Fourteen Years of Retirement

on January 31, 2022 I will have been retired for fourteen years. That’s one year more than the time I spent in Metro Operations as a driver and first-line supervisor and three shy of my time in Service Development. So many of the people I worked with and trained in Scheduling have since retired. The ones that are left have been working remotely since March 2020. I’ve been back to Seattle just twice since the pandemic started almost two years ago.

my retirement party–the twins are almost 16 now

It was a quiet Christmas at Thornbush, but it wasn’t woe be gone. No one died and we were not stuck at an airport for three days like some people I knew. It snowed so there was just the three of us, Roger, me, and Eric. My washing machine broke mid-cycle and Eric was able to finish washing the clothes. I guess you could say I got a new washing machine for Christmas. It came on the 12th Day.

Like I said, it snowed– a lot! My friends were not able to make it up here for New Year’s between the snow here and in Seattle, the new Omicron virus and need for testing, and the ferry system which has been understaffed and canceling trips right and left.

The whole world seemed snowed in

limbs fell in the heavy snow

We finally got to see the kids to open gifts on January 9th. Masks and all.

kitten socks

I helped teach a second class on how to make beeswax wraps for the Transition San Juan Waste Reduction Team.

lots of beeswax wraps made my students

And now that the snow has finally melted I’ve been outside harvesting willow. Hopefully, I will have time to make some baskets this coming year.

Work on the cottage bathroom continues. This week I finished painting and most of the varnishing. Roger repaired multiple pipe breaks under the cottage from our freezing weather. Oh, did I happen to mention the frozen pipes over Christmas? He’s also spent a great deal of time building the kiln that will do everything: make biochar, heat the house, dry the wood, make wood vinegar, and perhaps bake some bread as well.

Maggie Mae and I have taken some great walks by ourselves and with our friends and their dogs. I’m trying to get a couple miles a day in or one mile and some yoga. My life here at Thornbush is very rich. Even under lockdown. Life in Seattle, in an office, at a desk seems very remote indeed. But not that remote. I had another busdriving dream just last night. You can take the girl off the bus but cannot take the bus out of her psyche.

Collecting April thoughts

It is my ninth April in retirement. Nine years of wildflower walks, fruit trees in bloom, chicken mayhem, start of Farmers Market, birthdays to celebrate. What else is there to say?

Thai iced tea, anyone?

So, to reiterate:

Here are Lenora and Iliana showing off birthday dresses from Hawaii.

Roger has given his truck a conestoga wagon look. This is to transport the trees he is selling at the Farmers Market.  We are expecting big things from the market this year as Roger has added fruit trees to his inventory.

The shooting stars are in bloom both on Mt Young and Cady Mtn. Friday Walkers have recently walked in old Argyle– a town abandoned once it was decided the bay was to shallow so they all moved to Friday Harbor. And a hike to the top of Cady Mountain to look at wildflowers and old, very old, oak trees. One has been measured to be 500 years old!

click on to enlarge–have you read “the Hidden Life of Trees” yet?

So there you have it, this La Nina Spring may be the coldest that I can remember, but children have birthdays, bulbs come back to life, and old trees continue to fill us with awe.

Seven Years + Seven Years


0120151501aI know, you’ve all been asking yourselves, when will Anita post more Suzie photos?  Your wait is over.  This month marked Suzie’s seventh birthday on Jan 8th and not coincidentally, it marks the seventh anniversary of my retirement from Metro in 2008.  The house was finished in 2001 and I began making the long trek to and from my job in Seattle.  I have now been living the retirement life for as long as I was commuting from Seattle on the weekends.


Roger follows my art car on to ferry during final move to island in Jan 2008


We’ve had some very mild and pleasant days this January and on one such day, Suzie and I hiked Mt. Finlayson.


for better image of this view, see cover photo on my Facebook page


IMG_6472On another nice day, we met up with our friend Elizabeth and hiked on the new Wescott Bay trail connected to English Camp.


Wescott Bay

I have been going on more hikes lately in the nice weather, but that’s not all I’ve been doing. One weekend, I ventured off-island and joined up with my sister Jeannette to see my dad and to go the Korean Spa in Lynnwood with my friend Liz (not to be confused with my friend Elizabeth). I also bought a new set of tires for my car, stopped by the sale at Yazdi, visited more friends, etc, etc. The usual mad rush.

We’ve been watching a fair amount of football.  Seahawk fever has taken over all around the Northwest.  It will all be over next weekend after the Seahawks deflate the Patriots in the Superbowl.

Roger and I moved several rhodies taking up space in his nursery to a new space we created by the mudroom entrance.  An added bonus is that the old growth stump has been re-revealed.


click on photo for larger image (more detail)

I harvested my basket willow and bought some cotton yarn to warp my loom so I am at least gearing up for more creative endeavors.  and Roger has been keeping busy, too.  Besides the “parking out” that is a continual project along with gathering wood to keep our house warm, he has been making a lot of biochar. definition of biochar

Today, he is replacing broken glass in the oven door.  Yay Roger!


And so I will close on the anniversary of seven years of retirement on a small island.  But not without one more picture of Suzie Q Poodle.