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This is the house where the Secret Service peered into the chicken coop last May, where the speech was short and the checks were big, and where President Obama ended his visit at Bruce Blume’s desk, tying a few things up before jetting off to George Clooney’s house to raise some $15 million.

And this is the house where the phone rang, and the president picked it up: “Blume residence.”

“Hi! Is Libbie home?”

“Libbie!” the Leader of the Free World (and father of two daughters) called out to Blume’s teenager. “You’ve got a call!”

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Blume told me this as we stood in his Lake Washington estate, where he was hosting a fundraiser for Stewardship Partners’ 12,000 Rain Gardens program.

The five-year initiative seeks to build enough rain gardens around Puget Sound to clean 160 million gallons of polluted runoff every year. The gardens are funded by Stewardship Partners and installed by Master Gardeners with the help of neighbors, and have popped up all over the region. The goal is to put 1,000 rain gardens in each of the 12 counties around the Sound (

Stewardship Partners is the passion of founder Chris Bayley and Executive Director David Burger, who brought many more into the fold, including media consultant Kenan Block and restaurateur Duke Moscrip, who brought the salmon, of course.

Once the speeches ended, mayoral candidate Peter Steinbrueck checked out the infinity pool, as did filmmaker Tadd Sackville-west and Cal McAllister and Todd Grant from the Wexley School for Girls. Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and his wife, Ashley O’Connor, wrote a check before heading out for date night.

Kerri Harrop came straight from her new job as the music community fundraising manager for KEXP. (“My office is in the Food Circus! The Center House! It rules.”) Tom Skerritt drove the Prius home while wife, Julie Tokashiki, threatened to beat him there on foot. And Blume sent me off with a little high-end, down-home hospitality.

“Grab an egg from the chickens, if you want one.”

Good work

When they’re crying in the Seattle Sheraton ladies room, then you know you had a successful event.

The annual fundraiser for Amara, a nonprofit that finds permanent homes for foster children, was a veritable weep-fest the other day, with stories of children who found “forever families” despite drug addiction, disappointment and the fear that they would age out of the system and never find mooring.

One of the many highlights: the attendance of Lucretia Way, the first child adopted by the agency back in 1921, when it was called The Medina Children’s Home. The event fell on her 90th birthday, so of course everyone sang. And cried.

Speaker Mary Lee never gave up hope for a family, and was adopted at 16.

Good thing I was sitting next to Dr.
Terri Lee, who had tissues at the ready — “No psychiatrist worth her salt would be without them.”

Amara Executive Director John Morse, who just started taking a salary for the first time in four years, honored the late Louise McKinney.

Adam Cornell presented an award named for Stella Mae Carmichael, who fostered more than 500 children — including him.

“She never saw me as a victim,” he said. “She saw me as the person I am now, 32 years later.”

So who is he? A deputy prosecuting attorney in Snohomish County. And happy.


I screwed up in Sunday’s Nicole & Co., when I wrote about Amy Lang and her event, MamaCon, a daylong conference for mothers that includes workshops, mini-spa treatments, comedy and a book signing by “Moms Who Drink and Swear” by Nicole Knepper.

MamaCon will be
Saturday, May 18, at the Bellevue Hilton. You can get more information at

Lang was more than understanding: “Take it easy on yourself,” she told me the other morning as I pounded my head on my desk. “This s*&$ happens.”

Men at work

The only men at the “Wine, Women and Shoes” event benefiting the Seattle Children’s Home (SCH) the other night were the ones pouring drinks and carrying shoes around on silver trays.

But Duell Fisher was there not only to emcee but because he so believes in SCH, which offers counseling and therapeutic services to children and their families.

“If I had a place to go when I was a teenager,” Fisher began, then paused. “If I had known about Seattle Children’s Home, I would have taken a bus there from Puyallup.”

Executive Director Gena Palm said SCH will celebrate its 130th anniversary next year, and then sent me into the crowd, where T
ommy Gene Harlow was mixing his very own Canton 75 small-batch sour with Champagne. The crowd around him was deafening.

“I’m a hairdresser by day,” he assured me over the chatter. “So I hear screechy girls all day long.”

Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Sunday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or

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