Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wildwood Chapel

The tiny Wildwood Chapel, set under moss-covered maples is a favorite roadside stop of mine whenever I make the drive between Bellingham and Marblemount.Originally, this miniature chapel was located in a large field along Highway 2 just East of Monroe. Destroyed by vandals in 1975, the Monroe Church replaced their structure with a new one and the Clark family salvaged the remains of the vandalized chapel. After moving the damaged chapel to its present location along Highway 20 and carefully restoring, the Clark's reopened the chapel to the public a year or two later. I have been pausing at this chapel whenever I pass by since the late seventies. Inside there are four tiny pews, a tiny alter and a guest book. Arrangements can even be made to rent this little chapel for small weddings and other ceremonies.

I had forgotten how rural and quiet the Highway 20 portion of Skagit County is this time of year. After passing fields white with grazing snow geese along Interstate 5 as I drove through the Skagit flats, once on my way along Highway 20, except for the few resident eagles, of which I saw two perched in trees along the road as I drove, at times it seemed as if I was the only one passsing through - my car the only one on the road. A very pleasant and peaceful drive today as Torrie and I headed up to Ken's to view his progress on the house remodel and visit over dinner.

The view from the rural roadside - the Skagit River calmly flowing, not a sign of spring leaf buds yet, and barely a trace of snow remaining in the foothills.

My driver's seat highlights from today's drive includes lots of signs - "signs, signs, everywhere a sign . . ." - with a few extras thrown in!

My route for the day - from Bellingham to Marblemount, and back again.

Great job on that remodel, Ken! Many inside walls have been torn out to open up the space and new sheetrock installed throughout; an expansion, complete with hickory cabinets, doubles the kitchen size and opens the workspace up to the view of the beautiful Skagit River; wood floors installed and shining throughout most of the main floor; new tile, a granite composite shower and a pounded copper sink added to the bathroom. Wow! Lots of hard work!

I really enjoyed that pasta sauce too! Thanks!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Precarious Parking

There was plenty of parking on the beach this afternoon! As the beach came into view when Aaron and I rounded the corner of the Bay to Baker Trail, I was surprised to see a red Trooper so precariously parked. Many questions ran through my mind - Whose car is it? How did they get it there? Why were they driving on that beach anyway? How are they going to get it out of there? What happens when the tide comes in?

It seems like an unusual place to park a car!

Another beautiful day in Bellingham, and a great day to show my neighbor Aaron where I catch the trailhead not far from our apartment complex for the Bay to Baker Trail. We had been trying for a couple of weeks to find a day when both the weather and our schedules allowed us to get together for this walk. It worked out perfectly today.

Starting at our apartment complex not far from Cornwall Park, we walked down the sidewalk until we reached the trailhead. Once on the trail and since it's not posted as requiring leashes on dogs, I let Torrie enjoy running free. Upon reaching the beach, Torrie gets excited and can hardly wait to dive in. Swimming and fetching, swimming and fetching, he is so excited each time the stick is tossed out into the waves.

The slideshow of highlights from today's walk.

Walking back, we take a little detour onto a side trail that leads to a little meadow. Torrie, still damp from playing in the water, enjoys a long roll in the grasses.

Approximately three miles round trip from the starting point, to the trailhead, passing through Squalicum Canyon, walking under the Eldridge Avenue bridge, on to Squalicum Beach and then back again, a very pleasant walk on a sunny day.

Thank you for joining me today, Aaron! I hope you enjoyed the walk.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Island Adventures

Several months since I had made that drive to Whidbey Island and such a beautiful day, rather than rushing down to take care of my business and rushing back, today I decided to make it more of an adventure so invited Majel to join me. Having lived on Whidbey Island for several years in the early 1970s and visiting regularly since, I always look forward to the drive and enjoy stopping to view many of the beautiful sights along the way.


Majel had indicated to me once that she had not been to Whidbey Island since she was a young child. In her 80s now, she said she barely remembered accompanying her father and family as they ferried over for their visit. She recalled that it was very beautiful and the bridge seemed really high - way up there. She was thrilled to join in the adventure today.

Full of antique shops and cafes now, we toured my favorite part of Oak Harbor - those few blocks that make up what I consider to be their Old Town. Stopping across the street to take Torrie for a walk along the trail in Oak Harbor's downtown waterfront park, I pointed out the old Sea Plane Base, the windmill that seems out of place so near the beach, the islands on the horizon and the lovely new marina. We toured a few of the neighborhoods in town, getting a good feel for the community residential, military and shopping areas. Then we headed over to the Ault Field Air Station area so I could show her my old neighborhood.

Photo highlights of our day

On our drive North heading off Whidbey Island and before driving onto Fidalgo Island, we parked in the lot by Deception Pass Bridge so we could walk out onto the bridge and take a good look around. Looking straight down from the bridge, this was my view as I snapped an overhead photo of Deception Pass. I've been down on that beach many times before. From the beach those trees look so very tall, yet from Deception Pass Bridge, those same trees, even their tops, appear so small below me.


Absolutely famished, once back onto Fidalgo Island, we stopped for a very late lunch at a wonderful cafe. With a view of the bay not far from the refineries in Anacortes, the tide was high and the water so very blue under that gorgeous sky. I sat and enjoyed what I think may have been the very best Rueben sandwich I have ever eaten in my life. Majel, the best patty melt ever! Yummy!

After lunch, we took a side trip to the top of Mount Erie. I wanted to walk out onto the rock cliffs where I've so many times seen hang gliders take off as I watched them soar over the tree tops and later land in the fields near the lake far below. What a beautiful view of the islands we enjoyed today from the lookout viewpoint areas up there. Well worth the drive up that narrow, steep and curvy road. Mt. Erie, visible even in the distance from Interstate 5, and always so easy to identify even from such a distance because of those tall towers on top, is always a favorite detour of mine. I could not resist sneaking over to that big fence that keeps me from getting to close to those towers today in order to look up and snap this photo . . .


From Bellingham to Oak Harbor - the mainland, to Fidalgo Island and onto Whidbey Island - and back again.




Well into evening and very dark by the time we arrived back at our homes, what a fun day Majel and I made of it!


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

Tonight I watched the lunar eclipse. A total eclipse only occurs when the moon is full, when the moon is directly opposite the sun and only when the moon is completely within the Earth's shadow. Tonight you might say, "all the planets were lined up right" so there would be an eclipse. Don't you just love it when things line up right?!

Our weather forecast was not particularly favorable for a clear sky tonight with the prediction of partial cloudiness. There had been a thick layer of clouds all afternoon. Watching the sky to see if perhaps I would have an opportunity to view tonight's eclipse at around 5:00 p.m., I looked out my living room windows to see the clouds breaking up with large areas of clear blue taking over in the eastern sky. It was beginning to look promising for a good view of the eclipse after all!

Then, within a half hour, another thick layer of fast-moving clouds rolled in within minutes of sunset. Now it appeared that I would not be able to view the eclipse after all.

Wanting to glean as much information as I could about the upcoming eclipse, I found some wonderful references and photos available on many different websites. A favorite website found full of information on the lunar eclipse is called "Shadow and Substance" and available at http://shadowandsubstance.com/. I share the following information and photos from the Shadow and Substance website.

By the time the sun was completely set, that thick layer of clouds that had moved in earlier started to move back out. Once again, it looked as if I would be able to view the entire eclipse from my third-story living room window!

Going outside to see if I could get a better view from the yard, I discovered that the trees around the edge of the yard blocked the moon as it was not yet very high in the sky. Later, when the moon was higher in the sky and the eclipse progressing, the moon was full of color so I went outside again - this time with my camera.

My camera, a very basic digital, does not have the type of high-powered zoom lense that is required to photograph the moon from such a distance as my back yard, but I snapped a picture in the dark just to see how it would look. Certainly not even as great as seen through my own eyes, my photo taken in the darkness of my yard under the night sky shows only a little dot for the moon. Saturn, also visible in the night sky tonight near the lunar eclipse, appears as even less of a dot in my dark photo.

Now, a marvelous picture of the moon as found on the Shadow and Substance website from a previous lunar eclipse.

Very nice!

Our next total lunar eclipse will be in December 2010. I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to observe this one.

A video of the Februar 20th lunar eclipse
published on YouTube follows.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Great Backyard Bird Count

Why not participate? I'm out and about almost daily anyway - on the trails, in the neighborhoods, in the forest, by the ponds, on the beach - and the birds are flitting, flying, wading, waddling and playing all around me. The eleventh annual Great Backyard Bird Count, hosted by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, was between February 15th and 18th.

User friendly resources available on their website at http://www.birdcount.org/ made it very easy to tally my bird counts and identify the different species of birds that I saw. My bird counts were made over a two and a half hour period during two walks - one walk on the Railroad Trail and the other along the Taylor Dock Trail. My results were submitted online this morning and added to their tally.

Following are photos from the online database for bird identification available through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website of the specific birds I identified during my counting period.

After submitting my results, almost immediately I receved an email thanking me for my participation and summarizing the results I had submitted. I also viewed the map of Washington State available on their website that shows the areas of reported participation in the Great Backyard Bird Count for 2008.

Even a certificate for participating is provided.

Because I am surrounded by nature daily, I also signed up to participate in their ongoing eBird Program ( http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/eBird ). This program, also a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, is a free, real-time online checklist that will allow me to continue to store and share my bird observations by entering when, what, where and how many birds I observe. This should help me to improve my bird identification and observation skills.

What fun!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Taylor Dock Walk

Walking an average of 20 to 30 miles each week as a dog walker, can you believe that on a day off I still want to go for a walk? Well, I do!

Presidents Day and such beautiful spring-like weather in February, I made arrangements to meet a friend at the Village Green in Fairhaven. We walked the trail to Taylor Dock and enjoyed the sunshine and the view. Stopping for a cup of coffee in Boulevard Park at the Woods Coffee Shop, we sipped our cups of coffee as we walked down to the fishing pier at the end of the park.

The sun felt warm, the conversation good and so many people were out and about enjoying the trail, the dock and the park - riding bikes, flying kites, playing bocee ball, laying on the grass, sitting on the benches, playing with their dogs, helping their children learn to ride a bike. Lots of people were filling the coffee shop and enjoying the day. Greeting each other as we passed while walking along the dock, my neighbors, Chuck and Ann, were out enjoying the fresh air and sunshine there as well.

After walking the trail back to the Village Green in Fairhaven, we walked down Harris Avenue to the Alaska Ferry Terminal and then on down to Marine Park to enjoy the view before we headed back up the hill to downtown Fairhaven.

What a great way to spend a sunny afternoon in February. Thanks, Jay, for the coffee and good conversation!

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Tonight I wore my favorite of my "little black dresses". With a rounded neckline, it is easy to dress it up. Tonight I added a leopard print silk scarf and my favorite turquoise heart necklace.

The turquoise heart is my absolute favorite necklace. Even though it is rather simple in design with its delicate silver chain, I find it beautiful, solid and stunning. Picked up about fifteen years ago during some of my travels in and around the Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, areas. To this day I find I still wear it often.

I should add a trip to visit those areas again to my "must see" and "must see again" lists as I would enjoy another visit there.

Friday, February 15, 2008

For Smiley

We have laughed together
You've been my sister for many years,
We've laughed together
And shed some tears.
We've had harsh words,
And pulled some hair
But against the world
We are a terrific pair.
Our times together are very few,
I just want to say I LOVE YOU!
I am so sorry that you got that cancer Joan.
Love, your little sis,

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Clear Skies Along the Trail

After days and days (it may have felt like weeks and weeks), finally a break in the clouds and an afternoon of clear skies.

My photo highlights from our walk today include a few of the early signs of spring beginning to show on the trees along the trail. A very good sign that this damp, dark winter will soon be over and spring will be bursting out everywhere.

Still a few areas of mud on the trails - but what's a little mud? With a bit of blue sky and sunshine peaking through, it was truly an absolutely beautiful day for dog walking!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jennifer's Orley Stove

News and updated pictures from daughter Jeni showing their home in Denver and their new Orley fireplace insert.

From: Jennifer
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 6:01 AM
To: Rose
Subject: Pictures

Yes it is a new Orley Stove with a fireplace insert. All our fireplace was putting out was smoke. When we’d burn a fire we wouldn’t feel any heat at all. We’ve been looking for months and finally found one on Craigslist. The person we bought it from was the original owner and kept it in excellent condition. We bought it Saturday. On Sunday Dwayne’s dad came over at about 10 am and they had it installed by 1 pm. We started a fire in it and it heated the whole upstairs up wonderfully. It will help with our gas bill too so it was a great addition to our home. Our next project is the back entry way. We are going to tile it. There really shouldn’t be carpet there anyways. It’s stained from walking in from outside and we want tile there instead. We have a lot to do still to the house. The upstairs bathroom needs new flooring too. The downstairs we are planning on building a bar (one pic mentions that) and eventually we will re-carpet down there and paint too. I’ve also been making a plan in my head for the office area. Building bookcases in that area and a built in desk too is what I’ve been thinking about. Oh well, we figure we have 30 years to get all the things done that we want so we’ll take it one thing at a time. Oh, and I didn’t even mention outside.

Anyways, I need to get to work now.

Love you,


p.s. Did you send Bob the link too for the pics?


Beautiful, Jeni, thanks for sharing!


Sunday, February 10, 2008

"You Can Let Go"

Driving home today, a new song caught my attention. By an up and coming, new Canadian artist, Crystal Shawanda, the lyrics are moving and actually put a tear in my eye. Touched by how well she tells the story, as if straight from my heart.

A tribute to my father, so missed even to this day, I dedicate this song to your spirit . . .

"You Can Let Go"
by Crystal Shawanda

Wind blowin' on my face
Sidewalk flyin' beneath my bike
A five year-old's first taste
Of what freedom's really like
He was runnin' right beside me
His hand holdin' on the seat
I took a deep breath and hollered
As I headed for the street

You can let go now, Daddy
You can let go
Oh, I think I'm ready
To do this on my own
(It's still) (It still feels) a little bit scary
But I want you to know
I'll be okay now, Daddy
You can let go

I was standin' at the altar
Between the two loves of my life
To one I've been a daughter
To one I soon would be a wife
When the preacher asked,
'Who gives this woman?'
Daddy's eyes filled up with tears
He kept holdin' tightly to my arm
'Til I whispered in his ear

You can let go now, Daddy
You can let go
Oh, I think I'm ready
To do this on my own
(It's still) (It still feels) a little bit scary
But I want you to know
I'll be okay now, Daddy
You can let go

It was killin' me to see
The strongest man I ever knew
Wastin' away to nothin'
In that hospital room
'You know he's only hangin' on for you'
That's what the night nurse said
My voice and heart were breakin'
As I crawled up in his bed, and said

You can let go now, Daddy
You can let go
Your little girl is ready
To do this on my own
It's gonna be a little bit scary
But I want you to know
I'll be okay now, Daddy
You can let go
You can let go


Crystal Shawanda's MySpace profile

Play the song, "You Can Let Go",

on Windows Media Player:


I miss you, Dad, may we meet in Heaven.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Two Movies in One Day

What a fun day - two movies with two friends!

First up was The Bucket List. What a great movie and an outstanding cast!


I love it when a movie can put tears in my eyes with both laughter and crying. Thanks for joining me Terry. It was so good to see you again!

Then it was dinner and on to a second movie. This time it was the hillarious Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey in the newly released Fool's Gold.


A very funny action/adventure/romance. Thanks, Lee, for sharing a fun evening!

Laughter and sharing with friends - the best medicine!