Wednesday, July 30, 2008

BREAKING NEWS!!! "Sea to Sky closure could last five days" Well, there goes the three day weekend in Squamish!

Wednesday, July 30 - 02:05:00 PM Katharine Kitts/News1130 Staff
SQUAMISH (News1130) -

Geo-technical crews now think it could be five days before they can clear the massive rockslide that's blocked the Sea to Sky highway in both directions between Lions Bay and Furry Creek.
A ferry may be brought in to help in the meantime, if infrastructure is able to support the move.
A geo-technical crew steps cautiously over the debris and boulders that now block the highway, a vital link to Squamish and Whistler completely vacant except for the crews and media standing nearby,.
Some campers at nearby Porteau Cove park heard the rockslide happen just before midnight.
"It sounded like dynamite," says one young girl who heard the boom. "This morning I found out it was rocks coming down."
The rubble is nine metres high in some parts and completely covers the highway, rail lines and stretches to the water below. Squamish RCMP say there are no confirmed injuries at this point, but there is no question a massive cleanup lies ahead.
A hillside in the Porteau Bluffs area collapsed just before midnight, sending approximately 15,000 cubic metres of rock and debris crashing down on the Sea to Sky highway between Furry Creek and Porteau Cove.
Some of the boulders now blocking the road are as big as semi-trucks.
Highway crews are now assessing the size of the slide and the stability of the slope above the road. Drivers are being told to go the long away around through Lillooet if they need to travel between Whistler and the Lower Mainland.
The Sea to Sky Highway is currently undergoing a half-billion dollar upgrade to ensure it can handle all the traffic expected between Vancouver and Whistler during the 2010 Olympic Games.

Lunch hour adventure with Annie

Today Annie was victim to my obsession of the local harvest. A co worker of ours has a wonderful couple of acres here in the county. She has it all, beautiful gardens bursting with flowers, dogs, orchards, cats, sheep, goats, a chicken, and 70 (!) blueberry bushes. Heavenly! I don't need to plant any when I can trade her dark chocolate for "all I can handle amounts of blueberries." What a deal. So, I talked Annie into driving us the seven miles to her house and I picked a flat of blueberries. The same amount is probably in my tummy, this is nothing new... I absolutely love the northwest in the summer.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Top of the week to you!

Here we are, another week in front of us. Shaping up to be a fine one at that.
Corrie just left, gracing us for just the weekend. She flew in with her friend Lawson on Friday. John and I drove to Anacortes and picked her up that night and had dinner with Lawson's parents.
The rest of the weekend went pretty smoothly, doing some fun things that I tend to overlook doing here in Bellingham. Saturday morning we went to breakfast at the Daisy Cafe. I am pretty sure they have the best breakfast in town. Their menu is very creative with this wonderful local twist. Got to love it! Then we strolled around the farmer's market. That was a treat. I love the place but never seem to go unless I have company in town. I saw about dozen people I knew, even a high school chemistry teacher that remembered my name! I looked at hundreds of plants, finding the perfect lavender bush to bring home. I found my new favorite local artist, Sarah Bolerjack, she does intaglio prints. Her work was amazing. (Corrie bought a print!) It was great to see all the local farmers out with beautiful vegetables and flowers. Later that afternoon, Rafe took us sailing on his boat. It was my first time on his boat, what a treat! It was a blast! I made sandwiches and munchies, washing them down with a few margaritas. What an adventure! We topped off the day with a trip to the Pepper Sisters. It has been a long time since we had been there last, as always though, I loved the place!
Sunday we got up early, John and I had a lot of energy from two pretty inactive days. We drug Corrie up to Sehome with the crew (Bryan, Brandon, and Rafe). We ended up bouldering all morning. It was a blast! Corrie was a trooper, she hiked around with us, taking pictures and enjoying being in the woods. That group of guys is all star. As always they made her feel welcome. It is no scene by any stretch of the imagination. Climbing that day was incredible. I sent two problems that I had been working on from the ground and got on a couple newer ones that a re a bit harder. It is sure coming together! After climbing we came home and crashed and I got ready to have a BBQ in which Rafe and my parents would come over and spend the evening. We fired up the grill, cooking corn on the cob, chicken sausages and buffalo burgers. Mom had gone to Boxx Berry Farm and brought us a 1/2 flat of raspberries. Yummy! everything was great!
As fast as Corrie came, she left. It was fun having her here, short and sweet.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Diet Coke Crisis

I will be the first one to admit it, I love a Diet Coke. Sometimes it just hits the spot. I have really tried to decrease and limit the amount of artificial sweeteners I consume. I have honestly felt better in doing so. Just like most things moderation is key.
While at work, I constantly hear the cracking of soda cans being opened. I am within earshot of an office where the sound of Diet Coke s being opened is like clock work. Every morning at 7:30, probably before the computer is even warmed up, it starts. Then continually through the day.

I couldn't help but Google Diet Coke consumption and learn more about this Diet Coke craze...
I am going to think again when I am going for the DC.
For your reading pleasure:

Diet Coke

By Eric Gillin

Don't Drink the Diet Coke

Diet Coke Addicts
By Lauren Gong

Yeah I know that they are not really credible sources but it is just food for thought....


What a wise old bird

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Vicarious Vacation

Our friends, Az and Andy are a couple weeks into their road trip now. They seem to be having a great time experiencing what the Country has to offer. I can road trip vicariously through them, reminiscing of our trip. Sometimes I really miss that life style.
Here are some pictures that Az shared:

Boxx Berry Farm now has ripe raspberries. They are truly incredible. I teamed up with a couple of other women from work this week and have picked a good share. The vines were just sagging with the weight of all the ripe berries. Even more incentive to pick: $1.75 a pound. I want to get a considerable amount to freeze. What a treat! Next up... blueberries!

Well the garden saga continues. There is just so much to learn! Last night I came home to two of my planters engulfed in aphids. This happened overnight. What causes this? Where do they come from? I quickly got rid of the planters and sprayed off the plants around the infected areas, I am still a little leery about the situation. Good thing Google is just a click away. (All you need to know about aphids) I continue to fight the deer. They have decimated the fig tree that Dad gave me and continued to munch on the flowers. Arg!

We went to the Cololusses Theatre in Langly, BC, last night. Wow, a real movie theatre! It was great to sit in nice big chairs and be blown away by a big screen and thundering sound (we might have been a bit too close to the screen...). The flick: The Dark Knight. Batman...I am not going to spoil it for anyone but I would recommend seeing it. It is pretty darn good. Classic good vs. evil.

Corrie Stiles is flying in on Friday! It is going to be great to have her up here for the weekend. All kinds of fun to be had. Rafe's sailboat, festival on Lummi Island, BBQ, farmer's market....The list goes on.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cronk Guitars

Last night I finally hung out with my brother Bryan. It has been a long time since I have seen him. He has been living in Arizona, following his bliss. I think that he is up here, taking a break from the sun. We took him out to La Fiamma Pizza and did some catching up over a wonderful pizza.
We look over a couple of guitars that he had in his truck. I must say that they have improved wonders in his craftsmanship. They really look nice. I have no clue how they stack up tonally. His practice has paid off. I checked out his webpage on my lunch break. Wow, that was a mistake to do at work. Little risky, to say the least. I had no idea what I was getting into. Looks like he has been busy….
Hmmm…. I will stop here. Biting my tongue, trying not to swallow it…..

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sky Valley Fun

Redneck round-up

Fun in Sky Valley! Little did I know that one could have so much fun in driving a beater old truck. Or should I say I had no idea the culture and following "wheeling" had. Apperntly I have been in the darkto this whole "sportsman" subculture. John and I squeezed, squished and crammed our little bodies in the back of Bryan's truck and went bouldering in Gold Bar (between Sultan and Index) on Sunday. Great move, considering the heat and sun. (I don't know how I used to climb in the sun constantly). It was worth it. We only saw one other group of guys climbing and over the course of the day I got a feel for the bouldering in the area. I completed a handful of problems, which I never do that often, so that feels incredible. I flashed a couple of V3s as well as several V2s. I am ready to get on some harder problems there. The climbing was good, the company was fun and the sights were beautiful. The road to access the place was the real beef of the day. First, turning off of Rieter Road, we had had to pick our way through the hoards of motorcyclist, four wheelers and these mutant trucks. The road, all three long argous miles of it, is puckered with monstrous potholes, rocks, boulders and washouts, oh yeah and did I mention, motorcyclists, quads and mutant trucks. Dodging this was more stressful than a day of climbing. Rafe almost knocked the window out with his head. That is just Rafe for you. I hope this guy has health insurance, he is a bit accident prone. We finished up the day with Zeke's. The best burger joint...really.

Over the weekend we also had a BBQ, cooking up some fish, ending up with a great big meal. Summer is hear and so is our fresh produce!! I love our house these days, it is so easy to have people over, the kitchen is huge, tons of counter space, the deck is nice and big, our living room is great to hang out in. I am feeling a bit settled, imagine that. It feels good!

Second time is a charm...Not so much...

I will not be bothering to go back to the Chuckanut Brewery for dinner anytime soon. Their beer was good and the nachoes as an appy were worth it. I have been to the new brewery twice since they have opened. I was excited to have a new establishment besides the floundering Boundary Bay. Friday we ventured there with the Dorrs', doing our Friday night thing. This time I tested the soup and salad. Usually enough food. Nope once again I left hungry. I have left there hungry each time. This means that I am either ravenously hungry or the portions are just too small. The menu is creative, but, it feels like that is where the effort has stopped. The food leaves one wondering if they had put any thought into the final product. They have some serious issues to work out until we can take them seriously.

I promise pictures soon!

Friday, July 18, 2008


Little did I know, a book of dog breeds could provide hours of entertainment. I suggest looking through one, fascinating! My favorite one: Affenpinscher! The cutest little one ever. Here is just an example of how cute the buggers are:

Of course I could never imagine having another dog with Natasha around. She is just to wonderful to have to share the spotlight with another dog.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Home Improvement = Sence of Place

Well the window covering saga comes to a pleasant end. We arrived home after work yesterday and they were sitting on the front steps. My handy hubby had them up in an hour and what sweet retreat from the sun! Not only did our house become cooler instantaneously, I felt some privacy and a sense of coziness with them shut. Yep, I am this excited about window coverings, imagine that.

Moving to the outside of the house... I picked out a 'Thunder Cloud Plumb' to replace the tree/bush we removed a couple of weeks ago. The trunk is 1 1/2" in diameter, so it was as big of a tree that I could get with out being delivered. While at Kent's Nursery picking out the tree I perused the Rhododendron section. Wow, I have never seen so many varieties. They carry over 30 varieties. I picked out on with a variegated leaf, something that I have never seen. It is called 'President Roosevelt.' I also planted about three other small shrubs around our lot, making it feel a bit more hospitable. I am loving the place more and more every day!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Just Breathe

Last night we hiked up Sehome and went bouldering. Armed with long sleeves and pants, bug juice and citronella incense to fight off the mosquitoes. It was a great time. I felt strong and flexible. I felt like problems up there are doable these days. There is nothing like some practice to inspire confidence. I want to try and take advantage of the time that I have these days and start to push myself, discover what I know lies in the depths of me, discover some potential. I am going to try and get back up to Sehome tonight and play around. I enjoyed the Turtle and need to work on the start of two other problems. Climbing seems to be such a personal journey these days, a reflection of my soul in some ways. Some days are good, some days are utterly unproductive, some days just happen. The key to it all: JUST BREATHE.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Well here we are again, Monday morning. Five days to go. I have been seriously considering the benefits of a four day work week. Utah seems to be getting on board with this program. There is just so many things to do and not do (rest), five days is a bit much, I can't imagine how some families do it. don't think that I have it that bad.

Our garden is looking great! The basil from Dad is doing wonderful in the heat. I planted some collards, chard and kale. This will turn out to be quite the patch of greens. I have also planted a fig tree. It had some fairly large figs on it, I think that the deer also enjoy these sweet little fruits.

We went to the long awaited Chuckanut Brewery that just opened here in Bellingham. The beer was good, the food was so-so. I will go back, when they are a bit more established. It is great to have more options in town. When we left, there front bike parking area had about 15 bikes strewn every where. They are going to fit in just fine.

We spent Sunday in Squamish with Brandon. It was a really nice mellow day. We toured the Smoke Bluffs, Making sure that Brandon enjoyed his time out climbing. He seems to have the bug and is going to get back into climbing. We ran into some people from Bellingham up there, Sam (now a resident of the Squamish campground), Brie, and Steve M. We ended the day perfectly with a dip at Murin Park! Welcome summertime!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Here is the latest project I am working on here at work. I won't get into details, but it is easy to see the can of worms that it is opening. Crazy world we live in.

Tituses told they can't live in RV
Planners will study possible law changes

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jonathan, Amy, and Kaylen have made the trek to Bellingham from Austin and are here in town for the week! It is great to have them around. Kaylen is almost two years old and a big ball of happy energy. Amy is pregnant and they are expecting #2 in December. Looks like I can can have kids through them. No, it will be fun someday. Just not now. As I am reminded by seeing this little angel, I am more than willing to babysit. JJ and Amy will be here until Monday and I think they will keep us nice and busy with all kinds of fun things. Tonight I think the guys are going to play disc golf in Sudden Valley and I want to go bouldering.

Toby, my parents dog is getting pretty old these days. He is a big German Shepperd. The old man is moving pretty slow and can't get up the stairs anymore. My heart goes out to the fellow. My Mom is getting a cat from Audra to prowl around the house and Dad is talking about getting another dog. I think he should get a small lap dog that will follow him around everywhere. He would love that. His mom had a several poodles, Buffy... It is inevitable.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Lunch hour adventure - Part II

Today's lunch hour was fantastic! Sunny weather again, how could someone stay in the office? Dressed in office clothes and all I rode to Hovander Park in Ferndale. The park was full of young parents and little tots running around, feeding the animals, rolling in grass. I guess this is what you do as a parent in the summer. I could handle that. I also rode to the Fragrant Gardens and Tenent Lake. The gardens were beautiful. Enjoying the ride I dove into their trail system and criss-crossed the entire park, ending up out Slater Road. What a great little adventure! There are some gems out here in the county. What is on the agenda for tomorrow?

Puppy Love

I get to vicariously have a puppy through mamabetsy in Texas. I wish we could be closer...

Here are some more pictures of Hank the Hunk!

Between the deer hunter and dinner

I have been getting up early the last couple of days, enjoying the sunshine and crisp air before work. This morning as I watered my garden and chatted with my great neighbor, Sherry, I noticed that the deer had already found my garden! It has been two days! Give me a break deer. They mowed over the strawberries, cucumbers, and zucchini. Stinkers! I am going put a chicken wire fence after work. Hopefully they hold off while I am at work.

They five day forecast for the the Bellingham is looking incredible. Sunny and in the mid 70's all week. It is going to be glorious. I would love to get out climbing this weekend, we could do something in the mountains possibly or get on something longer in Squamish. Actually I don't care what we climb, I just want to go climbing.

One of my favorite things to do with my husband is going out to a nice dinner, drinking wine, and getting into some good conversations. We do this every once in a while and it is sure a treat. Last night we went out spur of the moment. In an attempt to escape the house for a bit, we went to the Hearth Fire Grill (former Marina restaurant), a sister of Anthony's Restaurant. We were skeptical as we walked in and were greeted by a hostess with a serious attitude. We scooted up to the bar to pass the time waiting for a table. The bartender, once she realized we were there.... was a sweetie and mixed a mean margarita (probably the best one I have had a restaurant). I had a couple glasses of a red blend wine, Yummy! After some considerable time at the bar, on empty stomachs, we were sat and shared a Cesar salad, which was memorable. John then dove into steak and mashed potatoes with a side of fresh sugar snap peas. I enjoyed a rare steak of Ahi over a bed of wonderful asian noodles. The food was good, I would go back and recommend it to others. I do not recommend Anthony's. I haven't liked it yet.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Strawberries and Sunshine

In an effort to thwart the Monday blahs of the office I jumped on my bike and cruised north on the Smith Road to Boxx Berry Farm for lunch. Oh my, what a sweet treat! Their u-pick strawberries are ripe as can be. So there I was on my lunch break eating strawberries from a glorious strawberry patch, sun shining. Working in the county isn't so bad!

My 2 cents: Buy local....

It is possible to eat too many strawberries.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

4th of July

For the 4Th, John and I found the best seat in Bellingham to watch the fireworks..... our rooftop. We crawled up there just before dusk and watched the madness that ensued. Can you believe that the COB still allows fireworks in the city limits? So we watched the city explode from the comfort of our rooftop. It was a great view actually. Perfect!

Garden Research and Home Impovement

I now have what I have wanted for so so long, I have my own garden. Yesterday Dad came and dug up our yard and made a huge bed for me. It took him no time at all, he worked up the soil as well, with a little work today it should be ready to plant. He gave three tomato plants from his greenhouse as well as some basil starts. I will have to say these are the best basil plants I have seen. They are so healthy and robust.

I am in the process this morning of researching some acid loving plants to put in one end of my garden where the neighbors have a big spruce tree. This part of the garden is going to receive shade for most of the afternoon as well. As far as vegetables go, radish and sweet potato have a pH preference of 4.5 to 5.5, potato 4.8 to 5.5, and endive, parsley, pepper, and rhubarb all prefer a pH level of 5.5 to 6.5. I will probably plant a little rhubarb patch in this location knowing this information.

I also have to find a tree for the yard next to the road. My wonderful neighbor, Sherry, was so excited to get that bush out of there she said that she would help us buy a nice tree to replace it. So I am thinking an white ornamental cherry. or pink ornamental cherry, a maple tree would also be beautiful. I plan on perusing a couple nurseries in town and pick one out today.

The next major task that John and I have been beating to death is the back splash for our kitchen. The two options that we have came up with are tile or metal laminate. After a quick boulder session at the beach last night we went to Lowes and picked out about five different styles of tile and all the material to prep the area for tile installation (hardi backer and thinset). The tile ranged from slate to glass tiles. The prices for each ranged from .76 to 13.99. Of course the tile that we want and the only tile that would look good it the tile that is 13.99 each 12x12 sheet. So we are looking at a $300 backslpash! It would look incredible, but as if we can shell out that kind of money for backsplash. So we are going to wait until Monday and check out Sherwin Williams and their selection of laminates and see if we can order something from them. Needless to say how much time we will save with installation and it won't be nearly as messy as grouting.

I hope that no one has to order window coverings for their house anytime soon. Hunter Douglas is making a killing! So we have been without blinds since we moved in. We have four large windows that face west and south. We get direct sunlight into our house in the afternoon, it gets hot, and is hard on everything in the house as well. So I had a person contracted through Costco come and give us a bid on cellular blinds for only these four windows, plus one small one in our TV room. Are you sitting down????? $1,300. I still am in shock. We looked around and this is about how much it costs. It still leaves me speechless. I don't know what to do.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Tree Service

We had this huge tree sort of bush thing taking up a bunch of space in our yard. Dad came over last night and within 45 minutes the thing was gone and in the wood chip pile. Now we are going to pick out a nice tree to replace it with.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Riding in the Rain

After much deliberation this morning, in the comfort of my bed, Listening to the rain outside, I summoned some energy to ride to work in it. It is still pretty warm out for this area so I slid into a pair of short and a rain coat and off I went. As soon as I got rolling I was a happy camper. The cool rain felt soothing against my legs. The smell of all the wet foliage was overwhelming. I think that is what heaven smells like, the northwest in the summertime. Once again, same old story, never disappointed by my choice to bike to work.

Last night we plugged away at our house a bit more, each little task we get done gets us one step closer. It feels good to get things accomplished. I have this deep yearning to be able to come home and just enjoy our house. I am about as far from this feeling as I can get. Well, like I said, everything gets us closer but I really just want to come home and enjoy all our hard work. That is enough of that kind of mind set. We have done some great work and our projects that are in the cooker are going to be just as great. We have learned a lot and things are tending to get a bit smoother. I really want to put a bigger deck on the house. That would just be wonderful. I also want chickens really bad. We have a shack in the front yard that could be easily converted into a coop. I would also really like to landscape the yards. Again, not that big of deal but would provide great payoff.

Yesterday we had the first thunderstorm of the summer. How fantastic. The weather yesterday was warm and it started to become overcast later in the day. Then there was a breeze and the pressure was changing. When storms like these come it is a great time to be outside. There seems to be an energy in the air, must be the electricity. I woke up in the middle of the night to a thunderstorm. Much needed rain.

We are still up in the air about our plans for the 4th. The weather is questionable, so climbing is not a sure thing and there aren't any big to-do's that I have heard of. We both have been checking tickets to Dallas, hoping we could catch a flight pretty cheap for the weekend. They are still a bit too spendy. We will probably go climbing which will be fun. I am excited to go climbing with John!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wednesday Wanderings...

Here are some pictures that Brenna took over the weekend on Angles Crest!

The start of the Aracnaphobe Towers. A great 5.5 slab traverse with the most incredible exposure.

Here is me at the belay on top of the towers. What a great perch!

Rapping down off of the towers.

Looking up at the last couple of pitches of the route. Stellar!

Fondue for breakfast... Yes that is right chocolate dipped goodness for breakfast! Awe... life is sweet to me... Reminds me of a bumper sticker that I once saw "Forget love, I would rater fall in chocolate."

I am so impressed by the amount of people out biking these days. It seems as if people are coming out in hoards. Well, that might be an exaggeration but there are a considerable amount of people out pedaling around and it seems like they are people making commuting trips (panniers, milk crate storage...). I think that the more bikers are on the road, the less dangerous it will become. Drivers will eventually get used to seeing pedestrians sharing the road. John has started to commute as well. I am so stoked that our household bikes to work more that we drive. I would imagine that on a day where we both bike we save about 30+ miles from being driven. That is great to be a part of.

We went to Sehome and bouldered last night. What a blast... We warmed up on the "Dr. Google Eyes" traverse. I feel like I am one more session away from dialing down the starting move then I just need to get the courage to do the finishing move. I am getting more and more comfortable with it each time. We then high-tailed it to the "Three Brains" area. This was new to all of us. There are three boulders sitting right next to each other. V3, V5, & V7. John and Bryan were climbing really strong and hiked the two easier problems. I am working on the V3, I think I will piece it together next go. Exciting! I love it! Tonight I want to go soak up some sun at the beach, then rest, then get out for the three day weekend. Squamish????