Most of the time on downtown Seattle shopping trips when we were little Mom would take us to the Frederick & Nelson Paul Bunyan room for a lunch of burgers. But once in awhile we went to the elegant Tea Room. It was fancy stuff. Maybe it was a reward for sitting through the yearly pixie cuts at the children's hair salon on the 4th floor.

After lunch, perhaps she'd leave us at the children's playroom while she shopped, where my sister and I would huddle together in one of the less-crowded corners by the high windows and string metallic-coated paper squares on yarn.

I'm a tech/marketing writer making a shift into the apparel industry. I'm enrolled in the University of Washington's fashion certificate program and am working on two lines: a post-surgical bra for breast cancer patients, and a ready-to-wear line for chicks my age.

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