trees over Jet

Water...

It's been years since I've heard nothing but water while sitting outside. Water not just in the gutters and on the rooftop, but water on thousands of trees, the pebbles, the rocks, every leaf. Water running along stream beds, through creeks, along piles stones, the cars, the railings, down the railings, and the hill side, and the down a chain of cups designed to catch each drop and when it overflows, releasing it down to the next and the next and the next.

There's the swoooosh of cars going along wet pavement, and the steady fall of the rain curtains everything.

It's been a while since I sat out on a porch and just listened to the unending fall, that sounds as if it might never end. And honestly, I might never want it to. I'm completely surrounded by green and more green, and the only sound is that of the singing of the water falling. I guess I've missed the rain.



We're up north in north Washington. The boys went swimming in the rain, and pool was warm enough that they really enjoyed it. I mostly did the walk in the rain to the club house, and then ended up back at the house with the laptop and my new 8 gb stick from Fry's and I'm reorganizing all my working directories in anticipation of actually being able to write in a few more days.

Yesterday, despite waking up to a very overcast day that seemed to threaten rain, we went blueberry picking out by Mt. Si. The farm was right next to the little town of North Bend that hosted much of Twin Peaks back when that was a TV show. They were having a little bike race there, but we managed to thread our way through to the U-Pick blueberry farm just outside of town. There, George, Isabel, John, Jet, and I managed to pick 60 pounds of blueberries in less than an hour and a half!!

The bushes were so full of berries that their branches bent nearly to the ground. We could take entire handfuls of ripe, fat sweet berries off many of the branches, so the picking went remarkably quickly. We went to the trouble of wading far into the patches of newer blueberries. They'd overgrown their aisles, rather, so we had to kind of push our way into them, but once we were far enough out, we got absolutely fabulous picking. It was beautiful out there, with the mountain brooding in the mists that floated about it's head. Isabel had worried about getting rained on out there, but we went anyway and by the time we were halfway through, we had all shed our precautionary layers and were sweating. By the time we were done the sun had come out, and it was an utterly gorgeous day.

It was funny standing in line and having one Asian lady's husband ask us where we'd picked, because they'd come out with only two tiny buckets. The husband wanted to go back and pick more, but the wife said, "I don't want any more." He disappeared back into the bushes saying, "But I do!!"

We stopped at George's Bakery in town and had a wonderful lunch. They had a Rustic Torta, which was a pastry shell filled with layers of eggplant, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers, and cheese, in a lunch special that included bread and butter, tomato-basil soup (or... uhm... something else), and a slice of a German almond cake that had a thin layer of raspberry in the center and a layer of chocolate and slice almonds on top. The whole thing was only five dollars, and they warmed the torta. Isabel and I got that. John and George each got a brick of "breakfast casserole" along with the same sides we got. Jet happily munched down a whole bagel with cream cheese and refused half of Isabel's dessert.

I bought an apple fritter while paying for lunch, as it was just far too tempting to pass up.

We dropped everyone at the house, and then ran down to Fry's. It was surprisingly busy! We're far too used to going there on the weekdays, and it was a Sunday. So it was funny to actually see lots of people there and have to stand in line. We got the wireless setup, a protecting pouch for the GPS, and I bought my little stick for twenty dollars. It's going to be a few years before I need anything bigger, I suspect.

We went back to the house, set up the wireless just in time to have to run to the Kohlmeier's in Redmond. They were a family we'd gotten to know very well back when we were in Redmond. Dave had been our boss at Data I/O for the Synario startup, before we'd gotten spun out and bought. He'd mentored us during the whole process and was a real inspiration for the original design and creation process. He taught me a great deal about what it really means to design software according to what people really need and how to listen to people about the problems they're trying to solve that they know far more about than I ever well and how to use my skills to meet their needs rather than just their complaints.

He and Linda have two sons, Kevin and Charlie. John and Dave coached both boys' soccer teams, and I helped out now and again when I was up to it or didn't have to watch Fezzik. I went and cheered at their games, though, which was also fun. We got to know them and their sons fairly well, but now Kevin's about 25 and moving to Boulder to find his way. His girlfriend has graduate school there, and he needs to find a job, but they're moving out to take the chance at it. So this was his "good-bye" party from all the people that were in the Northwest. People had come down from Bellingham, up from Portland, and in from the Eastern slopes of Washington to celebrate and say good-bye to him and his girlfriend. John brought a couple of six packs of Colorado beers (NOT COORS!) and we offered to help out on Saturday when they moved in, if they wanted, and left phone numbers and everything just as backup contacts if they had any desire.

We also got to catch up with nearly a dozen different folks that we hadn't seen for years. That was really great. It was a little funny when Jet asked me if there were going to be any kids there, and I reflexively said, "Yes." But realized that most of the people I'd thought of as kids were now really full-fledged adults, with adult responsibilities, lives, and ways and means, which was really wonderful to see and experience, but it left Jet talking with a bunch of adults. He was okay with that, but it wasn't quite the same. Luckily, a few other folks showed up with "real kids", and Charlie made their day by really playing with them. He's 23ish and living in Portland, but he cheerfully let the kids chase him, play tag, kick the can, and tackle him. Jet said that the best part of the whole party was being able to jump on Charlie. *laughs*

It was cool finding that the 'kids' of yesteryear are now running campaigns, doing biotech research, running about driving combines picking raspberries with people sitting on top sorting the good from the bad, doing a lot of graduate school, and having the same trouble all the 20-somethings that I now interact with from writing and art are having with getting starter jobs. Some have more and some have less, and some understand better what it is that they really want from their graduate degrees than I ever did.

Charlie also did a lot of the prep for the homemade sausages. Linda and Dave had made homemade kilbasa, hot Italian links, and a chicken sausage with basil and sundried tomatoes. They were all delicious, and they were all cooked over real hardwood charcoal all lit in a pit fire with a metal mesh grill right over the flames. It was really hot right there. Jet watched the whole cooking process, fascinated by the flames.

It was really fun bringing along six pounds of the blueberries we'd picked, as Linda used to run a catering business and the whole family really knows their food. The boys dipped handfuls out of the box as soon as it was opened, and David happily said, "We're making ice cream outta these!"

Hee. They had homemade ice cream for dessert, lovely strawberry and a coffee chocolate chip that were both delicious with blueberries scattered all over them. *laughs* It was pretty cool meeting Kevin's friends who'd also shown up to wish him safe travels, and to see old pictures of both Kevin and Charlie's soccer teams with pictures of a very young John right next to them. It was odd realizing that the kids in those pictures were the same age Jet is now. They'd always struck me as so capable back then, and now I realize that Jet is that age where they're far more capable than most people give them credit for...

*laughs* Maybe that's true of any age, really.

I'm sure Kevin won't have any problems with all the things under his control, but it was nice for Linda to know that we were close enough to help out if something were to happen.

We got home very late, and all fell into bed only to get up as early as we could in order to make it north. George's Bakery's apple fritter was very good, and I topped it off with a big bowlful of just plain blueberries, then we packed up for a single night, tumbled into the car and headed north.

We arrived at their lake house a bit before noon, and followed David in his car up to their cabin here in Glacier. On the way we stopped at "Everybody's Store", which was a very beautiful little "convenience store" that was stocked with things like basalmic vinegar, the best US made press coffee maker that even Sweet Maria's recommended, tiny amaretatini, PG Tips, locally roasted coffees with names like "Wake the Dead", organic produce, ten kinds of flour, Red Mill grits, and all kinds of things three or five at a time. They had a deli and soft drinks and beer and a small, but quite good, wine selection at the back. I found a Thomas Kemper (a local brewer) Marionberry soda in the cooler and had to buy it and try it. Both of the boys liked it and it tasted of Marionberries, which are a big, juicy type of blackberry (kind of like a super black raspberry for those that don't know the wild or cultivated Northwest blackberries), which tallcedars had fed us while we were there.

They're about as regional as Maine's wild blueberries.

So we're now in the cabin, surrounded by forest, and being rained upon from a solid white sky. I'm still amazed by how everything's dripping. *laughs* It's so beautiful.

Dinner plans include a couple of whole sockeye salmon, many oysters, vegetables from Isabel's garden, their garden, and the local farmers' market, and the boys are now working on an Escher puzzle with 1000 pieces. *laughs* It should be a good night.
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Heehee, down here it's ollalieberries, which I think are one of the parents of the marionberry.
*grins* Could be... my longing for the rain seems to bring it to me every time we visit here.

John's parents like to complain a bit about how *often* it rains whenever we come, but we love it so much that they don't complain much and a little less this time.

I think, this time, this place really needed it. It was so weird to see the "high fire danger" signs everywhere.