Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Swimming Pool!

This year, instead of giving ourselves gifts for Christmas, Birthday or Anniversary (45 years!!!), we had a pool installed! It’s a lap pool, two meters wide, 15 meters long , 1.3 meters deep and holds approximately 12,000 gallons of water. We heat the pool water with new solar panels on the roof of the house. Even up here in the clouds, we’re able to get the temperature up into the high 70s, perfect for swimming laps. The pump and filter are located under the patio, so we don’t have a pump house obstructing our view, and the system is saltwater which is better for your skin, doesn’t burn your eyes, and is much easier to maintain. Collie, the swimmer in the family has been doing laps nearly every day since completion two weeks ago.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Back to the Pacific Northwest

When I learned that the international calligraphy conference was going to be held in Portland this year I started planning a trip. Calligraphy Northwest was a perfect impetus to pick up my pens again. The last international conference I attended was in Portland in 1991 and held at University of Portland. This year the conference was held on the Reed College campus. The campus grounds are beautiful with many large old specimen trees; a lovely place to stroll between conference events.

Being in Portland was a great opportunity to connect with old friends, so I went 4 days before CNW started. I spent lots of time with my sister Martha too.

We moved from Portland to Bainbridge Island in 1986. I had not seen many of my Good Samaritan Emergency Department co-workers since then. My visit to Portland was the impetus for a Good Sam ED reunion. It was great to see so many of my former colleagues. We shared a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in trenches of the emergency department.

After the conference, I headed to Bainbridge with a friend from the island who drove to Portland to take me back to the island! We had a great long visit during the 3.5-4 hour drive. Norm arrived via SEA-TAC that evening.

We spent a couple of days shopping for things that I didn’t purchase in Portland (sans tax). We also enjoyed some of our favorite island restaurants and excellent home cooked meals by our hosts. We watched the 4th of July parade on the island and listened to our friend play saxophone with his band at the beer gardens. 

King Tut
On Thursday we hopped the ferry to Seattle to take in the King Tut exhibition and the Chihuly Glass and Gardens. The Tut exhibit has been touring the USA and Seattle is the last stop. We saw the exhibit that traveled in the 1970’s also, amazing.

Chihuly Glass

 The Chihuly Glass and Garden is  a brand new and permanent indoor and outdoor installation at the Seattle Center. Both Tut and Chihuly were wonderful. We are so happy that our visit timing allowed us to see Tut again and the new Chihuly garden and glass installation. I especially loved the Indian baskets nested between the stylized glass baskets. We both loved the boats afloat filled with glass and the glass floats (63-67). The large tree like structure seen on images 38 and 39 was filled with gold sea creatures. There are a couple of detail photos (45 and 46).

Bainbridge Island Japanese Exclusion Memorial
On Friday we visited the Bloedel Reserve and Japanese Exclusion Memorial wall on the island. The Japanese Exclusion Memorial was very moving. I still tear up when looking at the photos.

We returned home to our Costa Rican mountain late Saturday night and have been catching up on chores, unpacking, and errands. My plants have really grown and I am already planting cuttings of the sweet potato ornamental vines and cleomes into the weeded areas. It is the green season----sunny mornings and thunderstorms in the afternoons. Perfect for growing and getting new plants settled in. And there was a flock of parrots here today, no doubt checking to see if the guavas are ready yet.

All of our photos can be seen at:
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Saturday, June 2, 2012


On April 29th, we took a nonstop flight from San Jose, Costa Rica to Lima Peru.

The highlight of the trip was the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. It was an incredible two week experience.

You can look for the “Peru & Machu Picchu" link  on our website to see some of the pictures that I took.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Paving Our Driveway

Except for a concrete pad in front of the garage, we have a gravel driveway. It’s  over 100 meters long and three years of 12 to 15 feet of rain per year, combined with many folks who have trouble driving on gravel have had their toll.  It was time to fix it.   Rather than re-grading and adding gravel, we decided to pave it. 
We now have concrete pads in strategic places, and two strips of concrete 32 inches wide with space for grass between for most of the driveway.

That's Mario in the red shirt.
140 fifty kilo bags of cement, 18 cubic meters of base gravel, a rented cement mixer, and four men with wheelbarrows for a little more than a week did the trick.  Mario, our terrific gardener has worked in construction for years, and with the help of local workers from Berlin, he was able to implement Norm's design, with very little supervision.

Now we just need to see if sod will grow between the strips!  But no more mud!