Recently I wrote about two Eastside dogs appearing in the Seattle Opera. Last night, some lucky dogs attended the opera. These were Labrador retriever...

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Recently I wrote about two Eastside dogs appearing in the Seattle Opera. Last night, some lucky dogs attended the opera.

These were Labrador retriever puppies, ranging in age from 9 to 13 months. These pups and their handlers are members of For Your Eyes Only, a Bellevue-based group that raises and socializes puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

As part of their training, they went to last night’s rehearsal of “Florencia en el Amazonas” at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. The idea is to teach the dogs about being in a performance hall filled with strangers, the music of a full orchestra and a full cast singing on stage.

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“Florencia en el Amazonas” is considered a good beginner program for opera-goers — just under two hours in length with lyrical music and interesting special effects. Guess that applies to canines, too.

Local art

Katherine Wright’s dozen watercolors of Kirkland are on display at Parklane Gallery.

Wright, a local artist and architect, painted the pictures for the Kirkland centennial calendar. Some featured locations are Carillon Point, the Kirkland Cemetery, Heritage Hall and Triple J’s Cafe.

If you live in Kirkland, you should have received a free copy in your mailbox. They’re also available for $15 through the Kirkland Heritage Society.

Minkless swap meet

Leon and Linda Hussey’s annual white-elephant party had its usual hilarious antics. The recent gathering in Redmond, which included both 100-year-old Audrey Gorlick and 2-½-year-old Ellie Lindenmayer, featured a gift exchange.

One gift that usually appears each year apparently was in hibernation this time. A mink jock strap, originally brought to the party a few years ago by Mike and Mary Kay Hallman, wasn’t part of the exchange this year. Linda Hussey keeps track of who goes home with the mink creation.

“It appears to be lost for a year unless Jon Ives is having a hard time giving it up,” said Hussey.

Ives is the husband of Redmond Mayor Rosemarie Ives.

Leon Hussey was delighted with the gift he first opened — a stool shaped like a black-and-white cow, complete with an udder. White-elephant rules allow guests to steal gifts from other guests, so KING-TV weatherman Jeff Renner claimed the stool. Little Ellie later swiped the stool from Renner.

Ellie attended the party with her grandparents, Lori and Marty Snodgrass. Marty, chairman of Redmond Planning Commission, went home with a hair-removal kit.

The highlight of the night was a plastic dog that sang off-key. That went home with Gwenn Maxfield, a Woodinville Water District commissioner.

Moo-ving humor

Speaking of cows, a PT Cruiser spotted on 112th Avenue Northeast in Bellevue was milking a couple of visual jokes. The vehicle was painted black and white, like a cow. The license plate, a word play on an ancient TV series, read COW 54.

Completing the picture was an udder, made out of pink material, hanging from the rear hatch door.

Counting cash

Allison Blair’s concert entertained more than 100 folks Saturday at Parkplace Books in Kirkland. (Concert-goers included Kirkland Mayor Mary-Alyce Burleigh and Kirkland Cultural Council Chair Kathy Page Feek.) Allison, a fifth-grader at Peter Kirk Elementary School, raised $508 for the Save the Animals campaign to buy the city’s famous animal sculptures from their private owner.

Expect more youth activities. During breaks, Blair and another active young fund-raiser, Mia Cooledge, discussed benefits to help purchase the bear, rabbit and mule-deer statues.

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or