Sunday, March 28, 2010

Trend spotting: high fashion rubber art boots

In true Vashon style, they came out of their houses, left their gardens, stumbled to town and showed up at our "Bling the Boots" art party.

Some people jumped right in. Others were sort of confused and needed some urging. But, boy! Did they deliver!

We tried to keep the hot glue gun burns to a minimum as it was an all ages event.

We took over the big excellent craft table at Books by the Way. Jenni was kind enough to host the event and get us set up.

I had been gathering bling for weeks.

Many trips to grannies for wacky little crafty do-dads to glue onto boots; lace, electrical tape, fringe, beads, buttons.

Mission accomplished.

I gathered bags of bugs and gems and frogs and flowers all just looking for a new home on the art boots islanders created for the much anticipated Rubber Boot Fashion Show April 9th at The Red Bicycle, 8:00 - 11:00.

Ok, people! There is still plenty of time to create your own masterpiece and support BARC all in one fell swoop!

We had so much fun, plus there were a few people who couldn't make it so we're going to do another one, April 6th, 12-2 at Books by the Way.

This has been such a fun and motivating event to work on. The buzz is happening and people are jumping on the bandwagon!

How about you!?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Vashon Idol & Rubber Boot Fashion Show - April 9th

When I moved to Vashon 10 years ago, I noticed something right away:

1.) Us islanders sure have a lot in common; mainly a high tolerance for pretty much anything - as long as we can live here. And, 2.) We are all a bunch of notorious hams and talented show offs!

Therefore, I am sure you will not want to miss this much-anticipated all ages event: The Vashon Idol Talent Contest & Rubber Boot Fashion Show at The Red Bicycle on April 9th, 8:00 – 11:00 pm.

Join us for a fun and entertaining evening! Show off your high-fashion wellies on the “cat walk” plus see all the one-of-a-kind art boots created by island artists. Three discerning judges will pick the winning art boots with audience participation. The winning pair will be auctioned off to support BARC which is making its next big push on the next phase of the master plan.

All proceeds will go toward a $5,000 challenge grant for BARC (Burton Athletic Recreation Center) secured by freelance grant writer, Allison Shirk who has been working tirelessly for the Vashon Parks District with excellent results.

We are also thrilled to announce a mystery “Fashion-ista” to hostess the evening! Who is she? Nobody knows! You will just have to show up to find out!

How about you songbirds! Who will get the title of – Vashon Idol for the evening? A professional karaoke machine with 4,000 songs assures that all will be able to belt it out with the best of them.

Knowing Vashon, the competition may be fierce but don’t let that stop you! Come on out and ham it up with the best (or worst) our island has to offer! Or just be part of the highly amused and entertained audience! Either way, this is the party for you!

Kids will need to scram by 11:00 but adults older than 21 will be allowed to continue until the Red Bicycle sends them packing.

So warm up those pipes and dust off these boots and mark your calendar for this fun and frolicsome community event!

To enter either contest or for more info contact Shelley at 206-463-3256 or

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bubble goes to kindergarten

Our beloved SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) has been threatening to make a school visit for some time.

Logistics made it difficult until lately because Bubble now lives on Vashon! She spends long weekends out here and sees Shea every Saturday or Sunday depending on what is going on.

I blubber my thanks and more thanks every once in a while because I don't have to drive Shea to the big city every week anymore and we still get to see our beloved, Bubble. I feel so dang lucky!

With all the shake up with placement for next year, she offered to go in an see how he was doing and give me her opinion of whether moving onto 1st grade would be a good idea.

She visited yesterday and then called immediately and gave me a long, detailed report.

Shea listens in class! He pays attention! He converses with his classmates! And, he raises his hand to answer questions!

Bubble says he gets along well with his typically developing classmates and they seem to like him. I mean, who wouldn't, right? But she says he smiles all the times and greets other enthusiastically, is in good humor and he draws others to him.

To say that I literally gasped with relief and joy is an understatement. For a long time I have wanted to be a fly on the wall, to see him objectively, but my presence is just too big and encumbering when I am there. Shea is way too aware of me and my being there effects how he acts.

Bubble is leaning more and more toward 1st grade for our sweet boy. And, unless some of the standardized assessments paint a wildly different picture, I think we will go for it.

Part of it is: raising the bar high. Last year, when I was sure Shea wasn't ready for Kindergarten but the school thought he should give it a try, I was joyously amazed at his progress and how far he has come. I am thinking that the tendency to coddle and protect, although understandable, might hold him back.

If his very familiar specialists feel he is ready to blaze a new trail, who am I to contradict? I am the worry wart. I am the frettful mommy always with the "What if?" rolling around in my head.

Maybe that is what happens, after a while you learn to listen. Is that age? Is that wisdom? Is that fatigue and relief that someone else is making decisions?

I have decided it doesn't matter.

A dear friend had a little dinner party the other night at her place on the beach with all my favorite people. There were tons of kids and Shea was down there doing all that they were doing; canoeing, throwing rocks in the water, helping to build a beach fire.

I was watching from the deck and thought, "Shea is 6 and Molly is almost 12." In 6 more years she will be 18." There is something about these numbers. I know I will never stop being a mother but I feel like 2/3 of my heavy lifting is done with Molly and 1/3 with Shea.

And, then that soft, sticky, cloud of doubt descends again. I know that Molly will be well prepared for life at 18. Oh, don't worry, I will still be checking in on her no matter what. But Shea? What will he be like at 18?

If this, raising the bar high strategy is any indicator, he will be just fine. Maybe not quite as independent as his sister but who knows.

There is a secure and happy place in this world for Shea. A place for us all.

Friday, March 12, 2010

"Bling the Boots" free art party @ Books by the Way in Vashon March 27th

Sometimes a really wonderful fund raising event comes along and everything just falls into place.

The ideas roll off your tongue and plop happy and fully formed in your collaborators midst, decisions get made matter of factly, nobody has power struggle problems and the goal always stays in site.

Because I am a steward for the Skate Park or BARC (Burton Adventure Recreative Center) I got pulled in to help with the event. And, I am glad to do it because the Vashon Parks department secured a $5000 challenge grant for the next phase of the project which will offer multiple upgrades plus a large outdoor skating area.

The event is...drum roll please....

The Vashon Idol & Rubber Boot Fashion Show! :-)

I did not come up with this idea but it is so perfect I am giddy.

It will be held at a local bar and eatery, The Red Bicycle on Friday night, April 9th, 8:00 - 11:00. It will be all ages until 11:00 then all the under-agers have to scram.

So, I started thinking, "Hmmmm....we better have some good entries for the fashion show." and a plan started swirling and formulating in my brain. Why not have a party and decorate a bunch of boots? We could auction some off!

Their eyes goggled when I brought it up to Molly and her friends and suddenly the party outgrew my kitchen.

So, we are having the party at the charming bookstore on Vashon called Books by the Way where the lovely and talented owner has a huge craft table all set up. We have multiple hot glue guns at the ready and will supply literally pounds of plastic gems and all sorts of bugs, frogs, fish and butterfies plus ribbon, paints, lace and anything else we can think you would need to "bling up" boots.

This it the creative art process in action, people! Join us if you can!


We need creative people to gather and “bling” some rubber boots. Join us at Books by the Way on March 27th, 12:00 – 2:00 and help us transform a whole bunch of ordinary recycled Granny’s rubber boots of all sizes into fabulous fashion “wellies” worthy of the catwalk.

Show your support for BARC and utilize Book by the Way’s excellent craft zone where free art supplies, plenty of artistic doodads, multiple hot glue guns and tons of inspiration with be on hand. Feel free to bring your own boots and “blings” if so desired.

All boots will be displayed at Books by the Way until the upcoming “Rubber Boot Fashion Show” where they will be “modeled” by islanders, judged and the winners auctioned off.

All proceeds will go toward a $5,000 challenge grant for the BARC (Burton Adventure Recreation Center) as they make a big push toward the next phase of building.

For more information call Jennie at Books by the Way 206-463-2696 or Shelley Dillon at 206-463-3256.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rep. Bunning says "Tough shit..."

When confronted with the reality of stopping the Unemployment Bill that would extend unemployment benefits and COBRA to millions of Americans, Rep. Jim Bunning of Kentucky says, "Tough shit!"

Wow. I wonder if he has drowned any kittens lately too. Heartless bastard.

What is a diagnosis?

I am probably thinking about this because Shea is coming up on his big "6th" birthday and he will be crunched through a whole battery of new testing to define his needs for his new Elementary school IEP.

I was thinking about a diagnosis and what if they decide to change Shea's. Wondering if it will change how I see his needs. Wondering if it will change our plans. Wondering if it will piss me off again.

I have been nervous about this for a while. Typically, I hate standardized testing and the attempt to pigeon hole a child with some test that someone made up and charged the school big bucks for. In reality, these tests are just a brief little window into how the child is doing that day, at that minute. And, may not even be a very accurate one either. But, it is all we have.

It is understandable that the school needs to put the child is some sort of measurable framework. I get all that. But it still rubs the wrong way.

Although, it is sort of frightening how a person gets used to it over time. Now, I am anxiously looking forward to these tests to just see where Shea lands in with his peers. Looking for some clues on how we should proceed with placement for next year. Hoping for a "good news" that mainstreaming will be the obvious choice yet they will not try to deny him speech services. All of the above.

How things have changed. When Shea went through this at 3, I resented every single standardized test. I resented the pigeon-holing. I resented everything. Obviously, I was in a pretty bad place at the time or I might not have literally cried through that 3 year old IEP meeting.

I felt the tests were superseding what I knew instinctively. I felt the test were given more weight than what I saw and felt. I wondered how a non-verbal child could take a predominantly verbal test. And, yes, I was pissed! Pissed at the world. Pissed that we had to do this. Pissed that my kid was being pigeon-holed and slapped with a pre-determined future. Pissed at myself because surely I must have done something wrong. Pissed at the whole damn show.

So, now looking back. Did I cry through the whole IEP meeting because I was pissed? Probably. But, unfortunately, not as simple to define as that.

Parents who have gone through this know. They know that it is a sometimes toxic emotional stew that we fester in as we get used to the idea that our child has special needs and what the hell that will mean for the future.

Literally; a stew. Anger, fear, guilt, indignation, skepticism, disbelieve, annoyance, anxiety, shame.

I remember sitting there needing a constant supply of kleenex. I could not keep the tears in check. I am not a person who cries often. Sure, I will tear up at movies and books and be overwhelmed with emotion at time but I have never NOT been able to stop crying. I took tissue after tissue and shoved them wadded up, snotty and drenched in my pocket.

Over heated, over-stimulated, hyper-emotional, near panicked with fear; that is why I could not stop crying. So, saying I was pissed is a gross over simplification although not completely untrue.

I won't be like that this time, I know. I have learned so much. I am not sitting in the role as a passive person anymore. Advocacy changes all that. Connecting with other parents and organizations change all that. Seeing that life lessons teach us even when it is sometimes sad, changes all that.

But it hasn't been easy, it never is.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The earth is a shakin'!

After Haiti, I thought about it. After Chili, I really started thinking about it.

Living on the Pacific Rim in an earthquake zone, the likely potential of an earth shake up never quite leaves your worry sheet.

Oh sure, the Pacific NW is beautiful and mild and we all those cute ferries and Orcas and stuff. But we also happened to have built this beautiful city right on top of the most active fault line on the planet.

Not very good planning. But we are humans after all, what does that have to do with long term planning? During those early rough and tumble Seattle days, they were way to busy selling camping and mining gear to the gold feverish at an obscene profit to think about long term. In fact, if there is anything about the NW that I can pin point is that they didn't do much thinking about long term at all. Like the I-5 double decker viaduct built on marshland for example. Oh, and the monorail.

Hense back to imminent big one.

I sometime have nightmares about earthquakes. That I am somewhere and the earth starts flopping around like someone is jumping on the bed. It is terrifying. Normal everyday objects become missiles and I wake up with that sick feeling in my stomach.

I haven't had one in a while. But reality is filling in the blank space for me nicely.

I was certainly around for the last good sized one here in Seattle, I guess it was 2000. I had just gone through the Battery Street tunnel, yet another place you wouldn't want to be during a quake, and was heading up to Greenwood. I watched people sidewalk surfing. That is exactly how it looked. I watched telephone poles swaying. I looked around at the other people in the cars and, yes, they were terrified too.

There really isn't much you can do. Strap your house to the foundation. Know which wall in your house is a bearing wall.

Pray if you're the praying type.

I am not.

But I do get the idea sometimes that the earth is mighty pissed off at us. Couldn't blame her really with all the shallow regard we have been heaping on it for say... a very long time.

My thoughts are with my human neighbors is Haiti and Chile. It might just be use someday.
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