Sunday, December 29, 2013
Christmas Day brought Jack, Sue and Ellen to Southworth for a relaxing day of conversation and good food. Calvin patiently put up with the older generation. I insisted on a ham for dinner as it was our family tradition. Ellen split her time in Southworth and Olympia. We had a short extended Bulthuis get together in Lynden later in the week.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
On Sunday evening, we enjoyed the traditional Christmas Eve clam chowder and gift exchange with the family. Markus and Steph were in Sri Lanka. The girls were excited but patient as we all opened our gifts. A highlight was a surprise iPhone 5s which I gave to Esther. She had no idea and surprisingly was very excited about it. It's hard to imagine that we have held off all these years. It's hard for a Dutchman to shell out that much for a phone.
Our Christmas celebrations this year started with a quick trip to Bellingham as soon as school was dismissed. Ada participated in a ballet performance "We Danced Our Best for Him" at the Mt. Baker theater. She was a dancing donkey and did her daddy proud. The whole performance was very good. The emotion and message gave a great start to our Christmas festivities. It was a short trip to Lynden as we decided to celebrate a gift exchange with Bjorn and Jenny in Southworth as they made their way to Oregon.
Monday, December 09, 2013
The day before Thanksgiving, Calvin returned home from his Asian adventures. After graduating from ICU and working in Tokyo for the summer, he went to India with Sassa to visit the orphanage where she volunteers. After Sassa left to go back to school, Calvin traveled alone around India and Thailand for a month. You can read much more at
http://calvineb.wordpress.com. It is good to have him home after so long. He celebrated his first Thanksgiving in four years. While continuing to do some free lance work by correspondence, he is looking for full time work here. hopefully, he can find something that incorporates interpretation and translation.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Fourteen and a half years ago John Snell was hired as the youth pastor at Harper Church. Bjorn was in junior high. Over the many years that John and Sugar served at our church, they have greatly influenced the spiritual lives of hundreds of young people. Our sons are no exception. Each one of our boys were closely connected to the youth group and spent a lot of time with John and Sugar: worshipping, praying, learning, gaming, and traveling. Esther and I are eternally grateful for God's work in our sons' lives through the ministry of John and Sugar. Esther and I also became friends with John and Sugar and enjoyed many hours with them. Today, Harper said goodbye to this beloved family. John will become the senior pastor of a church in Kent, Washington. We are very excited for them. We will miss them, but we wish them the best in their new home.
Monday, November 18, 2013
For twenty-seven years we have lived on the Kitsap Peninsula as kinship loners, having no relatives nearby. All of that changed this month when Doug and Nancy Peak moved from Arizona to join us on the peninsula. Nancy is Esther's second cousin; and after living in Mexico and Arizona for the past twenty-five years, Doug accepted a job as a GED teacher at the Washington Correction Center for Women in Purdy. He has been working in corrections for the past ten years in Arizona. While feeling a little chilled, they are excited to be in the Northwest, close to both of their families. Doug and Nancy have been living with Esther and I for the past two and half weeks as they looked for a home to rent. Tonight they spent their first night in their new home in uptown Gig Harbor. It is a convenient location for Doug's commute, and Nancy hopes to get a job in Tacoma which is a quick trip across the bridge. Welcome to Kitsap Doug and Nancy.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
My enjoyment of Autumn is always hindered by a subconscious nagging that my boat needs to be put away for the summer. When the chore is accomplished, I can embrace the season without restraint. Today I can fully embrace the beauty of Autumn. Last weekend Tim helped me pull up the mooring anchor and trailer the boat. This weekend I cleaned up a very scummy hull. A maritime friend was telling me about an invasive species of mussels from Asia that is becoming prolific in the Sound. Well, I found them on my hull, plugging up through holes and clinging to any metal bolts or nuts. The boat is ready for a cover and the winter, safely beside the house.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
We got our grandparent fix this weekend. Bjorn and Jenny went to Vancouver Island for a wedding, so we were recruited to take care of the girls for two days. The weather was great, so we were able to do lots of activities outside. After enjoying the Seahawks game at Mike and Marti's, we walked over to the neighbor's country pumpkin patch to indulge in some agritourism. On Columbus Day, we dragged the girls to see mom and then checked out the newest Eide Homes in Bellingham and Birch Bay. Of course, a stop at the park and McDonalds was our concession to their active needs. It was fun to once again spend time with our granddaughters who are growing up so fast.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
We waited until the last minute to decide on a destination for our anniversary weekend this year. We had Victoria on our mind, but we wanted to wait to see what the weather brought. As the weekend approached, it became evident that a dry weather destination would be preferable. Booking a stay late meant that there wasn't much available in Leavenworth. So we decided to do Leavenworth on Saturday, stay in Pateros in a motel that we really enjoy, and then go to Winthrop on Sunday and return on the North Cascades Highway. A couple of hours in Leavenworth was enough and then it was off to pick up our annual box of apples at Smallwood Orchard. Esther always enjoys some time at the antique mall in Cashmere, so I got an afternoon nap in the car. The sunny weather held through the evening as we enjoyed a walk and dinner in Pateros. The next morning we made our way through the Methow Valley to Winthrop. It had been at least ten years since we last visited and decided that not much had changed. Esther did find a decorative treasure in one of the stores and we got to watch the first half of the Seahawks humiliating Jaguars in a Mexican restaurant. Unfortunately, the pass was clouds and rain, though we caught a few glimpses of the majestic mountains towering the highway.
Monday, September 02, 2013
We spent another Labor Day weekend hanging out at the Cain Lake and having a shellfish BBQ. Weather was better than expected, which gave the swimmers and boaters lots of time in the water. Everyone was able to make it for part of the weekend. Markus and Steph had to miss the BBQ and of course Calvin was in Japan; but we did get to Skype him at the cabin. It looks like we will start school on time this week though we had a nervous week as the teachers had voted to strike if a contract was not agreed on by September. Fortunately, the union and district had a tentative agreement by Friday night, and everyone could enjoy the weekend.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
This being the last week before I go back to school, I decided to take advantage of an unusually windy morning and head to Elliot Bay. The wind was moderate throughout the morning and I made it to Alki lighthouse in a couple of hours. Getting past the point and into the Bay provided a challenge because of the weakening wind and contrary current. Once in the bay, I headed for the city waterfront as I had never sailed that far into the bay. Fortunately, traffic was light; but unfortunately, the wind died. I motored back out to the sound and the late afternoon wind really picked up providing a delightful sail home. My GPS recorded 24 miles of ground under my hull for the day. Who knows how much water!
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
After years of suggestion from Esther, we finally decided to tackle a flagstone patio for our front yard. We often use the area in our attempts to enjoy the sun, but avoid a prevalent north wind off the water. I was reluctant to make a patio here because of what lies beneath (part of the septic system:) I assumed it would be a three to four day project. One day to excavate, one day to level the sand, and one or two days to lay the flagstone. Right! more like eight days! The first two days went as planned, but placing the stones was an extremely tedious process of guess and check, cut and chisel, and then get lucky once in a while. In the end, we were quite pleased with the result. Now we'll see how it holds up.
Thursday, August 01, 2013
We brought the girls to Lynden this week and celebrated Esther's birthday and John and Kay's anniversary in Greenwood style. On Monday, Esther and I went up to Vancouver for the day. It had been three years since we had been to the city. We rented bikes near Stanley Park and rode about 20 miles around the park and city using the sea wall and designated bike lanes. We went around Stanley Park and False Creek, then to Grandville Island and back over to Gastown and Canada Place. We ended the day with some very spicy Thai food and got back to Lynden in time to help tuck the girls in bed. Tuesday was spent picking blueberries, fixing the sewer leak and cleaning out the pen for the arrival of Elvis and Elron, the new Greenwood goats. Wednesday evening we all enjoyed the feast that Marti and Jenny prepared in honor of Esther and John and Kay.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Farmor Esther and I have been enjoying Ada and Ruby's stay with us this week. The great weather has given us the opportunity to do lots of water related activities. Southworth beach, Long Lake, Jackson Park train ride, the Nelson trampoline and the Southworth kiddie pool. It is amusing to observe the two of us drop back into familiar parenting roles of twenty years ago. There are differences of course, but we do find ourselves defaulting to old routines. These days it's girls rather than boys, but with these two, it is no less active.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
At the end of every summer, one of ouir regrets is usually that we didn't do more hiking. After church today we drove to Chinook Pass and took the short 3.5 mile Naches Loop Trail. It was perfect for the day. Getting a late start, we wanted to get to the alpine meadows before hiking rather than after two hours of hiking through the woods. The wildflowers were just beginning to put on their annual show and the weather was actually warmer than in the valley. We left Enumclaw with 67 degrees and arrived at Chinook summit with 80 degrees. We took the long way home passing through Packwood and Morton.
Friday, July 19, 2013
Our annual pilgrimage to the lavender fields usually occurs a few weeks after the big festival, trying to avoid the crowds. Being used to crowds this year (Tokyo) we decided to go the first of the three festival days. The weather was great and we wanted to reward ourselves after a week of work. The crowds weren't too bad and we visited the arts and crafts fairs as well. Esther found a beautiful necklace and I realized that it was an opportunity for an upcoming birthday gift. We enjoyed a twenty mile bike ride on the Discovery Trail and Esther picked her bundles of lavender.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Calvin and Bjorn made a breakfast of cabbage and eggs, an improvement over the rice ball on the go. We spent a little time packing up before going on a bike ride in the ICU neighborhood. It was wonderful to see where Calvin does his jogging, eating and shopping. We would have tackled a bigger ride but the 90 degrees and high humidity got to us fast. Our last meal in Japan was at a ramen shop close to campus that Calvin often frequents. After picking up our luggage, Calvin brought us by bus to catch an airporter to Narita. It was hard saying goodbye to Calvin, not really knowing when we will see him next. The bus ride to the airport was very enjoyable as we took surface roads and freeways right through the heart of Tokyo. The elevated freeways helped give a 'lay of the land' to a world we had been roaming in through tunnels for the last several days. A bridge across Tokyo Bay gave us a great view of the city. We had a good flight back to the US, getting lots of sleep over the Pacific. As the trip ends, we feel a great sense of gratitude for the opportunity to have experienced the time with Calvin and Sassa and the great country of Japan.
Tuesday, July 09, 2013
We had to suspend breakfast for several hours as we made our way across Tokyo to the Tsukiji Fish Market. Tsukiji is the largest fish market in the world with every imaginable sea creature for sale. We had to dodge forklifts and couriers as we strolled through the aisles and aisles of styrofoam packaging and sea tanks. The one stipulation Calvin had for the visit to the fish market was to eat raw fish. We squeezed into a tiny restaurant and I actually ate raw tuna and urchins. It was actually pretty good. The urchin was even a little sweet. On our way home we stopped to see the Imperial Grounds. By then the 90 degrees and humidity were getting to us. Some last minute shopping gave us a cool down in the air conditioning. In the evening we were invited to Dan and Caroline Brennan house at TEAM mission house for some BAKED salmon. It was nice to ride bikes home the three miles in the cool of night - our last night in Japan
Monday, July 08, 2013
Another day exploring Tokyo districts. A slower get up and a home cooked breakfast got us out the door a little later. Calvin secured bicycles for all four of us to ride to the train station (one less bus to ride). We met a friend of Bjorn's who works in the Roppongi district. The young men went to lunch and Esther and I found a Starbucks and saw the US embassy. Next it was off to the Shibuya district with it's trendy boutique shops. We really enjoyed the bookstore. After dinner we moved to the Shinjuku district to check out the night life. We also went to the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for a view of the city. It is quite impressive with nothing but city as far as you can see. 33 million people in the greater Tokyo/Yokohoma area and most of them are using the public transit system.
Sunday, July 07, 2013
It is estimated that less than 1 percent of Japan is Christian. In our travels so far we have seen very little evidence of Christianity. Maybe one church was spotted each day. Today we were given a glimpse into the Japan church. Most Japanese churches are very small - less than 50 people. Calvin had an important test (Japanese Language Proficiency) that he needed to take today, so we went to Sassa's church which was having a joint service with two other churches. The three Calvary Chapel churches met in a local park. After being picked up by someone from Sassa's church and seeing their facility, we were driven to the park with others from the church. The church supports itself by operating an all day preschool. The joint service was very enjoyable, worshipping with fellow believers from a different culture. The Japanese pastor preached and it was interpreted into English. The church was very welcoming and we met some great people. We ate lunch with them before heading off to Calvin's church. We said good bye to Markus as he left to get back to work Monday in Seattle. Jesus Lifehouse is a progressive Hillsong church in the heart of Tokyo. It is very energetic with a club like atmosphere. It has a strong sense of mission to reach the young urban professional. It was great to experience Calvin's place of worship, even though he couldn't be there. He finished up about the time we did, so we met at Shinjuku Station. Sassa joined us as we enjoyed a tonkatsu dinner, one more culinary experience to add to our trip.
Saturday, July 06, 2013
Today was a shopping day. Calvin brought us to the Ginza district which is pretty much downtown. We were hoping to see an act of kabuki theater, but the line was too long to make it worth it. Instead, we did a lot of shopping. We also went to a very old garden along Tokyo Bay that was used for duck hunting by the Edo shogun. For supper, Calvin took us to the ramen shop where he worked. It was very delicious. We dragged our weary bodies back to Calvin's apartment, just missing the last bus and having to take a taxi.
Friday, July 05, 2013
A relaxing morning in the House of Light included a home made breakfast with a combination of Japanese and American dishes. It was raining pretty hard but the warm temperature and the huge wrap around veranda made it refreshing. The hostess was a little anxious to see us leave on time as a wedding party was scheduled for that day. While Esther and Sassa took the first trip to the family house in town, the boys and I took a walk through some of the nearby field art. After a short time at the house we went to two museums in town. One was a small kimono manufacturing site with a fabric and figurine gallery. The other one was a large museum with sculpture and conceptual art. My favorite was a dark room with a lighted model train riding a track with objects place next to and around the track. As the train moved the objects projected giant moving shapes on the walls of the room. Sassa's mom treated us to a curry lunch in the museum dining area. While the others went back to the house, Calvin and I went to pick Aki and Tsugumi up from school with Megumi. We were able to tour the school as classes had finished for the day but most of the students were still there at clubs. I was a little surprised at the facilities, expecting them to be filled with technology. Aside from a computer lab, it looked much like a classroom thirty years ago. Just a blackboard for instruction. The teachers all shared a common office room because the class stayed put and the teachers rotated. After saying good bye to Sassa's family, we headed back to Tokyo as our Rail Pass expires tonight. We really enjoyed our time in Tokamachi. Sassa's family were wonderful hosts and such fun to get aquainted with. The valley in which they live is beautiful. I hope that we can return some time and enjoy it some more. As we got off the train in Tokyo there was great commotion and crowds of people waiting for someone important. It wasn't us, it was the Emperor. We joined the crowds and had the unexpected treat of seeing the Emperor as he past by into a private tunnel.
Today was our opportunity to meet Sassa's family. From Osaka we took the bullet train to Tokyo and then another one to the Western slopes of the Japanese Alps. The crossing of the mountains was more like passing through the bottom of them as much of the trip was in tunnels. Sassa's family lives in the Shinano Valley in Nigatta Prefecture. What a contrast from the endless urban sprawl of the Eastern coast! Lush forested mountains tower over a broad river valley filled with rice fields. Small communities dot the landscape. The area is also host to many art displays. The Maruyama family rented an amazing lodge on the mountain side for us to share with them for a night. The lodge is a work of art. It is called the House of Light, and though it features traditional Japanese style, it was designed by American architect James Turrell to celebrate different features of light. Some highlights are a retractable roof that exposes a square dome and a large Japanese bath illuminated by phosphorescent light. We enjoyed a meal of sushi and torijiru soup while getting to know each other through our interpreters, Calvin and Sassa. A soak in the unique bath prepared our bodies for a peaceful sleep.
Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Staying in hostels definitely puts one in close contact with other travelers. Such was our experience in Hiroshima. We picked up a traveling companion for the morning. Adam just finished his two and a half year service with the Peace Corp. in Bulgaria and was doing some travel on his way home to Atlanta. The skies over Hiroshima were the familiar liquid grey of the Pacific Northwest. We took a short train ride and ferry to Miyajima Island and the famous Tori Gate and Shinto shrine. Behind Mt. Fuji, this is the most recognizable site in Japan. We were able to enjoy the sights, eat and do some shopping in the market before a rain squall drenched the area which knocked down a tree over the train tracks and delayed our plans. We spent the afternoon traveling to the metropolis of Osaka. We are staying in a hostel type hotel rather than the Internet hotel that Calvin had planned for us. Our feminine contingent was not so sure. The nightlife of Osaka does not seem to slow down for the weeknight as the streets and bars were filled with young people and workers sharing a drink with friends.
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Our all inclusive stay at the temple included not only dinner and breakfast but also participation in the morning prayer service and fire ceremony. At 6:30 we were ushered into the temple to kneel on tatami mats and witness the chanting and rituals of Buddhism. The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes which included lots of chanting, gonging and bowing. The fire burning ceremony was in a different building with more chanting and the building of a fire to burn sticks that contained prayers. Another beautiful meal was elegantly presented to us in our 'dining room'. The morning and early afternoon were spent traveling to Hiroshima. We still marveled at the speed and comfort of the Shinkansen (bullet train). We quickly found our hostel which was not far from the train station. The Hiroshima Peace Park is an impressive memorial to a horrific casualty of nuclear war. The iconic A-Bomb Dome is the visual focus of the park which also holds several other memorials and a museum. One of my favorite is Sadako and the thousand cranes. The museum was very informative and it was interesting to get a Japanese perspective of WWII and why it ended. We enjoyed the evening walking the streets of the lively city and eating a bangohan dinner prepared on a teppan grill. Back at the hostel we had the opportunity to connect with people from Bulgaria, Sweden and Austria.
Monday, July 01, 2013
The morning began with a quick rise and off to Osaka to meet Sassa who took an overnight bus to meet us. We then caught a train to the remote mountain town of Koyasan, filled with historic temples and monasteries. It was a very scenic train ride as we moved from urban to rural to mountains. The final leg was a steep cable car. Calvin's planning and reservations once again brought us to a unique experience. We have two large rooms with tatami floor and futons, vegetarian dinner and breakfast. The monks are very young and helpful. After settling in, we went to a ramen shop and then strolled through the gigantic cemetery under giant cedars. The monuments were quite spectacular as well as the Torodo temple. On the other end of town we saw the Kongobuji temple with complimentary tea. The highlight of the evening was the vegetarian meal prepared by the monastery. Everything from seaweed to sesame tofu and far beyond, our palette's experience was enjoyed by all. An evening stroll through the lamplit cemetery ended a special day.
Sunday, June 30, 2013
If there is one thing that we could complain about our ryokan, it would be the air conditioning. We wake up pretty sweaty and needing to take advantage of the handy shower. Japan uses it's extra hours of summer light to brighten the morning (though no one is up!). After a fast food breakfast, we were off to see the sights. Though it wasn't on our tour guide's list, we decided to check out a monkey park overlooking the city. Having paid our admission, we somewhat skeptically began climbing the hill under a canopy of vegetation. To our surprise, we got more monkey than we wanted! Dozens of monkeys roamed and groomed among the visitors and from the safety of a cage (us inside) we fed the monkeys. Just before we left, one monkey lunged for Bjorn with vicious intent. They warned not to look them in the eye, but how can you not look at a vicious primate charging at you. Before it was over, Calvin and I were also chased by the same aggressive monkey. By the time we got back down the hill, our heartbeats were back to normal. We next strolled along a river and through a bamboo garden forest. We rode the bus to visit two temples. One was the Ryoanji Temple, famous for it's rock garden and beautiful grounds. Then it was the picturesque Kinkaka-Jim (golden temple) nestled in the deep green hillside foliage. Another very crowded bus ride brought us to the city's nightlife and a shabu shabu meal where we cooked the veggies and meat as it was given to us. A two mile stroll home through the night streets saw another day in Japan complete, happy that none of us had rabies!
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Calvin had us up at the crack of Tokyo dawn, making our way to downtown amidst the millions of commuters with our luggage for the week on our backs. We validated our Japan Rail passes and were soon speeding our way past urban centers and mountain valleys. Our destination for the morning was Kyoto, with it's many tourists sites and traditional culture. After a little confusion, Calvin led us to a great little guesthouse (ryokan) with traditional accommodations. We ditched our backpacks and headed for the sites after bowls of soba and udon noodles. A walking tour led us to join thousands of tourists to a scenic temple on the hillside overlooking the city. We walked through a huge cemetery on the way down the hill and stumbled on some monks chanting in another temple. As our energy began to fade from the heat, we strolled through narrow streets filled with traditional buildings a geisha wannabes. When our bodies finally gave out, we ate grilled vegetables and lamb (yakiniki) at a small restaurant where he cooked it in front of us and we ate off the grill. The end of the evening saw us bathed and in our yukate robes ready to share the floor of tatami mats and futons.yuk ate
Our messed up body clocks awoke us at 4:00 am, feeling rested and full of anticipation. We were quickly stepping on each other, bathing, ironing and dressing. A rice ball and coffee from the local 7-Eleven for breakfast was followed by a 30 minute walk to ICU. As Calvin rehearsed with his graduating classmates, Markus took us on a preliminary tour of the beautiful campus. We joined other families in a waiting area before being ushered into the lovely, traditional chapel. The large pipe organ prelude called the reverent assembly to the task at hand. The graduation ceremony was fairly typical of a Western ceremony with a few exceptions. The audience was very respectful, with only a few family hoots and exuberant graduates. We received a strong sense of pride among the faculty and parents that these students were graduates of a prestigious institution.The post ceremony photo ops were held on the lawn in front of the chapel. Calvin was kept busy posing with all his friends. A well stocked 'tea ceremony' satisfied our starving stomachs. We spent the afternoon getting a detailed tour of the campus from Calvin and Sassa with constant greetings and conversations. Esther was only told to be quiet once! We all decided that Calvin had sold short the gorgeous ICU campus. The spacious grounds and surrounding forest are a stark contrast to the endless city sprawl that surrounds it. We ended the day with dinner at a local restaurant not far from campus. We said goodbye to Sassa for a couple of days, took off our stifling formal clothes and got to bed early to prepare for the start of our country tour the next day.
Our eternal day of travel began with a 4:30 get up. All transitions went smoothly and as planned. First there was a flight to LAX and a five hour layover. Then an eleven hour flight to Narita. It was awkward chasing the sun and somehow losing a calendar day when we finally landed in Japan. We all were able to sleep, some much more than others. Calvin and Sassa were at Narita to meet us. A euphoric feeling accompanied the realization that after more than two years of anticipation, we were finally in Japan with Calvin. We next caught a couple of trains and a taxi to ultimately collapse in Calvin's 200 square foot apartment. We almost completely covered the floor space with futon's, air mattresses and exhausted bodies. After 26 hours we had made it from Southworth to Mitaka, Japan.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Esther and I spent Father's Day with Markus. We took our bikes and rode the Burke Gilman trail from Freemont to Kenmore (28 miles round trip) It had been 30 years since the last time we rode this stretch of the trail. Portions of the trail had some heavy traffic--Getting us ready for Japan I suppose. Riding the trail gives a unique view of the northern portion of Lake Washington and the homes along the western shore. Esther made sure that we made a stop at University Village on the way back. Good thing we couldn't carry anything on our bikes! We ate supper at a Mexican cantina around the corner from Markus' house.
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Yesterday I said Goodbye to my sixth grade class. Many of them have been with me for three years. They were in our multiage class for fourth and fifth grade, then were a part of my sixth grade class which I began this year. I have spent 540 days with them, over 4,000 hours. Aside from their parents, I will have spent more time with them than any other adult. That is a sobering thought. I can only hope and pray that my values and influence will have a significant impact on their lives. I know that I enjoyed my time with them. They are a lively bunch.
Thursday, June 06, 2013
After yesterday's Mariners game, I took a personal day off on my birthday and spent the day sailing. Wind was very light and I was becalmed in a current north of Blake Island. I motored home in a dead calm until the motor ran out of gas and then wouldn't start. I had to take the motor off and repair the recoil. But it was still a great day on the water. Finished the day with a dinner out with Esther.
Sunday, June 02, 2013
I am certainly getting my fill of Blake Island. Long before our plans for last weekend's festivities, I planned to take my class to Blake Island for an overnighter. I usually take my class to Neah Bay this time of year, but because many of these students were with me last year and had already been there, I decided to find something a little closer to home. Surprisingly, only two of the students had ever been to the Island. So instead of enjoying the first sunny weekend in June landscaping or sailing, I took seventeen students to Blake Island. We were once again blessed with a safe enjoyable experience. One of my student's grandparents generously offered their 40' cabin cruiser to transport the kids. (Beats five trips in my sailboat!) Two dads also accompanied us on the adventure. We trekked the 4.3 miles around the island and witnessed the Tillicum Village Native American performance. We battled dozens of raccoons and survived an unexpected early morning rain shower that soaked the girls' tent. The students were well behaved and helpful. I expect that they will remember the trip for a long time.
Monday, May 27, 2013
What do men do when the women have a bridal shower? My niece Rebecca and fiancé Henry will be married in July. Unfortunately, because of our Japan trip, we will not witness this joyous event. So it was a pleasure to host a family bridal shower in Southworth. The men occupied the time with an excursion to Blake Island. I borrowed enough kayaks and canoes to float ten of us over to the south end of the island. After enjoying sack lunches on the beach we took a leisurely 3 mile hike around the island, before paddling back. Fortunately, the rain held off and the wind did not pick up. The ladies enjoyed a pleasant shower and we filled our stomachs at a BBQ. Ellen, Doug and Pam stated the night and joined us for a soggy Sunday in Southworth.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
The other day a neighbor stopped his car while I was prepping the boat in front of our house. He said, "I always know that spring is in full swing when I see you working on your boat." Well, let summer begin - my boat is in the water. It's out a little earlier this year because I want it out by Memorial Day as a backup for the coming Blake Island adventure with the Bishop/Bulthuis gang. It was really hard buying a new outboard motor this year to replace my stolen one. I also added an adjustable motor mount to the transom. The only detail I had hoped to complete is the name lettering. It needs a perfectly calm day, and we haven't had one lately. The journey from the launch to the mooring buoy was a mix of motoring and sailing. It was good to feel the boat grabbing the wind again; but it was also comforting to test my new used outboard.
Monday, May 13, 2013
At the risk of confusing ethnicity, Esther chose to have her Mother's Day meal at a Thai restaurant in Norwegian Poulsbo in the company of Markus and Steph. After indulging our palates with spicy entrees, we scrounged for driftwood at Point No Point and strolled the grounds of Port Gamble. Though not the gorgeous weather of the previous week, the afternoon was pleasant enough for a Puget Sound Spring day. The matriarchs day was bookended by engaging FaceTimes with Tokyo and Lynden.
Monday, April 22, 2013
PINK is really big with Ada these days, and ballet is also really big; so it was a pink ballerina birthday party to celebrate our oldest granddaughter's fourth Bday. The party was enjoyed by family and special friends, with Aunty Marti producing another award winning cake and Bjorn's friend Carl whipping out crepes. Saturday afternoon's party rolled on to well after midnight as we waited for Mike and John to return from Esther's cousin Arnold's funeral in Portland. Sunday, we witnessed Bjorn's installation as elder at Oikos and then we enjoyed Russian dumplings Pelmenis in Bellingham. A cold walk at Boulevard Park and a visit with my mom completed the busy weekend. She turns 90 next week!
Friday, April 05, 2013
The bulk of our Spring Break was occupied with entertaining Ruby. She stayed with Papa and Farmor from Tuesday night until Saturday. The marginal weather on Wednesday and Thursday allowed us to go to the beach, to the park and play outside with the wagon. The rain on Friday chased us indoors to the Imagination Station. Ruby seemed to enjoy her special time with Papa and Farmor. Towards the end of the week, she did start asking when she was going to go home. We managed to get a few chores completed. The lawns got mowed, the shower door and lazy susan were repaired; and I bought a good used outboard motor to replace my stolen one. Thanks, Ruby, for a good Spring break.
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
This year's Spring break is a 'break' from the Bulthuis road trip routine. We are spending the bulk of it 'babysitting' our youngest granddaughter, but we couldn't resist at least a short getaway. We spent a long weekend in central Washington. We moseyed around Wenatchee, Chelan, Pateros and Leavenworth, spending a night in Pateros and Leavenworth. Pateros was a pleasant surprise. We enjoyed a very nice riverfront motel, with gorgeous weather and strolls through the sleepy little town. We also did the Enzian in Leavenworth absorbing the Spring heat wave. We came back to Southworth ready to take on Ruby for the week.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Sunday afternoon we met Bjorn, Jenny and the girls in Marysville for a belated birthday celebration for Jenny. After a dinner at Olive Garden, Esther and I took the granddaughters to Jennings Park, while Bjorn and Jenny did some outlet mall shopping. The park was a bit nostalgic for Esther and I as we would often bring our little sons to play in the park when we lived in Everett. Ada made sure that we took in all the sights and play structures in the park. She liked throwing rocks into the fishing pond. Ruby like climbing the large toy structure and watching the other children. Papa and Farmor enjoyed the sunshine!
Friday, March 15, 2013
Last weekend Esther and I joined some Olsons and Doles on a Norwegian adventure at the Sons of Norway chalet on Snoqualmie Pass. The nordic getaway is nestled in a snow park on the eastern side of the pass. A cat is necessary to bring the luggage and supplies in and out. We enjoyed a sunny afternoon of cross country skiing (it's been 30 years) and a cozy evening and morning by the fireside, playing games, as well making puzzles and bead necklaces. The company and food was great. It felt like the final winter hurrah of the year.
Friday, February 22, 2013
After years of wiping away tears and having to carry kleenex around, I submitted my eye to the doctor's knife. A procedure called a 'dacryocystorhinostomy' constructs alternate tear ducts and routes them into the nasal passage through a newly produced opening. On Thursday, Esther brought me to the surgery center in Silverdale to take care of business. The surgery went well I assume, since I was under general anesthesia. All was going well in the recovery room when I suddenly felt very faint. Soon doctors and nurses were swarming my bed as I passed out, much to Esther's watching horror. My heart rate had dropped to the low 30s in some sort of reaction to pain or anesthesia. Once I was stabilized by an assortment of intravenous substances, the anesthesiologist informed us that it probably occurred because my normally low heart rate doesn't have much room to decrease. (One of the hazards of a runner) After a couple of hours on waiting to make sure I would be OK, they released me to go home and recover. I sure hope that this did the trick!
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Marti and four girlfriends utilized our house as a ladies getaway, so we naturally had to get out of town for Presidents Day weekend. We made a quick trip to Bend, stopping in Portland the first night, walking through downtown and finding not only one but two Voodoo Donut lines. The next day it was on to Oregon's winter vacation Mecca. Though winter recreation seemed to be on the tourist's minds, the weather was quite spring like. We spent quite a bit of time walking, shopping and dining in the downtown area. While our drive to Bend took us past Mt. Hood and some winter driving conditions, our trip home found us heading north to the Columbia River and enjoying the scenery. We even had time to explore Trout Lake (Steph's US home town) and then some dinner in Hood River.
Monday, February 04, 2013
The highlight of this past weekend was not the Super Bowl. It didn't even take place in 'the big easy'; but in Greenwood (a southern suburb of Lynden) Ruby Jean Bulthuis turned two years old. Her party had a woodland animal theme. The Greenwood women did it up good again, with decorations, animal masks and birthday treats in a woodland theme. The cake was another work of art by auntie Marti. Guests included the Greenwood gang and Ruby's friend, Estelle and her parents. Ruby seemed to enjoy the evening immensely and Ada did a great job of not interfering with the spot light. The weekend was topped off with some woodland ravens taking care of some old prospectors.
Monday, January 21, 2013
The Puget Sound fog was getting too much of us, so we decided to take a day trip and find some unfiltered rays. Weather reports suggested the ocean beaches or mountain slopes. We opted for the beach and headed for the Long Beach Peninsula via a loop along the Columbia between Longview and Illwaco. We took the opportunity to take the road less traveled from Chehalis to Longview, passing through Napavine, Winlock, Vader and Castle Rock. The sun broke through when we got to Longview. The drive along the north shore of the Columbia was great. We soaked in the sun and a drive we have never taken. Speaking of the drive never taken, neither one of us could recall being to the Long Beach Peninsula, bypassing it each year for the more inviting Oregon coast. Well, we were pleasantly surprised. We expected the has been atmosphere of Ocean Shores and Westport Beaches. Instead, the peninsula had an updated feel, and Cape Disappointment, the Discovery Trail, Oysterville and Leadbetter Point offered additional recreation to the beach. World Mark's resort no doubt has encouraged some new businesses. We ended the day at the trendy Bar and Grill 'Pickled Fish' We enjoyed the food, atmosphere and the demise of the Patriots before driving home to the Puget Sound fog.
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Once again I closed out the year with a marathon. The plan had been that Calvin would join me, but he will be saving his energy for the Tokyo Marathon in February. My hope was to have a faster time than last year. I was on pace for about twenty miles when the Manchester hill running hit me hard. I trudged in the last six miles, vowing to never do it again. (That's what I said last year too!) Don reigned me in the last mile and a half. I ended up six minutes slower than last year. It was still a respectable time for my age group. My finish was welcomed by family and friends. Unfortunately, they had to witness my stomach's refusal to digest a banana.