Kirkland's Seniors Cruise the Blvd

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The graduating class of 2020 has definitely had some special end of year moments robbed of them due to the Coronavirus restrictions.  But on Thursday evening, the rains stopped and the sun shone down on hundreds of smiling capped and gowned teenagers from Lake Washington High School, Juanita High School, Eastside Prep, Emerson and the International School.  A giant 'unofficial' parade of cars honked, shrieked, danced and  let loose down the Lake St/Lake WA Blvd in Kirkland as parents and socially distanced bystanders clapped and cheered them on from the street.  For those 45 minutes, life even felt a little bit 'normal' as kids got to see each other and feel the love and support of their friends, family and community.  Finally, a celebration!  I don't have a senior, but I still found myself holding back a few tears of pride for this amazing group of teens. 

Perhaps this grass-roots effort just started a new Kirkland tradition.  LW parent, Kristen Estes, helped the group of moms that put this effort together and commented, "We are so thankful to the Kirkland community for helping us celebrate the Class of 2020 during these unique times.  it was fun to see everyone come together and make this a special event for the graduating class of 2020."  Perhaps years from now Kirkland grads will read about COVID-19 in their history books and go charging out the door for their annual community graduation 'senior cruise' through our city remembering how it all started. I hope so. 

You've got this Class of 2020.  Congrats!


Love Always

Rileypic

I've been keeping a sharp eye out for the murder hornets, because well wouldn't that just figure that they would be able to find me while on our stay-at-home order.  They'd buzz their giant asses right on into my house during those few moments my door is open after bringing in the mail. I don't have time to ponder such thoughts because I'm mostly trying to keep my household from resembling a fraternity house on a Sunday morning and failing miserable.  This last Sunday was pretty great though-how was your Mother's Day? My family gave me a Roomba, which we named Pete, and he's been trying to help us out with aforementioned frat house floor.  My daughter handed me this little doodle (sweetest 17 yo ever?) that, at first glance, says "Love Always."  I tole her  a "Thanks honey" and gave some big hugs and then when my eyes went back to the doodle, suddenly it appears to say "home Always." What the what?!  Is my mind playing tricks on me? Can you see it??! Because that is also VERY VERY true.  What is this trickery she has bestowed upon me?

BumblebeeThis is not a murder hornet. But I have time capture photos of bees on my walks now.

When I do venture out of the house, I put my mask on over my new little chipmunk cheeks and marvel at how sometimes social distancing has extended its hand to make us socially inept.  I've seen a few people snap at the grocery that don't yet realize the aisles are one-way. I'm wondering if we've turned into 'serious' zombies, ones that not only stay 6 feet apart but don't say hello or wave or hardly acknowledge those around us anymore.  This reminds me of when I was asking my daughter recently about her remote schooling.  And she said, "School is basically the same except they sucked all the fun out of it."  Have we had the fun sucked out of us? Say it isn't so.  I know I still have some fun left in me.

Instead of complaining I've decided to do something about it.  I purchased some coffee gift cards and now hand them to service people that deserve thanking or sometimes just unsuspecting grouchy people.  Their reaction is worth every penny- the softening of the eyes, the change in body language as they relax their shoulders and tip their heads in appreciation of a kind gesture.  I challenge you to do this too- it could be picking a flower or tipping extra or whatever your spin might be.  My UPS guy seemed to like the sampler box of whiskey mini-bottles I left for him.  Just saying. The checker at the grocery store was delightfully confused when I gave her a gift card. You do you.  It doesn't have to cost a thing. Spread a little kindness.  We all need it right now.

Oh, and speaking of which- please follow/like the Kirkland Blog's Facebook page.  There's a (hopefully entertaining) little photo contest up there now where you can win $100 gift card to Bibi Kitchen for their delicious take out. 

 


Kirkland's 4th Parade Cancelled

Shinydime
I've had a few, what I call,  "shiny dime days" recently.  When paying for something with cash pre-COVID  (back when we used to be out and use real money on occasion), and inevitably, somehow a shiny skinny little dime always escapes my clutches. Who invented those little buggers? Anyway, you know the feeling, everyone at the register hears it pliiiinkkk to the floor and offers to helps as it makes its edgy winding escape under a counter or into an unreachable crevice.  "Aaah, don't worry about it," I'd say not wanting to further advertise my clumsy hands or fret over ten cents.  Now in 2020,  I am losing days like I used to lose dimes.  I'll never get either of them back.  I may be waking up with intent, albeit a little later, but not-so-much really happens.   Maybe I've emptied some dishwashers, written a few emails, gone for a walk or watched movies with the fam.  Perhaps every day.  They are slipping through my fingers just like the shiny dimes, and I find myself still saying, "aaah, don't worry about it."  Because there's always tomorrow.  When this is all over I hope I can motivate myself to get more than one thing done in a day.  And I'll be picking up those dimes! 

As we look about 60 tomorrows into the future, it turns out we will still be celebrating America's birthday on July 4th, just not in the traditional way Kirkland is accustomed to.  Here is the update from Celebrate Kirkland taken from their website:

We have experienced unprecedented changes and adaptions in our daily lives since the beginning of March as our community and country have faced the impacts of our current health crisis. Kirkland Downtown Association cares deeply about the safety and well-being of our neighbors so we are continuing the theme of adapting and overcoming by exploring creative and safe ways we can celebrate Kirkland this 4th of July. While we won’t be having our traditional parade, community picnic, and fireworks as we have in the past, we are working on some extra-special ways to celebrate safely.
We look forward to the days we can join together again in our parks and businesses. When that day comes, rest assured, we will have a celebration like no other.

Can we drop firewarks from really high drones for us all to see from our homes? Flags in front of every home? A car parade for each neighborhood?  Hot dog and beer touchless delivery? Whatever it is, I know we'll figure it out-hang in there, Kirkland. #wegotthis

 


Not-So-Deep Thoughts During COVID-19

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All at once, time is both standing still and flying by.  I have a vague idea of what day it might be, but no urgency to figure it out.  Thoughts are clanking around in my brain like a forgotten quarter in the dryer.  So I jot them down on a piece of paper, in case they eventually make some sort of cohesive sense, and I thought I would share my compilation with you.  I know the news is constant and our inboxes are full with virus updates from every business we have ever worked with, so it seems like some light notes from our time at home might be relatable, if not, therapeutic. 

  • Is anybody else hiding food from their family? If I happen to buy a treat at 4pm, perhaps some cookies or chocolate, I can pretty much guarantee it will be gone by 8pm.  They are an incredibly engineered breed of scent-driven sweets hunters.   Right now there are chocolate covered raisins hidden in my underwear drawer (who would go there?!) and I will sneak a handful to ration out to everyone when the timing is right.  
  • Smiles are contagious, in a good way, but now they are all hidden under our masks! (photo, big grin)
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  • Many people, aside from essential workers, are SO accessible right now. Was there somebody you've always wanted to talk to? Or an old friend you never had time to catch up with?   Isolate physically but reach out virtually.  I've never heard so many people actually answer their phone!  Hey, does anyone have Oprah's number?
  • Just making sure that you know this important fact: menopausal women all over the globe wake up every morning in a cold sweat and take their temperature thinking they could have it. 
  • When school got canceled (the first time), one of my 17 yo girls said "Ohhh, it's like 99% of the stress just got lifted from my shoulders."  I thought that was interesting in a time when this situation is causing much greater stresses on so many people that for her it actually a bit of a relief moment, even though she is sad to miss her friends and teachers. Meanwhile, her sister is painting/creating COVID-19 planners. (photo at top)
  • I put some jeans on today for the first time in weeks and they fit! Winning!
  • Who has TikTok? If you have hours of your life that you would like to make disappear, this is a great way to do it with some belly laughs along the way.  Make your family do one of the group dances, I'll be looking for you.
  • -I am not hoarding.  My family actually eats this much.  3 teenagers=(2) costco 3 packs of milk and (2) 18 packs of eggs in any given pre-Covid week.    
  • -I bought some hand sanitizer from Heritage Distillery and am hoping I don't mistakenly drink it on any given day at 5pm (photo)
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  • -Is it too early/presumptive to start planning a Christmas party at my house?  Somehow that would bring me joy now.   
  • I went for a walk with Riley and was noticing how many bunnies and birds seemed unusually close to us, almost as if they were saying hello.  "Perhaps they miss seeing people too?" I asked. "Or maybe they're always there and you're just now taking the time to notice?" she said.  Touché. 
  • It will be interesting to see  stats on how many divorces, alcoholics and babies this quarantine produces.
  • For teen drivers w/permits, this is a great time to practice driving on less congested roads without making everyone around your crazy (except your parent in the passenger's seat)
  • Do you think we'll ever phase back into shaking hands? If we do, can those of you with wimpy handshakes please use this downtime to practice a bit?
  • COVID makeover- this will be a mandatory step in the recovery process as I am looking quite primitive now.  Gyms, hair and nail salons will be a hot commodity when they re-open.   
  • I was driving the other day and suddenly felt a wave of emotion and welled up with tears.  Was it from that quick taste of lost freedoms? The build up of going on for weeks  pretending this new life is normal? Or my mask pinching me behind the ears? I'll never know.  We all have these moments.  Acknowledge them.  Move forward. 
  • I took the gray polish off of my toes and did them bright pink instead.  It just feels happier. And sometimes I wear bright clothes that don't necessarily match. Try it. It's liberating and makes me laugh at myself.
  • So, I try to check in with my mom every day. But it's mind-blowing- like Groundhog Day- hearing the same info/news updates because she never leaves the house anymore and has nothing new to talk about.  She did say we could use a Jonas Salk right now, which is very true,  and then she will tell me again tomorrow.
  • Mother Earth.  I feel like she's taking a giant inhalation with her head tipped back and her arms held out wide.  Her fish are returning to the newly clear waters of Venice.  Air quality has greatly improved, especially in LA and China. Her bunnies and birds are enjoying their space again on my walks again. What will we do?  What will she?
  • Not being rushed by my teens/our hectic schedules and being able to have family dinner every evening has been an upside to this giant slowdown.   
  • I'm so thankful for every healthcare worker, truck driver, mailman, no-touch food delivery person, fire/policemen, grocery workers, and behind the scenes people that keep our days moving forward for all of us. 
  • This Seattle video made me well up (again). We're making great strides, WA, but we're not there yet.  We can do this.  And yes, I miss your face. xo

Kindness is Contagious

I recently received this email from Victoria & Mark Fanning, owners of Crown Linen Designs. Donate $99 before April 5th and receive a $50 Crown Linen gift card (free contact-free delivery too!).   What a clever idea to accelerate giving to a local cause that is helping our local healthcare teams stay strong as they fight COVID-19... here is their note... thx for being awesome, Kirkland.

As you may be aware, over the last two weeks, The Herbfarm in Woodinville has been delivering free, delicious and nutritious meals nightly to medical teams at our local hospitals.  Thanks to all of you who have already supported this effort!

Clearly, these health care heroes are on the front line of this pandemic.  We just can't do enough for them right now.  

To date,The Herbfarm has delivered over 2,065 meals to Evergreen, Overlake, Virginia Mason, Swedish, Kaiser Permanente, UW and other local hospitals.  They are adding new hospitals next week and hope to continue this effort as long as needed. 

Not only are these heroes thrilled with a dinner from The Herbfarm, they always comment on how much the community support means to them.  

Can you believe it?  They give thanks for what others are doing!   It is the embodiment, not only of heroism, but grace - beyond inspiring. 

Also inspiring is the commitment of owners Ron Zimmerman and Carrie Van Dyck and Chef Chris Weber and The Herbfarm team to make this happen.  I honestly don't know when they sleep!  

To fund this endeavor a Gofundme campaign has raised about $80K to date but we want to keep this effort going as long as there is a need.  

Here's a link where you can learn more:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/meal-delivery-puget-sound-covid-19-hospital-staff

A Patreon site has also been set up for those who are able to make recurring donations:

https://www.patreon.com/theherbfarm

If you are considering contributing, Crown Linen Designs in Kirkland (906 Market Street) is offering a $50.00 gift card for every $99.00 you donate between now and April 5.  You can order online and we will deliver it for free (and contact free) anywhere in King County within 2 business days. 

Here's what you do if you you're interested: 

Make a contribution of $99 or more on the Gofundmesite and include your name. 

Always have the last digit of your contribution be be a "9" so we will know who you are.  Every $99 dollars earns you another $50 gift certificate!

Visit us online at www.crownlinendesigns.com and find what you like.  The offer applies to our entire line of apparel, bedding, tabletop and gifts including sale items.

Email us at www.retail@crownlinendesigns.com and let us know what you would like to purchase and we will contact you to arrange delivery. 

Please contact me at this email, at mark@crownlinendesigns.com or on my cell (425) 864-0921 if you would like more info.  

Thanks for anything you can do.  I promise - it really is making a difference - and we really can't do enough for these heroes.

With deepest wishes for health for you and your loved ones. 

Victoria & Mark Fanning

Crown Linen Designs

906 Market Street

Kirkland, WA 98033

Main: 425-406-8975

PS - Feel free to forward this email and offer to your friends and promote it on your social media. Anything you can do to get the word out is greatly appreciated. 


Blue Ribbons for Hope

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Have you noticed blue ribbons around many of our trees in Kirkland?  Special thanks to Tricia LaVoice for spearheading this effort to show people that a simple gesture can help people feel not-so-alone during this COVID-19 outbreak.  This is especially meaningful for many of our seniors that are feeling frightened and isolated, but can  now look out their window in their nursing homes and know their community is thinking of them. 

Tricia has wrapped over 150 trees so far!  There are currently 11 nursing homes that are impacted by the virus in King County and she is focusing on using safe distancing measures while single-handedly and methodically getting to each of their trees with her ribbons of hope.   This angelic lady has also adorned the trees on Park Lane, Lake St and Market St to represent the connection of  the Kirkland Life Care Center to its city and our hearts.  Tricia told me, "it's just my little part that I can do" and it would be great if others across the country also recognized their local nursing homes and how much meaning this can have for those residents.  Just today as she was checking on the ribbons at Life Care, someone pulled up and asked if she was taking them down.  "No, I'm just fixing them up" Tricia said, and the person thanked her for keeping them there as her mom really appreciates looking at them out her window.  

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"I wanted to share love, not fear, and this community has always been so nice and has really stepped up their game to be friendly, sweet, and supportive while still respecting the boundaries that we need to have right now."  Tricia mentioned the awesomeness (is that a word?) of Kirkland Life Care and the outpouring of support they are receiving , but to remember that there are many other nursing homes and care facilities where our elder population are feeling scared and alone.

How can we help her?    She's also running low on silk flowers and ribbon, so email her if you have some for a 'no contact' pickup or need a delivery address for an online order. If you have blue ribbon,  you can also put some around your own trees in your yard to show your support.  Like her FB page here.

 


What's Your New Normal?

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Things are changing at a rapid rate, so it's tough to keep track of what is or isn't okay in Kirkland these days.  Staying home mostly? Yes, that's okay because it sounds like more cases of asymptomatic transmission are popping up and we are unknowingly spreading COVID-19 to others.   But the amount of food I am eating while chillaxing in my house? That's not okay.  And now that the kids are out of school for 6 weeks I'm pretty sure we may all lose our minds, but we're determined to do this for the good of everybody.  This is not a drill.  This is for real, friends, let's follow the guidelines we've been given by our state and federal government.  If we can't manage to keep ourselves out of populated public spaces,  the likely next step is that they  will do it for us.   So let's impress and air on the side of caution.

That being said, you don't have to barricade yourself in your house with your 600 rolls of TP (still don't understand that, this isn't dysentery).  I have seen many heartfelt community efforts on the Be Neighborly Facebook page of people offering to do errands and food shopping for the higher risk citizens that shouldn't be out and about.  There was also a food sign-up (not making food, buying food)  for Kirkland Life Care residents and workers. You may want to donate gift cards to Nourishing Networks or donate/volunteer through the Lake WA School Foundation's Pantry Packs program, so those local kids that have food needs are being served.  Buy gift cards to local restaurants and businesses to help see them through this tough time. Or a free idea.. you could give blood.

IMG_8602 Opening Day (pushed to 3.26) tee at Asher Goods
I really appreciate the innovation coming from some of our local businesses.  Times are changing so let's get creative, right?  DERU Market now uses their parking area as a drive-thru for pickups and will be open 7 days/wk and doing deliveries.  Lake St Diamond Company  sent an email saying they are implementing 'teleconsults' via text, email or zoom in addition to store sanitizing and social distancing. Comcast announced it would offer free public wi-fi hotspots throughout the country during this pandemic.  Some places are understanding of the required slow-down and are suspending operations, such as Lynn's Bistro until 3/30, Lakehouse in Bellevue, and I'm sure many more to come in future days.  The ski runs are closing gyms are talking about putting workouts online for their clients to do while they are staying home.  Holly Smith of just announced "At Home with Cafe Juanita" so you can order and pickup on certain days/times through their virtual store.  I know the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce is working really hard to help support our local businesses through these tough times.  Are you friends with the Kirkland Blog on Facebook? I'm going to start doing snapshots of local business owners and ways you can still get their products/food. Shoutout to Asher Goods  and their Opening Day tees is up there right now. 

Our family has been talking about how we want to structure our days, reiterating to our teens that we can't sleep in until noon every day.  Steve is re-organizing his entire closet at this very moment and I have a feeling the garage is next.  Good news, the weather is great for a few days so get outside.  We're so lucky to have the Cross Kirkland Corridor and amazing parks for walks.   At our house, we were thinking about having a few 'no tech' days where we put our phones down completely (gasp!). The slow down of everything can more easily allow for a 'fun' experiment like that.  This seems like a perfect time to take a Masterclass online with a famous expert in their field.  Wordscape is a very dangerously addictive word app you might like.  Or maybe we can invent something- like some hand sanitizer that smells like orange blossoms and simultaneously moisturizes my chapped over-washed hands?  Feel free to share your ideas of how to use our down time wisely.


Kirkland Urban Honors Eric Shields

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Many Kirklanders knew and loved Eric Shields, our former Planning Director for the city, who sadly passed away late last year from cancer. He was instrumental in contributing to the vision for Kirkland Urban, and therefore it has been decided to dedicate the Great Hall in the Urban North building to Eric.  An honor well deserved. This space will be available to the community for scheduled events soon.  The bleacher-style space can accommodate 35-50 people and will be available on a first-come first-serve basis through the on-site management office. 

 


Opioid Abuse Awareness & Strategies

Opioid Abuse Prevention

Pay attention.  This is serious stuff.

The Lake Washington School District PTSA and members of the Kirkland Fire/Police Departments and Northwest University are putting on an Opioid Abuse and Prevention Strategies Panel Discussion on Tuesday, January 29th (7:15 – 8:30 PM) in the LWHS Theater.

The goal is to provide awareness that opioid abuse knows no social boundaries and can impact any family.  And also to share direct, meaningful and actionable strategies for parents to communicate with their children.  The panel members, including the father of a LWHS grad who was lost to a heroin overdose, all have experience with the pain and suffering opioid misuse brings. 

For more information, contact Vince Armfield at vince@lakesidechristian.net or Irene Neumann, Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Chair, LWHS PTSA at FACE@lwhsptsa.org.

 


KPD Issues Statement in Response to Menchie's Incident

In case you haven't heard about the recent situation that transpired at the Menchie's on 124th, you can see the Seattle Times article here.  And also the 205+ comments from your 12K best friends in Kirkland here or plenty of them here too. Our KPD Chief, Cherie Harris, and City Manager, Kurt Triplett, just issued an official response.

I'll leave my commentary out today, focus on taking some deep breaths, and just let you know that I am thankful for each one of you this Thanksgiving.  We'll get past this incident and do better, because the warmth, kindness and depth of community (not to mention the amazing sunsets) is what makes Kirkland a place to be grateful for. And I always have fun sharing that with you. 

IMG_1677 <--quick pic from sunny Turkey Trot last weekend