A String of Wednesdays in January

South Beach 1/08/21

On Wednesday, January 6th, 2021 (a day that will live in infamy) the US Capitol was stormed by some crazy right-wing terrorists bent on destroying democracy.  Meanwhile, as far away from Washington D.C. as one can get in the contiguous United States, we watched the mayhem with horror on our computers (not having t.v.)

On Wednesday, January 13th, a major windstorm blew through the Pacific NW.  We were awakened by an alert poodle and heard branches falling all night long.  In the morning we found a limb had hit Roger’s truck.  And another much bigger branch narrowly missed it.  The picture above is from a few days later but I am sure this willow that fell over our road started falling on the 13th More importantly, perhaps, we were out of power for 18 hours. Luckily, our generator was in working order. This windstorm came up unexpectedly—normally Roger moves his truck to a safer locale when high winds are in the forecast.

Audrey’s 11th birthday on 1/21/21

On Wednesday, January 20th, we were glued to our computers for a much better event, the Inauguration of Joseph Biden as our 46th President.  The crowds were not present, but the pomp and ceremony was all we could ask for:  Lady Gaga, Garth Brooks, Amanda Gorman and all.  Impressed by President Biden’s address asking for unity in these perilous times. We were able to lift a glass of champagne with some neighbors (wrapped in blankets on their porch)

Roger’s latest project

On Wednesday, January 27th, Roger and I received our first shot of the Moderna Vaccine by our local Health Department at the Fair Grounds.  My arm is a little sore, but I feel like this was huge milestone in a tumultuous month of a tumultuous twelve months.

heavy frost 1/23/21

Between Storms

Solstice Party

December 21st Solstice  we had a party at the Grange and invited the whole community.  And they pretty much came.  Everyone wants to celebrate the return of the sun.  I am writing this post five weeks later.  Still waiting.

Christmas Still Life

Christmas Day was very quiet for us.  We celebrated with children and grandchildren the following weekend in Everett.

New Years

A day and a half later, the gang came up to celebrate the New Year.  They brought the party with them with fireworks, masks, scavenger hunt prizes and plenty of food.  Fun was had by all.  Then they left and it was very, very quiet around here for a few days.

So I had another dinner party.  This one was Sicilian themed.  Alice and I made arancini and I served a full Italian: antipasta, pasta, fish, spumoni.  Our guests joined Roger with their instruments and made sweet music together.  Good way to get through the winter doldrums.

All through this my neighbor and friend with a young Aussie have come over once or twice a week to play with me and my puppy.  Suki and Maggie are BFFs.  At least I hope so. 

Maggie and BFF Suki

And then this happened:

Smart Car?

Maggie’s First Snow

Dogs love snow.  At least most dogs I know.  This snow was more than we normally get, but only a few limbs came down and the snow left very quickly.

Flooding Creek

Followed by a ton of rain.  Rain, wind, rain, wind, rain, you get the picture.  All the ponds are full.  All the streams are rivers.  No roads are washed out as yet.  But more storms are approaching.

Cama Beach

In the middle of this, Audrey turned 10 and we took her to a very stormy beach on Camano Island to celebrate.  The ferry was an hour late taking us home due to high winds.

That’s what is happening here at Thornbush this month.  If you would like a more meaty report you should try my brother Joe’s:    https://barrecavineyards.com

He had a lot of snow, too, but that got him thinking . . .

Roger and I have switched from NPR every morning to listening to music or podcasts like Hidden Brain.  And in the evening we stream tv shows from the 90’s and Ken Burn’s Country Music series.  We’re looking for the calm.

So this is the New Year

So this is the New Year

And I don’t feel any different (song lyrics by Death Cab for Cutie)

Right now it is about 40 below in parts of the mid-west. It is 43 above zero here and very sunny. All in all, January has been exceedingly pleasant, weather-wise. There have been some great walks.

January is Audrey’s Birthday Month. This year we took her to the Seattle Center’s Children Museum and Pacific Science Center. Still trying to take in the fact that she’s nine already!

running the train

The following week I attended the Textile Guild Quarterly on Shaw Island. Our keynote speaker, Betsy Mize Currie showed us some fabulous work in needlepoint. I always enjoy spending time with my guild friends.

painting with thread

A sign things are looking up in 2019–the “upstairs” hens, guided by their handsome rooster, have begun laying eggs.

click on any image to enlarge

Burying the Lede

Lede:  the opening sentence or paragraph of a news article, summarizing the most important aspects of the story:
“the lede has been rewritten and the headline changed”

Who knew?  I thought it was always spelled “lead”

Not wanting to be accused of burying the lede like last April “Wait for It”.  I am telling up front, that this summer I have had a series of tests culminating in a biopsy on July 23rd which found cancer in calcifications in my left breast.  I have scheduled a lumpectomy for August 30th.  This is a very early, 0-stage? d.c.i.s. (ductal carcinoma in situ) I will visit the oncologist mid-September to find out what happens next.

Now that I have gotten that news out of the way, I can tell you the fun stuff that has happened this month.

The Project: Our friend Jay came up for a week and helped twist the cottage a few degrees clockwise.  It was quite tedious as there were many adjustments along the way.

Poor Jay, wish I could say we had some fun times while he was here.  Maybe he’ll come back in another 8 years.

20180805_163509_HDRJay wasn’t the only one put to work.   Our eight year old granddaughter Audrey joined us for the following week and she helped as well.

After the cottage was turned, we raised it nine inches with house jacks and new posts so that it is at the same level as the house.  So once the deck is rebuilt, you can walk from cottage to house without the two stairs.  Then we poured concrete in all the new post holes.  Next comes the skirting around the foundation.

Audrey’s Visit:  Luckily, tractor driving counts as fun for Audrey.  She also got to ride a horse for the first time, have art lessons, go fishing, attend the county fair, among other fun activities.


The Fair:  Roger and I worked several shifts at the Fair this year.  Roger judged the 4-H youths in horticulture.  I hung around the Fiber Arts exhibit as docent among other chores.  Audrey got to make fiber beads as a Courtyard Activity.  She also got to go on a number of rides.  Her parents and siblings joined us later in the week and attended the Fair as well.

Family Visit:  So Bjorn’s family went to the Fair one day and we went to the beach the next day.  After that, the forest fire unhealthy air attacked us and we stayed close to home.  There was this game about deactivating a bomb (fun, right?)  and a puzzle among other games.

Coming Soon:  The air finally cleared today (8/23) at least for awhile.  We have a forest owners field day at our house this coming weekend.  And next week, my surgery.  I will hopefully be reporting on these events as well as more cottage project advancement.

I’ve placed a new sculpture next to Willow Man in the front courtyard.  Remind you of someone?

20180819_183551_HDR (2)

Home Improvements

Can’t lie to you, it’s been a terrible month since my sweetheart Suzie Q Poodle died.  But I’ve been trying to keep very busy and I do have a few accomplishments to show for it.  The best and biggest is not from me.  It’s the electric backup system for our home’s radiant floor heating system.  Now, if Roger is sick or just not inclined to go out in inclement weather to build a fire we still stay warm.  Our electric bill, though, is sure to climb percipitously.


twined willow bark

First I’ll backtrack a bit and let you know that I went to a basketry retreat at Seabeck on the Kitsap peninsula in January.  Took a couple basketry workshops and reconnected with NW Basketry Guild members I’d hung with last July in Tacoma.


Audrey turns 8

Stayed with friends in Brier on the way back so I could celebrate granddaughter Audrey’s eighth birthday.  Just a day trip to LaConner but Roger and I loved spending time with her.


All winter I’ve been working on my first “rep weave” project– placemats.  I was able to finish them in February.  Plan to use the same weave to make a rug–hopefully this year.


knotless netting

I showed some of the San Juan textile group how to use waxed linen to make knotless netting around a rock or solid object last month.  Next week I am leading a group of SJC Textile Guilders to Bellingham to see a stunning display of basketry at the Whatcom Museum.  So on Feb 7th my friend Laura and I took a reconnaisance trip to check it out.  Beautiful day coming home on Chuckanut Drive.


Nan at Afterglow Vista

My friend Nan came up to visit me (and console me about poor Suzie).  We got hit by a late winter snowstorm that dumped eight inches in a few short hours.  The next day I went out to check out the animal prints in the snow.  Mostly deer, but others were quite mysterious.


not deer, but what?

Accomplishment #??? We did our taxes. Get $47 back. Wheee!


Done deal. I’m an art collector!

And then, out of the blue, I did a most compulsive thing.  I bought art!  A friend who is moving off island sold me a Jack Gunter original.  I could not pass it up but I believe my extra-budgetary expenditures are depleted for the year–and it’s only March!


Rose’s Quilt

So Roger helped me put up my new painting and we balanced the look of the room by hanging the quilt my cousin Rose made for me a few years back.  They both look great.

Two weeks until Spring.  I’m working on a basket project and waiting impatiently to get out into the garden.  Have planted some flower and vegetable seeds in the propogation house.  I need to keep very busy.



It’s Falling

It’s Falling

Snow.  It’s falling from the sky as I sit here in early November.  Big test of Roger’s new heating system–see last month’s report (don’t tell him but I’m giving it a big D so far)  He’s not here to fix it because he has volunteered to be the projectionist for the Friday Harbor Film Festival Grange venue all weekend.  The documentary film festival is in its fifth year and I will be volunteering, too, but only for one morning–Tomorrow.  That is also the name of the film that will be screened where I will usher–Tomorrow.  It’s an optimistic take on solutions to our environmental predicament.  That’s what I need right now–optimism.

the mountain was out

Last weekend we went to my brother Marc’s for Thanksween.  Only, it wasn’t held at Marc’s.  We rented a VRBO next door to him as did most other members of the family and had a VRBO hop–not unlike a Pub Hop–of an event.  Only we almost didn’t make it.  On our way to the ferry at 6am Friday before last, we hit something in the road which blew out a tire.  Took us almost two miles to pull over.  then we took everything out of the back of the Forester to find the tiny spare and the tiny spare jack.  It was pitch black, there was a lot of cussing and fussing.  But Roger was able to change the flat and we still had time for breakfast in town before boarding the ferry.    The story doesn’t end there.  The rim was bent so Les Schwab in Anacortes could not fix it.  The dealership in Burlington was no help nor was the wrecking yard out on Highway 20.  So we drove back to Anacortes and rented a shiny blue Mazda for our weekend away.

Suzie soaking up sun while I was away

I wasn’t feeling all that great about going anyway because Suzie was very sick.  It turns out she has a chronic inflammatory bowel disease and was having a flare-up where she wasn’t eating and I won’t go into the other symptoms.  But, I knew I had a good dog-sitter and could not have done any better if I had been here.  Kept a running e-mail exchange going and hoped for the best.


Audrey is learning to tie her shoes



white river

Besides, I had volunteered to pick up my niece who had flown in to see my ailing dad and attend Thanksween with the family.  Also, because my dad was recently admitted to hospice, it seemed important to visit him and get together with “la mia famiglia”.  Also, I had put a rather large deposit down on the VRBO that we intended to share with the kids and grandkids.

Mia Famiglia at Naches Tavern

Turned out to be a fabulously beautiful trip through Maple Valley and Enumclaw to near Crystal Mountain right on Hwy 410 and the White River.  Gorgeous orange trees and blue sky in sharp contrast to today’s snow flurries.  Last week, right?  Good times visiting with family both siblings and grands. Some more cussing and fussing. Roger got to play his uke with the “Outlaws and Inlaws” so he was happy.  Left for a similarly beautiful trip home, turned in the rental car and still made the earlier ferry in our limping Subaru. ( Four new tires on order.  That’s the way it is with All-wheel drive.)

That was my fourth trip to see my Dad since September 8th.  Last time was to help my sister move him from his independent living apartment to (dum-dee-dum-dum) Assisted Living.  It took us the better part of a day to schlep his stuff in the pouring rain from Building 1 to Building 3.  And still two of my brothers had to deal with the left over mess. (I should not be typing this post, I should be cleaning out all the crap I have lying around so I’m never in that situation.)  Anyway, the hospice team from Kaiser-Permanente seem to be taking good care of him and last time I talked to him, he was in very good spirits.  What his mood will be from hour to hour is always a bit of a gamble.  thankfully, they’ve finally hooked up his tv so he will be able to watch the Seahawks this Sunday.

Cattle Point before the storm

what else?  Oh, took a nice embroidery class in conjunction with the SJC Textile Guild’s Fall Quarterly.  We came into the meeting with a bit of a leadership crisis (ie, no leader for next year) but that was resolved at the meeting–thanks, Val!  And so it is time to finish up on a couple archival photo journals that I am putting together.  A very good project to do while it is 33 degrees out.  Before the bad weather hit I was outside everyday hedge trimming and trying to make up for my time spent convalescing my right wrist.  The battery-driven hedge trimmers Roger bought me are amazing–as my grandson Corbin would say.


And so, the very rich hours of Anita Barreca are wrapping up for another month.  As the world turns . . .

before the snow color



Celebration and Activism in 2017

Celebration and Activism in 2017

New Year’s brought in with Laughter

Good Friends brought Good Cheer over the New Year’s Weekend again this year.


Finishing two projects and thinking about the next ones

Novelty Yarn Scarf and Crocheted Shawl



Rally against Kinder-Morgan and the Transpacific Pipeline


That’s me in the middle

Joining the Womxns March in Seattle

One of 175,000 others concerned about the loss of our rights and the bigotry of the new administration


More to Celebrate –
Audrey turns Seven-Spending the day with our middle grandchild




Another Milestone – Barry at 65


Mid-Century themed Party (because we are turning back the clocks to a pre-civil rights era?)