Season’s Greetings to Everyone

Our rollercoaster of a year is ending with a smooth coast. A solstice card I received said “Amidst the darkest days, new light appears on the horizon.” After looking back over my posts of the past year, I see that all sorts of great and wonderful events took place. But for me, 2018 is the year that my dog died, I had a stroke, and then cancer. Dark days, indeed. If you are interested in those things, you can look at the months of February, April, August, and October.

But if that is old news to you, let’s press on with the good things that have happened in the last month:

So above are examples of a very, merry Christmas with family and friends. And that wasn’t all that happened this month. We finally got our new oven!

Roger installing the new oven

Also, December in the San Juans can be very beautiful.

So here’s to the new light of 2019 that beckons with promises of more time with friends and family and road trips and perhaps a new beloved pet. A 2019 that is cancer free, healthy, productive (new bathroom on the cottage?) and much to be thankful for.

Restful November

Restful November

This posting is delayed in part due to our being without the Internet for most of this week.  We now have a working (!) outside antenna on the roof for our router and are back in business.  Roger just about broke his crown getting down from the roof where he placed it but that’s another story.

That’s not the only SNAFU this month.  Our oven broke.  More specifically, our oven door broke off.  Right before Thanksgiving.  With a turkey already ordered from the Co-op.  And since we didn’t pick it up right away, it came defrosted.  Roger managed to cook a 20 lb. turkey on the propane grill.  But we had already been invited to my sister’s so now we have a freezer full of turkey.

But I digress.  I should start at the beginning of the month.   Just before my last treatment I went to a retreat for San Juan County Textile Guild in Bellingham.  I had a very nice time and took a couple great workshops:  origami lights on a branch and bio-dyeing scarves.  Here is the light branch .


I stayed with a friend on the mainland who took me to my last treatment and then to lunch at the Farmhouse Restaurant.  Now I’m done and recovering.  (applause)

Since then I’ve been trying to make up for a lost month but am hampered by being very tired.  The third week after my treatment seemed to be the worst for me.  Roger and I had gone to Seattle for a whirlwind weekend and were followed back to the island by Bjorn and family for a fun couple days followed immediately by Thanksgiving.  This was the week I needed several naps a day.

Roger’s birthday celebration was low-key.  Dinner out with friends.  Should be a poem in there somewhere:  Roger and Anita  went to Mi Casita  turning 63  gotta be low-key  (something like that)

Audrey helping pick medlar




Laid back Thanksgiving

So, yes, in-between turkey troubles, oven failures, and connectivity issues, it has been restful here at Thornbush.


Friendly Neighbors

just what I needed.




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?

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June Gatherings

June Gatherings


Art appreciation and art participation.  Saw several art studios on studio tour weekend.  On Fridays, my friend Francie and I have been making object d’art out of willow sticks.



My friends and I have been taking lots of walks, along the Zylstra Lake property and at low, low tide a False Bay.


Spa weekend was fabulous–we went to Afterglo Spa at Roche this year.  And we saw a Gee’s Bend exhibit at the art museum.



dismantling the porch on the cottage.  Wait ’til you see what’s next! (July post)


Thankstween got moved to Solstice!  This year we all rented cabins at Ovenell’s resort in Concrete, Washington.  That’s in Skagit County, so easy for our corner of the state to attend.  Dad just turned 96 this month.  He’s not in hospice anymore and enjoyed seeing the whole family together.

The first night was pizza at a local restaurant. We took over the party room.  Here’s James showing us how to properly eat pasta.

That night some of us drove up to Newhalem to Ladder Falls.  They turn on colored lights after dark so here are before and after dark pix.

Saturday we went up to see the Lower Baker Dam outside of Concrete.

Bjorn and family came up that afternoon and music and games were played and food was prepared and eaten.  And a fun time was had by all.



Wait for it

March 13 – Corbin’s 6th Birthday

Took him to the Pacific Science Center for the day.  Hasn’t changed much since we took Bjorn there 30 years or so ago.  A bigger thrill was riding the Monorail up front with the driver.


I finished my basket project– a shade for the lamp in the cottage:


And one couldn’t talk about March without mentioning March for Our Lives wherein the students took to the streets to advocate for gun safety after a terrible shooting in Parkland, Florida.

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March 20  Spring finally showed up in a few spots around Thornbush.  The weather has been wetter and colder than I would prefer except maybe when these photos were taken.

Anita on Porch (2)20180331_153551_HDR20180331_153514_HDR

April 1 – 7  Easter and the twins twelfth birthday came and went. The Friday Walkers came and walked Zylstra Lake property with me.  Roger started back in again at the Farmers Market selling trees and shrubs.

Roger Farmers MarketAnd then, and then

April 12 – 8:15 AM  Roger called 9-1-1 and they came and took me away in an ambulance.  I had stood up and discovered I could not control the left side of my body.  I was experiencing a minor stroke.  Fortunately, the symptoms were no worse than that and went away in a few hours.  By then, I had been examined at our local hospital and flown by helicopter to St Joseph’s in Bellingham.

At St Joe’s I underwent a bunch of tests including an MRI which our local hospital could not provide.  After 24 hours of testing and observation I was released. The trip which  had taken 15 minutes by helicopter took Roger about 4 hours by ferry and car.  We got home about 7pm on Friday the 13th.  Lucky day for me.



Light up the Holidays

Light up the Holidays

July 4, 2017 Grange deck finished

Maui Sunset in March

Singin’ Joe turns 95 in June

Family using the new raft in August

Outside the box basketry with Willow Man this summer

Women March in Downtown Seattle in January

Family gathering in rustic mountain setting in October

Nothing like a look back at the past year’s blog posts to appreciate how a rich a year it has been.  Here are a few of the many highlights.  You will have to look back to past posts to get the details and all the ones I left out–good friends and family visits, more weaving and basketry, Roger’s visions taking shape, and an appreciation for the community and environment in which we live.

Sad events, also, such as the passing of two good friends and my father’s downturn in health.  Other than my wonderful trip to Maui with good friends, I stayed very close to home this year, choosing to spend our time and money on home improvements–had the house repainted which was HUGE, and attended basketry and weaving conferences in Victoria and Tacoma during the summer.

Looking forward to my tenth (!) year of retirement starting next month.  Here’s to a Happy and Healthy  and Peaceful 2018 for all of us.

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