May 31, 2013
Yesterday was my first visit to Skagit College after the demise of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River. Last week I left school at 6:00 and went straight from there to church for a meeting until after 9:00. When I got home, I had a phone call from Martin wondering about my proximity to the bridge when it collapsed. I hadn't a clue what he was talking about. Since I answered my phone, he knew that I wasn't in the river. After getting it all straightened out, we figured I went over the bridge just 45 minutes before the accident that sent a few cars overboard. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. It wasn't until later that I realized, I don't even go over that particular bridge on my way to the college. Instead, I turn left past Costco (just before the bridge), go over the newer bridge, and wend my way into the back of the campus. It is quicker, easier, and not as crowded as going down to College Way and then up the main drag through many, many signals.
Since the detours are handling thousands of cars each day, I left myself over 1/2 hour more in order to get to school by 3:30 as my class begins at 4:00. I barely made it. Fortunately, I had plenty of idling time to find a phone number on my Iphone in order to call the office and have the secretary tell my class that I was close, but probably going to be late. She had given me an alternate route, but it went miles out of the way, and I decided to take my chances since it wasn't rush hour. There was perhaps 2 miles of congestion -- but that was long enough to take almost an hour. I did make it to class by 4:00 - but one student came in 3/4 of the way through class. She had come from Anacortes.
I went home the alternate way -- wending through beautiful farmland, grassy hills, winding roads into Sedro Wooley and then back by Cook Road to the freeway. I almost took a wrong turn, but I vaguely remembered the jog in the road from having an intern at Sedro Wooley High School several years ago -- so I followed my instincts and made the right turn. It still is a very, very long detour although a pretty one. I'll have to decide what to do for the remaining three classes left in the term.
The broken bridge was a big news item, and now it is a huge inconvenience. I was astounded by the number of cars and trucks that travel over that old bridge each day. Some news articles said as many as 70,000. It is the main thoroughfare between British Columbia and Seattle -- but that is an amazing amount of cars going past Bellingham. And, that means that all those cars now have to go off the freeway and travel side streets until they can go over one of two or three alternate bridges. Amtrak has added more trains and some of us can go down Chuckanut Drive and through the now barren tulip fields to get around and over the river south of Mt. Vernon.
It is curious how an inconvenience can throw people off their normal routine. We get so very used to having things the way we want. Maybe it's good for us to slow down and realize that life doesn't always cater to us. Perhaps we don't even deserve to have it so good all the time. I heard an interesting radio broadcast today where the state of Massachusetts (I think) was suing the Obama white house for some agency wanting to restrict commercial fishing because the waters have been so overfished that we are in danger of losing the stock altogether. The fishermen are saying that the government is killing their industry -- never mind that they are killing their industry and the government appears to be trying to save it for them and the rest of the population.
It is amazing how one broken bridge can turn your thoughts in all sorts of directions.
May 15, 2013
Furnishing the Place
My Sturbridge plaid sofas are falling apart little by little. At least the back of the love seat is tearing away. I've sewed it back several times, but the loose fabric is fraying too much to hold any longer. I've attempted to get hold of the Boyds who are amazing recover artists who used to come to your home and make slipcovers for a reasonable price. Alas, it appears that they have retired. So, I have been on a journey to find new seating!
I hate furniture stores because they are so boring. They all have the exact same styles and palate of colors -- mostly beiges and browns and neutrals, and I feel bleak when I look at the range of what is available. I understand that those neutrals give customers the most flexibility in decorating. I also know you can order stuff in lot more colors, but I like to visualize what I buy, and I'm not very good at doing that from a swatch of fabric. I like the sofas in my living room to feel comfortable and casual -- available to loungers and grandchildren. I found something I liked at Samuel's in Ferndale, but the proportions were all wrong for my room. I have really loved my present sofas and fabric, so I decided finally to see if I could find a similar style. Fortunately, Samuel's have Drexel Heritage. I just ordered exactly what I have now as close as I could. I also ordered a fabric with the same colors since they don't have the same plaid any longer. I'm praying that my choice will be a good one. Of course, I would have loved an all white sofa, but that simply isn't practical or child friendly let alone grand dogs.
Soon after I ordered my new sofas, I found out that I also needed to buy myself a new bed. Several years ago, I was planning to buy a sleigh bed because I liked the style and wanted to put my brass bed in the guest bedroom. Millie Tetrick suggested I borrow the one in her storage until she needed it. She now needs it for her granddaughter. I've enjoyed it so much that I began looking again for one for myself.
Today, I went to Canada to IKEA which had some picketers in front of the store. They are in a labor dispute and didn't open until noon. I had an hour to spare, so I went across the street to Ethan Allan. I definitely found my preferred style of furniture. I walked in to pastels and checks, painted furniture in luscious colors, beautiful sophisticated styles and very friendly staff who assured me that I wouldn't want to buy in Canada at a 20% increase in prices from Bellingham. I stayed in the store for at least 30 minutes just oohing and aahing over the good vibes received! I found a sleigh bed that I loved as well as several other things that I simply could not afford. But, it doesn't cost anything to drool.
Maybe it is the dreary days in Bellingham that make me crave color. At least my house is fairly light. You wouldn't know my love of color from the black I wear more than anything else. But, I'd like a colorful house. I guess I'm just a Maine Cottage kind of girl. You simply cannot look at a Maine Cottage catalog without smiling and feeling good. All those luscious sherbet colors of yellow and turquoise, green and lavender. Barb, Bette, and I visited the store in Yarmouth, Maine and loved everything but the hefty prices. Ethan Allan is quite expensive, too.
I wonder why color costs so much?
May 11, 2013
I just got home from staying all night with James and Nico. Dani and Charles drove a truck to Portland to pick up some shelving and a bed from cousin Connie who is headed for the Peace Corp. She cleaned out her belongings from her long-time apartment, retired from her job, and is off to a two year stint in Moldova in a couple of weeks. Brave girl! Charles did a turn around and drove home leaving Dani to visit with her close college friend, Lillian, for a few days.
I spent yesterday taking Nico to lunch at his favorite hamburger restaurant, playing with Nico and the two dogs in the yard, leaving him with his brother while I escaped for a few hours to have dinner at the Craswells for Marilyn G's birthday celebration, then back in time to read bedtime stories and see Nico off to sleep. Around 6:00 a.m. there is a little boy climbing back into bed with me and soon after two dogs also in bed with me. It is definitely an experience in being the center of physical attention with little bodies and doggie kisses.
Order restored -- I am now home after taking Charles to return his rented truck. Fortunately, I cleaned my house on Friday so I have the luxury of sitting here, checking email and Facebook, making plans for the day, and wondering if I should try to get a bit more sleep. I'm actually reveling in a bit of good news this week which makes a difference in my fiscal well being. The first involves my error in mailing my house taxes in on the first of May instead of the last day of April. Yikes! Big fines ahead! After talking to a nice person on the phone, she indicated they would send it back to me when they received it, and I would return it with a check which includes the fine. I waited until yesterday and phoned again -- I hadn't received it back. The lady on the phone checked my account. "That posted on the correct day. You're good until October. Did you think it would be late?" Since I knew it was late, I thought quickly and said, "I'm glad it wasn't." But it was! So, some very nice person must have done me a favor and posted it on the right day.
Then, I had received a contract for the class I'm teaching but for half my usual salary because the class is smaller than usual. It was ridiculous since I'm not spending 1/2 the time preparing and teaching. Also, it seemed unfair that the instructor take the responsibility for the school allowing a class to go when it was under the requisite 10 people -- but these particular students had to have the class so the school decided to let it go with only six students. After talking to the dean, I was able to let her know that I wasn't informed that I would be making less before I began teaching. I was actually contemplating simply walking out since I had no contract. But, before we got to that place, she agreed. My department head missed the mark on that one. So, the dean said she would send me the other half of my contract. Whew!
Sometimes all these kinds of things come at once. I'm knee deep into co-chairing the restructure task force at church which is into several issues that need to be solved and that people don't always agree upon, my circle has just raised over $11,000 in what we have decided is our final rummage sale and I'm involved in getting all the leftover rummage off to various non-profit groups. We will then give all $11,000 to charity in the next few months. I'm also involved in organizing a victory dinner.
And, I'm trying to hassle with the city over a very, very large dying tree in the parking strip between my house and my neighbors. The city says I have to take it out. I say that they should -- but that can be another posting sometime in the future when it is settled. Busy times -- and busy life -- perhaps summer will calm things down a bit. I could definitely use some down time.