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Showing posts from April, 2013

A Slight Detour

 Red and Yellow Tulip fields and the mucky mud that surrounded them
Every weekend we try to go out and explore our new area, whether hiking, canoeing, biking, or driving up to British Columbia and finding a new spot up north. After a hike with the kids down at Deception Pass State Park (breathtakingly beautiful) near Mount Vernon, we decided to take a slight detour to see the Skagit Tulip Festival. The festival is a month long 'driving tour' where you can stop at different farms to see the luminous fields of flowers and choose to pick a few to buy for your home. 
I had first seen the site of Dutch Roozengaarde on another blog, and I had thought it looked worth the drive, especially if we were in the area. Going on a Saturday wasn't the best time because there were huge crowds everywhere, but we were able to snap a few pictures and gawk like tourists at the colors that illuminated the otherwise dreary landscape. 
 Light Pink (distance), Dark Pink, and Orange Tulips
Roozengaa…

Book Reviews: Brene Brown

Brene Brown TED talk: The Power of Vulnerability
I first heard Brene Brown's name about 18 months ago, at a Mom2Mom event. That's a monthly gathering of mothers at every stage, who come together to listen to a speaker, eat a delicious brunch, talk in small groups, and have childcare for those two hours of fellowship. A friend of mine did a talk on vulnerability, and opened with this 20 minute video of Brene doing a TED talk on that very subject. I remember at the event, I wrote her name down which is unusual for me, and watched it again that night. And another time. And then sent it to friends after that. Needless to say, I found her topic and research fascinating, and was happy to find out she had 2 books already published, and a third on the way.
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This year I was able to read all three of her books in chronological order, the first being I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn't), which is Brown's body of shame research (yes, she's a shame researcher) that includes…

What Takes Time

Our 17 footer, hitching a ride
Two weeks ago, we bought a canoe from Craigslist. It's nothing fancy. It's green, with mildew on the bottom from being unused, and it came with a solitary wooden oar. We'd been scouring craigslist with little luck under the $300 limit, and finally came across this one and joy of joys, they took $150 because they were putting everything in the moving truck the day we came. They didn't want it -- cash looks better than a canoe sitting by the curb. 
We'd squirreled away about $15 a month for the past year or so, just to put towards this little goal, and with a few life jackets, and 3 more oars to boot, we were out for our own little family adventure. The first time we took it out, we saw so much wild-life we couldn't believe it: a diving bird returning from his catch down under just a few feet from our boat, a Bald Eagle, and some sort of seal who popped up, stared at us, and promptly went back underwater. I didn't even know seal…

My Night at the Senior Center

View of Semiahmoo historic fishing boat near the pier
Nearing the end of the day, we took a slow, three-quarter-mile walk to the Senior Center down on "H" Street. This town is a sleepy retirement town, with a quaint little main strip, cheap gas for the Canadians who come down, and chicks at the local hardware shop. In our little corner of Blaine, there are no fewer than twenty children running around together in the afternoons, and people outside walking their dogs or doing yard work. It seems that my 'feeling' of it being a family-friendly, safe place to live is actually true
I had heard rumors of, and then confirmed my suspicions, that Blaine is also a place where people value those who make up the community. Every week, from 5-7PM on Wednesdays at the Senior Center, there is a Community Meal, where anyone and everyone are welcomed and fed.  I haven't gotten all the details on how this started, but just in one year, the group has swelled from about 15 to now …

A Rough Week

A baby crab
We are slowly discovering the culture and what the Pacific Northwest has to offer, more and more everyday. We have places to go, things to see, and people to meet. This has helped our transition to a different part of the country so much; the invitations for dinner, the beauty of the seascape, and even what a decent end-of-winter feels like with rain instead of late snowfalls. We've come at a good time. We're 'getting out there' and getting our feet wet (literally, me in the Vibrams) exploring nature and also meeting new people.

Last week, however, was a killer.
A morning view of the Blaine public fishing pier

Not one to miss the irony of a dose of my own medecine, but the past month and a half of Stefan's long hours had finally caught up with me and it was taking an extreme toll on Thursday and Friday. I know part of the problem was because it happens every month (ahem) that I get a little bit irritable, snarky and overly tired. The other part was simpl…