hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Thursday, July 29, 2010

At the Border

Updates below.
 Unusually for me, I've been back and forth across the border quite a bit over the past week since the new Nexus hours went into effect at the Canadian crossing here in Point Roberts.  Down in Bellingham a couple of times, up to the Vancouver airport returning children/grandchildren to the U.S. via Canada, and even a thrift shop, grocery, and laundromat visit to Tsawwassen.

We've been crossing at a variety of times, but the morning lines for the regular lane into Canada still look to be pretty long most days despite the new Nexus hours, although this morning at 9 a.m., it was minimal.  This afternoon, lots of waiting in both the Nexus and the regular lanes (both of them).  Our last two trips have had us choosing the regular lane (with two lanes operating) rather than the Nexus with one, and in both cases, the regular lane got us through faster, although not a lot faster.  I really would just like to cross the border and not have to try to game the system or even think about how to time it.  Twenty years from now will it be any better?

Down at Peace Arch, Nexus has been fine, but the waits to get into the U.S.  in the morning (ca. 9-10 a.m.) in the regular lanes were truly awful.  Somewhat ominously, the signs that describe the wait time at this crossing now say only "Wait time at Peace Arch: No Available Information" and "Wait time at Truck Crossing: N/A".  It's not a confidence building sign.  Probably they'd be better served by just turning off that sign.

Well, it's summer and the waits are long.  And not only is it summer, but it's B.C. Day weekend, so there are a lot of people moving across the Point Roberts border for weekend vacations, U.S. mail, U.S. gasoline, and--at least to judge from the emptiness of the International Market shelves--U.S. food.  If I were a Canadian, I'm not sure that I could legitimately claim that the Canadian border agency has a duty to make it faster for me to get back from Point Roberts for the latter three of those visits.  But if I were a Canadian coming down here, I'd sure think hard about getting a Nexus card.

A reader writes that AM 730 gives border and tunnel wait status reports every few minutes.  A second reader speaks up for AM 1130 and its every ten minute reports 'on the ones,' which I take it means at 01, 11, 21, etc. minutes past the hour.  And, finally, there is this Washington state DOT report on northbound border crossing waits at
which is formatted for mobile phones.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Only Getting Better (and Bigger)

Whoever it is that is currently working on the Current Events Sign on Gulf Road and opposite the Post Office has struck again.  This time, seven or eight substantial rocks have been arranged in a kind of loose curve behind the sign.  I'm not exactly sure what the impulse might have been, and it does seem to me that seven is a bit of overkill for a relatively small space.  On the other hand, consider Stonehenge.  (Okay, it's a bigger space, but it has much bigger rocks, 30, 40 feet rather than 30, 40 inches.)

Anyway, the sign is apparently yet a work in progress, just like this country itself, 'vaguely realizing Westward.' (I think Robert Frost at the Kennedy inaugural.)

And who can know where it all will end?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Something New

Point Roberts is really just a disorganized (as opposed to organized) retirement community, with a lot of people who have a lot of time on their hands.  Some of that time gets used for projects that benefit some or all of the community (e.g., the lovely concerts that are offered virtually every other week featuring excellent musicians--often from Vancouver--at the Lutheran Church here).  Some of that time gets used on the ordinary bits and pieces of daily living.  But it is the other pieces of that time that fall prey to a tendency toward suggestibility.

I have such a tendency.  Thus, this week we are in the midst of several weeks of spectacular July weather.  It might be that there are a bunch of things that need to be done indoors, but it does not feel like indoors is the place you ought to be in a place where so often the weather is a tad on the dour side; beautiful, but damp, grey, etc.  Right now, though, the world is glowing and it seems, at the very least, best to be out there watching it glow and maybe even glowing with it.

Also, in the summer, people come to visit and bring you round to activities you might not engage in at all or at least not so much as when they have not come to visit you.  This past ten days, we have had a daughter visiting who comes with the skills of an engineer and the enthusiasm for projects of, well, I don't know...of a project enthusiast?  In this case, she has joined in with her father to restore great swaths of order to our somewhat disorderly doings: outbuildings and porches are cleaned and organized; tools and lumber are made orderly and accessible; things that should go to the dump are identified and transported.  So much work goes on every day that not working very hard seems a very slacker way to be living.

And, finally, another daughter sends a book about shade gardens.  In the first few chapters, which I idly read about 6 days ago, the author explained how he came upon the need for creating a shade garden adjacent to his house, a 'green room,' as he called it.  If this book had arrived in my life in May, I would have read it and enjoyed it and put it away.  But this past week, what with the weather and the project mood, the book forced me to follow its lead.  That's what I mean by suggestibility

Thus, over the past four days, I have taken to renovating a 20x20 foot space adjacent to the back of our tiny house and turned it, or begun to turn it into a 'green room.'  This area has never been cultivated in any organized way; it was covered with bushes and vines and grasses and buttercups and whatever.  The project required, of course, that all that be removed.  For two days, I simply dug up everything.  Then I began to find things to give it more shape (e.g., an elderly 8x4.5 foot metal roof that was lying around was pressed into service as a wall to create a corner with the existing wooden fence).  Half a dozen marble slabs that came from some other project that belonged to somebody who lived here before we did were lying around and were moved in to provide some paving.  Various stacks of rotting wood were moved out and other pieces of more useful wood were moved in.  Now there is a little deck where a chair can sit in case I want to sit in my shady green room.  And there is a rock.

And, said the book's author, don't buy plants; just transplant them from somewhere else in your garden.  Thus have I moved a hydrangea and a bunch of foxglove and lunaria plants, as well many little ground cover plants cuttings with roots or rootlets (creeping jenny and ajuga and lilies of the valley) into a concentrated area.  And some potted parsley and feverfew.  And a driftwood 'gate' that was providing no good in the back of the garden is now supported by a big alder and is being used to shelter my driftwood collection.

This has been a strange and frenetic piece of work.  Today, I began work on a long-time projected sculpture which involved initially saving about a thousand tin cans, which will eventually be stacked on five thin steel rods.  I had all the cans, mostly rusted, and now I have to drill holes in them all.  But that is underway.  It will take, of course, a number of years for this actually to become a shade garden or even a green room, but it has certainly been an astonishing beginning, and all because of a chance coming together of several factors and my propensity to drift into things with a sudden enthusiasm. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Puzzled, Puzzling

We have grandchildren visiting this week.  It is possible that everyone has grandchildren visiting this week.  And it seemed a good idea to tidy up the fire pit in our back yard, given the splendid weather and the grandchildren, and cook a few marshmallows for an afterdinner treat.  We've never actually used the pit before, which is why it needed to be tidied up--there were weeds growing down in the concrete ring.  The thing is, we don't eat hot dogs or marshmallows as a rule.

Then, the question of a burn permit came up, given that we are not supposed to be burning yard trimmings right now and the information, vaguely obtained, was that we needed a recreational burn permit in order to toast those marshmallows.  Neilson's Hardware--the source of burn permits--told us, however, that they could not sell us a recreational burn permit and for such use we would need to go directly to the fire department which is, of course, not open today and thus unable to sanction such frivolity.  So, what to do?

I poked around on the net, thinking that there surely must be some kind of exception for marshmallow cooking, but discovered, sadly, that not only do I need a recreational burn permit to toast a marshallow on a stick, but I need one that is good for an entire year and I need to pay $20 for it.  This makes no sense.

However, the next time regular burn permits are available ($5, available any day from Neilson's), I plan to end the yard refuse burn with a lot of marshmallow toasting.  We'll either just eat them all up then, or freeze them for subsequent use.  Or maybe we'll just toast the marshmallows over the grill. 

Really, somebody needs to rethink this.  I'm beginning to think that I will have to go to the Fire Department open house tomorrow, if only to whine a bit.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Good Work, Canada! I Think, I Hope

Update:  This change goes into effect on July 23.  

Canada, apparently recognizing that the border waiting times at the Point Roberts crossing are getting quite problematic, has reached out to address the problem by extending the Nexus hours from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.  That's a big gain for those of us with Nexus cards, which we residents mostly have.  The problems over the past few months on the Canadian side of the crossing have been that the non-Nexus lines are really long.  I'm hoping that they realized that those lines were lengthened because there were so many Nexus holders in them and that, by extending the Nexus hours, the cars in the regular lane would also benefit.  Otherwise, the long lines on the Canadian side will continue, but the Nexus cardholders will get to sail [sale] on through.

Now, it is the Americans' turn to extend those Nexus hours at the Point Roberts border crossing.  Go, team!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Selling to Each Other

The second Farmers' Market arrived at the Community Center on Saturday morning.  There were several people with actual farmer-like products, including lettuces, kale, and other green edibles, as well as flowers of several sorts.  And plants that would provide edibles at some time in the future, as well as a representative selection of local crafts and jams and the like.  But beyond that, it was more of a flea market in which we all sell, at small prices, our odds and ends back and forth to one another.

It works fine as a small Saturday outing and visit with neighbors and acquaintances, and there's no reason to want it to be something more than this.  It interested me that the people who were selling were, for the most part, different from the ones who were there last time.  Perhaps each market will bring us a different selection of goods and of plants and of foods and of people. 

The first Farmers' Market, two weeks ago, included live music and the Fire Dept. with a presentation on bicycle safety.  That kind of thing was missing this time.  But it was a fun stop on our Saturday trip around Point Roberts: the post office, the market, the hardware store, the llama, and back home.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Make a Joyful Noise!

What I might hope is the last post on the noise problem.

While pursuing the inner calmness and detachment described by the Stoics and by Seneca in particular, I found it necessary to make some noise of my own.  The tall grasses were beginning to be a problem and the string trimmer seemed the perfect tool now that the grasses were pretty dry.  Last month I couldn't find it when I tried to use it.  I've had it for a year or more, but have only used it once, during which experience I discovered that you have to hold it up.  Somehow, I had thought it would be more like using a vacuum cleaner.  This month, when I went to look for it again, there it was, in the shed, hanging right on the wall.  Previously, I hadn't found it because I thought it was in the shed in its box.  Frequently, I find, performing the same act and expecting a different result does not result in schizophrenia but in a different result.

So, the string trimmer in hand and the headphones on my ears, I went out and trimmed for a half hour or so.  What impressed me was how the headphones made it sound, to me, as if I were making almost no noise at all: a gentle buzzing sound, at worst.  Who could object to this sound, even if it were being made at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning?  My second realization is that headphones are the answer to the dog noise.  I can wear them when I'm in the quilting workshop (where I most directly face the dog noise).  I never have worn them there because I'm usually there alone and just listen to music directly.  But I can wear earphones and it will mightily reduce the dog bark sound.  And I will just assume that the dogs' owner similarly goes about his life with earphones on and thinks, as a result, that his dogs sound like bees.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Quiet Country Life

I spent most of the day yesterday in my quilt workshop working on this quilt piece which is now finished.  The activity conjures up such a pretty picture, I think: the quilter working calmly and purposefully with her needle and thread, hour after hour on a quiet, country, summer afternoon, to produce a homely item that she or he or child or friend can toss over him/herself on a cool fall afternoon while lying on the couch lookiing out the window at the fall leaves or reading a much-beloved 19th Century novel.  (I'm not sure there are any 'much beloved' 20th Century novels, other than among the genre of children's books.)  The quilt surely will be filled with that calmness and steadiness.

So pretty to think of it so.  But in fact, by choosing to spend so much time in my workshop yesterday, I was giving myself the opportunity not only to get this quilt finished, but also the opportunity to listen to my neighbors' workpeople attach a new roof to their house.  Well, it's noisy, but it's a limited time issue, and it has to be done, and better to do it (I guess) in the sun than in the rain, although the temperature in this sun on a roof must be highly debilitating or at least dehydrating.  So that's all right.  But accompanying the hammers were the steady barks of the neighbor dogs.  Were I to walk out on my porch, absolute barking hysteria erupted.  Were anyone to come by, or to walk by, or to bike by, all the same.  And after a spell of barking, the dogs are joined by their owner, who yells into the summer afternoon at them to stop, which they do not.

Eventually, they go inside and quiet returns, but by then, I have left the workshop and am somewhere where I can't hear them quite as well anyway.  But there you have it, a quilt made not with quiet and calmness, but one that includes, at least in the final hours, constant noise from without and irateness from within.  Somehow, I think that calling the law to report excessive barking of dogs is not going to turn out well if the law is the owner of the dogs.  I'm thinking of investing in a voice activated recorder.  Then I will make a 24-hour recording of one of those days when the dogs go at it unrelentingly.  Then I will submit it to a notary to document its authenticity.  And then I will send the tapes anonymously with the notary's sealed paper to the higher law.  Or maybe it's time to deal with a journalist who has a shield for the anonymous source.  Nudge, nudge; wink, wink.

Or maybe not.  This afternoon, I am reading Alain De Botton's The Consolations of Philosophy, and, as it happens, after lunch I started on his chapter on the Stoics.  This is Seneca's advice, via De Botton, about being in the vicinity of excessive noise: "To calm us down in noisy streets, we should trust that those making a noise know nothing of us. . . .  We should not import into scenarios where they don't belong pessimistic interpretations of others' motives.  Thereafter, noise will never be pleasant, but it will not have to make us furious." (Ital. added)  Well, I didn't think that the dogs' owner was tolerating the noise in order to drive me crazy, but rather was tolerating the noise because he didn't care whether I was driven crazy or because he didn't notice that it was a crazy-making noise.  However, I recognized Seneca's advice as well advised: "All outdoors may be bedlam, provided that there is no disturbance within."  So, I hope the guy will work with his dogs to quiet them down, and in the meanwhile, I'll work with my within to reduce disturbance.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

On Weeds and Life

Tonight, we watched a DVD about Pete Seeger's life.  It was touching, inspiring, filled with good thoughts, good ideas, good ideals, and also good music.  He is a lesson for us all, although I doubt if many of us would be able to take the equivalent of being blacklisted for 17 years as well as he did.  I met him once, years ago in Los Angeles, when I was doing publicity for a folk music club that was sponsoring one of his concerts.  I had dinner with him the night before the concert, along with a dozen other people.  He was charismatic even over dinner. 

And now he must be close to 90 years old, and seems as strong and lively and filled with hope as ever.  Good for him.  For myself, not so strong and lively and filled with hope, I think, but this may largely be a result of the remarkable heat we have had for the past three days.  I can't complain too much, because it didn't even get to be 90 degrees (although it was 88 in the house), and the 'heat wave' lasted only for three days (tomorrow it's supposed to be back to 67 degrees).  But, I did notice that every day of extra warmth produced about a ton more bindweed blooming in the more difficult places to reach in my yard.

A friend says that we are lucky to be living in a place where even the worst weeds are beautiful.  This seems to me to be the wrong message: if they're so beautiful, why am I trying to get rid of them?  And the answer is because there will be nothing out there BUT bindweed if I don't keep at the task.

This summer, grandchildren have been around quite a bit.  Both the grandchildren and their parents have been more than happy to help us with the many bits of work that need always to be done, but no one is very anxious to help with weeding, I find.  In fact, I saw in my 13-y/o granddaughter's eyes, as she watched me weeding, weeding, the conviction that I was nuts.  After all, the thing is, I pull them up, and then they grow back next year.  Don't I see that this is going nowhere? 

Well, to everything there is a season and also a time for every purpose under heaven.  And in this season, my purpose is to pull up those bindweeds, even though their roots may stretch lo unto many feet in length and even though they will return next year.  Did Seeger give up just because wars keep occurring?.  I think Pete Seeger would, if not admire my dedication, at least recognize a similarity between us with respect to sticking to one's view of what is the right thing to do, even though others might think it foolish or even wrong.  His life has been spent encouraging peace and harmony and group singing and generosity and compassion.  At the moment, mine feels like it has been spent at war with crab grass and its fellow noxious weeds, bindweed being only one of the latest in a long line.  Maybe tomorrow, out in the fields of bindweed, I'll try singing 'We Shall Overcome."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Knowing Good and Bad

As it happens, I have made two trips to Bellingham and back in the past two days.  And both times, there have been things of an edible nature in my car.  What I have not taken into Canada is a potato, an apple, a pear, a peach, a nectarine, a cherry, or a blueberry.  An what I have not taken into the U.S. is a lemon, an orange, a lime, a grapefruit, a green onion, a chive or any gathering of chives, a dragon fruit, a starfruit, a mangosteen, a kiwi fruit, a tomato, or a green pepper.

On Wednesday, when I went from Canada to the U.S., I brought with me 5 tomatoes that were grown in Washington and as I came through the border, I confided to the the U.S. CBP person that I had five tomatoes from Canada, and he said that was good and I might go on my way.  However, on Thursday, word came down from on high that tomatoes from Canada were no longer good and they may not come here any more.

But, I still have those five tomatoes (or, actually three of them now) sitting on my counter and I say to them, "Are you good? Or, are you bad?"    It is hard to know.  The comforting thing, of course, is that bananas can go either way without anybody caring.  And that is good.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Postal Gardening Concerns

For those who have been concerned about the deteriorating condition of the three planters in front of the local post office, here is an explanation.  The post office lost its gardener and the planters and their plants fell into the slough of despond with the news.  However, there are new plants on the way and I guess a new gardener, although I did not inquire about the latter.  But it is good to know that the post office still cares.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Round the Point, Again

We are personally adding to all the weekend festivities (well, I extended the weekend yet another day...now it's Thursday to Tuesday) by having Ed go up in the helicopter today with a pair of photographers (one at a time) to photograph the Point Roberts coastline from a 300 foot elevation and 600 foot elevation (i.e., that was how high the helicopter was flying when the photographers were shooting).  The point of this Point documentation is to see if there have been noticeable changes.  But one can also look at the pictures and see who's out on the beach and in their yard from about 1-2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 6th, 2010.

I had both hoped and expected to be able to see Lily the Llama and her companion goats, but though her corral is clearly visible, she was not outside at just that moment.  I spoke to one of her owners who reported that she was having her hair trimmed today, so I guess we caught her at a bad moment; or failed to catch her at a bad moment. 

It will take a while for Ed to process these photos and get them synced up and posted on our website, but I'll put a link on the blog as soon as it happens.  He's been planning this second round of pictures for about a year, so it's a treat to have it actually happen.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Good Parade

One's idea of a parade, I think, is formed when one is a child.  As a result, parades one sees as an adult don't quite ever live up to one's idea of the, as it were, Platonic/Ideal parade.  When I was a kid, Ringling Brothers/Barnum and Bailey would come to town in Pocatello, Idaho, and provide us with the best parade I had/have ever seen.  It had elephants, lions in wheeled cages, horses, a calliope, a band, clowns, and general all round excitement.  By comparison, all other parades look pretty tame to me.

Fourth of July parades here in Point Roberts have, in recent years, been on a downhill slope.  There were the years when we had a large contingent of white dogs, which was good.  And years when we had horses and ponies of various sorts, some with decoration, which was good.  And years when we had the Vancouver Police Motorcycle Drill team, which was also good.  But last year, and I think the year before that, we have had none of those.  There have been some good attempts, but ultimately disappointing.  And especially, no music, no bands, no calliopes.

This year, I was sort of inclined to let it pass me by, but at the last minute I grabbed a folding chair and got myself down to the parade's end to see what had passed.  And it was a delight, although not Ringling Brothers.  It began with an assortment of Point Roberts Fire Dept. equipment, followed by someone in a convertible associated with the movies.  And then it got serious.

A marching band from Canada was the first serious entry, and it was either ironic or funny or strange that it was playing 'The Maple Leaf Forever,' for an American Fourth of July Parade, but let that go.  It was a band and it played like a marching band and it meant that the parade had music.  Throughout the length, other music appeared, including the splendid quintet of bagpipe players (above) whose traditional attire was entirely missing after you got the kilt taken into account.  The headgear looks like tukes of some sort, and the sandals/walking shoes with and without socks were pretty daring.  But four of the five had paired a kilt with a Hawaiian shirt, perhaps a first for a bagpipe band.

Later on, there was a group of cymbalist/drums from a Canadian Chinese Benevolent Society, which also included a substantial group of older, staid but smiling men in suits, ladies in matching vests and pants who were doing some kind of dancing or drill team work, and a couple of dragons.  All to the good, though not particularly Fourth of July-ish.  But certainly benevolent.

Lots of people walking in various groups passed by, including an especially charming appearance by a faux Queen Elizabeth wishing the colonies good luck.  She was accompanied by two of her corgies and one of her hats.  

Sterling Bank gave us a float populated with people whose hair and faces were a strange green color reminding one more of moss than money; Neilson's brought us two small Neilson children high up in a fork lift; the Historical Society, PREP, Lily Point Defenders, all got themselves together for a good showing.  And the Rose Society brought us some beautiful little Rose Queens smiling and waving.

A lot of individual or small groups of people in costume or out made their way down the street, dressed in unusual attire without entirely clear purpose. More in line with the parade theme (which had to do with the Oscars), there was a Scarecrow, a Dorothy, and a Cowardly Lion celebrating the movie, 'The Wizard of Oz,' and I was so engaged in figuring out whether the lion was my friend Rose that I forgot to take a picture of the trio.  It was Rose.  The Oscar Mayer wiener company seemed to have offered its support to a number of businesses (in line with the Oscar theme), so that there were a lot of people with mustard covered hot dogs on their heads, or wrapped round their bodies.  As well as dogs so enwrapped, which was a tad alarming, as if we were to think about eating these 'hot' dogs.

The Point Roberts lawn mower precision drill team reminded us that power mowers of large size are now ever present.  It did, however, look like that drivers might, in general, benefit from a little more pushing of mowers than riding on mowers, but their pleasure at whizzing around on their machines was clearly more about driving mania than about mowing OR about exercise needs.  An exquisite demonstration of why it is so hard to get people interested in using less oil.

The Tsawwassen Shriners, who have often appeared in the Point's July 4th parade, were here again, but this time with several floats and without the little, tiny cars.  One has to wonder about the Middle Eastern appearance of the group's symbols and whether a dozen old guys in topees with camel illustrated vehicles sporting a kind of Turkish star and sickle/crescent emblem go across the border easily. 

All in all, an excellent if somewhat unusual Fourth of July parade.  But what else could one hope for or reasonably expect in Point Roberts?  Next year, perhaps, elephants?  Caged lions?

More pictures posted here.http://www.flickr.com/photos/65924740@N00/?saved=1

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Festive Events

What a weekend! Canada Day, Farmers Market Day, July Fourth parade, not to mention all those speeding tickets being issued to the unwary. While not doing much of anything, I managed to see two of them issued today: one on Tyee and one on South Beach.

But let's go to today's event..the farmers market held in the Community Center parking lot from 9-1 p.m. Today was the first such market, and it is to be repeated every two weeks this summer.  This event turned out to be a virtually perfect kind of event for Point Roberts...not too ambitious, not too demanding, not too long, not too serious, expectations not too high.  And further, useful and friendly, and filled with wonderful pictures, but I forgot to take my camera (which just demonstrates that I'm not a serious photographer).  Great people pictures, including one little girl dressed like a circus of amazing colors, and a little guy in a soccer(?) shirt about 40 sizes too big plus yellow boots; great dog pictures as well, including an Italian whippet and a shaved Pomeranian.  We were there for the entire four hours because Ed decided to take postcards of some of his 'Somewhere in Point Roberts' series in order to assist in having this first market get off to a good start.  There were a few other people there with photos, books, and art stuff, but there were also people selling a Persian rug, some amazing Barbie dolls, a barbeque, extra clothes, and a coffee pot, among other garage sale type items.

And, of course, the real farmer's market stuff: herb bouquets, sour dough bread, lovely lettuces of several kinds, cucumbers, and garlic and green onions: all the early garden goods.  Plus pear butter and strawberry-rhubarb jam and cherry pies.  And a couple of people brought plants for those whose garden is still to be planted.  Most of the attendees showed up promptly between 9 and 10 in order to get some of the edibles, which moved out quickly.

What I liked most about the event was its sociability, its multi-tasking nature, and its low-key scale.   Somebody was teaching kids about bicycle maintenance and helmet safety; somebody was playing music without the benefit of any amplification system, somebody was selling pulled pork barbeque sandwiches for $3.  Nobody was looking to make big dollars; everybody was friendly and happy to talk to one another.

The kind of thing that makes Point Roberts, just for that little while, look like the utopia that we all wish for, including gentle breezes and sun.  Not too much to ask for on a July Saturday.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


The other day, we made a trip up to Vancouver with visiting family.  It was yet another opportunity to ride the Canada Line, of which we are big fans.  I have railroading ancestors (both my grandfathers were engineers on the Union Pacific, one a switch engineer and the other a passenger train engineer), so I am sort of obliged to like trains, but I actually do like them and think that one of the great losses of the late 20th Century in the U.S. was the general disappearance of passenger trains.  The Canada Line isn't that kind of train, of course, but light rail is yet in the family.  However, as much as I like it, I can't quite figure out how to make it a viable feature for Point Roberts.  We could have one that goes from Point Roberts to Bellingham, I suppose, but it's hard to believe that would ever be economically viable.  But at least I get the opportunity to appreciate Vancouver's offering.

But the even better part of this trip (whose goal was Science World) was the ride on the False Creek Ferry System, and specifically the aqua boats.  That was indeed a marvelous little turn and, though I've never been in Venice to ride the gondolas, I can imagine it has something of that kind of feel.  Further, it does seem as if we could use them here.  I know nothing about boats, so it is probably the case that we couldn't use these mini-ferries to take us from here to Blaine or from here to Bellingham, and especially not arrange it so that one would leave every ten minutes.  I assume the distances would be too great.  But maybe we could just have them to go around the peninsula itself: grab a mini-ferry at the foot of Gulf Road and take it over to the beach at Lily Point, for example.  That would be a fine entertainment and would give everyone here on Canada Day (today!) something extra to do.  But it's probably not enough for an economic development plan.  Happy Canada Day to all the Canadians!