Yoga Classes – another local gift

May 22nd, 2011

My yoga teacher, Janet Crawley, is offering Soundview Cottage guests a free introductory class. It’s only 5 minutes away, in a pleasant classroom, and Janet is a caring, careful leader.  The one hour+ sessions help me keep my flexibility, balance, and strength. They’re very relaxing, too, and we girls usually enjoy a latte and chat at Starbuck’s afterwards.

Janet always has extra yoga mats. That’s me on the purple mat.

The classes are at 8:30 Monday and Wednesday mornings, in Normandy Park, just down the hill.  Janet’s own websites:  for yoga go to and for her ceramic art go to

Moshier Community Art Center – a local treasure!

May 10th, 2011

People come here from miles around Puget Sound to throw pots, glaze and fire them.  The facility and the artists at Moshier are the best – and it’s only 5 minutes from Burien, where I live and where Soundview cottage is!

I’ve taken classes for years here, made dozens of bowls and mugs, gotten dirty, laughed and sighed and groaned at the clay, and marveled at the way the glazes come out of the kiln.

Here are some photos of the teachers (who are also friends) with their work at a recent show/sale, and of me at the wheel.

Winter at Soundview

February 21st, 2011

The  full moon woke me up Thursday night, shining on the Sound through the wispiest little clouds.  I love winter here. Sometimes it snows, but usually the snow melts pretty quickly. The views are even more amazing in the winter, because some of the trees are bare now and you can see more of the water.

(this photo is from a few years ago – this much snow is really unusual!)

But a couple of weeks ago, when I was supposed to lead a group of middle shool girls on a snowshoe trip, the weather turned warm and rainy and we had to suddenly switch to Northwest Trek instead of going up to Snoqualmie Pass.

NW Trek was a lot of fun and a perfect Plan B.  We were able to stay out of the drizzle most of the time, riding the heated trams that carry you through the wildlife habitat in the foothills of Mt Rainier, to observe deer, bison, moose, elk, swans, geese – totally oblivious to the human visitors.  In other places in the park, separated from the grazers, are predators like wolves and bears. My favorite are the beavers, which you get to observe swimming underwater through a glass wall.

The girls were adorable – they loved taking photos of each other, and kept pulling me into the picture!  This day was an activity of the Sierra Club Inner City Outings program, where I’m a volunteer leader for two Tukwila schools.  Tukwila is just on the other side of the airport, and it’s said to be the most diverse school district in the nation.  I believe it!

A day in the snow

January 25th, 2011

I took a friend up to the mountains at Snoqualmie Pass last week – just for the day.  It was glorious.  Lots of fresh, clean snow, azure sky.

The Pass is only about 1.3 hrs away, and there are 4 downhill ski areas, snowshoe and cross-country trails, restaurants, lodges, gas station, 2 little markets, a delightful gift shop, and ranger-led snowshoe tours on the weekend. There’s a bigger, higher ski area called Crystal Mountain on the east shoulder of Mt Rainier, but it takes another hour to drive there.  A little farther still, Seattleites can also ski at Stevens Pass, Mt Baker, Mission Ridge, and White Pass – and there’s even a little rope tow at Hurricane Ridge on the Olympic Peninsula.  I love Seattle!  It’s so close to so many different kinds of recreation.
Coming home to the hot tub at Soundview on a clear night is the best!   I keep the hot tub ready for guests all year, and sometimes if the cottage is vacant I use it myself.

The full moon was shining on the Sound that night, with little wispy white clouds glowing all around it.

Our President Inspired Me Last Night.

January 13th, 2011

“We must communicate in a way that heals, not wounds….
our task, working together, is to constantly widen the circle of our concern so that we bequeath the American dream to future generations.
I believe we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved lives here – they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us. I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.”

At first, I was quick to blame this unspeakable tragedy on the wave of hate rhetoric that has almost drowned our country. But last night in his memorial address at the University of Arizona, our President rose above this kind of divisive finger-pointing. He brought us together in a moment of hope and inspiration, even as we mourned the senseless loss of such fine people. Please let us heed his call and move forward together, for the future of our children.

The peace flag that flies at Soundview Cottage has taken on an additional meaning.

New iPod Dock!

January 5th, 2011

This new Panasonic boombox/mobile charger may look sleek and simple, but it does a lot of things.  It plays AM and FM radio stations with a lot of clarity, plays CDs, and plays music off your mobile device when you place it in the little slot.  Guests find it convenient for charging their phones and iPods, as well as for listening.  The little wooden box on the right has a small library of CDs, too.  Enjoy!

New Kitchen! New Kitchen!

October 26th, 2010

There’s a brand new kitchen in the cottage!  New appliances, new custom cabinets, new counter-tops with charming accent tiles, each one a different seashell. I found them online at The Tile Mural Store – in Florida.  And somehow, more space, more cabinets, and a wider passageway!  A very gratifying result.  I think guests will really enjoy it.

My wonderful builders, the Bleitz brothers, did a beautiful job as usual.

Soundview Cottage Goes Mobile

October 6th, 2010

If you visit from a mobile device, like a Blackberry or an iPhone, you’ll see our new mobile website. Our mobile site is streamlined for on-the-go reservations inquiries and at-a-glance information about the cottage. To view our new mobile site, visit from almost any mobile device. Here’s a quick look at our new mobile-friendly menu as viewed on the iPhone 3GS:

seattle cottage mobile website

Family Visit

October 5th, 2010

Just home from Montana, visiting my older daughter and her family.  The kids are back in school, so Julie and I did 3 tough workout classes at the gym and some shopping.  And on Sunday, my son-in-law drove the family up to Glacier Park, a real treat for me.  The day was glorious and we all had fun hiking up Avalanche Creek.

Jerry negotiated the rest of the Going-to-the-Sun road, but the parking lot at the top was jammed, so we turned around and came back home, stopping at Lake McDonald for lunch and skipping stones on the smooth blue water.

Some readers may be wondering how I can run a B&B and travel so much.  Two things:  I never cook breakfast for anyone, anyway – cottage guests are on their own with the generous assortment of breakfast foods I provide for them in the kitchen….AND…I arrange for a friend to stay here in my house while I’m gone to answer questions and provide for any needs that may come up.

Soundview guests are different – they don’t want their hand held by a too-friendly hostess.  They cherish their privacy (as do I), and they don’t want to have to get dressed and show up by a certain time and make small talk with strangers over an elaborate breakfast.  It works for everyone this way.  And it gives me the freedom to travel, which I love!

On the other hand, I don’t want to give the impression I’m stand-offish.  Some of my guests feel like family, and they keep coming back.  We’ve gotten to know each other over the years, and what a joy it’s been to provide the setting for rendezvous, engagements, weddings, anniversaries, new grandchildren, graduations, and other big events!

Humbled and Amazed

September 10th, 2010

Each September I go to the website for World Water Monitoring Day and marvel at how this event has grown. It began nationwide in 2002, as a celebration of the 30th anniversary of America’s Clean Water Act, and today it involves 120,000 people in 81 countries!

I take credit.

For 14 years I enjoyed my job as an environmental educator in the Water Quality program of the Washington State Dept of Ecology. In later years I concentrated on encouraging volunteer monitoring by citizen groups and classrooms, as a means of instilling a feeling of ownership and stewardship for local waterbodies.

In 2001, a federal environmental agency requested ideas for an inspiring event to celebrate the Clean Water Act – and from my little desk in Olympia, I suggested taking a national snapshot of water quality around the country, by sending volunteers out to monitor their streams, rivers, and lakes, and collecting their data. My concept was that anyone could test the water – consistency of method would be good, but scientific expertise was beside the point. The idea was for many, many people to produce many data-points – and then, hopefully, do it again the next year. The goal was awareness, not valid data.

I retired after the first National Water Monitoring Day in 2002 – I had moved to Seattle and the commute was long and my new boss was difficult. But without me, the concept took off. And now look. Volunteers from all over the world have reported data for 8 years. It’s archived and publicly accessible in a central repository. I’m so proud of my legacy. Go look. It’s amazing.