds/Fri and knows every sale in town.  The pantry was no longer just a box by the street, it has graduated to an enclosed space built onto the front to her family's home.

FreeLittlePantryFridge<---Radonna exclaims “This big fridge is my baby!”

Needless to say, feeding the hungry of Kirkland and beyond has turned into a full-time job for Radonna, but she is willing to let her “Little Pantry” go wherever it takes her.  She knows this was meant to be.  Formerly a woman that would sleep all day and hadn't any friends, she feels like her passion for helping others has given her a newfound purpose.  She grew up in a family of six where she was often hungry and endured an abusive home, so it has great meaning to give people an outlet that she didn’t have.  Radonna’s only requirement to use her pantry is that you are hungry (it’s not a grocery store) and you sign a waiver form. She wants those in need to take food with an open heart and without shame. There is no cap on the number of visits and she doesn’t turn anyone away. The Free Little Pantry of Rose Hill is open 24/7/365.  Yes, you read that correctly. Anytime.  She says, “At the end of the month, when I look at how much food has gone out, it’s clear I’m making a difference. When you fill people’s bellies, they are receptive to talk and I want them to know I’ve been there and I understand.”   Radonna remembers, “my husband sold plasma to pay for milk when our kids were young.... and we survived!  I want people to know that someone believes in them.”  She even sometimes assists in finding shelters and jobs.  Radonna will occasionally do special orders- making sure she purchases soap or detergent next time at the store if she knows someone needs it.


Radonna is not only a student at Cascadia College with a goal of being a therapist, she has been learning a lot as her pantry grows. She’s got her food handler’s permit and is waiting for her 501 (c)3 designation so donations will be tax-deductible soon.  Her vision is to eventually start a garden so her clients can understand how food grows and where it comes from.  Another perk of her mentoring role is changing how people eat.  “Someone told me their kids will eat apples now since they have tried them here.  And that means a lot,” Radonna beams.

Now you are likely realizing what an incredibly amazing and generous woman Radonna is to be giving her own money, time, energy, home and heart to the hungry people of our community.   “How can I help?” was top of mind for me.  There are  a couple ways:

1-The pantry needs a 3 drawer fridge for produce  (do you have one of these hanging around?)

2-Donations- Things such as frozen fruits/veggies, canned food, pastas, cheese, etc.  She also offers books for children and coats.  Toiletries and cleaning supplies are also helpful. Reusable bags are great for people to take their items in. Or if you prefer, you can also donate funds via Paypal.  


Special thanks to Radonna for being yet another fiber in the fabric that makes Kirkland so darn special.