hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Trapped by Language

Yesterday, I made my way across the border to buy some Canadian flour (so much better than U.S. for breadmaking: harder wheat, no barley).  I cross the border regularly of course for one reason or another and I know how it is supposed to work and, for the most part, how it works.  Yesterday, however, it didn't work quite right.

Here's how it works: I approach the border, I open my car window, I hold my Nexus card out to the reader, and I drive up to the booth wherein resides the Canadian border person, still holding out my Nexus card.  Then, he says, "What are you bringing in today?"  Or something very much like that.  It might be just "Bringing anything in?" or "Leaving anything in Canada?"  But that is what they are supposed to say to me because they are looking at their information on me: they know where I live, that I'm an American, and that I'm driving a Washington-registered car.  If I were Canadian or something other than what I am, they might say something else, but I don't know what that would be.  I know what they are supposed to say to me.

And, when they say it, I say, "nothing today."  Or I say, "Just a quilt that I'm taking to a quilt group and that is coming back with me at the end of the day."  Like those things.  And then, the Canadian border guy says, 'Go ahead,' and I say, "Thanks," and we're done.

Yesterday, however, he had a little brain loss experience as I got there and instead of saying what he's supposed to say, he said, "What are you bringing back?"  And I was struck speechless.  I couldn't say "Not a thing," which was sort of accurate, because my brain got fixated on the "bringing back" part.  I wasn't coming "back," after all, I was "coming in."  And as I sat there speechless, he realized his error but was having no better luck trying to rescue this conversation.  Finally, as I was saying "Nothing," he said, "Bringing In," and we skipped the 'go ahead' and the 'thank you,' grateful the both of us to have managed to get past such a miscommunication difficulty.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What Is This?

Ed found this on the beach this week during a Thanksgiving walk (west-facing beach).  You can see that there is a kind of groove in the center hole.  The rock itself seems to be some kind of conglomerate or aggregate.  It's pitted and has a slight metallic sheen.  It is about 3 inches across and, as in the picture, mostly hexagonal.

A spindle whorl?  A net anchor?  Some kind of boat equipment?  Help?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

No Place to Hide

The phone rings midday.  I answer it with my name.  Comes back at me?  "Hello, this is Newt Gingrich.  Like you, I love..." blah, blah, blah.

Why am I not safe in my home from the likes of Newt Gingrich?  Apparently, even Point Roberts is not far enough away to escape fools and knaves like him.  An island?  Or just phoneless forever?  Slam.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Beginning

The selling of the raffle tickets for the quilts was something of a big deal for me.  I'm moderately accustomed to selling my own work (quilts, various fabric things), but it's always stressful: I do not have the soul of an entrepreneur or the outward-oriented nature of a good sales person.  One thing about selling goods in Point Roberts, though, is that I often know the people I am selling to, even if only casually.

My life-time experience with retail sales is decidedly limited, but largely not so pleasant.  People can be rude, short-tempered, strangely critical and thoughtless when they are buying things.  The Saturday experience, however, was absolutely lovely: people were kind, pleasant, cheerful.  They spoke admiringly of the three quilts that we had on display and were generally enthusiastic about buying tickets.

It was a somewhat small turnout for the book sale/bake sale/quilt raffle ticket event, probably because the weather had turned brutally cold (for here: high 20's, F.).  Nevertheless, the people who did come, man, woman and child, all bought lots of books and a really large quantity of baked goods.  I talked to one lady, urging her to buy a German chocolate cake which looked very appealing.  She said it was her husband's birthday and that's his favorite kind of cake, but he was away right now.  I suggested she buy it anyway and invite the neighbors in to share.  'You'd be one of the neighbors,' she laughed, at which point I realized I had failed to recognize one of my across the street neighbors, all dressed up in winter coat and hat.

I spent the slow time knitting a long red and white piece, about 4 inches across.  A little girl, maybe 6 or 7, asked me what I was knitting?  'A scarf for the stop sign at the end of my street,' I said.  'Why?' she countered.  'Because it's cold,' I said.  'Oh,' she said.  And then she bought one ticket on the 'I Spy' quilt and went on her way.

I'm thinking that, given the number of tickets we sold, if we had 3,000 more days like this, the quilt group would be able single-handedly to fund the $500,000 library renovation.  Others' help in fund-raising would probably be a good idea, though.  I don't know that I've got 3,000 sales days in me.

If you want to buy tickets on the quilts, you can do so until the end of December at The Blue Heron on Gulf Road.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Take a Chance!

All day Saturday, it will be the coldest day we've had so far this fall.

And much of the day, there will be a Bake Sale and a chance to buy a raffle ticket on four different quilts.  All at the Community Center; all to benefit our Public Library.

Here are the quilts, but I'll leave you to imagine the baked goods yourselves.

Well, it's not four quilts: it's three.  But the fourth one, a pictorial quilt with scenes from Lily Point isn't finished quite yet.  At least not enough to take a picture.  That will come soon, though.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Getting in Shape

I'm not sure that I will live long enough to be able to enjoy the fruits of the labors of this kind of work, but it does seems a natural activity for those of us in Point Roberts who have a lot of time on our hands and trees in our yard, though you'd have to start with young ones.

The idea is: since trees are going to grow anyway, you might as well have them grow in a shape that provides uses to you while it does its growing.  E.g., a tree that is also a chair, or a table.    Lots of pictures here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Good News for the Point

According to the All Point Bulletin, the Parks Board levy has been resoundingly approved by local voters. Good sense prevails. Let the maintenance begin!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

On Being a Campfire Girl...

Here is one of the things I get to do because I live in Point Roberts: fall and spring burning.  The photo, of course, last week's fall burning.  What with an acre of land, and dozens of trees and bushes, there is more than enough prunings and fallen branches and weeds in general and canes from numerous plants (raspberries, Japanese knotweed, etc.) to make it possible to burn for about 8 hours at a time.

Ed chose a sunny, wind-less day to get it all started up and then we dragged things to the fire all day long Usually, I don't get too much involved in this because usually we schedule this when there are grandchildren around.  These are city children who think being allowed to burn things is an amazing amount of freedom.  (But they were all in school this week.)

And, of course, they're right about the freedom.  The reason we get to do this in Point Roberts is because it's not a city where they couldn't possibly allow it.  Furthermore, the local trash haulers would be appalled at the idea of their having to pick up all this yard trash and dispose of it themselves.  So we get to do it ourselves.  This is a mixed blessing, of course.  You get to do it, but you also have to do it if you have much land at your disposal.

And so you pick a day when there is no wind and maybe even the threat of a little rain (without wind), and you buy yourself a 2-day burn permit for $5 (Ed says $3 for 3 days) from the local hardware store, post it at the front of your property, and you burn, and burn, and burn.  Fortunately, I was a campfire girl as a kid and a camp counsellor later and one of my jobs was to get fires to burn.  Of course, since I've lived here, I've also had the opportunity to live with a wood stove for heat (not now, but originally) which means even more opportunity to exercise those campfire skills.

Still, on the whole, I wish somebody would just come and take all this yard trash away, instead.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished or Unappreciated or Something

There's been a move to get the community involved in cleaning up Baker Field (the area adjacent to the primary school here on the Point) and some considerable progress with what can be done by volunteer labor workdays.  The field lies under the jurisdiction of the Parks Board but what with its need to use its limited funds to get the Community Center's immediate problems (ceiling leaks, water pooling under the foundation)  under control, there's little actual dollars left over to work on Baker Field.  Thus the turn to volunteer work.

All that good work has now paid off with more people actual going to and using the area in some way because it is more inviting.  Alas, we are greeted this morning by a note from the primary school on Point Interface with the news that the expanded use has resulted in things both dangerous and not very pleasant being left about for the school children to experience when they use the Field.

Maybe we need to have a national self-governance day where we talk about the importance of responsibility for our own daily actions and their consequences.  I'm all for a social safety net, but people, all people--school kids to grownups to old people, ought to be able at a minimum to clean up after themselves.  Maybe it means keeping a trash bag in your car; maybe it means finding the trash receptacles around; maybe it involves taking things to the transfer station; mostly it involves remembering to do it.  I don't know what the pragmatic problem might be, but we need to be thinking more consciously about the basic rules of living together, especially in such a tiny place as this where we ought to be able to get it right.