January 06, 2004

Sunrise in Claremont ...

images/0106062004cm_001 While on the island, we had been treated to several days of beautiful morning skies. Well, southern California wasn't going to be outdone. This morning's was beautiful.

Our weather has been cool and crisp, unlike the island, which had 4" of snow today, after several inches yesterday. Our good friend Ian at ByDesign in Friday Harbor has some excellent images at San Juan Update worth like. He's one of his image:

Image from Ian Byington.

08:34 PM in Daily Life Thoughts, Island Life | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 30, 2003

On Island Commerce ...

I doubt that anyone would dispute that we live in an interconnected world of 24x7 news via any number of sources: satellite, Internet (wired or wireless) and cell phones. We can shop anytime day or night and have the product within a few days -- even here on an island.

It is easy to let our "fingers do the shopping." But, is it really good for the local economy? When we are in Claremont, we are often "sucked" into the technology of ordering online, rather than facing the traffic or hassle of getting whatever we need.

Here on the island -- there are people's livelihoods, which depend upon us. You pass the owner of the shop in the grocery store. You may sit next to them in church or at a town meeting -- you are confronted with the reality that we are interconnected in the success or failure of these businesses.

During the past days, we've shopped at both the local hardware stores -- finding essentially everything that we needed. Likewise, the two markets have everything we could need or want.

I found a tremendous selection of tea at the local gourmet store -- making me re-think how I view my tea preferences (more on that in a later posting).

Even before coming to the island, were avid booklovers and we have two wonderful bookstores

Griffin Bay Bookstore
40 1st Street
Friday Harbor, WA

Harbor Bookstore
22 Cannery Landing
Friday Harbor, WA

Each offer a different feel and orientation. Their selections are wonderful and I discovered when Griffin Bay does their ordering and for the most part, I can have the book by Wednesday. Which got me thinking. If I ordered the same book via Amazon, in order to get the book on Wednesday, I would have to pay an extra $6.53 over the $12.95 list price of the book for a total of $19.48.

Ordering via Griffin Bay creates fewer wasted resources. If I had purchased the book via Amazon, there is all the packaging and freight. Granted Griffin Bay receives a shipment, but it consists of more than one book and thus is more efficient.

We had stopped in Harbor Books and had a specific book in mind. After discussing the book with Lad, he suggested another, which was much more what we had been seeking. Sure it is nice to read the reviews on Amazon and don't think that we don't read the reviews then call up our local bookstore -- viral marketing is a very interesting tool to be sure -- but I like the old fashion way of asking the store clerk or owner, "so what did you think of this book." We've never been steered wrong.

To this end, we’ve decided to remove the Amazon booklist and partnership tool from our site. Instead, support your local merchants and booksellers. Check out Booksense <http://www.booksense.com> for a listing of the independent bookseller nearest you. Besides our two local bookstores, I also found two more that are a ferry ride away

Islehaven Books & Borzoi (9.9 miles)
210 Lopez Road, Lopez Island, WA 98261

Islehaven Books is a general bookstore in the San Juan Islands near the US & Canadian border. It serves a small but literate community augmented seasonally by visitors from throughout the country & world and reflects the resultant diverse interests.

Darvill's Bookstore (9.9 miles)
296 Main Street, Eastsound, WA 98245

Another excellent resource is the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association -- < http://www.pnba.org/memstate03.htm> that has an extensive list of “hometown bookstores.”

For southern California “hometown bookstores” the Southern California Bookseller Association website has a nice list: <http://scba.bookpage.com/scba_store_list.shtml>

01:44 PM in Island Life | Permalink

December 28, 2003

Picture Perfect Day ...

Today we had a beautiful sunrise, which was followed by an equally beautiful images/013_holidaysunset. It was a beautiful day -- one of those picture perfect skies with gray and white clouds. A cool breeze in the area, perfect weather for a walk in the woods and around town.

When the wind starts to blow, you can feel the cold wind from the north. The next day or two should be very beautiful with a daytime high of 39° and a low of 20°. However, when the wind blows, the "feel like" is 30°.

04:34 PM in Island Life | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Walk in the Woods

A short walk into the woods and this wonderful images/011_holidayview of Friday Harbor. This view is from the grounds of the University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories which V2tW looks onto. Michellie especially enjoys the woods as she frequently spots deer from the deck.

The view of the woods is always quite nice, however, the images/012_holidayview from within the woods -- well that can be very nice as well. Besides the log-pole-pines, we have Madrona's which stand is stark constant to everything around them.

Today was a perfect day for exploring the woods not more than a few hundred feet away. Krissy and Michellie walk much further around -- discovering even more than I did. We all felt our hearts pounding, the cool air -- all very relaxing and energizing.

04:30 PM in Island Life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Another Beautiful Sunrise

We experienced another beautiful images/005_holidaysunrise this morning. Mom & Dad left on the early San Juan Airlines flight, and I would expect they had a beautiful sky for the flight to SEATAC.

It was a great week with everyone assembled. We had great food, great company and beautiful weather. The island treated us to a variety of weather experiences -- each reinforcing the natural beauty of the area.

Santa was too good to all of us, but, the best gift of all was the simple time of being together.

Friday Harbor, Washington

08:55 AM in Island Life | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 21, 2003

Holiday - Day 3

We experienced a beautiful images/004_holidaysunrise this morning from V2tW -- looks like another beautiful day.

We are busy with finishing up for our Solstice Open House on Monday. Today, we will have 16 hours of darkness, the sunrise was at 8:01am.

08:24 AM in Island Life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Holiday - Day 2

We had a productive day of organizing, shopping and preparing for our Winter Solstice open house on Monday. We did have dinner at images/003_holidayRoche Harbor to watch the boat parade.

The weather has been nice, a bit rainy today, but a nice feel for the holidays.

Michellie seems to be adjusting well, although she doesn't like beening left alone in the car. We have not ventured into leaving at View to the Woods alone -- not sure the neighbors would appreciate this.

images/002_holidayRoche Harbor is charming place on the west side of the island -- about a 30 minute drive from town.

To see more, take a look at our Holiday 2003 Photo album.

Location: Friday Harbor, Washington

07:26 AM in Island Life | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 20, 2003

Winter Solstice 2003

We had the opportunity to experience the winter solstice on the island. The shortest day of the year means 16 hours of darkness this far north -- a new experience for us from the southern west coast.

In practical terms, the sunrise is at 8:01am and the sunset at 4:20pm. We did have a beautiful sunrise with a layer of fog floating across the harbor.


I will admit, it is strange to be up at 5:00am and it is as dark as it was at 7:00pm the night before. Even by 7:00am, only the slightest daylight was starting to be seen in the east.

The December 21, 2003 edition of the Pacific Northwest magazine had a delightful article entitled, In the Luminous Gloom which helped educate us newcomers to these long, dark days:

"The sun rises no higher than 19° from the southern horizon at noon, compared to 66° at noon on the summer solstice."
As the darkness sets in, we feel the effects. Michellie has the best idea, sleep.


The article also point to the variety of activities during the "luminous gloom:"

"Winter light is more than weather here; it is part of an annual balance of bright and dim, active and contemplative, outdoor and in. That first big raft of stratocumulus cruising in from the coast is a cue that sends us back to our books, desks, kitchens and friends."

We quickly adjusted to these long nights -- we realized that starting tomorrow, the nights become shorter -- and that the summer solstice is only 182 days away on June 20th.

Vernal Equinox - March 20th.
Summer Solstice - June 20th.
Autumnal Equinox - September 22nd.
Winter Solstice - December 21st.
Reference: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/box/equinox.html

Location: Friday Harbor, Washington

01:53 PM in Island Life | Permalink

December 19, 2003

Holiday - Day 1

The trip to Boeing Field was uneventful -- exactly what we wanted. Michellie seemed to handle the Alaska Airlines flight from Ontario fine. She seems to like the walking around the airport pretty well.

We are now waiting for our San Juan Airlines flight to Friday Harbor. This will be interesting, because we have three scenarios for Michellie.

  • She sits on free on the plane -- no crate.
  • She's put into her crate because someone on the flight is afraid of her
  • She cannot go on the plane, because a passenger is allergic to her

If the last scenario occurs, then, we charter a plane for the three of us. So we shall see.

Needless to say, we are excited about getting "on island." Our morning started at 3:30am -- too excited and nervous to sleep. The process at Ontario with Michellie was very easy. We checked in and sent all the bags and her crate thru the TSA security. They held her crate till it was time for her to go into the crate. Krissy walked her in the dog area and we sat for a while, till we needed to go thru security to make our flight.

Upon arrival at SEATAC, our bags and Michellie arrived nearly at the same time. There was an assorted of dogs and cats being picked-up by their owners.

We opted to take a cab to Boeing, rather than wait for the shuttle -- a couple of hours -- which Michellie didn't like. We fortunately had a van cab so that all our bags, crate and us would fit.

Location: Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington

Michellie was great on the flight to Friday Harbor. She found a spot between us on the floor and was very calm, especially since we kept a hand petting her the whole 30 minutes.

We unpacked boxes that we'd shipped up. Krissy got her Christmas tree setup and decorations in place. We both can already feel a since of relaxations setting in.

Location: V2tW, Friday Harbor, Washington

08:19 PM in Island Life | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 14, 2003

Small Town Life

We get quite a few questions about Friday Harbor and how it compares to Claremont. Granted, we don't know that much about the island, but, we do know a few facts:

  • Where are we located? Well, here's a map
  • Friday Harbor has a population of 1,989. San Juan Island has a population of 6,724 full-time residents. The entire county, which consists of 14 islands and a population of 13,958.
  • Friday Harbor is located 60nm north of Boeing Field (Seattle).
  • The median age is 40.6
As we prepare for two weeks on the island, we are reminded that "island life" does have some challenges. We have shipped 11 boxes of holiday items already, and I'd assume another box before we fly north on Friday.

You might ask -- "what in the world did you ship?"

Well, a Christmas tree, some books, ornaments, holiday decorations, presents, food items, ceramics dishes and glassware.

Again, you might ask -- "they don't have Christmas trees, grocery stores, etc., on the island?" Well, yes, you can get many things on the island, however, the selection is sometimes not what we are accustom too here in southern California. Some of the items, the ceramics and glassware, we acquired from two of our favorite local artists specifically for the island house.

In terms of the books -- well, we just can't seem to travel without books. Some of the books will not be traveling back with us -- others, they will travel back with us.

Location: Claremont, California

03:30 PM in Island Life | Permalink | Comments (0)