Thursday, December 23, 2010

Easy Peasy Crochet Scarf

I wanted to make something special for my good friend Jeanne for Christmas. We are both originally from sunny Southern California and this Pacific Northwest winter weather chills us a bit, so I thought a crochet scarf would be perfect. You see, I'm a beginner even though my mom is an expert. Some things run in the family, some take a little longer and more work.

I found this pattern for a single crochet scarf at the Lion Brand Yarn website. They called it a Wedding Favor Scarf. I call it an Easy Peasy Crochet Scarf. Here are the directions.

Easy Peasy Crochet Scarf

ch(s) = chain(s)
sc = single crochet


Ch 121
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across - 12o sc at the end of this row.
Row 2: Ch 1, turn, working in back loops only, sc in each sc across
Rows 3-14: Repeat Row 2. Fasten off.


Weave in ends.
Add fringe if desired.

I chose to use Lion Brand Homespun in Fiesta colour. It made a beautiful, nubby, multicoloured scarf. The yarn is twisted with a tight thread holding the twists in place. On the down side, I found it very difficult to use and hard to pick up the back loops without splitting the yarn. On the up side, it hides a multitude of errors. Not a bad thing for a beginner like me.

Do you have any patterns to suggest for a beginner like me? My hook is itching to get started again. -- Margy

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Day at the Mall

When you live in the corner of a shopping mall, it's easy to get there, even in a wheelchair. I've been waiting for a sunny, relative warm day to take Mom to the Bellis Fair Mall to see the Christmas decorations and shopping excitement. And today was the day. No visiting nurse, no home physical therapy, no doctor appointments. And the bonus was the sun gave us relative warm 50 degree weather. Perfect conditions to bundle up for a day at the mall.

The parking lots were crowded with last minute shoppers, and the policeman directing traffic was a bit harried. But we were cool as could be gliding past the big lines and waiting cars to get inside. But wouldn't you know it, Santa was on a break. At least he left his snowman body guard behind to keep things in order. -- Margy

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Corner Restaurant

When Wayne and I drive down to the Navy Base at Oak Harbor, we often get hungry along the way. A handy place to stop is at the corner where Highway 20 turns south from Fidalgo Island to Whidbey Island. And what better name for the restaurant than The Corner Restaurant.

We've been there for lunch and dinner, but haven't tried breakfast yet. The timing of our trips hasn't lent itself to that experience. However, their $3.99 weekday specials look very tempting.

Today we had the seafood baskets. I got the prawns and Wayne had the fried clams. They were big orders with lots of fries and a side of coleslaw. Speaking of the fries, they were wonderful, crunchy outside and moist inside. I asked how they were made, but was told it's a secret. Other choices include sandwiches, soups, salads and lots of comfort foods like meatloaf, turkey and roast beef dinners. There's even an early bird special from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. where two can dine for $13.99.

If your tummy has enough room, their homemade pies are great. My favourite is the blackberrry of course. So turn on in at "The Corner" for a great meal any time of the day. -- Margy

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Warmth

When it's cold and wet outside ...

Bro likes to soak up a bit of winter warmth in front of the blazing wood stove up at the cabin.

Did you know that Bro is famous? He plays a staring role in all of Wayne's Coastal BC Stories books. On more than one occasion, John (Bro's pet parent--but don't let him hear I called him that!) has been approached by someone saying, "Isn't that Bro? Then you must be John." Even though John is a very private person, I think he likes having a famous dog in the family. -- Margy

Friday, December 17, 2010

High Flying Skies Over Bellingham

As a follow-up to my post yesterday about flying, I am sharing some sky shots from our airplane 997.

Squalicum Harbor, the Bellingham home to many private and working boats ...

and snow-capped Mt. Baker in the distant background.

Come "slip the surly bonds of earth" with me. -- Margy

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Annual Inspection

What do you do when the skies are gray, and the weather isn't tempting for a flight? Schedule an annual inspection for your airplane. Being on a winter cycle isn't a bad thing for us here in the Pacific Northwest.

Every airplane is required to have an annual inspection, and the aircraft's manufacturer has a maintenance manual that spells out what must be included. A certified aircraft mechanic and/or facility does the work. Here in Bellingham, John Ring, owner of Whatcom Territory Aero Service, and his chief mechanic Joe take care of things for us.

Aircraft owners can do some items in preparation for the annual inspection or assist along the way. But for us, we develop a "squawk list" to let the mechanic know about problems we are experiencing in addition to the airworthiness directives for inspections, parts replacement and components that have reached their end of life.

There are two exceptions to an annual inspection. The first is for aircraft used to carry persons for hire or flight instruction. They are required to have a more frequent inspection every 100 hours of engine time. The other exception is a progressive inspection that results in a total inspection of the airplane within a calendar year.

Flying is a very safe activity when all flight safety and maintenance precautions are taken. Wayne maintains very detailed records for 997 to make sure we are ready to go when good weather finally arrives. -- Margy

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Red-tailed Hawks

Bellingham Airport doesn't just attract airplanes like these MD-80s for Allegiant Airlines. Allegiant serves cities such as Las Vegas (a very popular one), Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Palm Springs, Phoenix/Mesa, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay area.

While checking on our own airplane 997 the other day, I found three Red-tailed Hawks in a tree across the street.

At least that is what I think they were based on the prominent reddish-brown tail. The Red-tailed Hawk is the most common hawk in North America. They sit in high places and soar above open fields, looking for tasty morsels. I am sure this bare maple tree made a good lookout post. And the open grassy areas around the runways probably have lots of small voles, mice or rabbits.

Unfortunately, birds and airports don't always get along. In 2009 in the US, there were approximately 9,000 bird and animals strikes. That's a whole lot of metal to animal collisions. And it's never a good thing on either side. But because of their open nature, airports are a huge magnet for lots of critters. -- Margy

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Squalicum Harbor

On Bellingham's waterfront you'll find a bustling mixed use marina at Squalicum Harbor. On one side there are hundreds of private power and sailboats lined up waiting for a Pacific Northwest boating adventure. Seems like very few get out except in the most warm summer months. Too bad.

On the other side, you'll find a large working marina filled with fishing and large sea-going boats. That is my favourite side to explore. There are several docks you can stroll to talk to fishermen and see them working on board.

On shore you can walk through the net storage area to see all of the working equipment waiting for the next open fishing season.

While you are there stop for a brew and a bite to eat at Nicki's Bella Marina overlooking the guest boat moorage area or the Web Locker Restaurant for a tasty lunch.

There are two parks in the area as well. Zuanich Point Park is a great place to stop as you wander through the marina. It is a local spot for kite flying and also offers paths for jogging and roller-blading, picnic tables, a children's play area, water access and wonderful sunset views. A more primitive park is Squalicum Beach Park (see my December 4 post) before Marine Drive turns up the hill. You have to pass through an industrial area, but at the end there is a dirt parking lot that leads to a sandy/rocky shoreline. At low tide you can walk all the way to the start of the Bay to Baker Trail. But don't get caught when the water comes in. Both parks are open from dawn to dusk. -- Margy

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Everyone's a Food Critic

Chopped on the Food Network had an unexpected judge this last week.

The four contestants were preparing holiday appetizers, entrees and desserts under the watchful eye of our cat Stick Tail.

Stick Tail wasn't inspired by the cranberries, but thought the turkey dishes had some promise. Though he thought salmon would have been a better holiday meal choice. -- Margy

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sunset at Squalicum Beach

When I went to Squalicum Harbor last week, I stopped by Squalicum Beach to watch the sun set.

This little park in Bellingham Washington is tucked away in an industrial area, but is well known with off-leash dog walkers.

At low tide, you can hike along the shore for a long ways.

Or just sit on a driftwood log to enjoy the peace and calm as the waves lap at the shore. -- Margy

Friday, December 03, 2010

Clouds Over Powell Lake

Our Bellingham skies have been gray and misty this week so I reached back in my archives of Powell Lake photos. I love clouds and Powell Lake is a great place to find some beautiful examples. Here's the view looking south through First Narrows with the glacial eroded Bunster Hills in the distance.

Storm clouds are brewing to the north. Lenticulars like this big guy mean winds and turbulence.

On a calm day there are clouds above and clouds below.

Wish I was there for real. -- Margy

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Western Washington University Women's Basketball

Last night Wayne and I treated ourselves to a Western Washington University women's basketball game.

Western Washington University
began as a "normal school" focusing on the preparation of women to become teachers. It has evolved into one of six state funded universities in Washington. There's still an emphasis on the field of education, but the over 13,000 students also receive undergraduate and graduate degrees in business, environmental studies, the arts, humanities, science and technology.

Western has a dynamite women's basketball team. This was our first game and we had a great time. It happened to be the first night of a two day tournament. Western played California State University East Bay with a 68 to 39 win. They followed that up with a game this evening against Montana State Northern.

At the half there was a chance for local second graders to play a "game" on the university court. The Blues vs. Reds did an admirable job, with one future star scoring a basket to the roar of the crowd.

Western is the host of many sports and performing arts events. Check out their schedules. There is probably something that you'd really enjoy. -- Margy

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Special Friendship

I would like to introduce a special friend who has helped me immensely over the last ten months. Her name is Jeanne. She started as a good friend of my husband Wayne. In fact, on our first date, Jeanne brought cookies for our flight to Catalina Island.

Over the years, we've shared our home and lived near each other. Last January, Jeanne chose to move to Bellingham and found a place across the hall from Mom. Jeanne is a great cook and baker. In fact, she makes most of our dinners when we are in town. When she isn't making something gourmet from scratch, you might find her in one of the local bakeries or specialty shops.

It was fun to have Jeanne come to Powell River to see our special home up the lake. While she was there, she got her first taste of quad riding. Jeanne rode Wayne's red Kodiak and, for a change, I got to be the lead. She also got to go to a Kings hockey game with our good friends Dave and Marg -- friends meeting friends.

When Mom was in the hospital and rehab, Jeanne came to visit all the time. She brought Mom little treats. With all that yucky hospital food, they were really appreciated. Mom also enjoyed all the gossip Jeanne brought from the condo coffee klatches. Jeanne's visits helped Mom reconnect with her life before back surgery. That was a very important part of the healing process.

Now that we are home, Jeanne has become one of the family. She fixes Mom's breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She runs errands, helps with cleaning, and most importantly, shares her time with Mom. They are good friends, and that makes Jeanne an even more special friend of mine.

Do you have a special friend? I sure hope so. -- Margy

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Historic Fairhaven

Bellingham has it's old town sections. One is called Fairhaven. It's a quaint district along the bay with historic brick buildings, restaurants of all types, and numerous little businesses perfect for window shopping.

This monument commemorating the city's start sits in front of an old warehouse on the seawalk/bike path. It's a lovely place for a stroll and picture taking. Fairhaven was established in 1883 by the principal land owner Daniel Jefferson Harris in hopes that it would become the western terminus of the Great Northern Railroad. It didn't and the once booming turn of the century town fell on hard times.

Fairhaven is a favourite place for several blogging friends to meet. Mary Beth comes a little ways north from Stanwood to meet up with Betty and me for several hours of coffee, sweet treats, and browsing. Several of our favourite haunts are the Eclipse Bookstore and Village Books (makes us sound a bit high brow), and Avenue Bread (for our coffee, treats and a loaf for later).

You can find Betty at her blog called Mud Creek Mama. Mary Beth has several blogs. I don't know how she does it. One is more than I can handle. She has Small City Scenes of Stanwood, Holy Houses, day4plus, and Country Charm. Do you have any blogging friends you meet with? What kinds of things do you do? - Margy

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Snow Dog

Where our good friend John goes, so goes Bro. Or maybe it is the other way around. Sometimes it's hard to tell.

When John takes his quad for a ride into the bush, he's never alone. Right behind in his own handmade plush box is John's Black Lab named Bro.

Bro likes riding in all types of weather, but his favourite seems to be winter. He's a true "Snow Dog."

The only thing that Bro doesn't like about snow is when it rains down on his head from alders weighed down with a fresh accumulation of the white stuff. First it lands on his head, and then it piles up in his box. Between stops, it makes for a cold nose and butt.

John is always looking for ways to keep Bro warm and comfortable on the trail. A sweater and raincoat keep his body warm. Then there's a hoodie for his head and ears. It may not look dignified, but seems to be a welcome addition to his winter attire.

When he reaches the destination for the day, Bro knows there will be a tasty lunch of crunchy dry food topped with tongue licking good sardines. For dessert there will be pieces of John's sandwich, cookies and muffin. When the meal is done, he enjoys sharing the spectacular views with his human buddy. Man truly is dog's best friend.

Do you know someone who has a pet partner like Bro? Tell us their story. -- Margy

Thursday, November 18, 2010

TV Ears Saved our Family Time

You see it on TV, hear it on the radio, see adds in newspapers and magazines. Claims are big, so you are skeptical, can it be true?

There's lots of hype for a product called TV Ears for people with hearing difficulties. One of Mom's hearing aids died and getting to the doctor for a new set was problematic. The result was VERY LOUD television volume. That made it tough on the rest of us in the room. So I decided to give TV Ears a try.

You can purchase them online for a lot less, but I got Mom's at our local Radio Shack. Easy is worth something I guess. It took a few days for her to get used to the knobs, but now Mom is proficient at adjusting the sound to match her hearing needs. An overnight charge lasts about 10 hours and the ear buds are comfortable, even over her remaining hearing aid.

The add says, "It saved our marriage." For us, they saved our family TV time sanity. We only wished we had purchased them years ago. But better late than never.

If you have someone in your life who needs help with hearing television, give TV Ears a try. We're glad we did. -- Margy

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Bellis Fair Mall

On any given weekend, or weekday for that matter, I can find many of my fellow countrymen (and women) shopping in Bellingham, Washington. Bellingham is the closest major city south of the Canadian border on Interstate 5. That makes it a strong draw for shoppers, especially now that Canadian and US dollars are close to par (equal value).

Some of the prime shopping locations include Walmart, CostCo and Bellis Fair Mall. The mall is strategically located near the intersection of Bakerview Road and the Guide Meridian, both of which can be easily reached from I-5. For shoppers who want a more leisurely approach, The Guide has a border crossing at Lynden/Aldergrove. That is our crossing of choice.

Canadian shoppers are attracted by low prices, excellent value for their dollar and lower taxes. Even if they don't stay long enough for a personal exemption ($50 after 24 hours, $400 after 48 hours, and $750 after seven days), paying the required duty still makes purchases a bargain. Locals also enjoy the wide variety of department stores and specialty shops scattered throughout the indoor mall. Grab a bite at the food court, or take in a show at Regal Cinemas, Bellis Fair has something for everyone.

On the corner of the mall, but tucked away from the hustle and bustle, you'll find the Centre Pointe Condominiums. We chose it as the perfect location for Mom. It's close to the border for us to visit frequently, near excellent medical care including St. Joseph Hospital, and within walking distance of shopping and restaurants. And views of lofty, snow-capped Mt. Baker top it all off. -- Margy