It’s safe to say that the New Western Energy Show directed my life for the next few decades. After I returned to Seattle I resumed dance classes and theatre while earning a living teaching Italian and working in restaurants. In 1980 on my return from Europe I joined forces with other writers, musicians and teachers to create and promote shows on recycling, waste reduction and alternative energy for the Seattle school system. These programs were funded by grants from Seattle City Light, the Department of Ecology, the newly-formed Washington Energy Extension Service and other interested non-profit agencies. I also started working for the Fremont Public Association promoting the establishment of city-wide recycling in homes. This led to a career in waste management and recycling with the City of Seattle, the City of Bellevue, and later the University of Washington. This 20-year career ended when I left the University in the fall of 2000 to devote more time to teaching Italian, to my gardens, as well as my other artistic interests.

In 1990 I married Charles Mish, an English teacher of Polish descent, and with him created our little bio-dynamic garden on Lopez Island, one of the more pastoral of the San Juan archipelago. On our 10-acre site we have a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as an ever- expanding flower garden. The house was built as a “testing ground” for the implementation of our philosophy of alternative energy: originally it was fully solar, was heated with propane and wood from our land, and used pond water for irrigation (when the sun cooperated). Now we sell electricity to the local power company through our solar panels and have a powerful electric pump to draw water from the pond for irrigation; anytime. We sell and donate the surplus food and I spend quite a lot of time canning and drying.

I still teach Italian and offer “intensives” on our Lopez property and “study tours” to Italy where we liberate our “inner Italian” through the food, language, culture and beauty of that beloved country. Besides my interest in gardening and dance, I have also become passionate about photography and the piano. Some of my photos can add color to my story.

clarissa3

clarissa1

clarissa2

clarissa4