The Case for Buying School Lunches


Cathy Walls-Thompson. Photo: Joshua Huston

Since Michelle Obama’s Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act passed in 2010, the nutritional quality of school lunches has improved dramatically. The act established science-based nutrition standards for all food sold and marketed in schools, increased access to healthy food for children from low-income households and helped communities create local farm-to-school networks.

Lunchroom manager Cathy Walls-Thompson has witnessed the benefits of the act firsthand in the kids she serves at Hawthorne Elementary in Southeast Seattle’s Columbia City. The children have started choosing locally grown fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains instead of French fries or tater tots. 

“I encourage kids to just try it, and see what happens,” says Walls-Thompson. “Parents tell me all the time, ‘I’ll be doggone — my kids are eating salad now because of you!’” She adds that she’s lost 165 pounds by following the new guidelines.” 



PARKS & REC: Fremont’s New ‘Troll Knoll’

“Seattle’s Fremont Troll will soon have a competing attraction. A new park adjacent to the Fremont Troll is set for completion December 2015. The “Troll Knoll” as the park has been affectionately named, will provide a green space for tourists and locals alike.

The new park received a grant from Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund submitted by the Friends of Troll’s Knoll, in an effort to transform under-utilized public land into community park and p-patch garden.”

Check out the renderings in the full article here. 

Fremont Troll


A Short History of the Chinese in Seattle


Photo: IMLS Digital Collections and Content/Flickr

“While most local businesses prepare for the Christmas frenzy, Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty and Tiger Oak Publications are getting ready for the Year of the Monkey. The two companies have combined forces to develop Seattle Luxury Living, a real estate magazine targeting affluent, Mandarin-speaking readers. The magazine’s launch date is set to coincide with the February 2016 Chinese New Year celebration in Seattle, a popular time for Chinese tourism in the Pacific Northwest….”

“Although Seattle-based businesses now cater to Chinese immigrants, the City of Seattle did not always offer such a warm reception. In the 1860s, large groups of Chinese men began arriving in Seattle to escape the war, famine and persecution that was killing millions in southern China. They were drawn by the abundant labor market — laying railroad, canning salmon and working in the mines were just a few of the many available opportunities.”

Read the full article here.


Waiting for the World to End in Seattle

“On November 16th, 1961 President John F. Kennedy came to Seattle and gave an address at the University of Washington’s 100th Anniversary Program in Edmundson Pavilion. He emphasized the danger of a nuclear holocaust if American diplomacy failed with Russia. Frightened by terrifying images of mushroom clouds and radiation, Washingtonians began preparing for the worst.”

Seattle is home to the only fallout shelter under a freeway. It’s frightening relic of the Cold War. To read more and see pictures, read the full article here.

Family fallout shelter billboard, December 1959. Photo: Werner Lenggenhager via Seattle Public Library

Family fallout shelter billboard, December 1959. Photo: Werner Lenggenhager via Seattle Public Library

First Look at Discovery Park’s Restored Fort Lawton Homes

Homes at Fort Lawton

On a gorgeous early fall day, I walked from my new digs in Fremont to Discovery Park by way of the Ballard Bridge to cover the recently refurbished homes at Fort Lawton for Curbed Seattle.

The idyllic homes are surrounded by Discovery Park, Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Fantasies of frolicking through grassy fields singing, the Sound of Music before retiring to my wraparound porch for a cool glass of ice tea came to mind. To learn more about the fascinating history of the area (POWs! Jane Fonda!) and the homes, read the full story here.

When Missed Periods Are a Metabolic Problem

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome affects around 10% of women and doubles their likelihood of hospitalization for heart disease, diabetes, mental-health conditions, reproductive disorders, and cancer of the uterine lining. Yet, an estimated 70% of women with PCOS go undiagnosed and untreated.

Womb Art

Artisti: Vijay Sharon Govender

The Common Hormonal Disorder That Scientists Don’t Understand 

I wrote about this misunderstood disorder for The Atlantic. To learn more about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, check out the PCOS Challenge Website.

Read the full article here and spread the word to the ladies in your life!

Autistic and Queer: Coming Out on the Spectrum


Autistic and Queer: Coming Out on the Spectrum 

“You shouldn’t assume that because someone is disabled, they need to be fixed. When we talk about acceptance, we mean acceptance for everybody. Whether they can go to college or not, whether they can work a 9-5 or not. Whether they can communicate orally or not. Whether they ever choose to date or not. Acceptance doesn’t come with qualifications or ifs or buts. Acceptance means radically choosing to believe and to affirm through your actions, that all humans are in fact valuable. That all ways of being human are worthy of respect. Even if you don’t understand them. Especially if you don’t understand them.” A beautiful quote by Lydia Brown, an exceptional disability rights activist. So proud to share this article on Queer Autistics I wrote for AfterEllen.

Autistic and Queer: Coming Out on the Spectrum 

Autism: Does ABA therapy open society’s doors to children, or impose conformity?

 A man reaches out to his son, who has autism, in Portland, Oregon. Photograph: Stephen Voss / Alamy/Alamy

A man reaches out to his son, who has autism, in Portland, Oregon.           Photograph: Stephen Voss / Alamy/Alamy

I’m very excited to share this article on ABA therapy for Autism that I wrote for The Guardian. I hope this piece starts a dialogue about autism that goes beyond the vaccines debate and inspires others to seek out diverse autistic perspectives. You can read the full article here. For more information directly from the Autistic Blogosphere, please explore the following links:

Mo Welch on Larry Bird, Qweirdos, and Laughter in the Dark

Mo Welch Basketball

Photo credit: Mandee Johnson

“Whether she’s hosting The Mo Show, performing standup, making music videos, drawing her hilariously depressing cartoon, Barely Blair, or bringing her A-game on the basketball court onto the stage for the Larry Bird Variety Hour, the impossibly cool Mo Welch is constantly stretching the boundaries of her comedy and devising new ways to find the funny.

I got a chance to talk with Mo about the antics behind the making of her CBS sports special, Foul Ball, what it’s like to be Larry Bird, getting her start with The Grawlix, joining the Qweirdo community, and her unexpected moment of brilliance with a Pop-Tart.”