hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Friday, October 2, 2015

What's Point Roberts Like?

Friends, relatives, people who don't live here often ask, "What's Point Roberts like?"  This week we had a particularly nice example of Point Roberts at its absolute best.

Ed was looking for old-fashioned glazier's points; not for a window but for a photograph.  He went to the local hardware store, but it had only the new kind of glazier's points, which are more square.  He came home to find a neighbor had dropped by.  Ed asked hin if, by chance, he had any old-fashioned glazier's point.  "Yeh, I think so," replied Don.  Thirty minutes later, he returned with this:

THAT is a community at its very best!
And it may also explain how we get by with so very few stores.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Point Roberts Follies

What a summer.  Very long and, between the heat and the parade of festivities, pretty exhausting.  You go to some event and you go home a little tired by it and generally pleased to have attended it, but you don’t probably think of all the work that went in to making it happen and the fact that there are a pretty limited number of people here who are making all those things happen.

Here is a list of 20 events that it’s easy to call up:
  1. A dozen or so Saturday Markets plus Auntie Pam's Sunday Markets
  2. The July 4th parade and pancake breakfast
  3. The Arts and Music Festival
  4. The Welcome Marionette’s Puppet Show
  5. The ‘This Old House” series on the history of Point Roberts homes
  6. The Fire District/Border Commendation Ceremony
  7. The Fire Districtrict/PREP Open House
  8. The Cardboard Boat Races
  9.   The Drum Circles
  10.   The Taxpayers Annual General Meeting with Whatcom Planners explaining their work.
  11. The Voters Association AGM, featuring our Congressperson, Suzan DelBenne
  12. Two Art Exhibits (quilts and painitings ) the The Blue Heron
  13. Two FOPRL Big Used Book Sales
  14.   Garden Club Sale
  15. Library Joke Show
  16.   Park and Rec Kids Summer Camp
  17.   No to the Towers Concert
  18.   Trinity Lutheran Church Concerts Series
  19.  Trinity Lutheran Church's Children’s Summer Music Camp
  20. The Salmon Derby

I have not remembered everything (apologies rendered)and certainly haven’t gone to everything; in fact I’ve probably gone to fewer events than I usually would, in part because I’m exhausted and in part because I’ve been to them numerous times before and I decided this year to be on vacation as seemed suitable.  So I can’t evaluate them individually (nor do you need me to), but I can say that’s a pretty impressive list for a place with only 1,000+ permanent residents who do most of the organizing to make these possible.

Yes, the brand new dock collapsed, just a month into its new residency.  And that was surely a shame.  But I don’t think the County people who were responsible for its being installed feel any happier about that happening than we do.  Clearly a failure on their watch.  Perhaps they’ll be inspired to get a new one faster, but perhaps they’ll be even more cautious about installing a new one.  Easily, it could go (and justifiably) either way.  Something about the tides on Lighthouse Park Beach that they didn’t understand and having the dock collapse won’t, by itself, teach them why it happened.

But now it’s all going to be slowing down what with Labor Day only 2.5 weeks away.  The Canadians will soon be packing their cars (still without chickens and eggs) and heading the other way with happy memories of another Summer at the Cottage.  And we’ll still be here, starting planning for next summer and the many ways to entertain our family guests and our neighborhood cottagers in the summer of 2016, when we’ll also have a new library to celebrate.  But first, we're probably going to take a little rest.

Happy End of Summer!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Puppet Show, Saturday at 3 pm

Just a reminder that the P.R. Library and the Friends of the P.R. Library are sponsoring a live marionette theater performance this Saturday at the Community Center at 3 pm.  The "Welcome Marionettes" Company were here two summers ago and gave a wonderful performance of "The Wizard of Oz."  This year, it's Popeye and Olive Oil and, I trust, Sweetpea, and all that gang from my childhood (and perhaps some of yours), who are just as endearing if you've never met them before.

This is a wonderful opportunity for kids to be exposed to live puppet theater, and to meet the people who give life to these charming creations.  Free for kids, free for grownups.  Please do come!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Another Roadside Attraction

Am I surprised?  Preparation for global warming?  Waiting for the tsunami?  A Robinson Crusoe film background?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Roundabout, Round 2

I got an email from a friend today disputing my opposition to the roundabout proposal by saying that they were a good idea and that Blaine, Bellingham, and Vancouver all had them.  And that some of them had nice landscaping.  Now first, his view that it's a good idea is about as powerful as mine: it just feels that way.  That Blaine, Bellingham, and Vancouver all have them is scarcely an argument: more just a statement of diversity since, other than geographical location, we don't have all that much in common with Blaine, Bellingham, and Vancouver.  As to nice landscaping: we have some of that on Tyee.  Support more of that, would be my counterclaim.

BUT, his reply did prompt me to think more carefully about exactly WHY I don't think it's such a hot idea.  And at the bottom of that train of thought, I found the Character Plan.  I think the idea, within the character plan, that making all the businesses look like 19th Century fishing villages (or some such thing) would be good for Point Roberts because it would make it more like the scenic little towns that dot the west coast: think Carmel, California.  And I'm guessing that the scenic little roundabout also arises in that fantasy: that in some way, Point Roberts can be made into a lovely little tourist destination.

I suppose it could, but it would take a massive amount of money, a ton of buy-in, and a master plan of impressive proportion.  We've got trees and ocean but other than that, what do you take your visitors to see in Point Roberts?  Is the orange palm tree still at the marina restaurant?  I take my visitors to see the quilts at the church and at the History Room in the Community Center, but random guests may not be as interested in quilts as mine tend to be.  The lines at the gas stations, the package stores, and the post office?  The full parking lot at the International Market?  Those are the places that most visitors to the Point go: and they don't care whether the buildings or the streets are cute as long as they can get through the border to do their business and safely transmit their purchases back to Canada.

So if it were going to be a tourist town in the Carmel sense, it would need some more public attractions:  Lily Point is a great starting point, but the cost of buying the land and developing it has been well over $4 million.  Real tourists largely are looking for something to do and only secondarily for something to buy.  I just don't know what they'll do with a roundabout.

Of course, maybe I'm wrong that the roundabout proposal has nothing to do with a cute little tourist destination of the future.  Maybe it's just a fascination with going in circles...

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Round Here, Round Where?

It is I believe received wisdom that unhappy is the land on which oil is found.  Oh, well, there's all that economic development/devastation and all that money of course.  But apparently, no matter where you go, you find oil discovery comes with deteriorating social conditions and corruption on a large scale.  Think Saudi Arabia, Texas, probably North Dakota and Alberta nowadays.  Oil just doesn't seem to bring out the better side of humans.

It's unlikely that oil will be found in Point Roberts, so we won't have that to add to our other problems.  But we do have the peripheral problem of the money generated from oil via gasoline.  That is, we have the gas tax slush fund.  Well, not exactly a slush fund since I believe such funds are traditionally part of the corruption aspect.  But perhaps more like found money.  It's some kind of prize and it's OURS, and they (the holders of the slush fund) won't let us do whatever we want with it.  And so, we sit around and try to think about things they might  let us use it for.  It burns a hole in our pockets, I think, or at least in some of our pockets.

Personally, I want a chunk of it for a parklet in front of the new library and extending over to the Community Center.  It would constitute Road Beautification, which might pass muster.  But I've been given some discouragement with respect to that definition of what gas tax moneys can be used for: roads.

So, we can't, apparently, just pretend the money isn't there and we really don't need any more roads here.  It appears that people brood about this pot of gold (getting up to a million dollars now) and that leads them to think of things you could do to a road.  Currently, there is actually a proposal to build a roundabout at Benson and Tyee in order to deal with the dreadful traffic jams there.  Or with the people racing down Tyee who haven't been pulled over by our sheriffs who hide behind nearby buildings.

It has even been suggested that a roundabout would add beauty to that corner, although perhaps such beautification would render the idea unapplicable under the gas tax rules.  I cannot exactly pinpoint what makes me think such a proposal is so nuts.  First of all, it would take a lot more room than that corner currently has available.  Second, it would require massive education for local drivers and a lot of explanatory signage for visitors.  Third, there are a lot of bicycles down here in the summer, not to mention horses.  Do those work well in the roundabout excitement?   Nobody wants to get off for Teller, so it could just be In, Out on the Opposite Side, or a return to the border.  It's easy enough to turn left on Benson already.

But I see that there is a desire to spend that money.  I have an alternative vision.  I doubt if Canadians would be driving down to see our Roundabout, but what about a Viaduct or a Raised Bridge.  Would that not draw tourists?  Once you get it up in the air, it could be really big, 3, 4, 6 lanes.  One for Icelandic ponies exclusively.  Just think about it a little and the idea may grow on you.

In the meantime, the Community Advisory Committee which seems to be backing the roundabout proposal is meeting this coming Tuesday evening.  Go and see what they are thinking; suggest a viaduct/raised bridge.  The Chair, I believe, is opposed to the roundabout idea and he says (in the APB) the Voters Association is opposed to it.  But this new idea could be something awesome.  Maybe they'd like to spend the money on a skyway road!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Crime Wave Abates or Something

The hippopotamus is a new resident, but it's the same stegosaurus as used to live on the book sculpture, although now it's a new color.  Could be there's more than one of them around, I guess.  But what about the ruffled lizard?

And the smoke from the B.C. forest fires went back north yesterday.  And the 4th of July is over.  But still a lot of bike riders on the roads.  The second crop of lilies are beginning to bloom, the raspberries and strawberries are producing edible fruit, the horsetail (once again uneradicated) is going to seed.   Fewer raccoon sightings.  Summer...If we can just stay awake.