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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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Posts from — March 2011

April Outings: Tulips to Tea, Wine to Walking…and More!

Spring is kicking in with LOTS of activities and events in Southwest Washington. Here are a few ideas to get you moving:

March 18-April 24 Spring break is FIVE weeks long at the World Kite Museum in Long Beach. Make a kite, get coupons for local businesses at a museum treasure hunt, participate in themed weekends at the Spring Fling.

April 1-3 – Passport Weekend to a World of Wines in 40 Miles -Start the month with a trip to Columbia Gorge wineries with this special event, which takes place on both sides of the river. Details here on where to purchase your $15 passport, which will give you special offers including lodging deals.

April 1 – First Fridays. Both Vancouver and Camas have first Friday events. Enjoy art, meet the artists, have dinner and celebrate with friends. Camas even has “Will you pick the golden egg?” contest happening at various shops. Details are at Vancouver Art Walk and Camas First Friday.

April 2 – 30 – Woodland Tulip Festival No need to travel to The Netherlands to touch tulips. Tour the bulb fields and display gardens of Holland America Bulb Farms. This annual event includes crafts, music, children’s activities and more. Check here for details.

April 4 – Guitarist Greta Pedersen performs a matinee concert at the Columbia Theatre in Longview as part of the Rainy Months Series. Information and tickets are available here.

April 9 – International Discovery Walk Festival This beloved event attracts walkers from all over the world to Vancouver. It is such a delight to see the flags of the countries represented. Biking and swim events are offered, too. Admission charge. Go to the Festival Web site for more information.

April 16-May 8 – Lilac Days Festival We have plant hybridizer Hulda Klager (plus MANY volunteers) to thank for this fragrant festival, which is held on the Klager homestead in Woodland each year. All things lilac are offered at a special store (including lilac starts) and Hulda’s home is open for tours. The Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens are located at 115 S. Pekin Road, near the Holland America bulb fields. Admission. Click here for more details.

April 23 – Easter Tea Tour the historic house at the Pomeroy Living History Farm and enjoy tea with scones, sandwiches and desserts. Admission. Visit the Pomeroy Web site for more information.

April 27 – What do I do now? A financial summit for women will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Red Cross Building at the Fort Vancouver National Site. Financial writer ( Julia Anderson will moderate a panel of experts. Admission. Details and tickets are available here.

There is so much to do this month. See you out there in Southwest Washington!

March 30, 2011   No Comments

The 10 Minute Conversation: Carolyn J. Rose and Mike Nettleton

Writers Carolyn J. Rose and Mike Nettleton live in Vancouver with two dogs, a peekaboo view of Vancouver Lake and the wafting scent of corn chips. They have co-written five novels along with four mysteries by Carolyn. Recent titles include Hemlock Lake, Sometimes a Great Commotion and The Big Grabowski.

Mike recently retired from a 40+ year career in broadcasting, most recently at KEX in Portland. Carolyn teaches novel writing and founded the Vancouver Writers’ Mixers. More information is available at their Web site and their blog, which is allegedly co-written by Bubba and Max, their dogs. They (Mike and Carolyn, not the dogs) are also flamboyant Scrabble players. We spoke at the Hazel Dell Tully’s in Vancouver.

Carolyn Rose and Mike Nettleton

What brought you to SW Washington?

Carolyn: We were living in Portland and I was working over here and after commuting for five years I said to Mike, okay it’s your turn to commute because I worked for a little news station here and we kept covering stories about the revitalization of Esther Short Park and I said really this is the place to be so we came over here.

We moved here in October of 2000 and immediately in January of the next year, I lost my job. They just folded the whole little TV station. By that time, we had discovered all the great greenbelt trails and we would be sitting out in the hot tub and the geese flying over and Mike said, “I really like this.”

Mike: I really enjoyed the move. We have never been sorry that we moved over here.

What do you love about SW Washington?

Carolyn: I really like the Farmers Market and Esther Short Park. I really like our neighborhood (Northwest). It’s older and established. You get to know your neighbors. If you can stand on our deck on your tiptoes, you can get a view of the lake.

Mike: She’s not telling you the whole truth. The real attraction about our house, what she really likes the most is the aroma drifting up from the Frito-Lay plant.

Carolyn: When they fire up the Doritos and the air is just a little moist and still and we walk the dogs…

Mike: Remember the cartoon dog from the Huckleberry Hound cartoons when he would get a dog biscuit and go “ummm” and levitate? That’s Carolyn.

I think I gain five pounds when I walk. For my birthday, I want a tour of the Frito-Lay plant.

Mike: It’s funny, at work I dealt with a lot of people in Portland who asked, “You live in Vancouver? Where do you eat?” like we don’t have any restaurants. We have great restaurants in this town. There is a whole attitude kind of thing from Portlanders. I just got to the point where I thought “You don’t know.”

Carolyn: We have lived in small towns growing up and it has that feeling on the west side.

What do you think is the best kept secret of SW Washington?

Carolyn: There is so much here – the water, the trails, that riverfront walk is absolutely gorgeous.

Mike: The art walks. There are some great little galleries downtown and some really talented people.

Carolyn: And of course the new library is going to be stunning!

What is your favorite place to relax around here?

Mike: We are both beach rats. We love the beach towns. We go to Long Beach sometimes but usually we go to the Oregon Coast. Every once in awhile, especially when people come to town we go to the Gorge. The Washington side in some ways is every bit as pretty as the other side. I play golf and I love Tri-Mountain Golf Course because on a clear day you can see Mt. St. Helens, Mt Hood and Mt Adams.

Carolyn: My favorite place to relax has got to be the Marshall Center pool. I can work out and relax and it is one of the few pools with a really deep water section so you can do deep water aerobics. The instructors are terrific.

Mike: I work out in the gym part. I’m a drowner not a swimmer.

Carolyn: He has negative buoyancy. He’s a total sinker. He has so much muscle mass.

If you didn’t live here, where would you live?

Carolyn: Maybe Newport, Oregon.

Mike: Yeah, we really like Newport. It’s about the right size. It has some cultural things going on. It has a theater…

Carolyn: …lots of good restaurants.

Mike: The other place I really like is Ashland but trying to afford living there… the cost of housing is obnoxious. A lot of the places were student housing when I went to school there were old rundown Victorians that they had divided into apartments. Now they are million dollar houses. A lot of them are B and Bs.

What’s coming up that you are excited about?

Carolyn: I’m going to independently publish a book (The Refuge) and see how it does. The whole publishing scene is changing so dramatically and I have this book I wrote three or four years ago that I sent to just about every agent on the planet and they yes it’s a good story but we can’t see this being #1 on the New York Times seller list. I believe in democracy. I think readers should decide what they are going to read. They way the system is going now, you could put it up there and you do a little marketing and they decide. I write because I want people to read it.

Mike: It’s a terrific book. I’m not just being a proud husband. Of everything she has written, it is probably my favorite. Somebody really missed the boat.

Carolyn: I’m hoping it will be out in May. It will be available on Kindle and Nook and I will get it into CreateSpace for people who want it as a paperback book. You can go through our Web site to Amazon to buy it.

Mike: I’m going to do Shakespeare in the Park — Lovejoy Fountain park in downtown Portland – The Tempest with Actors Ensemble. I am playing Gonzalo. Carolyn says the reason I got the part was they needed someone old, portly and loud. Hey, whatever it takes!

Carolyn: It’s the man at the moment.

Mike: It’s not a major part but there is a fair amount of memorization and I’m on stage quite a bit. It will be interesting. It will be fun.

What would surprise people to know about you?

As much as I love the great books and movies, I’m addicted to thrillers with a high body count. I love Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series and Stephen Hunter’s sniper, Bob Lee Swagger. I also never miss CSI or Criminal Minds. I never go to “chick flicks” and it’s far more likely that Mike will cry at a movie than that I will.

Also, I once had a job in a grocery store (two miles from Woodstock) and every afternoon, I sold a pack of cigarettes to Bob Dylan.

Mike: I can’t really match that. I did play softball in Albuquerque with Wild Cherry, the group that did Play that Funky Music, White Boy. They were nice guys. Whatever town they came to, they would play against a radio station.

Carolyn: But you have the nude volleyball!

Mike: Oh, yeah! I forgot about that. I was working in Eugene at the radio station and I saw a little blurb in the paper said that the Willamettans (“largest nudist club in the Pacific Northwest”) were having their open house that weekend. I said (on the air) “It’s a little known fact but, at KUGN, we have probably the premier nude volleyball team in the Northwest. The phone rings and the social director of the Willamettans says “I dare you to put me on the air.” Then he says, on the air, “You have the premier nude volleyball team in the Northwest? We’re playing Saturday. Game is at 11 a.m.”

Now I have to go around the radio station and recruit to go up against the Willamettans. We recruited enough people and not only did we do the nude volleyball game, we broadcast the game on the air. Holy mackerel! Volleyball is the nudists’ game. I’m still removing volleyballs from various parts of my anatomy.

March 17, 2011   2 Comments

Perfect Antidote for a Rainy Night

“As far as I am concerned, a painting speaks for itself. What is the use of giving explanations, when all is said and done? A painter has only one language.” ~Pablo Picasso

Picasso may have it right, but meeting the artist AND seeing the art makes for a rich evening. Vancouver’s First Friday Art Walk always proves that point.

The evening was definitely worth enduring the Niagara-like rain storm. A sampling of the art and artists:

Gallery 360, in its spacious new location at 111 W. Ninth Street, featured a “Cut and Paste” exhibit of mixed media as well as oils and other art from members.

DaBat at Gallery 360

Connie Cleaton at Gallery 360

Dorene Steggell at Gallery 360

Skip Enge’s bright-hued floral portraits gave energy and a longing for spring to the wet March evening at Aurora Gallery at 1004 Main Street.

Skip Enge at Aurora Gallery

North Bank Artists Gallery at 1005 Main Street showcased The Seven Deadly Sins Exhibition. Kaori Freda illustrated “Gluttony” with her Cupcake Diet drawing.

Kaori Freda at North Bank Artists Gallery

Up the street, Angst Gallery at 1015 Main Street celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Inner Light Photographic Society with a group exhibit.

Photographers Chris Eagon, Al Flory and Linda Freeland in front of photos by Chris at Angst Gallery

Last stop was Art on the Boulevard, 210 W. Evergreen Blvd. for the rich oils by Ridgefield artist Oleg Ulitskiy. The exhibit included work produced during a recent trip to his hometown of Odessa, Ukraine and from Northwest locations.

Oleg Ulitskiy with his favorite painting at Art on the Boulevard

As always, the First Friday crowd was patronizing downtown restaurants and bars. We chose Woody’s for margaritas and excellent seasonal quesadillas just steps away from Art on the Boulevard.

The exhibits will be up through March 26. Plan a personal Art Walk to see the creative work of our local artists!

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March 5, 2011   No Comments