Monday, October 20, 2008

Real Food Tastes Real Good

Here's the understatement of the year: We LOVE food! Rachel, Bobby, Alton, Paula and Guy are our role models - we watch them, believe them and use their recipes. We owned a restaurant/bakery and had the Pillsbury Doughboy body to prove it! We are great cooks, we cater parties for family and friends and we (dare I say it again?) LOVE food!

Our favorites: Sunday morning with pancakes, waffles or french toast. Saturday morning with hashbrowns, eggs and toast. Great sandwiches for lunch. Pasta, potatoes and steak for dinner. Quick and easy breakfast sandwiches or PBJ on name it - if it was starchy, creamy, dripping with butter or covered with sugar - we LOVED it.

So after a lifetime of loving food and - surprise, surprise - a lifetime of struggling with our weight we have joined the South Beach scene. We've been "dieting" for years - talking it to death, joining weight loss groups, reading every new diet book on the market, obsessing about our need to lose weight. But this time we have a more important reason - the South Beach diet is part of Lisa's treatment for PCOS and she needs our support and encouragement. We're accountability partners, sharing ideas and new recipes, tracking our progress and reminding each other that we are on the right track.

Randy and I have just finished week one in Phase One. It's actually been brutal - the drastic change in our lifestyle, habits and mindset - not to mention some actual hunger pangs throughout the week. Phase One limits our diet to lean meat, specific vegetables and some dairy. No high glucose foods - no fruit, no bread, no pasta, no grains, no carrots-squash-beets. OMG - what the heck are we supposed to eat??? We have slowly adjusted to this new menu. Scrambled eggs with zuchinni & mushrooms for breakfast. Soup (chicken vegetable) or salad for lunch. Lean meat, poultry or fish with vegetable & salad for dinner. Snacks: almonds, celery with hummus, string cheese, pistachio nuts, lowfat cottage cheese. Water....lots and lots of water.

On Saturday I was fixing lunch - not so easy without the standard quick and easy sandwich - but still possible. What's in the fridge??? Left over stir fry without the rice, some shredded cabbage, lots of chopped veggies. How about this - stir fry over shredded cabbage. Bless Randy's heart - he is very open to any food idea I have. So "sure" is his response. I put cabbage on the plate, then top it with the stir fry and microwave it for 2-3 minutes. Hmmm. Sounds pretty wierd, looks it too. But actually very tasty. We both are pleased with the crunchy texture and blend of flavors. I look at Randy and say "Wow - real food tastes real good!" He agrees with me.

Today marks the beginning of week 2 in Phase One. We are more prepared for the new menus and limitations we will experience - we won't be able to eat all the food we prepare for our Wednesday night Lions Club dinner - but we are more encouraged than ever. This morning we got weighed and together we lost 12 pounds in one week. So real food not only tastes real good - it looks real good too!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Divine Retribution

It seems to be impossible to drive anywhere these days without being surrounded by idiots. I know my husband and at least 1 daughter have serious issues with anger when they are cut off or almost hit by careless drivers. I would say road rage, but that is a little too extreme for the frustration they feel. Just lots of comments about stupid idiots and morons. I try to set a good example by responding more appropriately, turning the other cheek and have only rarely flipped anyone off.

No matter how often I see horrible, dangerous driving I NEVER see any of them pulled over further down the highway. Well that did happen once when someone was pacing me and I couldn't merge on the freeway. They speeded up when I did and slowed down when I did and I finally had to come to almost a complete stop when my lane ran out. I was probably talking out loud at that point, maybe even using the word "idiot" myself when a State Patrol raced past me and nailed them. Talk about payback....I loved it! But one time out of all my years of driving isn't much.

This morning I was driving to Seattle to spend the day with Jack and Micah. I was in the fast lane behind at least 3 other cars and we were all passing several semi trucks in the middle lane. We were going 65 in a 60 zone (par for the course) when I noticed a car speeding up behind me. It was a lovely little silver car with a distinguished looking man with silver hair and the ever present blue tooth. He was obviously irritated that he couldn't get past me but since I couldn't get over yet and WAS going 5 mph over the limit I didn't care how irritated he was. I saw him glance over his shoulder and edge his car out into the HOV lane. I guess since it was clear sailing he decided to use that lane even though there was obviously no one in the car with him.

As he sailed past me I shook my head and thought "where are the cops when you need them?" Since they were nowhere in sight I then said to myself, oh well God can deal him later. The next
instant he pulled in front of our little group of cars and I noticed a cloud of smoke coming from him. I thought he had slammed on his brakes and was burning rubber so I prepared to make a sudden stop too. But wait a minute, he's moving into the next lane and then the next lane and I see bits of tire flying everywhere. He absolutely lost his freakin' tire and all I could think of was "Oh man, God doesn't mess around!" The hubcap sailed across all lanes of the highway and just missed me by mere inches - but even that couldn't wipe the smile off my face....

Wherever he was going in such a hurry...I don't think he made it there on time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Jesus Loves Me

Sorry, I'm embarrassed and ashamed to admit it, but I haven't liked that song since I was about 6 years old. Too simple, too boring, too childish...growing up it seemed like a song that only young children should sing, but oh no - Sunday after Sunday someone asks for it and we sing it. I sing by rote, not even thinking about the words because I've heard it so often.

Then along comes Rory. Rory loves to fall asleep with someone singing to him. Even at a few months old, he would make a humming noise if no one was singing to him when he wanted to take a nap. When his mommy begins singing he especially loves it when she sings her favorite hymns, although he seems to enjoy all different styles of music.

When Rory was 3 months old, he began to spend Tuesdays with me so Lisa could return to work. He is easy to take care of and he loves to fall asleep while we rock on the front porch swing and I sing him my limited repertoire of songs. My standard songs for children and grandchildren have always been "You Are My Sunshine", "Hush, Little Baby" and "K K K Katie". But since Lisa told me Rory really settles down with hymns I tried "Amazing Grace" and finally settled on one song I know all the words to: "Jesus Loves Me".

Hmmm, it actually doesn't sound boring when I change the words to "Yes Jesus loves Rory, yes Jesus loves Rory, yes Jesus loves Rory - the Bible tells us so". Rory has heard this song every Tuesday for the past 5 months and he falls asleep to it every time.

A few weeks ago in church Rory was getting fussy and was being passed from grandparent to aunt to cousin to parent to grandparent...then he got to me. I put my mouth against his ear and started whispering "Jesus loves me this I know...." Rory froze - no movement, no sound for a few seconds then he put his head down on my shoulder and listened to me whisper the whole song to him while he fell asleep. It was a magic moment.

We spend one Sunday each month bringing a worship service to elderly residents in an assisted living center and "Jesus Loves Me" is the one song that everyone knows and wants to sing. They remember all the words and they sing with joy. I think it's possible that, once upon a time, these dear people were rocked to sleep while their grandmothers sang "Jesus Loves Me".

Suddenly I don't hate this song anymore.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Now you jump

Grandchildren are the greatest invention since sliced bread. No kidding. Just as there is no way to prepare for the surge of love you feel when you hold your own children for the very first time, there is no way to understand the pure, unconditional love you experience with your children's children.

Our oldest grandchildren are 13 and 11, then the little ones are 3, 17 months and 9 months. Obviously we had many, many years when David and Leah got all our attention, all our time and energy. During those years we took D & L on many little trips - trips to the zoo, trips to the museum, trips on ferries, trips to the beach. One year when they were were 4 and 6 we rode the ferry to Poulsbo and went to a marine museum. David wowed the tour guide by knowing the answer to every question she asked. We spent hours with our hands in the water, touching starfish, sea anemones, and all kinds of other small creatures. When we left the museum we found ourselves trapped by the annual Viking Days parade that had blocked off all the city streets so we walked over to a local drive in and watched the parade while eating lunch. One especially disturbing entry in the parade was the Grim Reaper and, if I remember correctly, it was used to bring attention to the dangers of driving while intoxicated. The kids hated it and even today David shudders at the words "Grim Reaper". We climbed to the top level of the ferry for the trip home and stayed outside in the wind for as long as we could stand it. Then David spoke the words that grandparents love to hear - "Thanks for taking us...this has been the best day of my whole life!"

Now Jack is old enough to join us on our adventures. Last summer when he was 2 we took the three of them to the Point Defiance Zoo and had a great day. This year it was Northwest Trek. They got to have a sleepover on Sunday night so we could leave early the next morning for our 2 hour drive. We timed it just right and missed all the morning commute mess. After our tram ride through 430 acres with up close and personal looks at bison, mountain goats, elk, deer and racoons we had lunch at the cafe and then continued walking through the rest of the wildlife exhibits. The trail wanders through wooded areas with natural habitat set aside for bears, lynx, wolves, eagles, beavers, otters - just to name some of the animals and birds on display.

David and Leah are incredible big cousins and Jack loves to spend time with them. We appreciate all their help since we don't run as fast as we used to and Jack moves at the speed of lightening! While walking down to the bear exhibit, David and Leah held Jack's hands and did the 1,2,3 jump game - over and over. Jack laughed and jumped each time. After several minutes of this Jack let go of David's hand and said "your turn David". David looked at Jack and said "you want me to jump?" Jack moved so that David was in the middle, took his hand and said "ok, now you jump!" What a great moment. Jack counted 1, 2, 3 jump and every time he said it David jumped. Jack was so proud of himself for giving someone else a turn to have the jumping fun.

It was my turn to say "thank you - this is the best day of my life".

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


"Staycation" is the buzz word of the summer. According to the media, the high cost of gas has driven all prices through the roof so many people are choosing to spend their vacation at home. That's not news to me - I usually have at least 1 staycation a year - and this year is no exception. I made plans to take a week off work and enjoy the last week of summer. Okay I know that the last week of summer isn't officially until the middle of September, but when school starts, my calendar says summer is over!

I planned my staycation months ago and didn't have anything on the calendar...just 1 long week of sitting in the backyard, reading and drinking mint juleps - oops wrong story - I mean iced tea! Unfortunately for me by the time my time off rolled around I was over my head in projects. It started on Saturday with catering a 60th class reunion, then Monday we took the 3 oldest grandchildren to Northwest Trek for the day, Tuesday I babysat GC #5 AND finished all my projects for the 12:30 pm appraisal, then went to Lisa's and helped her paint. Wednesday I volunteered to babysit Jack and Micah, but Lisa needed help with Rory so I took him with me to Seattle and with Leah's help, we took care of 3 kids under 3! After dinner I went back to help Lisa paint (or hold Rory) whichever came first and then on Thursday I spent the day helping her put all her furniture back and getting the house ready for Kevin's return. Friday was a day of rest and Saturday we worked at the corn booth at the Evergreen State Fair with other members of our Lions club . Sunday was church and shopping for kitchen cabinets.

By Thursday night I was truly exhausted and during my pity party I kept telling myself that's what happens when you take a staycation instead of a vacation. BUT wait a that I think about it a staycation is when you use your own home as a "hotel" and take day trips around your own local region. What I just experienced wasn't a staycation or a vacation - it was a workcation or catchupcation or projectcation or whatever you want to call it. But the good news is it ended on Saturday night. Sunday was fun - we've been wanting to shop for our kitchen cabinets for a long time, Monday we went to a casino with our $20 and walked out an hour later with our $20 - for us that's a very good day at the casino! and then we went to a matinee and saw Get Smart. Two days of R&R!

My work week always begins on Wednesday and on Tuesdays I usually do all the necessary evils of housekeeping: clean the bathroom, sweep, vaccuum, dust, laundry, etc. This morning I started thinking about all the housework I should/could be doing and then I remembered - I'M ON VACATION! I might not have gone anywhere new and exciting, I might not have spent 7 days reading and relaxing BUT on this, the last day of my staycation, I don't have to clean the bathroom...I'll let the maid do it. Oh wait, I am the maid! BUT NOT UNTIL TOMORROW!

Monday, August 11, 2008

My "to do" list

I've copied Amy and posted a "to do" list on my wall - hanging it with gray duct tape not blue painter's tape. I've been working madly for 2 weeks to get everything done for our appraisal this Friday and I am supposed to be using this free morning to continue racing down the list. Finish ripping up the water damaged floor boards by the water heater....cover the spot on kitchen floor that Brandon says is black mold....scrub the stairs.....scrub both bathrooms....weedwack the back yard....really the list is endless.

I woke up with great intentions but after a relaxed breakfast, enjoying the sunshine with my morning coffee and talking with Randy I'm not so well intended. I made the mistake of sitting down to catch up on blogs and then I caught the blog bug. My blogging happens infrequently, not because I can't think of anything to write - but because I can't find the time to write it. So here I am, coffee in hand - sunshine pouring in the windows and no grandchildren claiming my attention YET -

I just called daughter #1 to wish her a happy birthday and I told her that today proves my point. Yesterday I planned to set up the family birthday party outside but the weather was too iffy. Cold, windy rain for most of the morning made me change plans and move the party inside. How odd - I couldn't remember a single birthday celebration for Michelle that hasn't been outside in too hot degree weather. Wait a minute - yesterday wasn't her birthday - today is. Today is a gorgeous, perfect summer day - sunny and 70 - just like the day she was born.

So I'm feeling sentimental - my oldest child is 34 today. 34 years ago her dad and I were waiting impatiently for her very slow and laid back arrival. It took me most of the day to even realize that uncomfortable feeling in my back was actually labor and then it took her another 24 hours after we arrived at the hospital to make an appearance. Even then she wasn't at all interested in meeting us - when my doctor finally got back in town Sunday night he started the pitocin drip and made the decision for her!

Our 1st baby...a total and complete miracle...the most beautiful baby we had ever seen. We loved her the minute we saw her and we never stopped. Michelle is the first of my three beautiful, beloved daughters and I am the luckiest mom in the whole world.

Who cares about a stupid old "to do" list when I have moments like this to savor.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dot dot dot

Now that my daughters are all grown up and married we try to have a "girl's movie night" at least once a year - just us, husbands and kids are left to fend for themselves. This time we added my mom, my granddaugher and my best friend. The 7 of us sat there and laughed and cried through Mamma Mia last night. As soon as we left the theater we all agreed we wanted to go right back in and see it again.

From the very beginning when Sophie is reading her mom's diary - to the scene where Donna leads a parade of middle aged women through the streets singing "Dancing Queen" - to the mother/daughter song as they get ready for Sophie's wedding - to the end of the movie when Pierce Brosnan declares his love for Donna - I don't think I'll ever get tired of this movie!

The movie is on my list, the CD is on my list and if I had "the LIST" Pierce Brosnan would definately be on it - I saw him 1st in "Rich Man, Poor Man" but he became my weekly addiction in "Remmington Steele". And of course, he's my favorite Bond...James Bond.

It's hard to say what I liked best about Mamma Mia but I think it is the idea that underneath all the years and tears, underneath all the burdens and responsibilities there still exists the young, carefree girls we once were. The girls who fell in love and threw caution to the wind, the girls who believed in Prince Charming and happy ever after, the girls who filled diary after diary with stories of Sam, Bill and Harry.

Thank gooodness I burned my diaries years ago...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's a beatiful day for camping...

"I love you grama...I'm so glad you's a beautiful day for camping." Those are the words of greeting I heard from my 3 year old grandson when we arrived for our 1st annual family camping trip. My response was (as always) "I love you too, Jack...I'm so glad I IS a beautiful day for camping."

I wasn't so sure about the beautiful day for camping part of it didn't seem beautiful when I was struggli
ng to pack the right amount of food, the right kind of clothes, the right camping gear. Seriously - Randy and I received our sleeping bags as a wedding gift 13 years ago and this is the first time we are using them! That should tell you that our camping skills are extremely rusty.

It didn't seem like a beautiful day when we arrived and in the process of unpacking all the important "stuff" we'd thrown into the back of the van the blackberry cobbler I had just made landed upside down on the floor. When the cobbler fell it knocked over a jar of peach jam, shattering the glass and spreading sticky jam all over everything. Try cleaning up a mess like that in the woods before you have set up camp...where's the soap and water? Where's the dishrag I know I packed? Where's the beauty in that?

It didn't seem like a beautiful day when we tried to fall asleep on hard, camping beds . While trying to find a comfortable (or at least less painful) position I found myself wondering why I ever thought this was a good idea.

It didn't seem like a beautiful day when I had to walk down
the road every time I needed to use the bathroom - Thank goodness the bathrooms we were using were new and clean. Or when I dropped a log on my toe and limped around for the next 2 days.

It didn't seem like a beautiful day when Jack fell over backwards while eating red licorice. We thought the big bump on the back of his head was the only real problem until we noticed blood on Amy's shirt and realized he had cut his mouth. I finally managed to peek into his mouth and hit the panic button. "it's bad...he cut his tongue really bad..." I can hardly breath. Michelle uses her hands to motion me "down" and says "stop. Mom. stop. calm down". I say I can't calm down, his tongue is in pieces. Then Amy has him spit into her hand and all the chewed up red licorice comes out. The tongue is intact. Who knows what he cut because by then he's asking for more candy.

My list of "it didn't seem like ...." could keep going, but my list of blessings is longer.

The beauty of camping was having all 5 of my grandchildren gathered around our picnic table for breakfast, eating pancakes as fast as they could be cooked.

It was spending an afternoon at the beach with 4 of the kids, watching David, Leah and Travis teach Jack how to catch eels, while Lisa tried to teach Rory that rocks don't go in his mouth.

It was taking Leah, Jack and Micah to the beach after dinner and watching 15 month old Micah try to throw rocks as far as Grandpa could. He wouldn't pick up rocks that were his size - he labored to pick up big ones that he could only drop - not throw!

The morning we left was the first day the sun really came out. The campsite was filled with sunbeams and when Jack came for breakfast he said "I love you grama....I'm so glad you's a beautiful day for camping" and I knew that Jack was right all along.

I love you David, Leah, Jack, Micah and Rory...I'm so glad you WAS a beautiful day for camping!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Wild Mountain Blackberries

"Grandma, tell us about when you were a little girl..." is a frequent request from my grandchildren. I tell them about walking to the bookmobile once a week, bathing in the river when we ran out of water, trying to gather eggs away from mean old hens, running across the field to borrow breakfast eggs from my grandma and bringing home tiny banty hen eggs. And sometimes I tell them about my (mis)adventures in berry picking.

Just in case you don't know what Wild Mountain Blackberries are, let me explain. They are a tiny, sweet/tart berry that grows best (almost exclusively) in the Pacific Northwest on land that has been logged. Vines with vicious, sharp thorns cover the ground and grow over stumps and logs that have been left behind. Underneath the vines and surrounded by thorns are berries worth dying for! Okay not dying, but certainly worth falling, worth scratches, worth bears - in other words, worth their weight in gold.

WMB ripen in early to mid-July and they are here and gone in a blink of an eye. The season might last for 2 weeks, 3 if you are lucky. Every year it is harder and harder to find any berries so the frantic search for them is my yearly obsession. I would just say "yearly challenge" but I think my husband and my daughters would argue that obsession is clearly the more honest word.

I spent quite a bit of time thinking about that obsession last Saturday. I convinced my husband that spending Saturday morning in the woods searching for a berry patch would be lots more fun than walking around the street fair. Well maybe not fun, but just think of all those berry pies.....

We started at a spot he had noticed on his way to work. It had all the right ingredients: logged a few years ago, lots of stumps and logs left behind, cars parked by the side of the road indicating other people were picking black gold. We hiked up the old logging road and then entered the overgrown, thistle filled hillside heading for the nearest stump. It was rough, rough terrain and after my 3rd fall and my 2nd step into a mud-filled ditch I was ready to try somewhere else.

We stopped at one place we thought might offer up a mighty harvest, but spotted absolutely nothing as we walked a few hundred yards up that overgrown road. Okay I'm ready to give my favorite patch one more chance. Three years ago it was the berry patch that saved the world. We picked so many berries that we froze over 60 quarts, made jam (!) and even told the rest of our family and friends where to pick. Last year it was so overgrown I didn't even try it but my sister-in-law said it was still the best patch around.

I'm so desperate to pick berries that I'm willing to concede my sister-in-law might be right about the patch so we decide to try it again. It is so completely overgrown that we can barely see the road we used to follow into the woods. We can't walk around the gate this year because of the huge Evergreen berry vines, but we can still crawl underneath. Hey, it's Tree Farm property and everyone goes around (or under) the gates to pick berries!

After walking for just a short distance we see that the road disappears into a new stand of alder trees that wasn't there 3 years ago. We can't go through it so we turn around and I venture off the road we were following. You always find berries just off the road and sure enough, I found some. Randy had equal success and we were busy lifting vines and peering underneath for berries. It wasn't easy picking and it wasn't plentiful picking, but we were satisfied to be finding the elusive WMB!

As I continued picking I wandered further and further away from the road and before I realized it I was in over my head. Literally. The brush and the Evergreen blackberry bushes were so tall that I couldn't make my way through them. Actually they were so tall I couldn't see past them. I couldn't see the road and I couldn't see my husband (or even the stick he was waving in the air to help me get my bearings). Fortunately I could hear him in the distance and I started to make my way back to him. Here's where it gets tricky, or should I say sticky? At my age I should have known better than to pick myself into the middle of a patch I couldn't get out of. I'm 56, I'm more than slightly out of shape, I failed a treadmill test 2 years ago and I take medicine to control an irregular heartbeat. I might be okay U-picking strawberries in neat little rows, but stuck in the middle of an overgrown berry patch??? I'm in big trouble.

I use my stick to try to knock the tall, thick branches and berry vines aside so I can walk past them or step over them. The sun is blazing down on me, my water is in the van and I feel like I'm not making any progress. Vines twist around my ankles, tripping me, and soon my legs feel like they are too heavy to move. Lightheaded and gasping for air, I finally collapse in the shade of a stump and just slide down to sit on the ground hoping to catch my breath and recover enough to fight my way back to Randy.

As I'm sitting there I remember all my other misadventures in berry picking....
1974 - berry picking with my mom. We were picking our way through a much easier patch, but I still fell over an unnoticed log. When I managed to pick myself up (without spilling any of my berries) I said "If I hurt myself and miss the baby shower tonight, please don't tell anyone I was out picking berries today!" It was my baby shower for my 1st baby - fortunately Michelle waited a few weeks to make her appearance.
1980 - berry picking with 4 kids and a newborn. I probably knew it was a bad idea and I probably knew it wouldn't work, but when the berries are ripe I just have to go. I packed up the kids and off we went. I wasn't quite sure how I would pick berries and hold the baby, but I brought an old sheet with me. I figured if women in Africa could tie their babies onto them and still work in the fields so could I. That wasn't working very well for me, so I was holding Lisa with one arm and picking with the other. I had found a flat area with a reasonable amount of berries and each of the kids were contributing to the cause. Did I mention that the kids were 8, 6, 5 and 4? Did I mention that bears are not unheard of? Well we hadn't been picking very long when I heard crashing sounds coming from the edge of the woods. I listened for a moment and then went back to picking. The sounds came again and I felt instant terror. Oh my God - what if there really is a bear, what if I can't get the kids back into the truck, what if???? Okay don't panic, whatever you do don't scare the kids..... Calmly and quietly I tell the kids to stop picking berries and get into the truck. As children are apt to do, they ignore me and continue sitting in the middle of the patch eating berries as fast as they can pick them. So I make another very calm statement, slightly louder than before and miracle of miracles, they actually obey me. At least 3 of them do. Michelle is less eager go back home and her response is "Why?. Why, Mommy, why do we have to get in the truck?" I don't want to scare her so I tell her one more time and again I hear "But why?" Being the really great and wise mother that I am, I say "Because I hear something in the woods and it might be a bear. NOW GET IN THE TRUCK!". And of course, she panics and falls into the berry vines and getting her out of the vines and into the truck takes much longer than I want it to. But we did it. We got us all into the truck and we made it home safely (without spilling any of the berries). The bear? We never saw it. But it sure sounded like a bear!
1985 - berry picking with my dad. We lived in Arizona then and were just home for vacation. He knew how much I'd want to pick berries so he found a patch on my cousin's property and we drove to it on the tractor. It wasn't the greatest patch we'd ever had, but I was home...WMB were ripe....and it was a wonderful summer evening. I always follow the berries. Just keep picking until there are no more berries to pick. When I reached the end of the patch I finally looked around to see where I was and where I was, wasn't pretty. I had picked my way down to the bottom of a ravine. Not a hill. Hills I can manage. This was a steep bank that I somehow ignored on the way down. The way back up was a different story. I tried following my trail. I tried finding things to hang on to so I could climb up. Nothing worked. I finally yelled for help. My dad came to the top of the hill and burst out laughing. Only until he realized I couldn't climb out. Then he sprang into action and got a rope and the tractor and pulled me to the top. The rope helped but it still wasn't as easy as the trip down had been. When I finally made it to the top my dad's 1st question was: "Did you spill your berries?" Nope. Not a one.

Back to this year. After resting for a few minutes I picked myself up and headed back in Randy's direction. Finally I reached him and we decided we were done for the day. Time to head home. I started leading the way back to the road and he stopped and asked me where I was going. To the road I said. The road is that way he said, pointing in the opposite direction. No way. We argued about who was right, we started in my direction, then we went in his. We fought our way through brush that was thicker and thicker. I found a small patch of shade and collapsed on the ground again. Randy kept going to break a trail for us and I planned to follow as soon as I could move again. Before that happened he was back - he had hit a dead end. Then we really debated about where the road was, we had no way to get our bearings. Next time he says, next time we bring a compass and a machete. There won't be a next time I say. I'm too old for this. We start out again but it is increasingly more difficult for me to walk through all the underbrush. My heart is racing, my head is pounding. I think I'm going to puke. I know I can't walk any farther. Randy says "call your dad". Thank God for cell phones. Thank God we are only a few minutes from my parent's. We ask him to drive to our van and start honking the horn so we would know the right direction to walk.

Knowing my dad was coming to our rescue brightened my spirits. I was able to talk and joke with Randy. I knew the horn honking would settle the argument we were having about which direction to go. I was so certain I was right I was willing to bet Randy a motorcycle on it. When my dad reached our van and started honking for us we were both shocked. We had been moving in the opposite direction most of the time and had a long way to walk to find our way back to the road. It was still horrible and I still thought I wasn't going to make it more than once but knowing we were going in the right direction made all the difference in the world. My mom was so worried she sent my brother, sister-in-law and nephew out after us also. We could hear them whistling and yelling for us as they walked up the logging road. We finally made it back to the road and finally to the van where my dad was waiting. Randy is my hero - he made me keep walking when I thought I couldn't take another step, he led us to safety and he didn't spill any of our berries!

PS. I owe him 1 motorcycle.