The following post is a bit of a special treat. It’s Joann’s birthday today, and this is her husband. We have a group of friends over for dinner and they have all been invited to come prepared with a picture, story or anecdote to share about Joann’s creativity – something she made, something she made with her friends, or something she shared. This post is a tribute to Joann Varnell – a friend, a wife, a mother, a singer-songwriter, a seamstress, a naturalist, a gluten-free baker, a rockabilly girl and a model citizen of the east side of Tacoma. These are her stories.
I have a small tattoo of a trifold on my right wrist. I chose this symbol because it means the cycle of life or change. If you are around me long enough and pay attention, it shows up in a lot of my art and design projects. Joann, who is not normally a jewelry designer, created an olive green brooch in a trifold design for my last birthday. When she presented it to me, she said, “Let me know if it falls apart. I didn’t really know what I was doing.” Joann, I’m reporting that I have worn it several times and it has not fallen apart. In addition, it looks fabulous on me!
About seven years ago I created a poster with my friend Tom called Red Brick Town. When Joann saw the poster she was inspired to write music based on the words from our poster. I have always loved her songwriting and she shares honest transparent stories from her heart. I love this girl. That was Lance, this is Dana now 🙂 One of my most memorable moments was the morning of 9/11 and at the time Joann was living next door to us. She showed up at our front door on the morning of the disaster in tears and disbelief of what was going on in our country and the pivotal moment in history unfolding right before our very eyes. We watched the events for hours and I could see Joann’s humanity as we stared speechless with what was happening. Joann has such a heart for people! That was my mom. This is Emily now! I like how nice Joann is and how much fun it is to be around her and Ike and Z. And Indie and Wally.
When I met Joann I knew that I wanted to be her friend. She has such a free spirit that is loving and accepting of all. When Joann was pregnant with Ike we made a trip to Portland for the weekend, that’s where that picture is from. Even with her basketball belly we walked everywhere and explored the city. Joann has a contagious love for life and is constantly making me laugh. She lifts my spirits and is truly a great friend. Happy happy birthday! I like you a lot!
This is Adam… I’m the guy in the picture who is actually bald but is too scared to shave his head. Her name is Penelope. Z is the guy on the right with the shaved head. He’s Joann’s hubby. We’re all friends. This photo was from our hilarious weekend trip to Portland. I’ve known Joann for a few years. We were in a band together and made music but the woes of life have taken over yet the hope that the band reunites still remains. Joann is a truly talented woman who has an incredible voice. Seriously, ask her to sing sometime. She has always been a great friend and I couldn’t be happier that she married Z. I wish the best for their family in the coming year and look forward to continuing on in the journey of life with them. Happy Birthday Joann! Here’s to yet another year of sheer awesomeness for you and the fam!
This lady is such an amazing woman. She will not take anyone’s drama, yet when you really need her she is right there for you. She is the most creative, caring, loving, outstanding woman you could ever meet. I have countless memories of times where she and I laughed so hard we were crying; from CRAZY Scrabble games, to house hunting and claw foot bathtubs. She is such an amazing friend that I cannot believe how lucky I am to say she has been my mentor and #1 role model. The one thing that comes to mind with her is that she has this sense of humor that cannot be compared to anyone else. Honestly, there can not be enough words to describe this amazing lady! Happy Birthday Lady!