The Value of Independence

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You probably don’t see an obvious connection between independent film and politics, but right now, its all up in my face.

I wrote this Bellingham Experience Insider Blog about my community’s independent film theater, Pickford Film Center, for Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism because it is one of the many things that makes my city great. It began, and remains, independent. Its programs, films, and decisions are made locally, by a non-profit board, for the betterment of film, the community, and education. The concerns of profit and shareholders don’t need to be included in decision-making, nor is their content dictated at a corporate level. These are among the many things I love about them.

Did I just go see a multi-billion dollar Rogue One Star Wars franchise film yesterday at the mega-plex and love it? Yes. My point is that we must preserve independent operations at the local level and not allow them to be overtaken by the big girls. Because individual choice–freedom–is among our highest ideals as a nation. If our choices become too narrow because of our profit motivations, then we, by default, are slowly losing that freedom. Will some of us be content eating only apples and oranges? Sure. But once the bananas disappear from the store front, once other options are removed from infrastructure, it will be a hell of an effort to get them back.

The meaning of the word ‘independent’ calls back to our earliest days as a country and today, our right, our duty, our responsibility to protect and preserve it is more relevant than ever.

 

Pet Safety Over the Holidays and All Year Long

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I recently wrote a blog post for Run Those Dogs about potential holiday hazards for your pets. I know I get so busy trying to get it all done over the holidays that its pretty easy for me to be absent-minded, in a hurry, and occasionally a little careless.

This blog meant more to me than the average because while I was writing about the dangers of candles, I was reminded of a family just a few blocks away who lost their home and their friend two years ago to an unattended candle. The friend had been staying in their spare bedroom and the fire began with a single candle. A young man lost his life, an older teen was severely burned and broke a bone jumping from a second story window, and two other family members were displaced and had to move out of our wonderful neighborhood, switching schools to move to a crowded house with relatives.

Ownership of the house was complicated and so it still sits down the street, boarded up and blackened by the fire, the prayer flags faded white and waving in the wind. It waits, silently, to be torn down when bureaucracy allows. Someday a crisp, new house will fill the void. But their lives will never be the same.

So please, please, keep you and your pets safe this holiday season and all year long.

Channeling a Ghost for the Holidays

Momix at Mount Baker Theater.

Momix at Mount Baker Theater.

I am honored to be a part of Mount Baker Theatre’s (MBT’s) brilliance. Since the fall, they have allowed their resident ghost Judy to channel her thoughts about the beautiful, historic theater through me.

This week Judy is helping Pacific Northwesterners cross a few things off their holiday shopping list by giving the gift of a MBT experience through my WhatcomTalk.com blog post.

I hope you’ll appreciate how much fun it is to be Judy. I’ve always wanted a writing gig like Dear Sugar where I can give advice and thoughts anonymously. For now, this is the next best thing.

Holiday Music is My Favorite Part of the Season

Florist Natalie Ransom of Pozie By Natalie styles any holiday for events, businesses, and individuals.

Florist Natalie Ransom of Pozie By Natalie styles any holiday for events, businesses, and individuals.

I jumped at the chance to write an article for WhatcomTalk.com about my favorite holiday music. In addition to Christmas lights and movies, music is one of the best parts of the season. I love to play it in the background and sing along. Last night I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas with my kids and realized that its the music that makes willing to watch that animated classic every year. It is also one of the reasons I learned to play a little piano as an adult.

Make sure that you listen to as much holiday music as you can, and if you’re within driving distance, get your Mount Baker Theatre tickets before the season is over.

My (and Your) Baby Cakes

One of the reasons I love the Bellingham-based band Baby Cakes is because of the good people that make up this 9-piece funk, soul, and R & B supergroup.

Stephanie Walbon is just one of them, but she is kind, interesting, and a quality human being. That’s why I wrote about her for WhatcomTalk.com.

Go check out my article, including the stellar photos by Kenneth Kearney Photography, and then be sure to follow them yourself via social media. You’ll see why I keep going to show after show.

It’s Snowing in Whatcom County!

sledding-sky-duryee-mt-bakerI know, so what, right? But in the greater Puget Sound area of Washington State, we only get a few days of snow a year, if any, so its a big deal to us.

No one knows how to drive in it, schools and businesses close, its like you’re a kid again with an extra day off school. I choose to embrace the snow day.

I wrote an article about sledding in Whatcom County  for WhatcomTalk.com last season and it still applies so I’ll share it again now.

Don’t forget to take your snow day sometime soon.

The Kid in All of Us Loves the Circus

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Photos by Jorge Lausell.

Except for that one incident with too much cotton candy, most of my experiences with the circus have been so very positive. I saw things I never could imagine. By people so glorious and different from my world. The lights, the music, the dancing and laughter. I could go every year.

Luckily, in my neck of the woods, I can actually go every month, or every week if I want. Whatcom County is the home to the Bellingham Circus Guild. I can see a performance on the 15th of every month and take a weekly class. So can my children. We are so fortunate.

It was a delight to write my Bellingham Experience Insider Blog about them. Go read it and then figure out how to get more circus in your 2017.