San Juan Island Update - serving San Juan Island, Friday Harbor, and Roche Harbor

December 3, 2007

The Hundred Dollar Christmas.....
I'll admit I didn't believe it. I was talking to a loan officer friend of mine who told me that people actually max out credit cards, borrow against their mortgages, even skip house payments so they can buy stuff for Christmas.

Ya go into debt for that?

Well, do what you gotta do, but I'm not going along with that. For about ten years now, I've celebrated the season by giving gifts and sending cards, just like anyone else, but with a $100 limit. In the words of Bill McKibben, it's not simply about "less stuff," but also about more joy.

So, for today's posting, I'm offering this essay by Bill, which is tons more articulate than I could be about things...see what you think. And give & love & make gifts the best way you know how, and I will, too. Best of the season to you, and Merry Christmas!

"Those were all good reasons to scale back. But as we continued our campaign, we found we weren't really interested in changing Christmas because we wanted fewer batteries. We wanted more joy. We felt cheated by the Christmases we were having -- so rushed, so busy, so full of mercantile fantasy and catalog hype that we couldn't relax and enjoy the season.

"Our growing need to emphasize joy over guilt says a great deal about the chances for Christian radicalism, for religious radicalism in general. At its truest, religion represents the one force in our society that can postulate some goal other than accumulation. In an idolatrous culture, religion can play a subversive role. Churches, mosques, and synagogues almost alone among our official institutions can say, It's not the economy, stupid. It's your life. It's learning that there's some other center to the universe.

"Having that other center can change the way we see the world around us. It's why devoted clergy and laypeople occasionally work small miracles in inner cities and prisons; it's why alcoholics talk about a Higher Power. If we're too big, then perhaps the solution lies in somehow making ourselves a little smaller." - from the essay, A Hundred Dollar Christmas, by Bill McKibben. Here's the whole thing.

December 1, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
Last night the Christmas lights began to come on around town (at right - the light show at Elements...I'm pretty sure you can read by 'em), including lighting the trees up at Memorial Park in the early evening, with a bunch of caroling. Nice start for the season.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, part 2
See the link a the top of this page that says "weather"? Click it to see how things are unfolding - looks like we're getting a little bit of snow, but it's supposed to get pretty warm by Sunday. Good start, though.

Stepping down....
Yesterday was Steve Simpson's last day as Port Director after twenty years on the job.

A lot has been written in other places about his history with the Port and so on & it's all good: Steve is simply one of the finest people around, and he'll be much missed by the folks he's worked with all these years.

He's the best.

Doing better....
I called Sarah Carter to see how she was doing last night...a couple of weeks ago, she was riding her horse bareback, and fell off when the horse was spooked by a deer. Somehow her foot got tangled up in her reins, and she got dragged a bit, and came out of it with a broken leg that's gonna take a while to heal. She's laid up for a good 2-3 months, she tells me, but she can get around a little on her crutches, so you may see her around town. She's one of the tough ones - and she says she's getting a little better every day (and wanted to say thanks to all the people who have called with their good wishes.)

That's a quick photo I took in her college writing class a couple of months ago - seems to me she's always smiling. Get well!

Countrywide & countries-wide......
According to the tracker I use (I actually use three, this is just one), these are all the countries that clicked on your San Juan Update at least once in the past month.

For the countries who aren't regular readers, here's a taste of the Update in Spanish:

Está comenzando a parecer mucho Navidad...
Ayer por la noche las luces de Navidad comenzaron a adelantarse alrededor de ciudad (en la derecha - la demostración ligera en los elementos... que soy bastante seguro usted puede leer por ellos), incluyendo encender los árboles para arriba en el parque conmemorativo por la tarde temprana, con un manojo de caroling. Comienzo de Niza para la estación.

Or French:
Il commence à sembler beaucoup comme Noël...
La nuit passée les lumières de Noël ont commencé à avancer autour de la ville (à la droite - l'exposition légère aux éléments... que je suis assez sûr vous peut lire par 'fin de support), y compris allumer les arbres au parc commémoratif en soirée tôt, avec un groupe de caroling. Début de Nice pour la saison.

Or Finnish:
Se alkaa näyttää paljon joululta...

You get the idea.

November 30, 2007

Basketball game raises $ for the Class of '08....
Last night the FHHS senior class sponsored the visiting Harlem Ambassadors, who put on a show of hot shooting, funny routines, and general silliness in a family-oriented display that helped sell out the gym with islanders on a cold & wet night.

A team of 20+ islanders took a run at the visitors, and had occasional moments of glory, such as when Renee Polda (right, who played for FHHS in the 80s) and Monique Woodward (left, who I believe was all-world or something in Idaho in high school - I'll get back to you on that) put the double-team on one of the visitors. He didn't have a chance.

New owner at King's....
I spoke for a bit with Rachel Ware, the new owner of Marion Ford Weber's King Typesetting - she says the sale was done & handshakes exchanged on November 1st, and that this weekend she'll be moving the operation from its longtime spot on Park Street over to Carter Street....drop by & say hey!

When cooking gets fun....
My pal Tanja Williamson sent me a notice of a set of cooking workshops with a famous off-island guy today & tomorrow...but there's more to this cook than meets the eye. Read this article about the light that makes Tom shine, then come see him. You'll dig this:

Chef Tom French, from Whidbey Island will be in Friday Harbor, FRIDAY, NOV. 30th, at the Friday Harbor Middle School Commons (on Blair Ave., kitty corner to the post office), scheduled from 6:30 pm to as late as 8:30 pm.

Friday will be a presentation, and question and answer session with Tom French (left), who is working along with Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland on a farm-to-institution pilot program in Skagit county. Tom has a well developed presentation about this pilot program, including written handouts explaining the pilot program to take home and look at after the presentation. The subjects of financing, menu planning, prep, insurance, and other topics will be addressed.

SATURDAY DEC. 1, Tom is scheduled to be at the Friday Harbor Farmers Market at the FH Grange, during market hours, and for about an hour or so afterward. The hour afterward will be especially reserved for farmers to talk with Tom about the pilot program currently happening in Skagit county introducing local foods into local schools and institutions. Event times are Friday 11/30 from 6:30 -8:30 pm in the Middle School commons, FH, and Saturday 12/1 during, and right after, the Farmers Market at the Grange.

This event is sponsored by the members of the newly forming San Juan Island Land and Sea Slow Food convivium. Information on Slow Food and an email sign up sheet will be available at both events. For questions, call Linda Degnan Cobos at 317-5890.

Home Trust adds new staff....
The Home Trust's Executive Director Nancy DeVaux has filled departed Carrie Lacher's position with two able replacements - Janna Gingras will be helping with bookkeeping, and Jackie Riley (right, on right, with Nancy) will serve as Nancy's assistant & receptionist.

The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else. - Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyperreality

November 29, 2007

Who needs football on television for Thanksgiving?
Not these guys. My pal Lillan took the picture & reports from last week:

Hey, Ian! Attached is a pic of a bunch of guys that got together to re-invent the Turkey Bowl on thanksgiving day - thought it might be fun.

The guys included: (Top row, left to right): Timmy Cumming (FHHS '06), Spencer Satin ('07), Brock Polda ('08), Danny Cumming ('04), Tyler Roberts ('05), Brit Banry ('06).
(Bottom row, left to right): Trent Roberts ('07), Chris Benz ('06), Eric Rothlisberger ('06), Matt Rothlisberger ('07), Cole Franklin ('07), Winslow Cobos ('05), and Willie Burns ('07).
Thanks, Lillan

Out on the farm....
You probably look at it every day, but just in case you haven't for a while, I wanted to let you know the Agricultural Resources Committee has a fine web page with a ton of dates, events, ideas, and more on it....check it out here!

Islander Robert Felthous (left) passed away Sunday at the age of 87 (he had moved to Stanwood with Agnetta to a senior home there)....he'll be missed. Here's the rest of the story.

Another job for you...
Merritt over at the Community Theatre says he's looking for a Theatre Costume Shop Manager - here's the scoop:

San Juan Community Theatre is seeking a costume shop manager for 12 hours a week. Maintain and track inventory; clean and mend costumes as necessary; buy and stock supplies; assist volunteers in pulling, building and returning show costumes; rent costumes to general public; enhance effectiveness and efficiency of shop operations. To apply, contact Merritt Olsen, Executive Director, 378-3211 ext. 29, Application deadline: December 10.

Happenings on Friday....
Tomorrow there are a couple of things happening:

"Winter Wonderland" Holiday Celebration Begins! The Holiday festivities begin on Friday, November 30, at 5:00pm with the official San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce Memorial Park Tree Lighting Celebration in Friday Harbor. Enjoy carolers, cookies, cider, and treats handed out by the Chamber Elves, as the two Elm trees are lit. Immediately following this ceremony, stroll down Front Street for the Port of Friday Harbor tree lighting.

Meanwhile, at the Ale House, two bands are playing (click on their links to find out more from their MySpace pages): Be Careful from here and The Solvents from downsound. See ya there!

Last chance to catch "Doubt"...
It's tonight, tomorrow, and closing on Saturday (not Sunday, as you may have read elsewhere) at 7:30pm at Roche Harbor. That's Dan Mayes at left in a show that will shake your sense of certainty....

My friend Jill tells me we have been lucky enough to be one of the first communities to get the rights to this fascinating show. If you've already seen it, go again (I'm gonna.) If you haven't seen it, don't miss it. Seriously. Don't.

Clean energy or whales - how to choose?
That's the name of this article in the Christian Science Monitor which echoes the discussion mentioned yesterday about salmon & whales. (Here's the article.) The whole thing strikes me as just a little nutty - if "it" (whatever it is - energy, salmon, dams, pollution, whatever) is bad for the killer whales, how thick do ya have to be to figure out it ain't good for humans either? We need scientists to tell us this? C'mon....

Say hey to Rocky....
The masthead at the top of this page was shot over at the Labs when I was driving by (driveby shooting), of my friend who watched me while I watched him.

The picture below is of a raccoon that seems to have gotten on the bad side of the law.

Today's quotes are a collection a friend sent me by a number of the foremost progessive thinkers of the past century (and a couple from before that, or whenever Plato was hangin' around - see what you think:

Ansel Adams: It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save our environment.

Kurt Vonnegut: If people insist on living as of there is no tomorrow, there really won't be one.

Chinese proverb: One generation plants the trees, the next gets the shade.

Maggie Kuhn: Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.

Bob Marley: Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.

Emma Goldman: The most violent element in society is ignorance.

Booker T Washington: You can't hold a man down without staying down with him

Howard Zinn: No flag is large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.

George Bernard Shaw: There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?

Molly Ivans: It's hard to convince people that you're killing them for their own good.

Plato: The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men.

Jimi Hendrix: When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.

November 28, 2007

Way to go, dude....
This really is the way to go - here's a flight plan from my friend Craig at Kenmore Air:

It's the Kenmore Air Express January Advance Purchase Sale - Plan ahead and save big! Choose any flights between Friday Harbor Airport and Seattle Boeing Field from January 7 to February 10, 2008, and book them between December 10 and December 31, 2007, for only $75 each way! That's every seat on every flight . . . just don't wait till the last minute! Special advance purchase fares must be booked directly through Kenmore Air in person at the airport, via phone at 866.435.9524, or online at; not available through travel agents. Flights not eligible for Frequent Flyer credit.

Here's the other special they're running in December, from their website:

The sleigh may be traditional, but the airplane is way faster, and warmer too! Let Kenmore Air Express whisk you to downtown Seattle in about an hour for a day of world-class holiday shopping — all at a fare that will keep your inner elf jolly: just $120 roundtrip! This special Holiday Express daytrip fare is available every Saturday from November 10 through December 22. And a complimentary shuttle from Boeing Field to downtown Seattle and back is included!

Rites set....
There will be a memorial service for Trina Terry at 2pm on December 9th at Roche Harbor.

How we look from Montana....
Here's an article from the Great Falls newspaper Wow. Didn't know we were such a big deal. Here's more.

November 27, 2007

Animal Shelter Open House.....
It's next weekend on the 8th! Drop by from 1-4pm for fun & prizes (be careful, you might win a dog!) Here's more.

That's APS director Leslie Byron with a friend at the shelter.

Everybody wins...
Last week the Lions' raffle for the supermarket shopping spree was won by John Bostrom (here's a picture of him, with his mom) he's a realtor over at Windermere (here's his webpage - click here to buy a house), but he's in shape so, he ran the thing on Tuesday and gathered in $620 worth of chow in four minutes. Wahoo!

He tells me he's gonna pass what he got on to the Banrys, the Food Bank, and to HeadStart. That rocks.

Turkey Trot rocks....
While you were getting ready for Thanksgiving Day, that morning 99 islanders were warming up to run the annual Turkey Trot that starts & ends next to the Best Western...this year's race was won by FHHS frosh Nick Roberts (right), with Ross Lockwood the next islander over the line in third place, while Pam Stewart took second in the women's side. Here's more from Clark Gilbert's running blog.

Away from the fires....
The fires in Malibu took on a local angle last week, when Alex Shapiro discovered a place she used to live in's more, from her blog.

This week at the BPT...
The Benefit Players present "The Fantasticks" at The Benefit Players Theater, corner of Tucker Ave and Guard Street in Friday Harbor at 7:30 on November 30, Dec. 1 and 2.

Feed the orcas, blow up a dam....
Several leading scientists, including Ken Balcomb from the Center for Whale Research, Howie Garrett from the Orca Network, David Bain from the Labs & former Whale Museum director Rich Osborne, say four dams need to be restored along the lower Snake River to help improve the salmon run which, in the end, feeds the orcas on the west side of the island. Here's more from Exit Stage Right.

Back from Canada....
It was nice to see Lenore & John (right) on the way home from Victoria this past weekend.

Pony Club fundraiser this weekend!
Nancy Young from the Pony Club says this is gonna be fun (and tells a little about the Pony Club):

The Grinch will be appearing in Friday Harbor on Saturday December 1 at "Breakfast With Santa" at the Mullis Senior Center. He will perform a short version of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas", along with all the Whos in Whoville. All the children in the audience are invited to sing along and help the Whos prevail over the nasty green Grinch.

Doors open at 10 am. for pictures and face painting . A special breakfast will be cooked by the staff of Downrigger's Restaurant. Professional photographs of Santa and the children, taken by Anne Sheridan Photography, will be available for $10. A team of make-up artists will be face painting young and old.

Pony Club members will be selling tickets in the community over the next 2 weeks. All tickets must be purchased in advance at Downriggers Restaurant or by calling Deb Eschelman at 370-5957. Tickets cost $15 per person with the $10 photo option.

This event is a fundraiser to benefit the instructional program of the San Juan County Pony Club. Pony Club is an organization which began in Great Britain to teach children to have fun safely with horses. Our members range in age from 7-20 and are a shining example of how children of all ages can work together to learn and teach each other all aspects of horsemanship.

Our club provides regular bi-weekly mounted instruction for all members appropriate to their level of experience. Members also attend off-island Northwest regional events such as rallies and clinics. Our instructional program includes a local summer pony club camp, with lessons offered by nationally rated instructors.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

November 26, 2007

More wreaths left...
They'll look good on your home or office door!

For the first time since I can remember, the seniors have a few left over after selling them at the Artisan's Holiday Marketplace Friday & Saturday - senior mom Deborah Nolan says call her at 378-3364 & she's happy to get one delivered to you!

That's Clinton Gauthier at the wreath-making party on Wednesday last week. He's pretty focused - always keeps his head in his work.

When I coached FHHS junior Zack Hays in basketball back in grades 6 & 7, we got to go to the mainland nearly every weekend for two and half months for our games in Mount Vernon. You get to know the kids and their parents pretty well during those trips - his dad Keith always had a joke and a smile for the guys, and was the guy I could count on to have $5 for the kid who forgot his money or a ride if he needed one. His mom Trina was pretty proud of the pictures she took (that's Zack with the guys then, he's got a blue headband) for the Update and to show others - she was always proud of her kids, and reminded me for all the world of a mama bear looking after her cubs.

That's her when I ran into her at the Roche Harbor Fourth of July activities this summer.

Keith passed away back in 2004, and Thanksgiving morning we got the news that Trina had been fatally injured in a car accident early Thursday...there's more about that on the Roche Harbor News, posted by Chris Watling on Friday morning. When I find out more about when the memorial service will be held, I'll let you know. In the meantime, keep her mom Bobbi, and the kids, Zack, Bryan, and Jessie, in your thoughts and prayers.

Photo exhibit & free massages at Lavendera Day Spa...
Jen at Lavendera tells me it's a happening on Friday night:

Lavendera Day Spa is pleased to present the inspiring Photography of Michael Bertrand. This two hour show is being held at Lavendera Day Spa, 440 Spring Street and will begin at 6:30pm on the evening of November 30th. It is free and open to the public.

Beverages will be provided as well as a free fifteen minutes of massage to anyone who attends.

Basketball game on Thursday -
Just a reminder - that basketball game at FHHS with the Harlem Ambassadors is Thursday at 7, with pre-game at 6:15pm. It's a fundraiser for the Class of 2008, with $10 tickets available at Nash Brothers Sporting Goods or by calling 378-3364.

Gonna be fun - see ya there!

Claudia's mouse plays the piano....
Everybody needs a little music this holiday season, and Claudia at Island Studios is providing a little bit with this mouse who plays the piano - he'll play any song you want, as you can see in this video I shot of her putting the music in front of him, which he plays:

More music - Tom & Dick are up for a music award at LAMA....
It's cool when our local guys get a little recognition for the good music they make - here's the scoop (you can hear the songs here):

Friday Harbor residents Tom Doenges and Richard Hieronymus have been nominated by the Los Angeles Music Awards for Independent artists/writers(LAMA) for two songs they co-wrote. Tom Doenges (aka Tom Henry) performed and produced both songs and has been invited to attend this event.

The songs are entitled "ALL TIED DOWN" and "THE SHUTUP SONG." These songs can be heard along with others on a website called "broadjam". The songs can be played by going to the web site.

The nomination can be found at:

The merit of the songs is figured by of number of hits and strength in the independent artist web sites along with and some other notable sites.

This event will be televised locally in Los Angeles the evening of Nov. 29th expecting to reach over 1 million people. Many celebrates will be in attendance.

Richard Hieronymus and Tom Doenges have worked together over the past 15 years on feature film scores such as Molly and the Ghost and The Meanco Project.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
Douglas Adams

The information here is simply stuff we here at By Design think is important around Friday Harbor or on San Juan Island.

Some of it is news, some of it is old news, and all are just things we wanted to mention, with most of it about the things that make living here great.

There will be more next week, if anything happens.

Ian Byington

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