2020 Wrap up

zooming into 2021

For several days I’ve been thinking about how to approach my end of the year blog post in this dumpster fire of a year.  I thought about comparing it to 2019 but that seemed just too sad, as 2019 was a banner year for me, including 3 wonderful road trips and lots of social gatherings –none of which could take place this year.  So cataloging the insults and injuries of a pandemic, political upheaval, climate catastrophes did not seem like the right way to go but neither would a Pollyanna/Hallmark movie viewpoint do.  How to find the balance?

In looking for the silver linings I have looked back at previous posts for this year and found a great deal to be thankful for.  These are the very things that saw me through a year full of anxiety, frustration and anger.  If you look back at last June, you will see that only four months in (only!) I was quoting my friend Peggy Sue’s helpful hints at getting through this stress:

“On the Mayo Clinic’s list of self-care for mental health during the pandemic they recommend maintaining a routine at home and focusing on the things you can control. Keeping in touch with family and friends via technology is a suggestion that has proven helpful to me.  Music, books, and gratitude, always good, are now more helpful than ever. They also recommend limiting your news intake and sticking to reliable sources. Sensationalism and hyped up emotional content is not helpful to volatile stress levels.*”

So here is a list of things I am grateful for that have gotten me through this year intact (so far).  You can skip this list and stroll through the posts from this past year for more pictures and detail if you would like.

husband – obviously

Thornbush–  beauty to behold on walks every day and through every window

Ethel at new Mt Vernon home

family – just a ferry ride away in Skagit County we were able to visit a handful of times this  year

sculpture park adventures with my friend Francie provided a much needed creative outlet

my wonderful dog walking friends who come rain or shine to exercise their pets and visit every week with me

my wonderful dog, Maggie Mae who becomes dearer every day

Kloe and Kaia presented to Aunties

Zooming, although not ever as good as in person, has brought several groups of friends and family close even when they live far away

Yoga on Zoom and in person helped me breathe

Time to get a lot of things done around the place including the cottage addition and the garden

My island and all of nature which seemed to go out of its way this year to make up for the challenges

Community was hard to come by when you are self-isolating, but we managed to find it with the Grange and Transition San Juan committees, and the SJ County Textile Guild for me.  And for Roger it was neighbors helping neighbors in a firewood co-op, his weekly Growers’ Circle, the Farmers Market.  And when it was a tad bit warmer, the friends we were able to sit six feet apart from on our lawn and share a gin and tonic and some cheer.

Music whenever and wherever we could find it—including peaceful mornings with Pandora playing instead of the news, playing uke and accordion together, and our first and last dinner party of the year with musician friends in January.

Also, don’t want to go without listing the distractions of books, movies, and even old t.v. sitcoms—thanks to Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming services—we’ve relied on even more as the winter darkness and weather have descended upon us.

I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel—so bad.  (OK, that last was a bit Pollyanna)

September Smoke

It feels like an orange snow day.

So everyone else on the West Coast has this same problem and many have it much worse, but as this is a journal of my year, I must cover it. On Labor Day, Sept 8th, a strong Easterly brought with it a ton of smoke from Eastern Washington fires. Visibility was bad. Air Quality–hazardous. this is the same system that brought snow to my friend Linda on top of a mountain near Livingston and the city of Denver which went from 100 degrees to snow is 18 hours.

Then we got a couple days reprieve before the big cloud of smoke from California and Oregon fires hit us. During that reprieve I was able to host a very nice, socially distant, outside dining experience for my book club. We were reading my choice of a classic: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (no relation).

This brings us to Friday, Sept 11th. Already a day of infamy, the massive amount of smoke blew in from the coast on Southwesterly winds. Hazardous Weather Conditions prevail thru until Monday the 14th (when it just might rain).

Sun at 10 AM

Facebook is full of much better pictures of the eerie yellow sky and red sun poking through. I am wearing a mask to walk the dog and Roger did not go to Farmers Market. We are staying indoors even though there are pears and plums and apples to pick. But as I said earlier, our story is no where near as bad as the 500,000 in Oregon who had to flee, the many who lost everything, and even our friends close enough to the fires to begin packing their belongings and making decisions of what stays and what goes.

As was said by others more eloquently, this smoke and ash is what remains of the forests, the farms, the homes that have been destroyed.

In other news of the month, I did get a visit in with family in Mt Vernon for about one hour. Good to see them for even that short period.

cool mask, Ethel!

June – Four months in

This pandemic theme is really getting old.  Our county is verging on being in Phase 3 which means some establishments are opening up and gatherings outside are allowed.  Masks are required in all businesses and where social distancing cannot be maintained.  Tourists are arriving and not all of them are on board with the mask thing.  People are on edge.  A recent column written by a friend in a local on-line news source made some recommendations: https://sanjuanupdate.com/2020/06/island-senior-coping-with-coronavirus-how-is-your-mental-health/?fbclid=IwAR0SovuUQW_UvxAMLkvHmcxAt_n08XNrtIyyioo4rQ9j2Tv156rdZ3hXwkw

“On the Mayo Clinic’s list of self-care for mental health during the pandemic they recommend maintaining a routine at home and focusing on the things you can control. Keeping in touch with family and friends via technology is a suggestion that has proven helpful to me.  Music, books, and gratitude, always good, are now more helpful than ever. They also recommend limiting your news intake and sticking to reliable sources. Sensationalism and hyped up emotional content is not helpful to volatile stress levels.*”

Roger and I are trying these strategies.  Especially the maintaining a routine at home part.  A few “normal” activities restarted, i.e., I went to the dentist and had some medical appointments.  I am still zooming yoga but I’ve also resumed an in-person yoga session albeit outside and with limited people.  (rained out this week)

Other routines include walking with friends and dogs.  Reading and streaming movies and television shows.  Gardening is going great except for all the slug damage (hate those slugs)  Trying not to look at the news feeds too many times during the day*.  And I just counted, we met in person with friends (outside) fourteen times in the past month.  Not including zoom meetings, yoga, and Farmers Market.

New routines include plenty of meetings, mostly on Zoom.  Most of these meetings have to do with socializing and keeping in touch with friends far and wide.  And making more masks.

Our one big adventure this month was venturing off-island (gasp) for the first time in six months.  We went to a Costco and loaded up.  And we met up with other family members in some cabins on the Skagit River just west of Concrete.  Each of us had our own cabin and were able to keep six feet apart around a campfire.  So music and gratitude.  We’re ready for another six months of island life.

2019 Highlights

Just had a look back at all my posts from 2019 and I must say, I had a spectacular year.  Wow.  I really don’t know if I can reduce it all to one post.  You may have to go back and read the whole year like I just did.  But I will call out a few highlights.

Lots of friends (and family) visited this year.  Some for a week, some just for the day.

Three fabulous road trips starting in

February  -most fun road trip taken with my friend Laura to see my friend Tori in Arizona.  Including meeting wonderful people in El Paso, travelling with them to Santa Fe, and riding a railroad to the Grand Canyon.  Excellent Adventure!

April thru the Present– Work starts on the cottage bathroom addition and continues throughout the year.

May – Textile Guild exhibit at the NW Quilt and Fiber Art Museum in LaConner has two of my pieces, my backpack and a random weave canine I call “Sentry Dog”

June –Supernatural road trip to Prince George, British Columbia with my friend Nancy to a weaving conference.  Including visit to Whistler and First Nation Cultural Center there.  And trip to historic Barkerville with re-enactor friend Judy.  And first trip to the magnificent Sunshine Coast.

Also family gathering in Concrete, Washington 

July – Picked up Poodle Pup and named her Maggie Mae.  Puppy and training take over my life.

September – third fabulous road trip of the year, this one with my friend Francie to Olympic Peninsula.  New to her and nostalgic to me visits to Cape Flattery, Lake Quinalt, Hoh Rain Forest, Ruby Beach, and on and on and on.

November and December – Reality hits with long illness and quick decline of my father Joe Sr., the Barreca Patriarch who lived a rich full life to the age of 97.  Celebration of Life family gatherings.

December – Trump get impeached.  And busy, busy with family, friends, holiday, and dog

And a Happy New Year!

Ol’ JB

The family of Joseph A. Barreca wish to announce his passing on November 15, 2019.

A Service and Reception to celebrate his life will be held at 12:15 pm on December 6, 2019, at St Francis of Assisi parish, 15226 – 21st Ave SW, Burien, Washington,   Interment at Gethsemane Cemetery, 37600 Pacific Highway S., Federal Way, WA 98003 will precede the service at 10 am.

Joseph A. Barreca was born on June 10, 1922 in a little town west of St Louis, Missouri called Pattonville.  He was the first of seven children born to Italian immigrant parents, Tony Barreca and Rose Venturella.  As a child he helped his father in his truck farming business and sold fruit and vegetables door to door.  During World War II, Staff Sergeant Joe Barreca was stationed in India, China, and the Marshall Islands and worked on radar equipment.

After he was discharged he married Evelyn Jane Jones, a Coast Guard SPAR and Oregon native he met in Florida.  They briefly attended Univ. of Missouri in Columbus but soon moved to Seattle, Washington to attend college under the G.I. Bill.  Joseph earned his Law Degree at U.W. and started his law practice on Saint Joseph’s Day, March 19, 1951.  As an attorney, he specialized in bankruptcy law and was instrumental in the organization of the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees.  He served as a trustee in bankruptcy from 1954 until 1975.  His private law practice continued for another twenty years.

Joseph and Evelyn raised seven children, eventually settling in Seahurst, Washington and attended St Francis of Assisi parish. They moved to Daystar Retirement Community in West Seattle and to Holy Family parish, and sold their home in 2003.  Evelyn preceded Joseph in death in 2009 after 63 years of marriage. 

Joseph was very involved in parish activities, in Toastmasters, in Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship among many other interests.  He is survived by his sister Mary Jo Rumball-Petre of Simi Valley, California and his seven children: Joe Jr. (Cheryl), John (Marilyn), Jeff (Kathy Kroening), Anita (Roger Ellison), Marc (Nancy Craver), Jeannette (Bill Yake), and Rosalie (Tom Howarth), his six grandchildren: Bina (Joe Brock), April (Tony Houston),Emily Barreca, Nick Barreca, Bjorn Ellison (Ethel), Matthew Yake (Liza), nine great-grandchildren and a multitude of nieces and nephews.

Memories can be shared the on Forest Lawn Funeral Home website https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/seattle-wa/joseph-barreca-8933211

Shoulder Season

What can I tell you?  It’s rained a lot lately.  So much so that mushrooms we have never seen are popping up all over the place.  Don’t just take my word for it, everyone on Facebook is saying the same thing.  It’s weird.

photo by my friend Nancy D

Also, the colors this autumn are fabulous.  I know I say that every year but again, check your Facebook feed.  I’ve been trying to capture it on my phone but it doesn’t do it justice.

There’s been a lot of apple picking and pressing.  We have a couple carboys going and more apples to pick.  Medlars from last year are being made into wine.  Beans are all over.  Picked a nice purple cabbage today. Garlic needs to be planted soon.

And of course, there was the Farm Parade on the first weekend in October.  My brother John and his wife Marilyn were visiting.  And the weather was fine for a walk at American Camp.  This was Roger’s ninth year at managing the parade so he has it pretty well down by now.  And there were horses!

Rosalie and Freya at the Redoubt

Puppy Training goes on for Maggie Mae.  She graduated from Puppy ABC’s and is now in Puppy II.  At five months, she is in her teen years.  I think she’s doing okay.  There are a few more holes in my rugs that I would rather not have.  And a big one in the couch slip cover I made.  Sigh.  But we have found some puppy friends for her to frolic with and that is fun to witness.

lots of rain means lots of toweling

This weekend is the last outdoor Farmers’ Market.  After that it goes to every two weeks and Roger will be indoors.  He sold out of his biochar so plans to have a big burn tomorrow to make some more.

And of course, work continues on—-the new bathroom addition.  Our friend Paul graciously helped Roger put up the roof panels.  Yes, we had two sunny days in a row for that to happen, thank goodness.  Not quite where I wanted it by the end of October but it is practically sealed in against the weather now.

brother John in his most natural position

 Fran from Eugene made the trek up to see us.  It’s only been fourteen years since the last time she was up.  But then, I don’t get down to Eugene much, either.  The documentary film festival is happening this weekend.  I’ll try to squeeze some of that in between puppies, textile guild meetings, farmers market, and a lecture at the library I want to take in.  Yes, it’s shoulder season on San Juan.  Darker and rainier, but just as busy as mid-summer. 

Olympic Trails

Olympic Trails

My friend Francie and I went on a Road Trip to the Olympic Peninsula for the week of September 9 thru 13.  It was wet.  But that’s what one expects when they go to the rain forest, right?

Here is the link to all the pictures:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/myake/albums/72157710857378583

at Fat Smitty’s

And so, inspired by books such as “Backroads of Washington” and “Weird Washington” we set off to explore.  And we were not disappointed.  First off, after two ferry rides, we ate lunch at Fat Smitty’s.  Decorated in dollar bills from ceiling to floor it fit in nicely with our aspirations for the trip. 

We visited Marymere Falls in the rain and dropped by the Lake Crescent Lodge, ending that day in Sekiu in a very cheesy motel room.  This became somewhat of a theme for us.

Sekiu, WA

The next day we headed to Neah Bay for the Makah Museum and the not to be missed walk out to Cape Flattery.  It did not rain on us on this day.  After stopping in Clallam Bay, Forks, and Kalaloch we made it to Lake Quinault that night.

Francie at Cape Flattery

The next day we walked the 3 mile Forest Loop at Quinault and then headed to Raymond to my friends Brent and Kathy’s house.  We made arrangements to see Kate O’Neal’s art work and visit the gallery in South Bend.  That night in keeping with our theme we slept in a whimsically decorated room at the Pitchwood Inn and Ale House.  https://www.pitchwoodalehouse.com/pitchwoodinn

imaginary tea in Kate’s eclectic back yard

On Thursday we made our way to Ruby Beach and in a chance, serendipitous, coincidental moment ran into my sister-in-law Brenda and her hiking buddies on the trail coming up from the beach.  Amazing.

Then it really started raining and we made our way to the Hoh.  We saw a Roosevelt Elk on the path.  Then made our way to Sol Duc Hot Springs which I had not been to since I was a child.  It has changed.  We had a nice soak in the rain.  Wish we could have stayed there but no room in the inn and we made our way to Port Angeles. And there on our last day we discovered a fabulous five acre sculpture park called Webster’s Woods at the Fine Arts Center.  http://www.pafac.org/

dog? in Webster’s Woods

What else has been happening in my world?  Well, Maggie graduated from Lucky Fido Puppy Class, she is 17 weeks old now and 23.4 pounds. Our skylights arrived.  Roger put a porch on the cottage while I was gone, but I wish the roof was further along now that it has started raining in earnest.  Then there is the tyranny of the harvest.  Pears are all picked, not all the apples are ready.  The hazelnuts rescued from the raccoons. And don’t even talk to me about tomatoes!

cuz they’re cousins!

Oh, and visitors!  Lots of visitors.  Roger’s cousins came over from Lopez and my friend Karen from Portland and brother Marc and his wife Nancy stopped in on their way to Vancouver Island.  And more are coming!

Check out the rest of the pix–and Happy Trails to you until we meet again.

Red is my Color

Red is my Color

Family:  So, starting off with the last weekend in June in Concrete, Washington site of the 2nd annual Barreca Gathering at Ovenell’s Heritage Inn.  Big event this year with uncle and cousins from San Diego, St. Louis, and Craters of the Moon joining our family.  Nieces and grand-nieces and nephews as well.    Highlights were of course, music by the Outlaws and In-laws, a big potluck dinner, plenty of outdoor activities.  And Dad’s 97th birthday celebration to boot.

Independence Day:  This sent us into July 4th activities with a bang (hee-hee).  Both Roger and I participated in the big parade.  I drove a shopping cart with the “Legends in their Own Minds” crew.  We won a prize for best costumes!  This was the first ever food drive during the parade and we accepted a pick-up truck’s worth of food for the food bank.  Roger walked with the Farmers Market gang.

That evening we spent our second Fourth watching the fireworks from the Grange deck.  I brought raspberry sorbet to the potluck dinner that night.  Raspberries have been a big part of this month.

working on the floor now and ceiling next

Projects:  Working on the cottage bathroom, pulling out English Hawthorn, watering the garden, picking tomatoes and scarlet runner beans.

blown glass fish at “Deep Dive” exhibit

Art:  Working on the whorls within whorls, visiting the “Deep Dive” exhibit at our local art museum featuring artists inspired by the Salish Sea.  Attending a concert by the Space Lady at the Alchemy Art Studio on Wold Road.  If you’ve never heard of the Space Lady, check her out at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Space_Lady

Jamie knits little bitty socks

Then, in keeping with our keeping it in the neighborhood theme, we went to The Merchant of Venice at Island Stage Left.  And in the same week, on the same road, I visited the Lavender Festival as some of my friends had booths there.

Visiting:  Our friend Jay came up for almost a week and helped in the garden planting beets.  Went to Anacortes one day to visit an old friend, and hosted a neighborhood potluck for a new neighbor.  (featuring more raspberry sorbet!)

That dirty no good robbin’ Maggie Mae

New Addition:  And now for the ultimate Red news—we got a new poodle puppy!  Her name is Maggie Mae and she’s Red.  She was just shy of nine weeks when we got her.  And her parents—Willy and Shelby are both pedigree poodles—also red.  I got her at Pilchuck Poodles in Snohomish.  But to check out how she might look in a year, look at Gingerbred Poodles in Lakewood to see where they came from.  http://www.gingerbredpoodles.com/

Yes, it is a lot of work and a lack of sleep raising a new one.  She’s got sharp little bitey teeth and is on the willful side.  But she’s also smart as a whip and seems to be fitting into our life here at Thornbush just fine.

JOY

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 .

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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

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Corbin

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Laid back Thanksgiving

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

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Friendly Neighbors

just what I needed.