Halley Knigge (Griffin)

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What Tacomans* do***

* For these purposes, “Tacoman” will be defined as “a hip and savvy person in-the-know who happens to live in Tacoma.”**

** For these purposes, “
a hip and savvy person in-the-know who happens to live in Tacoma” will be defined as “myself, or someone that I associate with.”

*** Alternate post title: “What I do in Tacoma.” Thought this one sounded more authoritative, even despite all of the footnotes.

  • Know at least one person who knows someone who knew Ted Bundy. Relate the story to every out-of-towner who comes to visit.
  • Shop at Sanford and Sons.
  • Know that Sanford and Sons is more than just an old TV show.
  • Watch “10 Things I Hate About You” to catch glimpses of high school friends, but shriek in bitterness every time the cameras pan from Stadium High School or the North Tacoma home to the Seattle skyline.
  • Buy lunch at Infinite Soups. Little more than a hot soup counter next to Malarky’s, this place is frequented by pretty much every person in Tacoma.
  • Run into acquaintances or acquaintances of acquaintances every time they go out.
  • Avoid The Swiss like the plague.
  • Run the Point Defiance trails. Get lost.
  • Rent a charming Stadium district apartment with hard-wood floors and “personality.”
  • Eat biscuits and gravy at Marcia’s Silver Spoon Cafe.
  • Visit the Museum of Glass solely to walk around the outdoor fountains and pay homage to the massive gift shop.
  • Memorize the Wikipedia list of people from Tacoma and name-drop as often as possible. “You know who’s from Tacoma, right?” Keep a separate mental list of criminals from Tacoma. Share them with everyone.
  • Drink exotic cocktails at 1022 South. (Which, ahem, I will be doing this evening at 5:30).
  • Maintain exhaustive Twitter relationships with everyone in the Tacoma Twitterverse. Meet up with said people in groups like Social Media Club of Tacoma and Tacoma (Beer) Runners.
  • Sing karaoke at The Mix. Finish the evening with dancing at Silverstone, having exhausted all of Tacoma’s gay bar options. Save the Tempest Lounge for another day.
  • Fill your calendar with the dates of the Sephora and H&M openings at the Tacoma Mall.
  • Spout fun facts about Tacoma to anyone who will stand still long enough to listen to you. Who wants to hazard a guess as to where the former tallest totem pole in THE WORLD is located?
  • Hate on the haters who live in Tacoma but go on incessantly about how they can’t wait to move to A, Portland, or B, Seattle.
  • Sport an I T-Town bumper sticker or a 253 window decal. Love on the people who drive cars festooned with Tacoma love.
  • Know that 253 is the king of all area codes.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, pick up unhygienic-looking hitchhikers outside of the Pierce County Jail at 7 a.m.

List is evolving, and is open to suggestion. What do YOU do?

Love these old postcards from the Tacoma Public Library’s online database. They pretty much say all that needs to be said about Tacoma.

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Grandma Moses

I have this dog named Grandma Moses.

I picked the name before I picked the dog. I think they are a perfect match.

The day I moved back to Tacoma, I woke up at 5 a.m. to drive from Moscow, Idaho to Boise to get Grandma Moses.Then we headed West.
I don’t think she’d ever left the state before, but I think our three-state route was lost on her.
Sometimes she looks at me with such love in her eyes I am convinced I am her soulmate.

I am not so sure that she is mine, but ole GMo is a swell dog nontheless.

Grandma also is a very docile dog. She doesn’t mind being picked up, dressed up, dangled from a hip.

She has no problem being occasionally (hair)spray-painted with black spots and disguised as a dalmatian. Grandma was the dalmatian to my Cruella De Vil for about three hours this Halloween.

Please note the wagging tail.

Then she pooped in my car, fell down in it, scrabbled around in a panic, tied herself to the emergency break and managed to turn on my hazard lights.
I had barely enough time to race home and scrape the poop out of her fur before I had to race back to school and teach a French class. The dalmatian spots went down the drain with the poop.
I left her at home and carried a Beanie Baby dog for the rest of the day.
I think she was at least a little ashamed.

I’m already brainstorming our costumes for next year. Perhaps Grandma Moses can dress as me, and I can dress as Grandma Moses.

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Fashion quirks

Do you ever do that thing when you first walk out of the house where you quickly tally everything you’re wearing?

Magazines do it sometimes – take a picture of a girl on the street and go through the list:

* Gibson peasant top by way of Nordstrom Rack, $30
* Merona for Target dress pants, $24.99
* Steve Madden ballet flats, $50
* Bangle/earrings: Macy’s and Nordstrom Brass Plum, $16
* Total cost of my “Boho/professional” outfit: $120.99

I caught myself doing this the other day and suddenly realized: I do this every single day. And the scary part? I don’t think I’ve ever come in at under $100. In fact, it is really, really hard to come in under $100. And it makes sense: shoes and pants and shirts and sweaters add up. How much does your outfit cost right now?

I do it without thinking. It’s as unconscious as determining the “theme” of my outfit as I’m walking out the door.

Wait, you say that’s not normal? The rest of you don’t do the “hmm, today I have sort of a cowgirl/under-the-sea/crazy vibe going …” ?

Interpretation: I apparently believe that I live in a fashion magazine/fantasy world/on Project Runway … ?

Me right now:

* Huskies sweatshirt, $40
* Pen Yan, New York tourist tee shirt, $10
* Yoga pants, $24.99
* Sheepskin slippers from that kiosk at the Tacoma Mall (a Christmas present from little brother Noah): $60
* Total cost of my “Thursday night television” outfit: $134.99.


Spotted on my (dirty) bumper:


The post-post-college blues

So maybe the title of this post is a little misleading.
I’ve been out of school for nearly two years now – and I don’t exactly have the blues. What I do have is a new appreciation to anyone who’s ever moved to a new town and started completely fresh – with no friends, and no clear idea about how to make them.
How do people meet people, anyway?
I was never the kind of girl who had trouble making friends – I’ve always been happiest when I’m going in 20 directions at once, surrounded by people at all times. Then I graduated.
My first year out was a bit of a cheat – yes, I was the new girl in town, with a new job and new apartment, but I was working with so many young, fresh-from-school people that it felt like an extension of undergrad.
This year, though. What do you do when you move to a new town (or an old town, with all new people in it)? When your best friends are scattered across the country? When your coworkers are so fun but so married with children, when you realize that you could go a year without meeting a single new person if you don’t shake up your routine?
I moved back so quickly this summer and moved right in with my mom to save the hassle of shopping for an apartment. We’d go to work, come home and walk the dogs, go to the gym, eat dinner. And then I had a scary thought: it could be me, my mom and the dogs forever.
Friends of mine from university and elsewhere had the same trouble. A friend from high school moved to Palo Alto and started sniffing around on Craigslist for friends. Don’t resort to that.
It’s hard, I know. Girls don’t really meet girlfriends in bars; we’re all too preoccupied at the gym. Even if you find the occasional chill person, chances are they have their own friends and lack the same … desperation for new ones.
So I shook things up: joined an intramural dodgeball league, a few Meetup groups, and lo and behold, started to meet other young professionals in the same boat as me. I still miss my solid group from university, but I’m working on it.
It’s nice to have friends, eh?

Here’s my most loyal one.

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Last day in Idaho

Things that I have learned during my 13.5 months in rural Idaho:

1. The “East Side” doesn’t actually refer to the Bellevue/Kirkland/Sammamish/Redmond block.

2. People from North Idaho are prone to get really agitated if all you know about their state is potatoes. In fact, most of the potatoes eaten in Northern Idaho were actually grown in Washington.

3. This is a big, empty state. There’s a reason the highway system is so spotty – because the highways that exist already connect the few medium-to-large cities in Idaho. Everything else is just “rural.”

4. I really, really need to live in a city with a Gap, a Nordstorm, a decent thrift store and an Indian restaurant.

5. Rural girl, I am not.
I’m oh-so-happy to be going home.

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Back in the saddle

It’s been two years, but Tacoma Girl is back and ready to conquer new lands.

I finished my degree just over a year ago, and spent my time since then trying the handle of “newspaperwoman” on for size.

After a year reporting the news from Idaho, the state of citizen militias, Aryan pride and Larry Craig, I’m ready to tackle something truly foreign: the twenty-somethings of Tacoma.

I may have grown up in lovable T-Town, but that doesn’t mean I know anything about what it means to be 23 there. My old friends have moved away, my baby brothers have grown up, and I don’t even have a good-to-go pass.

Here’s hoping 13 months as an Idahoan gave me a fresh perspective on what it truly means to be a gritty Tacoman.

Thanks www.tacomakids.com