This is my Olympia: Traditions

>> Monday, February 28, 2011


I've decided to create a monthly blog post chronicling my Olympia:  my everyday experiences, my hang-outs, my loves, my share with folks what Olympia is to me.

[An aside:  I would create this as a weekly feature, but with Owen around, every week is a little too ambitious for me!]

This month's feature is...

Traditions Cafe & World Folk Art

Located just a few blocks from where I work, Traditions is a weekly ritual I willingly participate in.  Going there every week helps me center myself.  While eating, I listen to podcasts, jot down work-related notes, do personal journalling, and sometimes just zone out.  It's a place of comfort; whatever I am doing is supported.  I can engage with the community as much or as little as I need to in the moment, and Traditions allows space for that.

Walking into the cafe, I'm immediately greeted by yummy smells of hearty soups and homemade chai.  Each face is familiar, and nearly everyone knows my name and my standard 'two enchiladas with avocado instead of cheese, Lemon Tahini dressing on the side salad,' unless I switch it up with a veggie burger with Tibetan Barbecue Sauce (yum!).

I often get a decaf Americano (decaf because I'm still nursing), and the staff persons expertly craft it; the crema sits on top, just as it should.

I love the self-serve coffee with honey feature; it warms my heart and reminds me of Otto's just a little bit :)

Folksy; and look at the vase to the left!

The retail side warms my heart even more, and I make a point to browse each time I'm in the store.  Traditions (and Radiance) participates in the "We Like Us" program, coordinated by Orca Books, I believe.  This program supports current staff persons at participating downtown business (including Hot Toddy, Radiance, Traditions, and others) by offering a standing 20% off all purchases paid with cash.  With this discount I can patronize places like Traditions more often, supporting their livelihood as well as my lifestyle.

What I love about Traditions--especially now that I'm a parent--is the sustainable, wonderful, Waldorf-inspired Children's Section.

I've purchased many, many parenting books from Traditions.  I can't recommend them highly enough as a resource for artfully and gently raising your children.

Brant laughs at me for this, but I'm super-stokked to introduce Owen to the 'Cooperative Games' Traditions sells.  They're not competitive in nature, with really makes me happy.  Perhaps I'm being unrealistic, but I like the idea of Owen learning cooperation rather than competition.  Brant excels at board games, RPGs,etc., all which have an element of competition in them, so Owen's bound to be exposed to that kind of play too.  I guess that's okay; maybe I'm just projecting my own childhood discomfort with competition into this situation.

I LOVE this wooden playhouse!  No plastic!
Some other things of note about this amazing place:

  • Traditions is Fair Trade.  This is important.  In a community like Olympia, where we often tout the benefits of supporting our local economy, it's important to remember that not all goods being sold (even locally!) are benefiting the communities and individuals engaging the the work. Traditions reaches out to the global community by directly trading with indigenous peoples, to bring more economic stability to them and quality, hand-crafted goods to us.
  • Traditions has a Peace & Justice lending library, available to the community.  Choose from a selection of donated books to borrow, learn, and return.  Community members are also welcome to donate texts and videos.
  • Traditions supports local singers, songwriters, poets, authors, etc. by hosting them in the cafe.  You can find a list of upcoming events here.
  • Plants & Planets meets the 3rd Thursday evening of the month in the cafe.  Fusing true astrology with herbal and plant support, Plants & Planets creators Rose and Carol help guide us through our lives offering words of wisdom and advice.
If you haven't made it part of your Olympia experience to visit Traditions, I urge you to do so.  You won't regret it.

For more information including store hours, visit their website at

Many Blessings.


Rev. Deborah Olive March 1, 2011 at 9:04 AM  

Wow! I'm stoked about Traditions. I look forward to reading more of your blog posts.

Liina March 1, 2011 at 12:50 PM  

I have never eaten there! But since Kaden and I have changed our eating habits so much over the past few years, we are always looking for somewhere more healthful to eat. Now that I know someone who recommends it, maybe I can get him in there!

I really love that there are non-competitive games for kids! I was mis-categorized as "unathletic" all throughout school, just because competitive team sports made me extremely uncomfortable. My sister (currently) won't play *any* board games, even just with our family or close friends, because it causes too much anxiety for her. Soooo that's awesome and I hope Brant can recognize the value!

orphansparrow March 31, 2011 at 2:29 PM  

*cries* i miss it there! olympia is really such a cool town. i have never lived anywhere like it. 2 years was much too short. :(

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