Sunday, December 17, 2017

Some Sewing

I did a series of zippy pouches a few months ago and when I was done, I had made eleven. I started to find homes for them before I completed the streak so I never got a picture of all of them together. I've used various tutorials over the years and now I just seem to cobble up my own formula and sizing. I used some metal zippers that I got from Zipit on Etsy and whatever fleecy interfacing I found in the box. It is good to have some pouches on hand for hostess gifts and other occasions where a little token is appreciated.

This sock monkey guy has a story and a sibling sock elephant that is too homely to photograph. My friend, Barbara, had a yearning to make these and a pile of socks so she and I spent a couple of afternoons together, sewing and catching up. It was a fun project and I have found a four year old that might appreciate finding these under the Christmas tree. I dunno - lovable creatures to some? Those super soft fleece plushies have much more appeal, I think. Maybe someone likes the idea that they used to be socks but most kids are not going to care much about it.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Another Trailer

Sawtooth Range - Idaho
We had a small camping trailer which we sold last spring. Then in September, camping season rolled around again and we bought another one. We had a successful road trip in the summer using a tent but it is much harder in the cold months. Dave did a lot of work on getting the used rig up to speed. He installed a solar panel and a lot of additional lights both inside and out and really cleaned it up so it sparkles. We had a great trip camping down in Oregon with some friends and did a short trip one weekend pretty close to home. We'll use it enough to justify having it and I think we'll try harder not to sell this one.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Walking with Friends

My running and bicycling days are behind me, I guess. 😐 But everybody needs exercise. 

This is a nice town for walking with good trails and decent year round weather. I have two friends that are my main walking buddies but, of course, I don't have any good pictures of them. Dave comes with me sometimes and often I go alone. I like walking around the harbor right in town but also really like the Tommy Thompson trail and the trail out by the ferry terminal. The loop road in Washington Park is closed to cars until 10 am so that is a great place to walk as well. The last main trail that I use is the Padilla Bay Shore Trail, aka the Dike Trail. 

There are so many other places to walk - Mt. Erie and the three lakes that are right in town - Little Cranberry, Heart Lake and Whistle Lake. It's great to have so many lovely choices. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Did everybody like the Great British Bake Off as much as I did? I watched all of the seasons that are available here and I'll probably watch them again. There is drama but it is never hyped and the food photography is fantastic. When technology changes and we are all able to smell and taste through our screens, we are sunk. It's hard enough to resist just looking at the treats.

I've been inspired by it all but haven't gone overboard. We really shouldn't be eating bread and dessert every day so I usually wait until there is company around to share the caloric load. The holidays are a good excuse, too.

Cinnamon Star Bread (Savory version)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Ray's winter break starts today. It is always good to see him and I'm so glad that he still comes home when he isn't at school. Even so, we don't see him much. He has friends and his girlfriend to spend time with and he needs to sleep in. Empty nest syndrome is a real thing. It's kind of a heartbreak...

Ray is a junior this year and will graduate with a degree in Chemical Engineering in May of 2019. He has five more quarters. The time has gone by so quickly. He has an internship lined up for the summer at a oil refinery in Ferndale, about 60 miles north of here. His girlfriend's apartment is about 20 minutes away so he will stay there while he is working. Last summer, he stayed in Seattle as he was working an unpaid research job at the University of Washington campus. He works there during the school year, too, studying very detailed chemical properties of perovskite solar cells. 

I have learned to remember the names of his classes but that is about as deep of an understanding that I have of any of it. Transport Processes in Chemical Engineering, Thermodynamics and Quantum Mechanics are pretty serious subjects. He is doing very well, though at the moment, he is nervously awaiting his final grades for the term. We are proud of him. He is organized and works hard and he calls us once a week. And he is happy!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Random picture in the public domain

I'm still a fan, eleven years later.


High school basketball season starts a little earlier in the year here in Washington, about three weeks before the teams in Juneau get going. When we moved down south, I had to change my allegiance to the home team here in Anacortes, and it took awhile to adjust. The boys team is well coached and has had a string of successful seasons, going to the state championship almost every year. The girls did well one year but really haven't built a great program yet. I hope things will improve in the future.

It isn't as dark and cold in the winter as those years in Alaska but going in to the gym for a game is still a welcome contrast to the dreary weather outside. Our son played in the band for 4 years which added a super fun element to the experience. The school here has a fantastic drumline but no dance team. Otherwise, things are pretty similar - kids working hard and enjoying their commitments and activities. 


Two of my friends love to go to the high school games with me and they often come over to our house to watch NFL games on television. They don't have cable so we record the Minnesota Vikings for them and we usually watch the Seattle Seahawks games as well. We've learned a lot about the game from them as they are more tuned in to the rules and better informed about the players and the teams. It's pretty fun - some of the games are really exciting and some of them just seem long. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Head Start

I am volunteering at a local Head Start preschool. I have more than a year in now and it has proven to be a good fit. I knew I had time to contribute in some way to the community since I am no longer working and I was missing the small child element in my world. When I called the Samish Longhouse where the program is centered to see if they needed any volunteer help, the director said to come on in. 

The kids are there for 16 hours a week over four mornings. They have breakfast at school and leave after lunch. We eat together family style at little tiny tables. They serve themselves food and pour their own milk and it can be a real mess. Learning is messy! It is an atmosphere of mad fun and controlled chaos. Clearly, it helps to have another adult in the mix. I clean a lot of tables and chairs and sweep the floors but most of my morning is spent interacting with the kids and helping them get through the day. 

I have also enjoyed getting to know the teachers and staff who work there and meeting the parents of the kids. It has expanded my social circle, too, and I did swing an invitation to the birthday party of a boy who turned five. 

During the last school year, I went in every day but this year I am going in two mornings a week. It seems like a better long term strategy - I didn't want to burn out. This week the children are all excited about Christmas and are getting three songs ready for a holiday program. It's pretty sweet!