Island signs

Seen in the window of Island Books around New Year’s:

“A Resolution is not a bed of roses ... but a struggle to the death between the future and the past,” said Fidel Castro.

Inside, Island Books’ owner Roger Page selects stock highly influenced by Islanders’ interests. Take, for example, hot sellers in 2007: Island authors Curt Dammeier’s “Pure Flavors,” and Susan Kleiner’s “Good Mood Diet”; “Capsters,” the Island rage of pop-top jewelry, and Dan Pink’s “A Whole New Mind,” stimulated by parents and teachers who brought the author here all the way from D.C. for a lecture.

The topmost sellers, however, were “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” Khaled Hosseini’s chronicle of an indestructible love amid three decades of war-torn Afghanistan; “Three Cups of Tea,” by Greg Mortenson, which is called “one man’s mission to fight terrorism and build nations ... one school at a time”; and finally, of course, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

A “HELP IS HERE” sign in front of the Covenant Church recently “called attention to our offering solutions to community needs,” said Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos.

The church also created a Mothers of Preschoolers program for “frazzled moms of little ones,” marriage enrichment courses and, most recently, help for those encountering holiday stress. “Our attendance for the Christmas season definitely was up,” Asimakoupoulos added.

Daffodils have already shot up four inches in some Island beds. Daphne odora are budding earlier this year for their usual February bloom. But don’t be fooled. Winter is not over yet!

Trees and brush are being cleared from Southeast 71th-77th along Island Crest Way, signaling the beginning of the new “Safe Walk” for Islander Middle School students.

Catch the eerie glowing forms in the window of MI Nutrition? They’re salt lamps, meant to remove contaminants from the air — especially humidity and the ionized rays of all our electronics. Surely a sign of our times.

While we may think Island construction is rampant, the total new single family residences in 2007 came to 56 — comparable to 58 in 2006, 66 in 2005, 57 in 2004 and 31 in 2003.

We walkers were fooled only for a moment when we came upon an eagle with a fish in its mouth, hovering over a nest. It turned out to be a terrific sculpture on one of the I-90 lid trails. To catch a glimpse of a real live one in action, try the “Winter Rarity (Birding) Excursion” from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 28 with Bob Sundstrom, bird expert. You might also see a kingbird, swan, snow goose or great gray owl — no promises. Sign up with Parks and Recreation, $66.

Dee Hitch tells of this new trend: “About four months ago, I saw it for the first time. Two teenage girls in the grocery store wearing plaid flannel pajama pants. I stopped dead in my tracks. But I got used to seeing it -— at least on teenagers.

“Then the other day, I was in a high-end grocery store in Bellevue and saw two 40-ish men wearing pajama pants. Since, I have seen men wearing pajama pants in Island grocery stores. On Christmas Day, I asked my 12-year-old granddaughter about it, and she tells me kids not only wear pajama bottoms, some wear tops at her Northshore School District. I admit I like seeing pajama pants better than gangsta’ clothes! I only regret that I haven’t seen any grandmothers wearing pajama pants to the grocery.”

Snowboard Outreach Society, MI Youth and Family Services and IMS-PTA are providing scholarships for 10 middle schoolers for a snowboarding, community service opportunity and life-skill workshop. The structured curriculum, including adult mentors, is aimed at enhancing young people’s decision-making not only in the sport, but in all aspects of their lives.

Jim Riley, MIHS class of 1980, has become principal of King County’s only private K-5 cooperative school program. He took this leap several years ago after teaching for 10 years in Shoreline public schools. University Co-operative School at 5601 University Ave. N.E., involves students in local community projects and UW culture on campus. Recess is at Cowen Park.

“Parents work in the classroom two to four hours a week, which makes all the difference,” says Jim, who began as a guest science teacher for a class that included his son, Sam. He loved the lack of formal class schedules — no bell to cut short the lessons. Now he is headmaster and says he loves that too.

Sun tan: a sign of success? Yes, for MI resident (and native) Scott Swerland, who owns the Seattle Sun Tan collection of stores, which were just recognized as top salons by ETS Tan LLC.

Scott’s business savvy was his legacy from granddad Jay Jacob, founder of Jay Jacob’s Inc. clothing stores for men and women. He is also backed by investors who helped launch Starbucks, Amazon and Costco. Since 2004, Scott has opened salons in Bellevue, Redmond and the University Village, and plans for a total of 12 by 2012.

Iris blue is the color of the year. In February, the Chinese will declare this the year of the mouse. And the Iowa caucuses portended Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama for presidential contenders in November.

Find or make your own signs in 2008.

To contact Nancy Hilliard, e-mail her at

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