Smoke, Hospital Workers, Lots More


Air quality is unhealthy today. It is a good time to close doors, windows & skylights. And close curtains before the sunlight hits those windows to seal in the coolness. I learned lots of tricks for dealing with heat from my Mom, who grew up in Idaho long before air conditioning. If you have an air cleaner it’s time to get it out of storage. If you don’t you can rig a fan to blow through a furnace filter. If it also blows against a damp towel it will help cool the air. Those good N95 masks will help if you’re outside, not only with smoke but with the new Delta variant of Covid.


I just cancelled our pool reservations. I’ve been swimming 3 or 4 days a week. I’ll miss it! I’m going back to staying home as much as possible and limiting my interactions with others. I’d still love to see a few friends, outdoors and masked, one-on-one, at 6 feet. The situation in the world has changed again, and I will change with it.


Thursdays 6 – 8 PM At The Gazebo (with food and dessert tents!)

TONIGHT! August 12 4TENS BAND, Fun Classic Rock Party Music

August 19 THE SWEET GOODBYES, Folk/Pop

August 26 CRAIGO’S PLANET GROOVE, Grateful Dead meets New Orleans Funk

September 2 BANDZANDT, The County’s Happiest Rock Band


Bellingham Friends of the Library is having a pop-up sale, Friday, August 13th! We’ll be selling Mystery and History fiction and biography. We’ll also have a cart of Nearly New books for sale. Come browse and buy! Your purchases help support a variety of library programs for children and adults in our community!

We’ll be outside the Bellingham Central Library near the front entrance from 10 AM until 2 PM.  Most books will be $1 and there’ll be lots to choose from!  You may pay using cash, check, debit and credit card.  Keep in mind, however, there will be an additional 10 cents per dollar charge for debit and credit card purchases to help offset the processing fee. Smaller bills preferred; we will not be able to accept bills over $20.


Hello Columbia Neighborhood Association members,

Our quarterly general meeting will be held on August 24, Tuesday, 7:00-8:30  pm via Zoom.  You will receive an invitation to the meeting by email closer to the day.

The CNA Board looked into having a dessert social that evening, but in the light of new warnings from our county health department about the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, we did not feel it was in everyone’s best interest to share food in a social setting yet. Hopefully by November we can meet in person again.

The Zoom meeting will include some time to talk with your neighbors in “breakout rooms,” and time to talk about issues that have come up this summer, such as the need for traffic calming along our arterial streets, for example.

    * The CNA Board is working on finding resources for our neighbors when they have to  deal with difficult situations.

    * There is an offer to set up a website for CNA, and we would like your feedback/ help.

    * The Share Shack has become a hub for free goods, so we’ll get an update on that project.

Just for fun… Here’s a puzzle that has many possible answers:

Can you think of a mnemonic [a device (phrase or sentence) that helps with memory] for the street names if you were going east-west (Meridian to Spruce) or north-south (Maplewood to Madison), or for small sections of streets, in Columbia?

What will yours be? (Maybe there is already one that long-time residents know.) Share it with us at the meeting! Please let the board know of other topics you would like to discuss at the meeting, by responding to this email.

Thank you. / dv

CNA Board members:

President/ Secretary:  Deborah Valentine

Vice-President:  Aaron Silverberg

Treasurer:  Aaron Ignac

Member-at-Large:  David Crook

Mayors Neighborhood Advisory Commission Alternate Rep:  Jennifer Moon


Bellingham hospital workers are having a very hard time.  I got an email from a neighbor who feels a strong need to stay anonymous. I would love help thinking about how we as a community can support our health care workers as they try to care for us. Here’s the text of the email I received: “We were protested at the hospital today by a large anti-vaccine crowd.  We have 7 Covid patients on life support and 26 in house. They are all un-vaccinated. Many of them are demanding treatment that is not science based, and stressing out out their care team with language calling their diagnosis a hoax. The morale at the hospital amongst the staff is awful. I’m emailing you because maybe your connections could think of a way to cheer us up. In 36 years in the trenches (I worked through the AIDS crisis) I’ve never seen morale so low as today. It was just so hurtful.” ~ Discouraged and Fatigued

I’ve been emailing back and forth with this writer, and their most recent response included this:

“I think what we need here is to feel some community love.  I like the idea of cards or signs at shift change or along those lines.  Also, a loud shout out that you all support vaccines and the vaccine policy mandating all employees be vaccinated.”

Hospital workers morale is at historic lows across the country. Our help is needed. Postcards with thanks, kind words and encouragement sent to workers at your local hospital are good. Not just medical staff. Everyone who works there is under appalling pressure right now. Gift cards for restaurant take-out, groceries & coffee are good if you can afford it. Flowers are problematic due to allergies.  You might support extra pay for health care workers as well. But please, calling unvaccinated people jerks will not actually raise the spirits of these ordinary friends and neighbors. They are trapped by this pandemic and struggling to do their best.

If you know any workers personally (and you almost certainly do) this is an excellent time to give each of them a Good Listening To. No advice, no interruptions, just listen kindly and attentively for a long time. If they have suggestions for helpful actions, see what you can do, and share what you learn with the rest of us.

One thing I learned is we mustn’t add to their burden. Social distance, wear your mask, get vaccinated, visit your doctor, and unless what you have is truly life threatening, go to a WALK IN CLINIC or URGENT CARE instead of the ER. Please share these helpful actions widely with everyone you know.

I’ve been in contact with an administrator at the hospital, but we haven’t managed to connect yet. I should know more this afternoon and tomorrow. But don’t wait for me! Start your own initiatives. There is room for hundreds of leaders on this project.

Aggressive grumpiness towards and about unvaccinated people are NOT helpful. Your feelings of upset do not help your friend’s morale or the community at large. Find someone who is not in the middle of the maelstrom to listen to your own upset in private rather than spreading contempt. The more disrespected and embattled people become, the less likely they are to change. Yes, limits need to be set, but not with accompanying attacks.

Here is the address for our local Bellingham, WA hospital for your postcards and notes with gift cards:

To the workers at: Saint Joseph’s Hospital – Peace Health

2901 Squalicum Pkwy, Bellingham, WA 98225


I have lots of electrolyte powder that needs to be put into individual bags (I have the bags too). This is to flavor the water and add electrolytes in the upcoming heat. A couple tablespoons per bag, and fold the bag top over. That’s the whole job. I could use a more volunteers if anyone has time today or tomorrow. Or even later. Fl!p 360-671-4511



From the recording Aniar released in 2020. Peadar MacMathuna,  guitar. Richard Scholtz, autoharp. Jon Sampson, bass. Words by Percy French, music by Peadar MacMathuna.

Here is one more music slide show with Helen’s images and a song from the recording with Peadar.

An Irish Mother – YouTube


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