The Books Are Here! The Books Are Here!

Today they arrived!

The first printing of Creative Colloquy Volume One was delivered to Jackie Cassella’s house.

Since Jackie is super awesome (and I know where she lives) I was able to swing by and grab mine after work instead of waiting for the reading on Monday. I am not known for my patience when I’m excited about something.

For those who don’t know what Creative Colloquy is, it is described as a “submission based literary site”. It’s so much more than that. It has become a community resource for writers of all genres. It is a gathering, support, laughter, tears, food & beverage. Most of all, it is community.

On the final Monday of each month writers and lovers of all things literary gather at B Sharp Coffee House in Opera Alley for readings by featured authors followed by an Open Mic.

I was excited to have my piece, “Covert Operation Calico” which I read at the May Creative Colloquy event included in the book since there were so many submissions.

This particular piece means a great deal to me, as the true story involved my dear friend, the late Houston S Wimberly III who sadly, passed from this world, far too soon just over two years ago. Having this story published is a bit of a tribute to him and our friendship.

There are 26 writers included in what promises to be the first in a highly successful series. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and in the case of at least one of the stories, you’ll wonder if the statue of limitations has run out.

But don’t take my word for it.

Stop by B Sharp Coffee House 706 Opera Alley in Tacoma on Monday, November 24th at 7:00 PM (you might want to get there early as it’s expected to be a full house) for a reading, to meet the authors and pick up a book. This signing is going to be a bit like a yearbook signing.


Oh, and for my friends who were waiting for a book announcement, this is one of two.

I’m hoping to have my book, “Postcards from the Mountain” ready to go to print at the end of this month. It will contain photographs and a collection of poetry written for the “August Poetry Postcard Project” and inspired by the Cascades and Olympics.



Indoor Urban Camping in Tacoma (or, how to make the most of those pesky power outages)

“Oh, we never lose power in my part of the Hilltop; there’s too much redundancy in the grid.” That, is what I always tell people. Actually, that is what I used to tell people.

In my twelve years of living in close proximity to downtown, first in the Stadium District and later a mere 1 ¼ miles away on the Hilltop, I’ve never lost power. Not once-not during our regular, epic autumn wind storms which like to fall on a holiday for a memorable namesake, aka the “Hanukah Eve Storm” of 2006, the Inaugural Day Strom of 1993 or the infamous Columbus Day Storm of 1962 (I guess now, it’s the “Indigenous People’s Day Storm”) or the wicked ice storms that occasionally plague our area.

Until yesterday. As I was coming home from work I got a text message from a neighbor I had been communicating with during the day “The power just went out”.


Having lived off the grid in a cabin with no electricity in my twenties and having spent time as a backcountry ranger and river guide living in a tent more often than in a structure, and still being an avid backpacker; it’s pretty easy for me to deal with the minor inconvenience of a few hours/days without electricity.

When I purchased my home four and a half years ago, one of the requirements I had was that it not rely solely on electricity. I had never seen an all-electric home until I moved up here where hydro power was so cheap at one time. It seemed silly to me to rely on a system delivered by flimsy wires in a place with wicked storms and lots of falling trees.

While not everyone is lucky enough to have a home with the ability to burn word, propane or natural gas, there are ways to safely survive a power outage, even in very cold weather.

The first trick is to look at it as an “Indoor Urban Camping Trip”.

Those of us who backpack regularly, are already prepared. My attic nest gets pretty darn cold, so I decided to have some fun and bring one of my sleeping pads and sleeping bags up from the basement.


If you have camping gear, you’re already set. If not, it’s worth picking something up at a military surplus or a garage sale.

If you have kids, it’s a great opportunity to turn an inconvenience into an adventure.

What a great time to build a blanket fort in the living room! It’s warm, fun and adventurous. LED headlamps and flashlights are inexpensive and quite efficient. I even keep a little LED light on my key chain (quite helpful for getting in the house when it’s dark) and read out loud to each other or play cards/board games.

If you’re not lucky enough to have an alternate heat source, building that blanket fort and hunkering down with your family is a good way to stay warm.

Whatever you do, do NOT burn a charcoal grill or portable propane heater inside your home. According to the CDC, over 400 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning every year many of them improperly and unsafely trying to heat their home during a power outage.

Every home should have a working Carbon Monoxide detector; especially at this time of year!

If you have a BBQ grill, you can use it for cooking, outside and bring the food inside to eat.

Candles and oil lanterns (safely placed so that they can’t be accessed or knocked over by pets or children) are a must.

candle lamplamp

If you’re lucky enough to have a gas stove, in all but the most modern models, you can light the flame with a match and cook/boil water. It’s also a great mini “campfire” for roasting marshmallows.  While cooking is OK, never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.


In lieu of that or a BBQ grill, it’s worth picking up a solid fuel “stove” (use ONLY outside or in a separate room with the door closed and windows open for ventilation if you are in an apartment with no easy access outside) for boiling a cup of water.

You want to keep your fridge/freezer closed so keep the cold air in so as not to lose food. Keeping dehydrated backpacking food around, or even Ramen which can be acquired cheaply and easily at any grocery or convenience store, ensures a hot meal.

In sub freezing weather, it’s important to let your faucets drip a bit so that pipes don’t freeze since they won’t be warmed by your heaters/furnace.

I have battery operated tap lights in stairwells around my home, which makes getting around and finding your emergency supplies safe and easy. (Check the batteries in these during time changes as you would your smoke detectors)

A new “emergency” item that comes in very handy is a tiny LED flashlight that holds a couple of cell phone charges worth of power. I keep it next to my desktop computer where it charges by USB. I’m good for cell phone power for 2-3 days without having to go out to my vehicle to charge it.

TPU (Tacoma Public Utilities) did a great job last night keeping everyone informed via social media on their Facebook Page and Twitter (if you’re got that smart phone charged, you can keep up to date)

Everyone is encouraged to call their outages in so that they can be tracked. The number to report power outages in the City of Tacoma is (253) 502-8602

Check out their Website for more information on power outages and safety

Be extra careful on dark streets to look out for power lines that may be down. If trees are down, they may have taken power lines with them.

Another great tool to have in your emergency kit is a hand crank radio/flashlight combo. It has AM/FM and weather band radio (for music and news) and a flashlight. Cranking it up is a good way to keep the kids busy.


Last night was just a practice run. We have a long autumn/winter/storm season ahead of us, so now is the time to check/build our emergency kits and come up with an emergency plan.

Most important.

When something like this happens, please check your neighbors who may be elderly, disabled or have very small children to make sure they are OK and are not using unsafe heating methods which could result in tragedy.



Vote! Tuesday, DiNovember 4th, 2014

Today is election day, and I’m assuming that my regular readers, as well as those on have already voted (and been quite vocal about it).

If not, you have until 8:00 PM tonight to mail, drop your ballot off at a drop box or visit a voting center. You can also get a replacement ballot at a voting center. For more information on voting centers, drop box locations and other election information, you can visit the Pierce County Auditor Election site.

It’s also Dinovember (seriously, you can have a great time searching the hashtag #dinovember on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more)

DiNovember 2014 Vote

For those who are unaware of what Dinovember is, you can have lots of fun searching under the hashtag #dinovember on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media sites.

There is a great explanation of its origins on this Huffington Post article.

Kids? You don’t need kids to enjoy Dinovember.

Here’s what mine have been up to so far this month…

So get out there and VOTE and maybe have some fun with toy dinosaurs…


Little Free Library Stolen on Tacoma’s Hilltop at S Sheridan and S 12th/Earnest S Brazil St behind Safeway

Some time on the evening of October 27th or the morning of October 28th, 2014 a metal newspaper box serving as as “Little Free Library” was stolen from the corner of S 12th/Earnest S Brazil St and S. Sheridan Ave on Tacoma’s Hilltop.

Please keep an eye out in case it has not already been sold to a scrap yard for meth money.

A story written about Little Free Libraries written for South Sound Magazine can be found here.

To see more photos of Little Free Libraries in Tacoma, you can click here.


Tacoma Art Studio Tour-This Sunday!

Hi folks,

For those of you who are local, please consider stopping by this Sunday, October 12th, between 11 am and 5 pm to visit me in my dungeon…. errr… basement studio as part of the Tacoma Arts Month Studio Tour.

*if you are also an artist on the tour who is open on Sunday, stop by afterwards for a bit of decompression, I’ll be around and would love to see you!.

In order to lure as many folks in as possible, I shall be providing wine, cheese and appetizers.

Here’s the map/list of studios…  (I’m # 29) There are 61 artists on the tour (some are in co-ops/shared studio spaces).

In other news after all of the crisis, illness, injury, chaos and near disaster of the last year, I’ve had an insanely busy summer filled with performances, art shows, (and when I could get away) hiking, backpacking and enjoying this glorious and highly unusual summer, so now I’m spending every waking moment after work trying to get the house/yard/studio in order before Sunday. (Yikes, I lost control of everything)
I’m finally getting a break in performances and contract work (after the layoff, I REALLY needed the extra money)

My next bellydance performance is at the Urban Onion in Olympia WA on November 10th for the Beats Euphorium Show (7 pm – 9 pm)

My next confirmed fire show is, of course, First Night in Tacoma on New Year’s Eve.  It will be another fabulous and fiery New Year.

I’m also finally releasing a photography book (hopefully in time to order for the holidays) which will also contain original poetry I wrote for the August Poetry Postcard Project,titled “Postcards from the Mountain”

You can find updates on my newly redesigned website at

This derpy photo was taken on last year’s tour at Throwing Mud Gallery (a place you should also make a point to visit)



Fear and War Mongering on This Infamous Day

Today I am saddened and sickened by the worse than standard media frenzy surrounding this date and the events of 13 years ago.

Why is this year “different”? Why are we being whipped into frenzy of fear?

It’s quite simple, we are on the precipice of another for profit war in Iraq, and the quickest way for our government and corporate overlords to manipulate us into forgetting the loss of life and what a failure the last war was, and to gain support for a new for profit war is to create an atmosphere of fear and paranoia.

This is not about protecting our freedoms; this is about profit for Halliburton and other war machine corporations to line their pockets as well as those of the politicians whose puppet strings they pull.

Honor the loss, respect those who lost/gave their lives. Perhaps even stop to think about those who live in fear of bombs and missiles every day.

But please, don’t fall victim to this heinous act of manipulation.



Phoenix Rising Pottery will be at the Stadium Art and Wine Walk

I know it’s been a while, but life’s been complicated with a new “day job” I started last week, a heavy performance schedule and some other non-pottery related business and legal complications which I am still trying to get sorted.  (let it suffice to say that being a “phoenix” sounds pretty cool, but one grows weary of the smell of singed tail feathers)

But on to the fun stuff! (including finishing up the last of the rewards for those of you who said, “no hurry”)

The bales and silk cords for the pendants are in, as are the magnet backings.

I’ve been working on refining and working out new techniques for glazing. My love of highly reactive, gooey, melty glazes makes designs challenging, but each new firing brings new knowledge and ideas.

I’ve been working on refining and working out new techniques for glazing. My love of highly reactive, gooey, melty glazes makes designs challenging, but each new firing brings new knowledge and ideas.






On to the exciting news!

I’ve been accepted as a featured artist for the Stadium Art and Wine Walk on Saturday August 9th.

The event runs from 4 – 8:00 PM. If you’re local, or visiting you should plan on participating; it’s a fabulous event in a great historic neighborhood. (and there’s wine and food)

I am also expecting to be on the Tacoma Art at Work Month Studio Tour on Sunday, October 12th (I’m taking the day before to visit other friends/studios)


Fatherless Day

A couple years ago, I sincerely wished my friends who are fathers or who have/had fathers a “Happy Father’s Day”.

When I did the same last year, a friend jokingly commented on my Facebook post asking if those who were “immaculately conceived” need not apply.

I simply explained that some of us never knew our fathers; we were never given the opportunity so the observance does not in fact, apply to us.

I don’t want to put a damper on the celebration or happiness of others, so I generally keep my experiences/feelings/pain surrounding this particular holiday (as well as mother’s day) to myself.

Then other people started sharing their stories of divorce and being kept from their fathers.

Still more started sharing their stories about having their children kept from them.

It was then that I was reminded that while I don’t want to ruin the day for others, there are many others who need a place to vent and share there feelings.

In addition to not having, been kept from or losing a father, some were abused by fathers or step-fathers. Yeah, I got the double bonus in the “father” department; one I never knew and one who abused me.

People who were abused as children feel a wealth of pain and anger, and even guilt for being estranged from/not loving their father.

This is a difficult and painful day for so many people; many of whom are spending their first Father’s Day without their fathers or the fathers of their children.

Yes, they may have happy memories, but to them, this day is a painful reminder of their loss.

I have no words that will comfort those who are feeling pain and loss today. I have no words at all other than.

“You are not alone”.

I do however have words for women who are keeping children from their fathers. Actually, they are words for anyone keeping a child from a parent.

Unless the child is in danger/being abused, there is no excuse to keep a child from their father just because you think he’s an a$$hole.

My mother left my father when I was barely three years old.

I have no memory of him at all.

I never even saw a photograph of him.

When I would ask my mother what he was like, she snapped at me, “You don’t want to know what he was like, he was a terrible person, all he cared about was money. He is incapable of loving anyone, he didn’t love or want you or me.”

We moved a lot and she always made sure that we had an unlisted phone number and could not be tracked down.

I finally found his family when I was an adult; I found them too late, he had died two years prior.

I remember curling up in a ball in my kitchen and crying because I was too late. Yeah, I felt guilty for not trying hard enough.

I did finally meet his/my family. The letter I received back was from my step-mother, who had me come visit her.

She gave me some things of my fathers and told me that he did want me and did try to find me. My name was listed in his funeral program. I visited my aunts and met my grandfather before he died. They gave me a few photographs, something I had missed and craved my entire life.

Part of me was comforted by that, and part was very VERY angry for having been lied to my entire life.

I have had to do a lot of forgiving of my mother in regards to this, and other situations. It is a challenging and ongoing process. After she died, as I was going through her things, I discovered the true, terrible depth of her lies. Trust me folks, if you keep a terrible secret, it will be found found out eventually.

I share my story, not to bring anyone down or to ruin the holiday for those with reason to celebrate.

I share my story in hopes that some parent out there will make a different, better choice than to keep a child from their parent.

For those of you who are keeping your children from their other parent (for reasons other than the child would be in real danger) I have these words.

Taking away a parent, even photographs and stories, takes away half of a child’s identity.

Telling that child that one of their parents in a terrible person, teaches them that they are also a terrible person because it’s half of who they are.

Telling a child that one of their parents doesn’t want or love them teaches them that there is something wrong with them and that they are not worthy of love.

Lying to a child, teaches them that they can not trust anyone.

Please don’t do that to your child. They deserve better.

the above photo is of my grandfather and grandmother Lawrence, my father (the one who looks like trouble) and his five sisters/my five aunts




New Pottery Designs Being Shown at Artist Reception at Throwing Mud Gallery in Old Town Tacoma Tonight!

I’ve been catching up after the illness, injury and basement flooding and am getting some pretty cool results from my glaze and design experiments…

I finally have a Phoenix design (which several of you have requested) that works with even my gooiest, drippiest, most delicious glazes…

I have a few others come out nicely as well…

Of course, the process is not without mishaps… (this is what happens when you try to rush firing)

For those who don’t already have their rewards, I have two sheets of designs for you to peruse and request (those of you have requested smaller items such as pendants, may want to get something a bit bigger :)…  I will be putting together a third sheet later today and getting all of them posted to the website at Phoenix Rising Pottery Studio

For those who are local, some of my work will be on display and for sale at Throwing Mud Gallery in Old Town Tacoma tonight and tomorrow (Saturday)

There is an artist reception tonight (Friday) from 5-7 PM. (there will be wine, beer and appetizers) where you can see the work of 80 amazing artists and meet many of them, including Mark Hudak’s student artists.

You can see what’s new, fresh out of the kiln on the studio’s Facebook page

That’s it for now…

I must get back to the very glamorous life of an artist…

Yes… It’s really THIS glamorous!