May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day! For today's edition, I thought I would set aside a little space for some words from a mother on the other side of the world. Most of us know that Mother's Day was begun in the US in 1870 as a call for women to rise up and oppose war in all forms. In the spirit of that beginning (and in a deeper, less sentimental sense than today), I offer you these words from Jordan, this mother's day.

I called my mom to tell her thanks & that I love her...I hope you got the chance to, as well. - Ian

Let's Reclaim Mother's Day for Peace

By Queen Noor, Special to CNN

CNN Editor's note: Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan is an international humanitarian activist, a leading voice on issues of world peace and justice, and honorary chair of Rediscover Mother's Day, which celebrates the role of women as peacemakers.

AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- In 1982, during a period of dangerous stalemate in the Middle East peace process, I gave a speech at Georgetown University about the critical need for a more engaged and balanced role for the United States in the region.

The newspapers the next day covered my handbag, my rings, and my dress. When asked about the substance of my message, one U.S. Senator said, "It's a great public relations weapon to have an attractive queen."

Twenty-five years later, the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East still reflects some of the most pressing global challenges confronting the contemporary world -- the stagnant Palestinian/Israeli peace process, the increasingly dangerous conflict in Iraq, the escalation of extremism, the debate over emerging democracies -- all point to the need for visionary and transformative leadership. I firmly believe that peace will only come to the region when mothers find their voice and say of the violence, "Enough is enough!"

Mother's Day -- whether it is the U.S. tradition of celebrating mothers on the second Sunday in May, or on the first day of spring, when we observe the holiday in Jordan -- is universally meant to be a tribute to motherhood and the blessings of peace. In fact, in America the holiday was originally called "Mother's Day for Peace." It was proposed over a century ago by Julia Ward Howe, the famous abolitionist and suffragist, after she witnessed first-hand the terrible bloodshed of the Civil War in America and the Franco-Prussian War in Europe. Howe hoped that the powerful maternal desire for security could shape world events, and she called on mothers of the world to unite against war.

Howe's vision and her call to action could not be more relevant today. As a mother, stepmother and grandmother, nothing is more important to me than the safety of my family. I am not alone. Studies show that women's priority, when given either money or opportunity, is the well-being of their families. They invest their time and devote whatever resources they have to reducing poverty and hunger, improving maternal, child and general health and promoting educational opportunity. That is why the position of women is the best marker of a country's development and stability.

Mothers prove every day, all over the world, that peace and security require cooperation and compassion. Having traditionally occupied a paradoxical position at the heart of society but on the fringes of power, women often bring unique strengths, talents, and perspectives to the quest to resolve conflict and establish freedom. They are willing and able to cut across ethnic, religious and tribal barriers, and break through obstacles through peace in order to do what is best for their families.

It is no coincidence, then, that so many of today's leading peacemakers are themselves mothers. All of us must do everything we can to support their efforts. People like Swanee Hunt, who served as the United States Ambassador to Austria and has spent her life advocating for peace and for the inclusion of women in the peace process through her work and by creating Women Waging Peace. Or Trish Malloch Brown, who travels the world advocating for people affected by war and conflict on behalf of Refugees International. Or Lisa Schirch, the director of the nonprofit 3D Security Initiative, who uses development projects like building schools and water wells to disarm conflicts from Lebanon to Ghana.

But the day has come for something more than individual efforts. Millions of mothers from Nablus to New York and from Baghdad to Beersheba must begin to find common cause in peace and work together to give their quiet power a louder voice. We need a movement of what Naila Bolus of Ploughshares Fund calls "global security moms," who can work within their families and communities, and in national and international arenas to temper extremism and to hold their leaders accountable for decisions that escalate the cycle of violence rather than address underlying problems. Such a movement of mothers would be impossible for our leaders to ignore, and would be more powerful than all the tanks and suicide bombers combined.

So from one mother to many others, let us be silent no longer in the face of war and violence. May all mothers and families around the world be blessed with a happy Mother's Day for Peace.

May 10, 2007

The end is near. No, the end is here: See.

Ariel Gore at the Library: You know, we have really cool stuff happening at the Library, and here's proof. Ariel (right) is coming to speak Saturday at the Library at 6pm - don't miss here! Free & cool! Here's the writeup...her blog is pretty fun, too.

This weekend: Besides the band Heliocentric playing at the Ale House tonight, the Community Theatre is offering Crimes of the Heart this weekend & next & next. It's time for you to check out Farmer's Market at 10am Saturday at the Courthouse parking lot (I didn't see you there last week), and there's the Leo Club's Five-Man Scramble at the Golf Course on Saturday (here's the details - there's food & awards, all benefitting the Leo Club, which is the Junior Lions.)

Elementary school raises “Pennies for Pets”: I wasn't able to go over on Wednesday when the student council presented the check, but my friend Chris sent me the rest of the story:

The Friday Harbor Elementary School student council, during their regular meeting on Wednesday, May 9, presented the Animal Protection Society-Friday Harbor with a check in the amount of $500.01.  These funds represent the collection of pennies by all the classes in the school during the months of February and March of this year.  Chris Sly-Prochnow, APS Board President received the check from council president Katie Lanphere and treasurer Meagan Anderson.  The APS also gave the council members a brief presentation of the services the animal shelter provides to the community as well as the animals in their care.

“When we were contacted by the school it came as a wonderful surprise," said Chris. "We had no idea the children were raising money for the shelter or that they had selected us over other worthwhile causes. Our Board is very grateful for the vote of confidence they have bestowed upon us. Their parents should be very proud.”

Why they do it: You know, I told you how cool the Soroptimists were, raising a bunch of dough at their Bowlathon, but I wanted to add the coolest part of all: The money is used for their program to provide free ferry tickets & transportation help to islanders with cancer to help them meet their doc appointments on the mainland.

I love those guys.

New website: Before you go to Dominique's Clothing's first year anniversary deal at their place tonight at 5:30pm, check out their new website, which, as they say, doth rock.

What happens when they don't study: I know you always

Quote: "The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason." - Hunter S. Thompson

May 10, 2007

Friday Harbor Marine Labs opens up: When I was shooting the pic above a couple of weeeks ago at dusk from the Labs, looking towards the marina where the ferry had just docked, my son and I chatted a bit about how he remembered coming to the Labs' Open Houses since he was so small he couldn't you have your chance, too, next week. Here's the word from Bob at the Labs:

On Saturday, May 19, 2007 the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories (FHL) will hold its Open House.  This event offers a splendid opportunity to meet scientists and students at the Labs and check out the research and teaching facilities.  From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Labs will be open for self-guided tours.  Scientists and students will showcase their marine science research, answer questions and provide demonstrations.  There will be posters, marine plants and animals, electron and confocal microscopes, plankton sampling and observations, and activities for visitors of all ages. FHL Director Ken Sebens will be available to talk about FHL programs and research, and his own research program.

Kids are particularly encouraged to attend with their families.

The public is invited to learn more about the equipment used by scientists, to learn more about marine zoology, botany, fisheries and oceanography.  People can step aboard and tour the 58’ research vessel, the R/V Centennial, and check out its remotely operated vehicle (ROV), oceanographic tools, and high-tech sonar systems. There will be a demonstration of SCUBA equipment including a SCUBA dive from the FHL dock.

Sturdy shoes are recommended because the tour route includes rough dock planks, gravel paths and trails. You can find free popcorn in the tradition of Friday Harbor Laboratories’ Open Houses, and light refreshments will be available in the Dining Hall for a small fee.

FHL’s website provides a detailed overview of FHL’s research, service and educational activities.

Those Soroptimists! They had their Fiesta Bowlathon last Saturday & doggoned if they didn't raise over $16,000 - wahoo! Here's a little portfolio of folks who were there, and there's more info on their website.

That's Judy Cornell & Marie DiCristina, that evening.

Small businesses, unite: There are a set of small business workshops/classes at Skagit Valley College here, starting tomorrow - here's more.

What's going on? Now you know! Hey! Look at the top of the page! I've added a new deal called which, well, isn't a calendar.

What I have done is put together websites from this island that tend to have events & dates & stuff, so they're all in one place for you. Check it out & see what you think...suggestions welcomed, too.

Spririt Guides & Power Animal Class next week: Make your plans to drop in on Walks With Thunder's class at the Spirit Tree next Friday night if you can - here's a writeup about it.

I got to meet him on the ferry after his last class three weeks ago, and found him to be a bright, funny, engaging spirit who has found ways to teach & share.

Animal care: One of the cool things about living on the island is the way folks take care of the animals we share it with...the animal shelter does a super job, the different marine organizations help with both the orcas & the other marine animals, and I just love the way Wolf Hollow looks after our friends who need a bit more help, like the seal at right, in a pic taken by my friend Sahale.

They help rehabilitate the animals they find around the island to get 'em back into the wild...check 'em out on their website, get yourself over to volunteer or donate or otherwise help out.

I'm mentioning this in case you've been living in some cave & didn't know about 'em. Everybody else did, rookie.

Gas rises: The cheap gas at the Big Store is up to $3.86 this morning.

Quote: "Controlled, universal disarmament is the imperative of our time. The demand for it by the hundreds of millions whose chief concern is the long future of themselves and their children will, I hope, become so universal and so insistent that no man, no government anywhere, can withstand it.

"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity. " - Dwight D. Eisenhower

May 9, 2007

Moving on: Brook & Piet Visser dropped by my work yesterday to say hey & let me know they're planning to pack up & move the kids & themselves to Uruguay. They've been pretty active in our island community - in real estate, on the school board, at the bakery & pilates studio, and they'll be much missed. Here's Piet's follow-up note:

Hey Ian - Since I quit my day job, everyone has been asking me what will we do next.

We finally got it figured out. Our plan is to move to Uruguay. A big move but we are looking forward to it. While we get ready to go, we have lots of household stuff for sale. We had an estate sale at the Storage Place last weekend. This was the first of several over the next few months as we shed large amounts of our worldly goods in preparation for our move south. We are also selling our house, check it out, and our businesses., and

We also wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for their prayers and support after Brook's stroke last October. The help and support so willingly offered by the community is what we will miss most. Special thanks to Debbie Dardanelli and Toni Weyel for taking care of our kids in our absence. Knowing they where in good hands meant one less thing for us to worry about. Thank you. - Brook, Piet, Emma, Eli and Erin Visser

Goin' to the chapel: Remember I told you about my friend Archie who performs wedding ceremonies? He just launched his new website - check it out!

That's a pic of him & me doing a wedding a couple of years ago - I'm the one with the guitar.

More real estate news: Remember I mentioned Merri Ann's newsletter last week which said sales were down 19% in the first quarter? For a broader look at that, keep in mind that that quarter was pretty weather-challenged, and that the number of homes in escrow for this quarter is above average, so it'll all probably even out.

Lacrosse dinner on Thursday: It's a fundraiser for the team - here's the scoop!

You're already in the garden anyway - here's more: Kris Bayas at the WSU County Extension tells me the annual plant sale is coming:

Spring Plant Sale May 12th 9-noon! At the WSU Master Gardener Demonstration Garden (across from Marketplace). Support your local Master Gardener Program. Squash, veggies, lots of ornamentals. 4” and gallon sizes. Perfect for Mother’s Day giving. This fundraiser supports your local Master Gardener Program.  Plants –the gift that keeps on living! Contact Kris Bayas at WSU Extension 378-4414 for more information.

New baby on the block: Late last week one of my favorite dentists became a papa - Michael & Jennifer Horn welcomed Lila Grace, which you probably already knew because you drove by his Spring Street office & saw his re-worked sign & all the balloons (left).

Petrol rises: Last time I passed the Big Store, the cheapest price was $3.81 a gallon, and it's been rising...looks like Big Oil wants to exceed last year's record profits with $4/gallon gas this summer. An interesting trend: Americans don't seem to be using less as a result. (That's covered here - here's an article that pretends that light taxing of those record profits doesn't count as a subsidy for people in the US, the biggest gas-guzzlers by far in the world.)

And...for any article to fail to connect all that to climate change has its head in the sand, anyway.

Whale, yes! There's a new baby in J pod, according to everyone who has seen her. (Here's a pic - be sure & scroll down to see her!)

Meanwhile, Pacific grey whales seem to be in decline - why? Here's a BBC report.

Town tour - walking guides: Do you know about the walking tour guide that the Town and our community partners released last summer? I don't think enough people know about it , though it is a wonderful source of local history and stories about many of the Town's historic buildings. There are great pictures of buildings still standing that have been greatly altered over time. Sales will help them to reprint this guide, and hopefully to create and print the next version: Friday Harbor's Historic Neighborhoods and Gardens.

The guides are currently available for sale at the following locations:

Griffin Bay Books
Boardwalk Books
The Town of Friday Harbor
The San Juan Island Historical Society

Soccer bows out: It was a week ago, but it was an epic battle...our Wolverines went to Coupeville in a play-in game (ya win, you get to play in the playoffs). These were the much improved Wolves who beat us in March by a 4-2 margin. We shot, we hustled, we shot some more, but ended our season with a 1-0 loss.

You get some idea of the intensity of the game with Louis Paul's hang time (right, in purple) in the excellent photo to the right sent to me by James Woolbright.

Just wait'll next year.

One year already: Teri & Maureen wanted me to share this with you - hope you'll go, I know I'm dropping by:

Dominique’s Clothing One Year Anniversary Celebration! We would like to invite our island community to join us in celebrating our one year anniversary at Dominique’s clothing. Please join us for a party on Friday May 11th from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m., which will feature live music, refreshments, and appetizers. We will also be having a 25% off the entire store Anniversary Sale from Friday, May 11th – Sunday, May 13th. Thanks everyone for the wonderful support during our first year! Thanks! Teri and Maureen

Quote: "Forgive him, for he believes that the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature!" - George Bernard Shaw

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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