Name that STOP sign

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This albino stop sign makes me chuckle every time I see it.  It's not like we live in such a sunny place that all of our stop signs get bleached out. How old is this thing?  Someone in the City of Kirkland needs to tell me (and put a replacement in the budget soon, LOL).  

Do you know where this is located? 

**Update: It only took 14 seconds for the City of Kirkland Public Works to let me know the scoop with this stop sign (spoiler alert: it's at the post office). If only my kids listened that well! Since this STOP sign is on the post office's federal property it is the post office's to maintain. The City maintains signs in the right of way and on public roads.  So for future reference, if you need help w/street, grounds, storm, water, sewer issues that are City of Kirkland, you can always call (24/7) 425-587-3900 .  I'm fine with continuing to laugh at this STOP sign. But if you wanted it replaced, better call the post office 425-739-6727 (or just walk in and tell them!). 


Caption this Photo

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So surreal, it almost looks like an album cover.  I did a double-take as I was driving down Kirkland Ave and saw this little person at the top of a tree.  I couldn't decide if I needed to blink and rub my eyes because I had seen an angel land, or if I should run before the alien child spins its head around and laser beams me with her eyes.  Either way, cool photo.  And I survived.


Sharing our Favorites

Everyone has their favorite go-to foods around Kirkland-wouldn't it be fun if we shared them? 

I sent an email to a gaggle of friends and asked them to tell me ONE favorite food in Kirkland. And since they're my friends, of course they included drinks too. 

  • Cheese grits from Metropolitan Market
  • Lamb meatballs on spaghetti squash from Volterra
  • Baked spaghetti at George's
  • Turkey Grinder at Acropolis
  • Gluten-free chocolate chip cookie from DeRu
  • Boeuf Bourguignon at Le Grand Bistro
  • Brix Truffle fries
  • Kabocha (thai pumpkin) from La Thai 
  • Chopped salad from Hector's 
  • Bolognese w/zucchini squash from Volterra
  • Pesto Pasta at Cafe Veloce
  • THE Cookie at Met Market
  • Cinnamon Spice tea at Lizzy Kate
  • Sonoran Spa Chicken at Cactus
  • Albondigas (pork and lamb meatballs)- Bottle & Bull
  • Over Doin' It cocktail from Bottle & Bull
  • Dry rub wings at the Lodge
  • Chocolate milkshakes at Ben & Jerry's
  •  Any Pho Bowl from Pho House
  • Gyro plate from Padria or Bella Balducci
  • Salted peanut butter cookie from DeRu
  • Salmon Nigiri from Sushi Joa
  • Olympic Omelette at George's
  • Pow Wow Old Fashioned from Bottle & Bull

 

I'm excited to try some of the things on this list that haven't been on my radar before.  Add your faves in the comments below!


Strawless in Seattle

AdrianGrenier

Did anyone happen to see Adrian Grenier hanging around downtown Kirkland last week? Adorbs. He and his entourage of friends from the Lonely Whale Foundation were busy launching their Strawless in Seattle campaign.  Yes, I said strawless-  the ones you drink out of (but now you'll try not to...).  The plastic straws that Americans use 500 million of each day, many of which end up in our oceans.  During the month of September, over 100 restaurants have committed to incorporating sustainable alternatives to plastic straws.  There are a lot of familiar names leading by example and teaming up in this effort to reduce the consumption of plastic straws, such as the Seattle Mariners, Sounders, Seahawks, Seattle Aquarium, Tom Douglas restaurants, Seattle's Great Wheel, the Space Needle, Nube9, Columbia Hospitality, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and more than 100 restaurants and bars. Shout-out to our Kirkland supporters! I saw Anthony's on the list and  The Heathman is on all-in, check out their Facebook contest  (so easy--- do it!), where you can win a voucher for 20% off at Trellis.

 

Strawless in Seattle presser_Dune Ives_Executive director of Lonely Whale Foundation <-- Lonely Whale Executive Director, Dune Ives (photo credit: Emy Kane/Lonely Whale Foundation)

"We are living during a critical turning point for our ocean, and that's why I'm excited to celebrate the city of Seattle as a true ocean health leader," said Adrian Grenier, co-founder of Lonely Whale Foundation.  "Alongside Lonely Whale Foundation, Seattle's citywide commitment demonstrates our collective strength to create measurable impact and address the global ocean plastic pollution crisis. We are starting in Seattle with the plastic straw and see no limits if we combine forces to solve this global issue."  Check out some of the FAQ here to answer your questions about why this matters.  

There are lots of great videos on their site.  Show your kids.  They'll hop on board too. Our ecosystem goes full circle, and the fish we eat are consuming the microplastics in our oceans. Gross, right? Doesn't seem like it should be so tough to use a cute paper straw instead (or metal or glass or bamboo or reed)! Do you have a business or know of a business that would love the idea of saving our oceans one plastic straw at at time? Challenge them to #stopsucking.  The goal is to remove 500 million plastic straws from the U.S. waste stream in 2017.  You know I love this stuff...little things that can collectively make a big impact on our planet.  Sort of like when we all stopped letting the water run  the entire time we brush our teeth.  Not tough, but makes a difference.  Spread the word. ~j


Sunshine Makes us Crazy

It is such a cool phenomenon when Kirkland gets a few bluebird sunny, warm days in April.  People are suddenly tan and smiling and friendly. Windows open and convertible tops come down. Flip flops and lollipops. What did we do to deserve this?  A post spring break gift from the weather gods, perhaps, but us locals know that historically, it won't last long and so we'd better seize the moment. 

Here are some of my 'sunny days in Kirkland' observations.  Feel free to add your own:

        -I let my kids eat popsicles BEFORE dinner. 

        -At least a truckload of bikini-clad high school aged kids were at Houghton Beach Park on a sunny weekday at noon. Do they let school out early for sunshine here? Fun times!

        -Less fun..at this same park, someone walking their dog allowed it to walk about 12 inches into the lake and take a poop.  Toddlers playing in water 10 ft away.  I'm still troubled by this.

        -Places of employment seem mysteriously sparse. Long lunches allowed. 

        -Crosswalk flags- please use them! So many pedestrians and distracted drivers through downtown coupled with the glare of that glowing ball of light in the sky- recipe for disaster.

          Pedestrianflags- I turn up the music and open all of my windows and my sunroof in my car.  Kids all CRACK UP.  Apparently this doesn't happen often and the wind is quite hilarious?          Weatherapp-  Everyone is posting a screenshot of their weather app to Facebook so friends all over the world can notice that it doesn't actually rain here ALL the time.Crazypants -I wear my crazy pants.  Crazy times call for crazy pants.

Janisnewhair2016 - Why not cut all your hair off!? Feels like summer.  Plenty of time to regret this decision later but for now it's easy breeeeezy.  I dare you to do it too!

-The chilled chardonnay bottle in the fridge knows how to say my name at 5pm. Who taught it that? Brilliant trick!  I think it called me "Yanis" like Siri does but I know what it meant.

-I feel like spring cleaning.  And if you also feel like cleaning- don't forget there's a "Kirkland Clean Sweep" event coming up on 4/30 from 9am-1pm.  They still need lots more volunteers so bring your tools and gloves and able body and in exchange the Kirkland Downtown Association will feed you coffee and donuts. Meet up is Hallmark Realty on the corner of Lake and Kirkland Ave. Sign up here.  

Hurry and tell me your funny sunny time stories before the rain comes back and we're all cranky again!


Happy Anniversary, Kirkland Weblog!

I was rummaging through some papers the other day and stumbled upon the fact that the Kirkland Blog recently had a TEN YEAR anniversary. Isn't that kind of nuts?! It is to me.  Have we known each other that long-- you and me?? I had to sit down, take a deep breath and ponder my life and collect my thoughts, but yes, it's true, it's been 10 years. 

Sara's bday 027 <-- Here we are in all of our 2006 glory. I know you're jealous of my bangs.

  Tango2015 (5) 2016: Now we hide behind sunglasses. Steve, please please will you write a blog post for us? For old time's sake?

People often ask how long I've been doing this blog gig and how it started.  So an anniversary seems like a good time to tell the story. Steve and I have lived in Kirkland since 1998 and we've always loved socializing, shopping and eating here. Everyone is just a special kind of AWESOME. So by 2006, we had 2 three year old's and a one year old, so we were a little frazzled perhaps, but clearly still had a love of our community and oddly enough, time to pick up this side hobby.  

All of the truly cool ideas are always Steve's.  Out of nowhere he asked me--"why don't we start a blog about Kirkland?"  (blogging was a sort of new-ish back then)  " We already do everything in Kirkland.  We should just share our experiences with others," said young Steve. "We could take turns writing posts." < Insert canned laughter here.>  Steve wrote about 8 posts and now you have to read my ramblings every week.  What started on a whim then began to snowball.   More followers, more hits/day, friends were asking what we were posting and what was new around town.  And there you have it, the Kirkland Weblog was born.  

A lot has happened in ten years-- real estate has gone up ( then down then up again), businesses have changed over, we annexed, parking spots have disappeared, development is surging and  my laugh lines have deepened.... but the love for Kirkland and all that makes it create that feeling that warms my heart from the inside, has gone unchanged.  So thanks for sticking with me, Kirklanders.  I love hanging out with you.

The best anniversary gift you could give us would be spreading the word.  Tell your fun friends to subscribe in the top left corner here.  Speaking of fun, let's play a game....REMEMBER WHEN.  I'll start...remember when....

-the Grape Choice was where the Heathman stands today?  I think Larry Springer was mayor then.

-Wilde Rover opened? I think it was 2006- was brand new when this blog started. 

-the Bath Bar was on Park Lane? I can almost smell it right now.

-there was a Santa Store on Kirkland Ave, and the owner would carve them in the front window

-I went to EVERY gym in Kirkland and reported back w/ a review. Great butt kicker.

-they moved Heritage Hall from east of Market to its current location at the bottom of Market St.

-Bead Hut, Calabria, River Rock, Crab Cracker, Unique Plus, Life is Good, Trenditions, MuShoe, Olive You, Ravenna, Six Tables, uBrDo...

 

What do you remember?????????????????????????????????????????????


Bag Ban Starts in Kirkland March 1st

Plasticvortex
The practice phase is over.  We ARE going to save the planet from plastic bags.  Or at least start trying harder in Kirkland. I'm not sure if you are aware, but there is a disgusting pile of plastic in the middle of the Pacific Ocean fondly referred to as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch."  I don't want to give you an ecology lesson but there's plenty of reading if you need to get motivated.

Starting March 1, 2016 disposable plastic bags will be banned in the City of Kirkland.  No more forgetting them in your trunk!!  The city's plastic bag ordinance restricts retailers from offering plastic bags to consumers at the point of sale. If you don't bring your own reusable bags, then retailers are required to charge at least five cents for each large paper shopping bag. Retailers are allowed to provide plastic bags for items such as bulk and frozen foods, meat and fish, take-out foods, newspapers, and dry cleaning, and to sell pet waste and garbage bags. If you have questions, you can visit kirklandwa.gov/bringyourbag for specific information or contact the Recycling Hotline at 425-587-3812 or recycle@kirklandwa.gov.  

 

Plasticvortexswimmer  <----  No complaining! Otherwise our grandchildren's polar plunges will look like this!

Grocery bagsAnd just to make this plastic/garbage topic even more fun, I feel like giving away a prize!  The first THREE blog readers add a comment about something else they have done to help save our planet lately, will receive a pair of these beauuutiful Earthwise reusable grocery bags, compliments of the Kirkland Weblog.  Don't email me, comment below. Go!
 


Well Helllllloooooooo 2016

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I love this time of year when we all willingly torture ourselves. Or at least I do. After a month and a half of parties with free-flowing wine, meals and cookies that were simply undeniable, and skipping the gym in favor of a hot toddy by the fireplace....it is time to pay the piper. Jan 1st thru Feb 14th every year, Steve and I cut out alcohol and eliminate any 'cheats' we may have been slipping in to our usual 'paleo' way of eating.  So basically we sleep really well and get skinny for 2 months out of the year and then celebrate our short-lived accomplishment with a big dinner and killer bottle of Cab on Valentine's Day.  Hooray for us! This year, our Valentine's reservation (make 'em now, boys!!) is at the newly remodeled Cafe Juanita, which we haven't had a chance to check out recently. Stay tuned for a post on that, even though it's clear that Holly Smith reliably knocks it out of the park with her culinary creations. 

Here are my early ramblings of 2016:

-Get healthy. Why is the gym empty? Where are you?  Every year in the first week of January I brace myself for a jammed parking lot and limited elbow room in the free weight room. I miss your determined faces with the renewed promise of resolutions hanging on every step of the stairmaster. But, alas, it feels a bit sparse. Maybe you are all just walking around town in your activewear? Or realizing no matter how much you exercise you get it just boils down to what you are putting in that hole under your nose.  If you're thinking that moving your body sounds good too- don't forget the Kirkland Shamrock Run is coming up on Sat March 12th at 9am.  Register here

-Get organized. There's a little cooler-sized pile of junk in the corner of my office. Paper, CD's, an old camera, and some other stuff I can't even remember. I call it my s*#t-pile.  I'm certain it's been there at least a year, more likely two. In 2016 this thing is going DOWN and I am reclaiming my corner. For reals.  Find your s*#tpile, either physically or symbolically, and fix it.

-Speak up.  I spent the first 20 years of my life being shy (I know, can you believe it?).  The older I get the more I realize I'm comfortable in my own skin and willing to voice and take action for things I care about and believe in,without worrying so much about what anyone else thinks.  Some would say that now you can't shut me up.  Anyway,  I love when Kirklanders stand up for what they believe and know they can make an impact....and there's a hearty group with some passion called "Save Our Trail" that is working to keep transit buses off of the Cross Kirkland Corridor.  Every voice counts, write a letter/ join in, options are still being evaluated.  

-Smile.  My kids told me they were staring at me (who has time for that?) the other day for a five minutes while I was conversing with friends and I didn't smile once. Hmph.  Newcomers to Seattle always say people here aren't so friendly.  Maybe we just need to smile more?  I'm going to try.  Smiles and hello's for everyone in 2016.

-Be thankful.  We always should, and we know we are, but sometimes we forget to say it out loud.  Thank you, Kirkland Blog readers, for listening to my point of view and for giving me tips and comments and laughter along the way .  It also seems like a nice time to thank my advertisers for their support and appreciation.  You guys are the best: Andy Allred, Columbia Athletic Club, Dana Adams, Eyecandy, Ambrosia Medspa, and Seattle Suntan.  


Pajamasign

And lastly, if you are looking for a resolution that you can most likely keep, I'd suggest this one:  "I will not wear sleepwear in public this year."   Sounds simple? Apparently not.  It's quite often I see Kirkland's youth wearing their Ugg slippers out and about as if they are shoes.  I've grown accustomed to this strange  phenomenon, but it seems to have morphed to include pajama pants now. Are curlers and robes next? Are we pushing the boundaries of Seattle grunge?  Just say NO to daytime sleepwear.  

 


When the Earth Starts Shaking in Kirkland

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I'm sure many of you read The New Yorker article from July 20th, outlining every detail of the impending doom Seattle will inevitably face when "the big one" comes.  It outlines, in excruciating detail, a sizable earthquake where the Cascadia subduction zone will unleash a path of destruction on us. It is said to have a 1 in 3 chance of happening in the next 50 years.  You can't help but read the text and sink down in your chair as you realize it is not a fictional story you are reading, but a prediction and a forewarning.  

So I'm not here to scare the holy hell out of you.  But I did scamper off and chat with some folks I know in emergency management and they nod in agreement and commend the author's thorough research. A 'friend of-a-friend' up the chain in FEMA in DC confirmed that the article is indeed on scale with the budgeting and planning that has been done for this area for when, not 'if', an expected event consistent with that description occurs. SH#%$&*.  I don't think we have to move eastward, but I do think this is a wake-up call for us to all get ourselves, our families, our streets, our neighborhoods and our community PREPARED.  I asked Pattijean Hooper, our City of Kirkland Emergency Manager, what she thought of the article and recent publicity around it.  She quipped, "It's as if you were 7 months pregnant and people are just now noticing."  So, it seems that we should start decorating our metaphorical nursery, perhaps?

Emergkit
Whether it's a quake, or a volcanic eruption or some other emergent event,  I like to think our household is relatively prepared.  There are tips all over the web and Red Cross site of course, but I'll share a few of things that we do/have in our household in case you're curious. It might be a good-starting point if you haven't given this much thought but want to get started.

This is not in a bunker, I promise:

- we have a plan.  My kids know where they are supposed to go (within our house or our street). We sometimes chat about where we'd seek shelter in various situations.

-shoes near our beds (for when glass breaks)

-water and gas shutoff tools (near the shutoffs)

-flashlights and whistles in each bedroom (also some hardhats, might be overkill but kids think it's fun)

-hand-crank radio, first aid kits, gloves, extra food/water supplies, Lifestraws, fire extinguishers, rope, hand-warmers, survival blankets, waterproof matches, maps, things to do, batteries, medications

-bonus points: goggles and face masks

-Emergency packs in our cars and workplace (purchased from www.preparesmart.com)

-Museum Wax- bought it but haven't done anything w/it yet.  To keep fragile stuff from falling out of cabinets/shelves

-We also did an emergency plan with our street, called Map Your Neighborhood.  Do it, you'll sleep better.  It's cool to see everyone come together and devise a strategy.  Our street knows who lives where, where our meeting spot is, who is likely to need help (elderly, little kids), and what each household has to contribute (generators, tools, medical or electrical skills, or even a wine cellar to pass the time). We have this documented on PAPER for every household (b/c our computers won't work then). And the reality?   PD/FD will be too busy solving bigger problems so be able to sustain yourselves.

-Check your insurance (earthquake is a separate policy). Make sure it's current.  We just did a remodel so I had to up ours a bit.

-have paper docs of what you might need to run out the door with- acct numbers, policy #'s, phone numbers

-Take photos of everything you have. I took 500 photos in my house. Walk through each room, photograph what is in each drawer.  You won't remember what you had later, when insurance asks you how many Barbie dolls or pairs of socks they need to replace for you.  Put it on the cloud or a thumb drive in your safe deposit box or with an out of town relative. Some insurance co's have a digital locker you can use.

Payphone <---(payphones still exist and are a land line in an emergency. And I got to sneak Adam Levine into this post. Dreamy)


-Have an emergency contact that is your out of state point person.  That's who you (and all in your family that may not be together at said disastrous moment) call to let them know you are ok.  When the time comes, out of state calls will work better than local. Texts will pile up but might be ok.  Or find a landline (not connected to your internet)- yes there are a few payphones still in existence. 

-You'd be the teacher's pet if you Sign up for CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). Classes fill quickly. 

Ok, so to be clear.  DO NOT come to my house in an emergency. Get yourself ready. Lots of great info on our city's website here.  When I met with Pattijean I was trying to pick her brain for what an event such as the one described in the NY Post article  would mean specifically for Kirkland.  Where are we vulnerable? What bridges/roadways do we think might collapse? How are our people trained to respond? Would a tsunami reach Lake WA?  She does not have a crystal ball so none of these answers are clear because we just don't know what the actual situation will be until it presents itself. But here are some useful nuggets I walked away with:

-Seiche.  I learned a new word that day (pronounced say-sh). It's a 'standing wave oscillating in a body of water.'  So, NO giant tsunami-sized wave will make it to Kirkland, but the lake make slosh around a bit.  Sort of like tripping with a cup of coffee in your hand and that's no fun.

-I was comforted by the fact that there is an enormous document that details protocols for a Plan A, B, and C at every level of our government and relevant organizations in the response and recovery process. There are people that have carefully thought through the hows and where's and which places are accessible by boat or by plane and where greatest concentrations of people and vulnerabilities and resources will be required. Where to stage things, how the National Guard gets engaged, etc etc. Don't freak, just rest assured, they are doing their part. 

-In June of 2016 in Kirkland and all over WA emergency services from all of the state "play" the plan they have in place.  It's not just a document, they practice the plan and learn from it. Smart.

-Best part- NEED YOUR HELP! Once you have yourself ready, it's time to think outward to your community.  Pattijean is setting up "Stone Soup Centers," and is looking for more locations. Stone Soup is the title of an old folk story where a community comes together by each putting one small item in a pot, to make a large amount of soup to sustain them all.  So far, Inglewood Presbyterian Church and NW University are Stone Soup Centers.  It is a place that will house a generator (supplied by a grant thru the city), and safety/First Aid supplies and would be willing to serve as 'charging station' for those in need during an emergency.  It's not instead of having your home ready (don't expect food and water), but a safe place to go and come together with other community members. Each one has committed volunteers to run it with the help of the city.  Ultimately, we should have a Stone Soup Center in every neighborhood.  So we've got a way to go. Can your business, church, local organization be a Stone Soup Center? Email Pattijean Hooper at pjhooper@kirklandwa.gov  to find out more about the program.

Hopefully you are not booking a one way ticket to NYC or building a bunker right now.  Talking to your family and neighbors about your plan and maybe adding a few items to your emergency prep items to your purchase list each week isn't a bad idea though.  ~j

 


Panhandlesign  My kids noticed a new sign on the corner of 124th near 405 in Totem Lake.  They have super-spy vision for such things. Anyway....there's usually a collection of homeless faces on these particular sidewalks, but on this day there were none.  

The sign reads, "Keep the Change.  Don't Support Panhandling.  Give to a Local Charity."

I like it.  Nicely said.