Spotlight on Seward Park – one of Seattle’s beautiful waterfront green spaces

As my husband and I and our Italian greyhound, Sophia, walked the trails of Seward Park on Sunday as participants in the Furry 5k fundraiser for Seattle Animal Shelter Help the Animals Fund, my mind turned to real estate (as usual) and wonder of the prices in that particular, especially expensive, area. I’ve not spent much time in the southeast portion of the city, living in the southwest portion of the city and getting from one to the other area not particularly easy (altho it can be done without getting on a highway or freeway). There is even a Wikipedia entry for Seward Park, which will tell you way more than you ever thought you could know about this part of our fine city.

I continue to be boggled by housing costs and the decreasing availability of homes for the first time home buyer. I was a first time home buyer in 2001 – at the age of 31 – and all I can say is I am glad I got into the ownership market then and wasn’t trying to do it now! The market is particularly challenging these days – and downright depressing for many making anything less than an above-average income for our area. Even singles, making a decent salary, can’t afford to buy into anything less than a dinky studio condo inside the city limits. It’s so sad! I feel your pain.

Just for curiosity sake, when I’ve explored a certain part of the city, I like to come back to the office and check out what’s selling and for how much. I couldn’t find anything within a half-mile of Seward park’s entrance (5902 Lake Washington Blvd, South) for under half a million, and only one under $600k. Check out this 3 bedroom two and a half bath split-entry on Wilson Avenue South. When I enlarged my search to within one mile, I found 13 listings under $500k, some new townhomes as well as older single family residences in Hillman City, Columbia City, and in surrounding areas, starting in the mid 300s. Still not a lot, and probably a lot of people competing for these “starter” homes.

If you’re looking to live near one of Seattle’s great green spaces, such as beautiful Seward Park, do your homework. Talk with your lender and be real clear on what you can bid up to. Because if you fall in love with this area and one of the classic charmers in the surrounding neighborhood, you’ll want to have your agent move quickly when you find the perfect home for you and your family!

See you at the Furry 5K!

The Seattle Animal Shelter’s eighth annual Furry 5-kilometer Fun Run & Walk will take place at 10 a.m. Sunday in Seward Park, 5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S. I’ll be there leading Team IGGY Ambassadors-Emerald City (Italian Greyhounds of the NW).

I began as a volunteer at the Seattle Animal Shelter in 2005, shortly after adopting my Italian greyhound, Sophia. I did it in part as personal therapy to get over my fear of dogs. I wanted to be a dog walker, but the scheduling didn’t work for me, so I became a MatchMaker instead – someone who works with the public introducing them to the adoptable dogs and cats and other furry and feathered friends residing at the shelter. After 6 months of feeling guilty for leaving my dog at home on the weekends, and also living with a 16 year old ailing cat I was afraid to pack home something contagious to, I instead joined the Pet Therapy Team, and got to take Sophia to visit residents at a local convalescent home. They loved her since she was small enough to get up on their beds. She did really well, I was proud of her.

Anyway – the Seattle Animal Shelter counts on the Furry 5K to make money to be able to cover veterinary expenses for incoming orphaned pets (among other things). Many animals are brought to the shelter due to medical problems, or perhaps a broken leg, and the family doesn’t have money to pay for the animal’s care. Because of the shelter’s Help the Animals Fund, the shelter is able to take the pet, send it to the vet for care, foster it during its recovery, and then help it find a new home.

It’s important to know that all money raised at the Furry 5K will benefit the Help the Animals Fund, which supports the shelter in providing veterinary care to sick, injured and abused animals, and finding them new homes.

Pre-registration for the race is available until midnight Saturday at or during operating hours at the following stores: Seattle Running Company (Capitol Hill), Sound Sports (downtown Seattle), Super Jock and Jill (Green Lake) and Footzone (Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond). Registration will also be available the day of the race from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m.

For more information, call 206-386-4286 or visit

See you at the Furry 5K!

Affordable Housing Goes Green

Finally! State officials released a green-building standard for state-funded affordable housing projects. Read Affordable housing gets green standards (

Free training is available regarding the new standards. Plan on attending Green Building 101. CTED, Enterprise Community Partners and Common Ground will present Green Building 101, the first in a series of trainings on the new standard. More training will be available in the future. This training will cover the new Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard and will provide attendees with information on how to meet the new requirements.

There is no charge. The specific agenda and more details will be distributed shortly. Seating is limited, so please reserve a spot now. Contact Reta Chamberlain,, 509-326-3678 to reserve your place.

June 13 (Spokane): Oxarc Training Center at E. 4003 Broadway.
10 am to 3 pm, with lunch provided.

Downtown Seattle, Location to be determined. 10 am to 3 pm, with lunch provided.

Related: Click here to read the Evergreen Sustainable Development Criteria, which effects projects that apply to the Housing Trust Fund after July 1, 2008.

Straw Bale Plaster Workshop

At Shorelines’ first straw bale Studio
July 7 and 8 (Saturday and Sunday)

Host: David Vollen
Instructors: Catherine Burke and Chariti Li Montez
Cost: $75 includes lunch

This workshop is designed for people who want to learn how to plaster straw bales from scratch. It will be an “informative work party” which means….they’ll be mixin and muddin up a storm!

If you are interested and need instructions or have questions please email Catherine at

You can read more about straw bale at

Seattle Dog Park Guide for Summer

Seattle Weekly has done a round-up of the low-down on Seattle area dog parks in this week’s issue. Read the blurb here.

They neglected to mention Westcrest Dog Park in West Seattle (located north of SW Roxbury on 8th Avenue SW). Westcrest is of particular interest to ME because it has only the 2nd “small and shy dog area” designated for small – and/or shy – dogs, like my little Italian greyhound, Sophia. At only 16 pounds – and adopted from a formerly very sheltered and lonely life – the “small and shy” area is all she can handle without freaking out. And that is after 6 months of intensive socializing thru Ahimsa Dog Training’s trainer-supervised Small Dog Playtime and my organizing a Meetup playgroup for this breed for over a year now.

If you have a small, or shy dog regardless of size, be sure to check out the SAS dog areas at Magnuson Park or Westcrest. The SAS area at Magnuson gets kind of crazy so if you would like to try something with a little slower place (and less crowding), Westcrest might be more your speed.

See you at the dog park!


Today’s Tip from Ideal Bite ~ eco-jammies made from bamboo or organic cotton. I have a set of bamboo sheets for my bed – and boy are they soft! I can’t wait to try the jammies! Read Ready to jam the night away…at home?
Looking for other eco-friendly ready-to-wear clothing? I recently found socks made from flax seed, and also great scrunch socks made from organic cotton (in black or white), at PCC (West Seattle). I am still using the organic sheets and towels purchased at Whole Foods Market three years ago. The sheets are not as soft as the bamboo but I suspect a bit more durable.
One of these days I will try to afford an organic mattress.

Parade of Homes in Pierce County

If you’re trying to find something to do next weekend (if you missed it this weekend, that is) the Parade of New Homes in Pierce County is under way the first two weekends of June.

There are 14 builders’ showcase of 17 new homes in Pierce County. Click here for the map, driving directions and web site. Last chance weekend is June 9-10th from 11am to 6pm…and it’s FREE!

Pierce County, with its “close” proximity to Seattle (it’s all relative) – is one of the last places to find an affordable home on a larger lot within what is considered commuting distance to Seattle.
Looking for something a little more affordably priced than these dream homes? Click here for *MY* list of 100 Pierce County homes for sale within commuting distance of Seattle. This selection includes homes in Puyallup, Brown’s Point, Sumner, Buckley, Lake Tapps, Bonney Lake, and North Tacoma. I used to work with people who commuted from these areas to an office on lower Queen Anne, so I know it can be done. I thought they were crazy, of course, but they loved living in the country and didn’t mind driving to the city for a good-paying job.

Welcome to Seattle!

Welcome to Seattle! Discover what makes Seattle such a great place to live, work and play at “Discover Seattle: Newcomers Fair” 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, June 9 at Fisher Pavilion in Seattle Center.
The following information is from the Newcomers Fair pamphlet (which I picked up while at NW Folklife Festival last weekend) and the Newcomers Fair web site. Be sure to visit the web site for the complete list of entertainment and participating departments and organizations.
With regional businesses, local organizations and City of Seattle departments participating, this FREE festival is a one-stop introduction to Seattle’s resources, neighborhoods and culture. Three stages of live entertainment, children’s activities and prize drawings make the event informative and fun for all ages.
Residents can learn insider tips and unique features about the largest city in the Pacific Northwest at a variety of demonstrations, discussions and workshops.
The event was created and is hosted by the City of Seattle and Seattle Center to welcome new residents, and to help longtime Seattleites discover the ever-changing opportunities in this growing city.
“Discover Seattle” brings together City of Seattle departments, non-profit organizations, cultural groups and regional businesses to help new residents become a part of the community in the Pacific Northwest’s largest city.
Learn how to get involved, volunteer and access a broad range of resources that are available to all residents. Throughout the event, music, martial arts, dance and other entertainment present the richness and diversity of various communities and cultures throughout Seattle.
Language interpreters are available. Call (206) 684-7200 by June 4 for requests.

Consumption vs. Conservation

Great Special to Seattle Times today, regarding plastics and recycling! Read Where can we put all those plastics?

I think I will be switching to a Klean Kanteen. I’ve been using Nalgene bottles for years, then recently got lazy – and a Costco membership – so have been carrying around a case of water in my car to ensure I actually drink it. But I feel kinda guilty being lazy about it and will probably buy at least two of them so I have enough water for the day. Some days I am in my car all day long, looking at property.