hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Chairman Speaks and Dances

Update below.

  This week, Chairperson Reber of the County's Community Advisory Council, offered some kind of advice about what to do with the Point Roberts gas tax levy, which is now creeping up toward $400K.  Our residents are supposed to vote on these in some manner.   The Council  previously put out a survey (responses in the mid-60's, as I recall), and held several meetings at which from 5 to 25 people came to talk about possible uses of the funds.  Now, it has concluded on some basis that the following six are the highest needs in Point Roberts. 
-  Renewing and extending walking, cycling, riding paths along major roads (e.g., Benson, A.P.A.).  [   ]
 -  Walking, cycling, riding paths that would be created along major roads (Benson would be the most likely) by building culverts and covering the existing ditches. [   ]
 - A Round-the-Point bicycle path using existing lanes and adding others as needed. [   ]
 - Carved roadside signs with information about sights, attractions, businesses, etc. Some would be new, others would replace existing signs. [   ]
 - Traffic-calming devices, either in-road like circles and berms that would also serve as beautification projects or on-road like rumble-strips or speed bumps (most likely spots: Gulf, APA near the church and Marine near Lighthouse Park). [   ]
--Roadside beautification projects like those at the corner of Tyee and Benson--locations TBD.  [    ]
Noting that half of these are about bicycles, one has to at least suspect that a lot of  those who expressed opinions were bicyclists or family members of bicyclists which, in a virtual if not intentional retirement community probably doesn't include the majority of the residents.  Or maybe our many drivers find the bicycles a problem although I've never heard it much discussed in ordinary conversations around the Point.
I think the problem largely is a matter of conceptual framing.  Is this money something like a gift from your Great Aunt Eleanor, which you didn't expect or particularly need, so you are flummoxing along trying to figure out what to spend it on (other than groceries) to honor the nature of the gift and your Great Aunt Eleanor? A gift that is by its nature understood as something of a treat Or is it more like one of those Christmas gifts of money one got when one was a kid that was essentially to be used to buy the yearly new pajamas of your choice, or your Mom will decide for you if you don't care or can't make up your mind(You can tell that I was born during the depression from that example.) 

In fact, it's the latter.  We can only use it for roads/traffic, which includes the above six choices, and if we don't indicate a proper choice, the County will decide for us.  And will just fill in potholes or something which they would do anyway but with some other money if not for this pot of money.  Money is fungible.  The feeling that it's some kind of money for us to decide about is essentially bogus.  There's a narrow set of choices and none of them is probably what the community really appears to need/care about, which is to replace the dock.  

So, I've decided I don't really care what they do with the money.  It feels like fake involvement to me.  Thus, I'm voting for None of the Above.  However, I would like to add that the phrase 'traffic calming devices' coupled with the phrases 'rumble-strips' and 'speed bumps' do not seem to belong in the same paragraph or even the same discussion.  The latter objects may both slow traffic, but I seriously object to the assertion that they calm anything.  More bogus stuff.

Update:  If you have some involvement with Point Roberts and wish to send your preferences (1-6, 1 being the highest preference) to Chairman Reber, you can email them to him at:  areber@brooklyn.cuny.edu

Saturday, August 28, 2010

At the Beach

We live within walking distance of the beach, of the ocean, on three sides of this tiny peninsula.  Yet, for some reason, we rarely go to the beach, and almost never go to the beach in the evening to watch the sun set.  On most days when the sky is clear, I can see an orange glow in the sky at sunset, and I think about the fact that it's probably a beautiful sunset, but I still don't take that walk or drive the short distance to see the sunset.  There is access, both public and private.  If you live here for awhile, you're likely to know someone who lives right on a west-facing beach, and there is Lighthouse Park, which is a west-facing beach, and yet, we don't go to see the sunset.

Last night, friends were kind enough to invite us down to watch the sunset.  We went, we saw an amazing egg of a moon, we saw Mars looming just above the horizon line, looking like a light from a big plane coming into YVR, and Jupiter, far brighter than usual.  And we saw the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, the ramp at Roberts Bank looking pretty dramatic.

All sunset pictures are pretty amazing, but the credit usually goes more to the sun than the photographer.  Maybe true here, too, but I thank Ed for thinking to take the picture, though he neglected to photograph the big yellow egg of a moon.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Strange Arrival

This afternoon, about five p.m., I walked into the back yard and, simultaneously, a very big bird flew out of a neighbor's tree and landed on our back fence. Very surprised by it's action, it's size, and it's position on the top of the fence, some fifteen yards ahead of me, I quickly realized that I was looking at a large-ish owl. His back was turned toward me, but he repeatedly turned his face toward me, so I was pretty sure he knew I was there. And he sat there.

I went into the house to get my camera, and when I got back outside, he was still there on top of the fence. I took a few pictures, though he was too far away for my (inadequate) zoom to record much of an image.

I went back inside, and about forty minutes later, I went out again and he was still there though now on the trunk of a tree. Around 6:15, Ed came home, and by then he had moved out on a branch of that same tree. Ed, a better photographer than I, and the possessor of a better camera, took this second photo. For about an hour, the owl posed and presented his many excellent angles to Ed, who put a larger version of this photo up on Flickr in his "Somewhere in Point Roberts" set.

By 8 p.m., he was gone. The bird is a barred owl, of course, and a regular inhabitant of these parts, but I'd never seen one before so close or for so long. Thanks,owl, for the opportunity!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Banking On It

It's been a while since I reported on the status of Sterling bank, one of our two local banks.  For the past few months, it really looked as if it were about to join the company of the 110 or so banks that have failed in 2010, its deposits to be taken over by some other bank or made good by the FDIC.  Although there was some rescue work reported, that effort seemed to have come a cropper.  Sterling's stock price continued to fall, its volume sales were erratic, the private equity firm that was apparently going to provide some of the capital it needed seemed to be joined by no one else able to make a sufficient increase in the bank's capital.

And then this week, a turnaround.  Of course, the turnaround in Sterling Financial's fortunes came at the expense of someone: in this case, its current share holders and then also the rest of us taxpayers.  Two private equity firms plus a few dozen smaller investors came up with over 700 million dollars and the bank returned to them about four billion shares of stock.  Which means that the current stock holders proportionate share of the company's value/earning was significantly lowered. 

And also, the U.S. Treasury Department had a little of the action.  Back in the grim Fall/Winter of 2008, Sterling got a bundle of money ($300 million plus) from the government which was converted to preferred shares.  This week, the agreement with the feds was to convert those preferred shares into common stock, now worth much less.  The Treasury, i.e. to say the taxpayers, took a $227 million dollar loss in this agreement. Of course, it would have been a bigger loss if the bank had failed and the FDIC had had to take on the costs of converting the bank PLUS the Treasury to lose all its investment in Sterling from the TARP program.  Sterling may well be rescued now, although it remains a penny stock, its current price around sixty cents per share.

I guess I can safely renew my check supply, though.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hide Away

This late afternoon, I was driving at the speed limit, of course, down Gulf Road, when I noticed Officer Slick's police car nestled in among the half dozen cars for resale or repair at Dennis's Auto Repair. I wondered whether it was for sale? Or perhaps in need of repair? Or perhaps in hiding looking for bad guys, for terrorists, for people driving 30 mph down Gulf? Hard to know. But keep your eye out for the police car/the Officer while proceeding down Gulf if you are in any of those categories.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Spend That Money!

Meg, from the All Point Bulletin, says we want trails.  Well, she doesn't say that's what we want, she says that's what the people at the Community Advisory meeting said they wanted. 

Maybe we didn't go to the same meeting.  Certainly there was some considerable talk about putting culverts in the ditches on a couple of streets and then, ideally, covering over the ditches with some kind of walking/biking surface.  And certainly Chairperson Reber is enthusiastic about doing that on Benson and on a couple of other roads.  Nevertheless, what seemed to me to be the underlying themes of the meeting were 'we're frightened, and we need life to be safer in Point Roberts' and 'we're lonely (or un/under-employed) and we need to give tourists more to do in Point Roberts so that more tourists will come to Point Roberts.'

People kept saying that something had to be done because it was so dangerous to walk or ride bikes on the streets here.  Although some other people said that compared to the bike riding they had done prior to coming to Point Roberts, they had never had such safe riding conditions as they had here.  Some people said that the traffic on Gulf was so fast (average speed: 34 mph in a 25 mph zone) that it was only a matter of time until someone was killed or badly injured.  Some people said that the traffic on Benson was so bad because of the narrow shoulders that it was only a matter of time until someone was killed or badly injured.  And also, the RV park down on Marine, I believe, was said to involve such dangerous walking out into the street practices that it is only a matter of time until someone is killed or badly injured.  The parking lot located across the street from the church?  Only a matter of time, and here you go to the chorus.  I almost forgot to mention the dangers of Goodman Road.

So I guess we're all nervous wrecks about the dangers of living in Point Roberts.  It's a wonder we live here, considering how dangerous it is.  The most recent injury I know of from traffic problems was Marco on a bicycle and the deer.  Maybe we should be getting rid of the deer in Point Roberts.

On the other hand, though, we could be using that money to build some kind of entertainment system for tourists.  (This was mostly about bike lanes/bike markings/bike racks/bike lockers.)  With these amenities, people could ride their bikes through the border, thus eliminating the lineup difficulties and spend vast numbers of dollars (collectively) in Point Roberts, thus perking up the economy.  Eco-Bicycling: an economic development plan.

I didn't hear anyone suggest that they just save the money for a rainy day.  It may be that telling people they have access to $386,000 dollars for traffic/roads improvement inevitably brings out their consumerist side.  Maybe I've been here too long and thus am jaded.  Nevertheless, it seems to me that we're safe enough and there are already enough tourists here and Point Roberts is unlikely ever to have a lively domestic economy and this money reminds me of The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg, by Mark Twain.  Well, I doubt if corruption is what is in store for us, but I also doubt that whatever this money eventually goes to will make us either safer or richer. 

And the speed limit on Gulf?  Maybe raise it to 30 mph? 

Addendum: You might think it would be worth painting new lines on the roads to spruce up the currently disappearing lines.  But it turns out that there is a national shortage of street line paint, and thus, new paint lines are unavailable.  The triumph of capitalism, or something. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's Hot

It's way too hot for Point Roberts.  The house, which is protected by trees, is 88 degrees by 4 p.m.  I might as well be living in the San Fernando Valley, relatively.  I guess this is the kind of weather that is supposed to send me not only to the beach but also into the ocean.  The problem is, I can't swim, and I have no use for standing around in the shallows looking like a very tall two-year-old.  So it's just hot.

It's also so hot that I forgot to go to the Dog Show on Sunday.  The Dog Show is the best Point Roberts' event of the year, in my view, so i'm pretty sorry about that.  I remembered about 2:30 and rushed over, but it was just closing down.  I'm certain that every dog who got a prize deserved his/her prize, and that every dog got a prize.  Thanks, even in my absence, to PAWS for their good work.

It's possible that it's not the heat but that I can't focus on more than one event per weekend and the Farmer's Market used up all my focus.  But now we're past the weekend, and we're trying to focus on the Community Advisory group's meeting tonight, where they are deciding the fate of the $400,000 for traffic/roads.  Not nearly as good as the dog show is my prediction.  And certainly they're not going to use that almost half million to get a prize for everyone here.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

90 CD's Later

So, on Thursday, I addressed this daunting pile of CD's and decided to deal only with the first 150 of them.  As it turned out, selecting 125 to go away into a new life, leaving 25 to, more or less, stay with me (e.g., six Alasdair Fraser CD's will probably get turned over to a granddaughter who's a fan) was pretty easy.  Most of those 125 I distinctly remembered, if only in terms of the circumstances under which I had bought them, but I could also sense pretty quickly whether I was likely to play them again or wish that I had access to them.  Thus, into a bag they went for the Saturday Farmer's Market, with a little looseness in the sense of what constitutes a farmer.

I checked with a daughter who knows more about retail and resale than I do and she advised that one can easily buy used CD's for $2, so if anyone actually wanted one of mine, they would probably easily pay $1.  And there was the pricing decision.  It seemed surely all profit since whatever I had paid for these CD's in the past, I had certainly gotten that much entertainment from them.

Then, I decided to have a second line of goods: flower seeds.  I had been collecting seeds over the past few weeks from columbine and lupine.  Now, I bought 100 little plastic closable bags (2x2 inches each) and put 1/2 teaspoon of seeds in each of 30 bags (about 20 columbine and 10 lupine) and decided to sell them for a quarter, although the amount of time it took to gather and shell the lupine seed meant that if I sold them all, I'd have been working for about fifty cents an hour.  On the other hand, 1/2 t. of columbine seeds amounts to hundreds of seeds, but only a couple dozen of lupine.

And this morning, I took myself to the ever-more-sparsely populated parking lot at the Community Center.  Today, there was one seller of plants, a jeweller, a graphic artist, two or three flea market-type dealers, a lemonade-and-cookie stand, a purveyor of fancy water bottles, a large table of nature photographs/cards, and three farmers with berries and vegetables of various kinds and colors, including blackberries for $2.00 (small basket).  And me with my CD's. 

The customers were pretty steady from nine until about 11 or 11:30.  Then they thinned out, and by 12:30, the customers and the sellers were all gone. 

But, the day gave me all I had wanted.  First, I got to swell the number of sellers at the Market, if only by one.  Second, I got over NINETY CD's and 15 seed packages moved happily into someone else's life (and all those dollars moved into mine) .  Third, I got to talk with a number of visitors to and residents of (friends and new acquaintances)  Point Roberts.  And I used some of my ill gotten gains to buy a nice bowl of coleus plants.  Altogether, a very nice morning in Point Roberts!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

One Hundred Things

I was reading around somewhere on the Net the other day about a lady who had come to a crisis in her life.  You know that this was a U.S. lady because the crisis was all about having too many things.  Whatever occasioned it, she ended up deciding to re-rig her life so that it contained only 100 objects.  And now, of course, she's writing a book about it.  And when the book is published, she will have 101 things and will have to throw something out to make room for the book.

It's hard to imagine what there is for her to write about other than the fact of it.  You live with whatever you've got to live with.  On the other hand, my first response to her noting that she had retained three pairs of shoes was, "Would that be three things or six things?"  I mean, there are a lot of definitional problems that would have to be addressed and, although it would be interesting to solve that problem, I doubt whether it would be interesting to read about it.  Thus, is silverware one thing?  Or an infinite number of things, depending on the size of your silverware set?  If you are going for simplicity, surely one of each (knife, fork, spoon) should be adequate, and maybe getting a spork would cut it down to just two pieces accounting for silverware, one item.

Or maybe not.  One hundred things is doubtless possible for a life, although it would be a life in which you didn't do anything very complex: no fancy quilting, woodworking, cooking or baking, I'd guess.  I probably have a hundred things just in two or three kitchen drawers and I use them all the time.

But there are a lot of things we have, I have, that I don't use all the time and that are very numerous indeed.  Because we are moving out of our other house up in British Columbia, the disposing of stuff is much on my mind.  Lots of it is already gone.  But this past weekend, I was addressing the problem of CD's.  Somehow, between us, Ed and I, we have amassed, over the years that CD's have been with us, maybe 500 hundred of them.  We definitely are not listening to all that music.  In fact, we probably listen to fewer than a dozen of them in any given month, and fewer than thirty of them are residing in our computers for IPod  listening.

So, I decided to try the 100 item limit on CD's.  And I am going through them carefully.  Each one goes either into the pile of go or the pile of keep.  And at the end of the sort, if there are more than a hundred in the pile of keep, there will be another sorting of that pile until it is down to one hundred.  And a double disk CD counts for two items.

And then I'm going to take all those excess but excellent CD's to the Saturday Farmer's Market this weekend to see if someone else would like to take them on, or at least some of them on, for a tiny fraction of their original price.  And then I'll know what it's like to live with only 100 CD's.  And after that, maybe it would be worth trying to get down to three pairs of shoes?  Well, maybe not something that hard for a second act.  But I promise I won't turn it into a book.

Do me a favor; take these CD's off my hands.  Saturday.  9 a.m.  Community Center.  A price that is a mere token.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Apple Pie Day!

Actually, it's not so much a day as a week, and the week that is being celebrated is the first week in which you get enough apples from your apple tree to make an apple pie, or apple tarts, or apple turnovers.  And this past week has been that week for us.  So far, we've had four apple turnovers and then four apple tarts and next we'll have an actual apple pie but that will take a few more apples--by tomorrow or Wednesday for sure.

The first apples of the year, for us, are transparents.  According to some net source, they originated in Russia and were brought to the U.S. in 1870.  They are not much of an eating-from-the-hand apple, but they make wonderful applesauce and pies/tarts/turnovers.  Just a little sugar and cinnamon and a teaspoon of butter and there you are: food for kings and queens.

When I made the tarts, i ran out of apples for the fourth one, so i just filled it up with blueberries (also ripening now in our backyard) and made it a blueberry/apple tart. 

The thing is, this is the part of summer when we're getting fantastic peaches and nectarines and cherries (particularly from B.C.'s Okanagan Valley), so it's hard for the apples to push into that kind of glory.  But it's just fruit all day long.  Lucky us!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Do You Have a Foreign Broom?

You may have lived for many years here in Point Roberts and yet not be aware of the laws you might be breaking.  We have all recently been made aware of the decision to keep Canadian fresh tomatoes and green peppers from our tables, but you are probably unaware of the other kinds of things you're not supposed to have in your house if it came from, so to speak, "up there."

While poking about on the internet this weekend, I came upon a pretty exhaustive manual I had not previously seen which tells me much more about what I can't have that Canadians can have; i.e., what cannot be brought in to the U.S. from Canada, a matter of considerable interest to those of us who live in Point Roberts.  For example, you will be pleased to know that it is permissible for us to have a broom made in Canada.  I was impressed that I was being told that it was okay, because I would not ever have doubted it.  And a broom made in Alberta is also okay, I think, but broomstraw from Alberta?  Well that's an entirely different matter.

Those cut flowers?  It's okay if it's a tulip but not if it's a branch/stem of cherry blossoms, or apple blossoms, or a lot of other fruit tree blossoms.

Many wonders explained in these regulations, and you can find them right here.  (It's a pdf file.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hydrangea Care

I have a lot of hydrangeas in my yard, all but one of them coming from a single bush.  (The odd-bush out is, of course, the white one which grows in a big pot and doesn't seem to mind.)  I don't provide them with any special care and I'm a confused pruner when it comes to hydrangeas, so they tend toward odd shapes but always to abundant blooms. They're a plant I really have respect for.

Fortunately, and especially in August, hydrangeas are very easy to root from green cuttings, so next year I hope to have even more of them.  Point Roberts ought to be advertised as the Hydrangea Capital of the World, I think (like Petaluma being the Chicken Capital of the World, and Castroville being the Artichoke Capital of the World).  I've never seen such abundant hydrangeas.  Because the soil is so acidic here, they tend toward the blue kind, but some approach a gorgeous purple and there are occasional pink ones to be seen.  And obviously people could manipulate that more if they were so inclined to if they changed the soil acidity.  For information about changing color, try this site.

It does seem to me (in my ceaseless search for a nonexistent economic development plan for Point Roberts) that if there is any economic development to be found here, it will be in hydrangeas.  We have a lot of them, they are of superb quality, they don't exist grow easily or at all everywhere in the U.S.  They don't, however, always come with chartreuse frogs. The down side is that there aren't a lot of uses for them other than as flowers, live and dried.  What we need is research to discover that hydrangeas could be the source of an amazing medicinal product.  Then, we're talking full home-business development.

Now, the down side even of live flower hydrangea use is that, if you cut them and put them in water, they are very likely to be wilted within a few hours.  This, I am told, is because the plant puts out a sap to prevent water loss.  Thus, when you cut their stems, the sap immediately seals the stem and it can't get to the water you have obligingly put in its vase.  The answer to this is boiling water.  It seems like plant cruelty, but it works beautifully.  Cut the hydrangea stalk (in the green area, not the hardened brown/grey section) and put it in tap water.  Then put it in water you've just brought to a boil and let it sit in the hot water for about half an hour.  Then put it back in the tap/cool water/vase.  If, after 3 or 4 days it begins to wilt, you can repeat this (recut the stem) and it will likely liven back up.  However, you can't do it indefinitely.  So few solutions to anything work forever, of course.  Hydrangeas do not make us feel blue, but they certainly tell us what blue looks like
 Update:  For information on rooting hydrangeas.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Saturday Market, Act III

This past Saturday, the big B.C. day weekend, featured a market even thinner than the previous week.  I fret about this because it seems such a good idea, but it will clearly take some time for it to really work and I fear people will lose their interest.  Like so many good ideas that fail to come to fruition, it will wither and end with a whimper.  The thing is, there aren't, at the moment, enough farmers here to stock an every other Saturday market.  Although, giving credit, the two tables with edible stuff were well-stocked.  

And having arts and craft people and flea market folks add to the mix is great, but it may not be possible for the crafters to be putting together that much supply without a six month notice.  (I speak here with some experience with the quilting group and the Christmas Craft fair.)  Maybe the library ought to bring out a table with its excess books for sale (or just wheel some of the carts out?) to add to the mix?  How about selling/trading used CD's?
In any case, it would be better if the Saturday market didn't look like it ought to be (unsuccessfully) filling up the entire Community Center parking lot.  The first one had the Fire Department doing some kind of bicycle safety program and that took up a bunch of space and added a bunch of people to the environs.  Alas, the second two have not had anything to go with them other than the fact that the library is open on Saturday, which is a good combo feature, but not enough.

Unfortunately, the dog show is the day after the next Saturday market, although it's possible that the dog show needed to have access to the community center hallway (they used it last year when it was a little shower-y) and that might not work so well on the day that library is open.  Oh, it's frustrating!  At the first market, Ed sold his postcard/photos, but he felt he had to have something different to go back.  I've been thinking about how we could fill up a table with something!  I've been gathering seeds from spent flowers all week, so maybe little plastic bags with plantable seeds?  I've got about a cup of tiny columbine seeds, and that would go a long way, but it is just columbine seeds (although I also have lupine seeds).  Spend the day before the market gathering blackberries and then offer them to somebody else since I have more than enough of them?  But doesn't everybody have more than enough of them?

Marco, who was shepherding the initial steps of the market, ran into a deer this past week while riding his bicycle and with broken bones is probably not at the top of his game right now.  So, clap for Tinker Bell, is about all I have to offer.  Plus these pictures of the most recent market.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Can't Win for Losing Department

From New Mexico comes this story about Bellingham and farming:


The Green Room Grows

The Green Room at the back of my house has now grown to about 20 feet by 30 feet.  And my exhaustion is considerable since I had to remove almost everything that was growing there before I could make any headway or even make a plan.

To my surprise, the tin can sculpture just took off, despite the fact that I've been ready to do it for several years but just never got around to drilling holes in all those cans.  It looks here a little like a small war memorial, I suspect, but it's actually more of a monument to canned tomatoes,.  Some of the cans are actually rusted, but some are still shiny and the contrast between the two is nice.  I had thought the 'stalks' might move slightly in a breeze, but they are way too heavy (the tallest 'stalk' is about 4 feet or so).

I've surrounded the sculpture with saltillo tiles (neither they nor the marble slabs are leveled or set in; they are just sitting on whatever uneven surface was there when I got them to the site).  I have no idea what the future of a saltillo tile is since they are now outdoors and they were made to be indoors.  But I guess we'll just see how that works.  There's a little sun in this area around noon, so the lettuce (on the right in the photo above) appreciates a little but not too much summer warmth.

Here is the view from the east.  A couple of years ago, I found a? some? bedsprings at the side of Gulf Road down by the Grange Hall.  It appeared to have been doubled back on itself and then run over repeatedly by a sizable truck.  I dragged it home because it was so interesting, and it has now found itself a spot on the fence (center).  The small hydrangea I transplanted has kept its blooms (it was a very quick transplant) and is now just to the left of the sculpture.

The white marble tiles provide a walkway somewhat to the left of center of the entire space.  Just at the left edge of the photo are a bunch of lunaria, evening primrose, and candytuft plants...just things i happened to have around that could be easily moved.  And feverfew in pots at the back.  When I sit in that chair, looking east, this is what I see to the south/to my right.

A bunch of alpine iris and some foxgloves on the left side of the metal wall and the rock, which needs some companion rocks, but that will take some more time to gather.  I started some needle-point ivy cuttings to root today and hope to train them on to the metal wall.  So far, I've spent about $8 on all this, which went for three 1/4"-rods for the sculpture.  Such a pleasant way to entertain one's self, "lazing on a Sunday [sunny] afternoon..In the summertime" as the Loving Spoonful said or sang, or at least I think it was them.  [Of course, it wasn't the Loving Spoonful: it was The Kinks.]

Sunday, August 1, 2010


The All Point Bulletin for August came to our mail box yesterday and we were unusually taken by the letters section.  Among the usual thanks for whatever happened recently, there was a long (and edited for length) letter which urged the end of anonymous complaints and particularly the unspecified ones against the writer; a letter from someone who thinks that yard waste burning should be conducted during the dry season (when its prohibited) when the yard waste is completely dry rather than in the other 10 months of the year when it rains and the yard waste is damp, at best; and a worrying letter (third letter from the top) from a sort of anonymous Californian (is Mary Beth a first and last name or just a first and thus anonymous name?) who, although loving Point Roberts, discovered worrisome aspects of life here when she and her husband went house shopping.

Like so many Californians, she came to visit, was enchanted by what she saw, went real estate shopping, and discovered that Point Roberts was not just like California!  Such a disappointment.  Of course, since she already lives in Santa Cruz County (Corallitos), she could just stay there and admire it.  But something about Point Roberts drew her to its heart.  What she hated, though, was the dampness that leads to mold in houses, and the failure to build to code, and, most worrisome, "we noticed that many of these homes had overflowing septic systems and could visibly see the runoff down the streets."  This 'many' was many of the twelve homes that a real estate agent showed them. (Good work, real estate agent!)  I've lived here for about 16 years and I think the last time I saw septic runoff in the streets, I was visiting Bangkok.  But, perhaps Mrs. Beth, whose husband is a building contractor who recognizes mold when he sees it and identifies it on the spot as 'toxic mold,' is more observant or sensitive than I am, given those sixteen years of living in such a slum.

Mrs. Beth finally comes to the conclusion that virtually the whole place needs to be condemned and torn down.  There are times when I think that I have some sense of what kind of world I am living in, what my fellow Americans are thinking and doing, but reading Mrs. Beth's letter just stunned me.  That she had the time to write and warn us and to urge us to destroy the Community Center and our houses!  To worry about us so, and not least when she could be worrying about global warming or about the reduced phytoplankton levels that could end in our having less oxygen to breathe. On the other hand, if we have to breathe less, would that reduce our need to worry about the toxic mold?

It's always a pleasure to welcome the summer tourists, no?