Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington
December 2008

Yikes! Aortic surgery for Roo!

Happy December 1st !!!

Finally! I can be all Holiday like! It's December, you guys!!! Wooo hooooo! And I'm going to whoop it up, but good!
Yesterday I was decorating the house and I said to Bill, "Oh! Look at all this wonderful garb!" I was stringing lights here, plastic berries there, and cheer, cheer, everywhere! That is, what our new little kitty didn't destruct!
And, of course it's the first of the month and that means that Stan's column is up! Ever heard of Gary Thien? Stan introduces him, today.

Click to zoom
Gary Thien

Gary is a seasoned bass fishing professional who has won his share of major tournaments. Now he's conducting a bass fishing school that's open to all anglers. Read more!
I have to take a minute to thank Stan for his tireless and voluntary articles for ifish. I have enjoyed them so much and just feel so lucky to have them. Thank you, Stan! I am honored to know you and to work with you. We all are honored to have you at ifish! And if you were any closer, I'd reach out and give you a big hug!
I can't wait to see all my friends tomorrow night at the Christmas Party! Yay! And my (lol--single!!) girlfriend Tammy will be there. She'll kill me if she reads this. Uh oh! Hi, Tam!
I hope my family will be there. My Dad is still in Palm Springs, so I'll really miss him! Darn. Shouldn't have told you that. Now, people won't attend if my Dad won't be there! All kidding aside, people do seem to love my Dad. I sure do!
For some reason, it just popped into my head what Nancy Olson-Chatalas, the opera singer that I once played with, told my Mother when she was living. When she first met her, she said something like, "I'm so glad that you gave birth to Jennie!" I loved that, and I have often used those words on parents of the ones that I love. I mean it with the most sincerity, too! Take a moment to thank the parents of your closest friends. Can you imagine if they wouldn't have given birth to them? Every one of my friends is so valuable... So, why don't we have parents Day? Of all the Holidays in the world, I could really get into that one! I have so many parents to thank for my friends!
Speaking of parents of the ones that I love, thank you to the parents of Nancy. She has been, and although we don't keep up, remains a great influence in my life. I learned so much from that lady! She pops into my head on a regular basis, remembering her views on life and love. What a lady she is!
I sure hope every one of you can make it to the Christmas Party tomorrow, December 2nd at Pietro's Pizza in Milwaukie, Oregon. This event benefits the children at Emanuel Hospital, and believe me, this year they really, really need us! Bring an unwrapped, new toy and join us in a wonderful feel good event!
Sometimes bad things happen for good reason. The economy is really hitting hard on a lot of people, (including yours truly,!)
Let's use this tragic situation, though, to become closer to one another. We are all in this together, so reach out and support each other in any and all ways that we can!
It really feels good to know that we are helping the kids at Emanuel. It's just one way that we can reach out to others.
I can't wait to see you there!

December 2nd !!!

So, I wake up today, the day of the party and my face is on fire. I feel awful and I have a fever. Who knows why? It just hurts on one side of my face and down into my neck. I get up and look and "OH MY!" My nose is twice the size. I have no idea why!
I just got back from the doc.
I have a deep cellulitus! It's a skin infection and it hurts! Who knows where the heck I got this from? But, it looks awful and feels awful and the doctor is worried. He said that it goes straight to my jugular and can be life threatening. Oh, brother!
I am STILL going to the party. I am not going to miss this, but if my fever is still high after the party, I have promised to check into the hospital, myself.
I have just one question.
If I do, will Santa remember where I am and bring me a toy, too? :)
I hope you will come! I hope everyone is able to attend!
I also spoke with Dr. Song, Andrew's surgeon this morning, and he wants Andrew to have surgery as soon as possible. Probably next week. Please keep him in your prayers. It's an aortic valve sparing procedure to keep him from dissecting like I did. Poor Roo. It's off to a difficult start on the Holidays, but Thank God that He lives and is a part of our lives! Pardon me for my religious talk, but you really don't know what you are missing! He is the reason that I can keep on keepin on!
Yay, God! :D

December 3rd

Do I look happy? :)

Last night was like Cinderella's Ball for me. I had a blast! I am still floating with wonderful memories. I don't know how many times I looked at the pile of toys and cried happy tears. My goodness, but there were a lot of toys!
And to see the parade with the Bullet Freight truck, and the ambulance and all of the cars with the ifish elves in them, driving to the hospital! It was all too much! I just stood on the sidewalk and spilled tears!
Here is a great picture thread by Pete. (my Christmas hero!) He and the mods worked so hard! But, Pete did so much! From photographer to organizer and so much more!
I'm just so thankful for ifish. Just SO thankful!

December 4th

Say a prayer for Andrew,
his eyesight,
and his upcoming heart surgery!

I was walking along the river yesterday and heard a splash. I looked over and it was a salmon jumping, over and over and over!
The salmon had white fungi on it's head and it was all beat up.
My heart sunk. She seemed to be struggling, gasping for life, trying so hard to stay with us.
Her job here both in the river, and on earth was done. The cycle was complete. I could tell she had spawned by an indented belly on her sides and how beat up she was.
She came close in by my side and rested, swimming in a softer current for a while, totally unaware of my presence. I spoke to her in a quiet soothing voice. "It's OK, Mrs. Salmon. It's OK to let go and go home, now."
What instinct is it that makes us fight so hard to stay in the game?
My sister just called. Her husband's Mother passed away this morning. She finally let go. We knew it was coming. She was put on "comfort only" measures as her lungs were filling with blood clots. She had been swimming upstream so hard and for so long. Trying to hang on, if only for the love of her sons, her grandchildren, and her family. It was good to give her a softer current to rest until her last breath.
My brother in law is now without either parent. That's a scary feeling!
His Mother knew her heavenly Father though, and it's comforting to know that she is in the most awesome of places, now! It's good for me to imagine the glorious room that God prepared for her with all of the things that make her happy.
I have been so close to death in my life, (I guess I actually died!) and I have learned to imagine the room that God has prepared for me. It will be a nice little cabin on the river where I can walk outdoors and the fish will bite often. Not always, as that would be no challenge or fun, but good enough to make me always want to fish! Even steelhead will bite on my fly! :)
I won't have a limp, when I get to heaven. My legs will never tire. I'll be able to see, crystal clear! Pain won't happen, not ever! I'll have a flowing skirt to wear that I'll never need tight underclothes to look good! LOL
Inside the cabin, I'll have freesias in pots that always bloom, no matter how I goof up! There will be crystal agates all around me that sparkle as bright as a Christmas Barbie Doll, all dressed up in sequins!
I don't think dying is the bad thing that some people fear so much, yet I know so many people who are terribly frightened of it. It seems, from the salmon that I saw yesterday, that it's not just people, either. It's also a built in instinct to fight to survive.
That just seems funny to me, ironic, knowing so well in my heart that we are going to a place where there is no sadness! A place filled with nothing but Joy! I want that! Don't you?
To me, that means all my pets will be there! No sadness! That means that we won't miss anything!
In my darkest moments, I think, "What about my kids? I'll miss my kids!" But... they must somehow be there, too, if there is no sadness!
And so, it just seems weird that we all want to fight to live here. What is that all about? Is it partially that we relate it to the awful devastation that we know, when we feel the loss of someone else's life?
As I sat at the table eating pizza with my brother the other day, we shared our current woes. We were giggling about how life seems to get harder and harder, the older we get. "Some Golden Years, if it continues on at this rate!" I laughed...
If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane!
The world is a beautiful, awesome place. Today the trees tower over me and a golden, awesome sunshine filters through the trees. A river runs through it and entices me to grab my jig rod and try a few casts for steelhead. It's beautiful, here! Incredibly beautiful! At times, I think it surely must be Heaven on earth! Sometimes it's hard to imagine anything better!
But, wait! It's better than this where we are going! Can you even believe THAT?
How awesome! It makes me giggle.
I like it here on earth. I do! It's all I know! I break into song as I walk down the path along the water. But it can also be an incredibly painful place as we go through so many losses in life.
We really need to hold up our brothers and sisters through all these hard things we go through, but know at the same time, that this isn't what it's all about. This isn't where it ends! We have grand and wonderful things to look forward to! We are promised!
If you believe like me, then when your time comes, then there is nothing to fear!
Just make darn sure you tell people what you need to tell them now and every day! Don't put off phoning people you love. Don't put off saying "I love you." I don't want to leave with regrets!
As I walked today on the river, I found what I think is the same salmon that was struggling with her last breath, laying on the rocks, dead. I truly believe that there are salmon in heaven and that's where this salmon's soul lives, now.
A sadness came over me. It is we, the living, that suffer, when a soul leaves this beautiful, mysterious place called earth.
It's not totally comfortable to rely on what we can't physically prove, I know. But this kind of thinking helps me as I prepare for a very scary journey, both for Andrew, and for myself.
It has already started. A whirlwind of tests and pre tests, of doctor's opinions from state to distant state. CT exams and MRI's and decisions of valve sparing procedures or St. Jude valves. Which one do we want? God gave us great minds to think and to decide and we are to use these to extend our stay here as long as we can! :)
As I face my 'every six month CT', will I be granted another six months of living without worry, or will he extend it to 12 months next time? Or will I find bad news, and have to come back in 3 months?
Is there any chance at all that they made a mistake again on Andrew, and his aorta didn't grow at all? It could happen! It happened last time! Yes, it's doubtful, but miracles do happen all the time!
So many questions... so many worries.
I will be busy with all of this for the coming days until (and after!) Andrew's surgery.
The only thing I know for sure, even though it can't be physically proven on a CT or MRI, is that I have a home to go to in Heaven, after all of my testing on earth is done.
I've been told that place is a pretty darn good place to be, and it gives me comfort. Both for those that I love, and for myself.
I'm just so glad that I have no reason to fear. There are times I will always need to be reminded of this, but deep down in my heart, I am not afraid.

"Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people."
Luke 2:10

"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your GOD, HE is the One who goes with you. HE will not leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

"Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."
Revelation 2:10

December 7th

Oh! Lookee here! You can buy a fishing license online! I missed that, somehow! And yes, Bill is right. It slides off the side of the screen, so be sure to scroll over to find it!

Good morning, Mr. Zip, Zip, Zip, with your hair cut just as short as mine...... ever hear that song? My Grandpa used to sing it in the morning at Diamond Lake. Then, my Dad carried on the tradition, and now, me!
Good morning, Mr. Zip, Zip, Zip, You are surely looking fine! The lyrics are here. Sing along!
At least I'm not singing ALL Christmas carols! I've sung my share, though! I started really early in the Christmas tradition. I'm going to be tired of it, come December 25th!
It's a good thing I got some sleep last night. Some disappointing things happened last night with the board. I'm better now, though.
Being a moderator or admin can be so disappointing, sometimes. Not often, but sometimes eople just take advantage of our work, and it is frustrating! Luckily, it is rarely that it happens... else I wouldn't still be here!
Hey! Eyefish won the Kwikfish contest and now it's time to order! Please post here if you'd like to order the Kwikfish!
I had fun this morning making this logo. I feel like a kid with a new box of crayons with this Snagit program. I just have too much fun with it!
It's raining outside and we are going to put up our tree, today. Bill and I went out to Marty Peterson's house and cut down the most beautiful noble fir! If you want an excelleent deal on a beautiful tree, go out to Marty's house! His ad is here. I just adore Marty and Lee and their family! I can't believe their prices. Wow! I would have paid over 50 dollars for a tree like this, elsewhere!
It's a hot coffee and creamer kind of day. I think I'll go out and see if a steelhead lurks in the depths of the Kilchis!
Have a great day!
OH! And one more thing. There shall be NO unhappiness from now until after Christmas! Ya hear?

The river is gorgeous, and the season it's grand!
It's Sunday and we shall are all thankful for our land!
A Noble awaits-
glitter and adornment on its branches!
Shining stars and pretty lights!
Time for Holiday dances!
The steelhead arrive and the salmon they spawn!
It's Christmas on the river, and we all shout,

OK! I'm silly!

December 9th

Let the crazies, begin! Today Andrew and I are off to play pre surgery. It's a fun game of mystery and intrigue where no one knows what will happen and at what time!
It's kind of like a treasure hunt and we giggle while trying to find the 10th floor of this building or the 3rd floor of that! We race up elevators and fall down stairs trying to follow encrypted clues scribbled on wrinkled sheets of paper. Have you ever played? The grand prize is an MRI or a CT exam and Andrew and I always win!
Last night I went out fishing, right before dark. I love the way the river looks after the sun goes down. When it's windless and quiet out, it gets this black molten hue to it. It rolls, thick and viscous.
A dark salmon rose out of the water. It rose up, nose first and slooshed on the surface. It didn't even surprise me. It was almost like he were a part of it all. He was moving in slow motion, A mixture of oil and water, molasses and melted butter? -and barely broke the surface. He flopped over on his side and then slipped under, in the middle of the slowest current.
Not wanting that particular fish, but figuring that must be where the fish were holding, (WHAT fish? LOL) I cast out my jig and let it flow down the current, squinting my eyes against the dusk, trying to follow the brightly painted bobber.
I laughed, remembering the time that I totally lost my eyesight, and tried bobber fishing. That was a hoot. I'd cast out and not be able to see even the hugest of salmon bobbers. Yeah. That didn't work! I had to fish by feel, with something that wiggled like a lure, or else it was just hopeless. My mind also traveled to how proud I was to be able, without any site, to traverse the entire river bank by feel. I went on daily walks, knowing each branch, and each and every mud hole. I hardly ever fell! As I made my way down river, I could hear the slapping of the water against the chine of the fishing boats on the river and I would greet the fishers. No one knew I had no sight unless they had seen me holding onto each branch that guided my way.
I searched the river and found my bobber had settled in a quiet place. It is good to be able to see. It is a blessing. It sat, straight up and off the current, barely moving. I remembered this hole from the summer, while canoeing, and it had the most amazing structure to it.
Back when the sun hit my back and warmed me on those long, summer days, I could peer down to the 10 foot depths and see logs stacked against a rock wall formation. Tiny crawdads, way down there, busily building or whatever it is that crawdads do! Sometimes a school of early salmon would swim by, spooked by the paddles of my canoe.
I shivered in the December cold, remembering.
Maybe... maybe they'd swim by, now?
They'd better hurry! I thought to myself. Any light was fast fading from the sky.
Kilchis had no idea that the sun was going down. He was busy, face down in the dirt, digging merrily and over enthusiastically after anything or nothing at all. Rev was spastically breaking off branches and shaking them furiously with her head. I think the bend in the branches makes her think they are fighting back. I laughed.
Molly the fishing cat suddenly let out a frightened yowl. She was caught in a fallen Spruce tree from last year's terrible storm. It lay on it's side, fallen. Oh, How Great Thou Art! To uproot a tree so grand! My gosh! The branches covered her, completely. Poor thing! I helped her out and she sat by my side, purring and butting her head against my thigh.
As I pet her soft fur, I thought of how awesome it would be, that if in this dark, black and brackish water, a bright chinook or steelhead would come up and take my offering. How awesome it would be, to see the flashing chrome against the otherwise darkness. If from a slow and steady heartbeat, mine would race all of the sudden against the pressure and pull of a huge monster from the sea!
I could see the picture in my mind, and just the thought made my heart skip a beat and my breath stop for a second. I had no camera! It would be a picture that I would treasure, only in my mind.
Darkness comes early, this time of year. By just about 4:30 PM, all light had faded. Legally, I had to leave, even though I could have sat there, putting off what I had to do the next day with Andrew, forever. If only I could stay even until and through tonight, too!
I wanted time to stop. I don't want to go to the hospital. I don't want Andrew to have to have surgery. Can't things just stay this way? It is good, right now, this minute.
I sighed, got up from my little mound of grass and I rounded the dogs and cats up. "Let's go eat dinner!" They all scurried with me, down the little trail. Even though I could barely see, I still knew the way from my experience with previous blindness.
The house was warm and inviting and the dogs, wet from their journey took first place by the wood stove. The cat hopped up by her feeding dish, safe from the dogs reach, and began to eat.
I didn't even catch a fish, but yet the picture of it is still in my mind.
The dogs are spoiled rotten. They always want to be dried off, now with a fresh towel. Oh, brother!
And so, Andrew, off we go... to this incredible treasure hunt that we "get" to play. It's madness, really. From the busy freeways of the city, to the immense and varied floors of the hospital, with all it's technological machines and tubes and hoses.
Really, I thank God for it all. The winning prize for enduring the craziness of hospitals and cities have saved my life so that I can spend the most of it out here on my river.
We pay our dues with this madness, and in return, we are blessed with life on earth. Life, on this beautiful planet where rivers run clean and the air is sweet.
Deep in my heart, my greatest prayer is that this treasure hunt that we are about to begin will bring a long and healthy life for Andrew.
I pray that his life will be filled with the many gifts and blessings that mine has brought me.
Off to pre surgery we go!
Good morning, Mr. Zip, Zip, Zip, with your hair cut just as short as mine.....

December 13th

The icy rain came in sheets on the river and slapped against my entire backside. It bounced off the rocks and soaked me up as well as down.
Holding my coat up, I fashioned an awkward hat-tent to cover my freshly washed and dried hair. My arm started to ache. What the heck. I let it down and my hair quickly soaked through. Trickles of water made it down the back of my shirt. I shivered.
I had promised Kilchis a walk on the river. He knows that word so well. Most dogs pick out certain words, you know? Like, "Blah blah blah RIVER! Blah blah blah WALKIE! Blah blah blah DINNER! Blah blah blah TREAT!"
But with Kilchis, he knows entire conversation! He really does!
We spoke earlier about how that after I dried my hair, I'd take him for a walk on the river. He knew exactly what that meant. He waited for me. Soon as that dryer went in the drawer, he jumped up, all ready to go! It was a bark fest until I got my boots on and headed for the door.
But, it was cold on the river!
"Kilchis, let's go back! It's cold!"
He stopped short his race on the rocks, knowing every word I spoke, or was it the tone of my voice? Whatever, his tail stopped short. He looked at me with the most devastated look, like "Ah, Mom. Come on! Are you serious?"
Who can turn your dog down with a face like that? I came on.
That's the problem with me. I'm a sucker for a wagging tail. Whether it be people or dogs, they all have those wagging tails that mean "You make me happy, when skies are gray!"
I couldn't take that away. I walked on. Like a wind up toy, his tail quickly resumed full joy, and he raced off in chase of... who knows? A herd of rhinos? I don't know! But, surely it must be worth chasing after. For all that wagging, it must be important!
Heading out, I had seen the gray cold front approaching, threatening a downpour. It's been happening off and on all day.
Bill left in the early morning for duck hunting and Andrew was at his friend's house, playing guitars.
Finally! Time to myself! Quiet! Reprieve! I could do whatever.... Kilchis wanted!
Argh. I complained under my breath. "Why can't I ever just do something for me? Why is it that someone always needs something?
I can't sit at my desk and get things done for even five minutes without Bill asking me what my schedule is like for the week, or Andrew needing to know where the brown sugar is.
I was craving a woman cave. A place where I could go to be alone. A place to contemplate life. My dream cave includes a hot bubble bath and an endless supply of hot water.
My soaking jeans became one with my freezing legs. With every footstep, the dream of hot water got hotter, and hotter.
I made it all the way to the end of our property, where I searched the river for spawning salmon. Not a one. Scary! I thought to myself. But, this is nothing new, this season. All year the salmon have been scarce and it brings an additional chill down my spine.
On the way back, the sun broke out from behind a cloud, and despite the chilling temperatures, it warmed both my body and my spirit.
The river sparkled under the bright sunlight. Kilchis and I stared into the clear water and watched. Soon, a pair of spawning salmon came into view! "Oh, Kilchis! Look!" I'm pretty sure he couldn't see the fish, but he stood there, wagging his tail, looking in the same direction. His tail was still wagging. He just looked so happy to be out in the cold, clear air and you know what? So was I! It snuck up on me! Kilchis looked up at me with that loving look that only a dog can give you, and I smiled back at him.
I'm so glad that Kilchis made me go. I don't know what I'd do with him. Or, without Bill, or without Andrew.
I'm a giving addict, but it's not something I'm bragging about. Really! It isn't.
It's just that whether I realize it at the time, or not- I do it because it gives back hundreds of times over!
We finally gave it up when a heavy shower made it's way up the river. I saw it coming! It hit before I could make it all the way home, but we made it!
I opened the door to the house. The fire roared in the wood stove and a blast of warm air welcomed me in.
The Christmas tree lights were on. The banister was lit with boughs of (fake) holly and twinkling lights. The whole house looked as magic and as festive as it ever has!
Too bad there was no one home to enjoy it, but me!
The tree that we got from Marty Peterson has GOT to be the most beautiful tree I've ever seen!
After taking a towel to Kilchis and drying myself off, I threw my clothes in the dryer, grabbed a warm blanket, poured myself a cup of hot coffee and sat by the fire.
Kilchis lay by my feet.
His tail gave one slap against the floor, a deep sigh came from within him, and he was fast asleep.
Ahhhhh... home to my woman cave. Finally!
We didn't catch that darn herd of rhinos, but we had a wonderful time. I'm so glad we went, rain or no rain!
I took one sip of coffee and it burned delightfully, going down. There was not a noise from any direction except for the crackle of the fire.
I sat, Kilchis asleep on my feet enjoying the moment.
Looking around and listening, it sure was awfully quiet!
Like... really, really quiet!
My stomach growled.
Too bad Andrew and Bill weren't home. It'd really make my tail wag to sit around and have hot oatmeal and butter and brown sugar with them.
I shook my head at myself.
Blah blah blah... Women!
Blah blah blah hopeless!

December 15th

Brrrrr! 24.6 degrees out!
I didn't pray for it this time, either. They are saying it might last well into the weekend and I'm so afraid that I won't be able to get Andrew to the hospital.
You know, every year I try so hard to get all my medical things done in the summer, so we don't have to travel, but every year, it seems like winter is the time, without choice!

Tim and Shana's Dad

I was so sad to receive this, last night.
We just wanted to let all of you know that Dad went home to be with our Lord today just a little before 5:00pm this evening. We first want to thank each and every one of you for all of your thoughts and prayers for Dad and our family. These last days have been comfortable for Dad, he has been out of pain for the most part and peaceful. We as a family could not have asked for more then this for him. We are all at peace knowing that Dad is no longer suffering and is at home with Mom. Again thank you so much, words cannot describe how much all of you and your prayers have meant to us.

God Bless you all, Tim, Shana, Jarett and all of our family.
Tim & Shana Juarez
T&S Guide Service

Shana and Tim Juarez are just plain great people, and a heck of a great fishing team! Tim does the fishing, (Well, Shana loves to, also!) but Shana does all the coordinating.
This must be very hard for them, during the Holidays.
Hey! Listen to this. I just loved it! It was sent to me by Glen And Ginny, good friends on ifish!
"With a Capitol C!"
Whatever would we do without that "C"?

December 16th

Francis Caldwell's new column is up. Chapter Four of his great book, "Salmon on My Mind". If you haven't been following it, it's a great read! I just love this book! Makes me feel like I'm right there in pursuit of salmon, with him!
Go to his Archives, here, to begin with Chapter One if you haven't, already.
I'm on autopilot, today. I can't think straight, really. Until Andrew's surgery, I'm afraid it will be like that. Or maybe it's just this morning. But, today I'm feeling wimpy!
I'm terrible at getting my Christmas shopping or wrapping all done. It all seems so off kilter. It's kind of a "deer in the headlights" thing. We aren't sure if we'll have Christmas before surgery, or after. If before, I have to track down my lost Portland son, David. He seems to have disappeared into the city life, except of course, when he needs money!
I don't know, but it just doesn't seem right to have Christmas on any day, besides Christmas. How will Santa know that we've changed, and why?
I have present wrapping set to do, today. I've had to carry around a digital voice recorder to remember things I need to do. That's been helpful. I just can't think.
I feel a little numb until all of the sudden something pressing that I'm supposed to do, or forgot to do hits me hard, and I have to shout in the voice recorder, "You dummy! You were supposed to (fill in the blank)"
That's how I got Francis' column up by the 15th deadline. It was only by a stroke of luck (or God's will!) that late in the afternoon, I remembered!
Andrew's surgery is a wonderful Christmas present, really. After all, what better gift is there, than life itself? And a life where he won't have to worry so much that what happened to me, will happen to him. Many people who actually have an aortic dissection like me, don't live through it. Maybe I should go so far as to say "most!"
So, to have these gifted surgeons working on my son to save his life is a real blessing! Thank you, Doctor Song and Slater!
I know that, deep in my heart, but I still can't wrap my brain around it, or have total faith in it. I pray, multi times daily to have absolute faith in our supreme healer. I feel guilty for doubting, ever!
As I write, I have to word things carefully in case Andrew reads this. (Andrew, are you out there?) Yikes! He rarely does, but still!
I need to be strong! But... at the same time, it's just scary for the Mom, here!
One thing I can say for certain is that I cannot imagine what must be going through Andrew's mind, as the days draw nearer. Since I am around him so much, I do need to worry about how I handle it. I feel like he's watching me. I find myself short on temper at times when I need to be peaceful. I just wish I knew how to help. How to soothe him? How to make him calm? How to make it easier for him? I feel very helpless! I can do many things. But, I need help with faith and strength when it comes to watching my baby have heart surgery. My six foot three, beautiful baby!
In a way, I think I'm too close to the situation and I wish that his Dad would come get him, to while the time away, beguile the time, burn some daylight.
When we first heard that we had to wait these long days before surgery after thinking it was to be the next day, I turned to Andrew and said, "Let's take my VISA and go to the Bahamas!" Had he agreed, I would have! I'd do anything to help him feel comfortable. I know the stress of having to wait, and I knew that we would do better with total diversion. I wanted to run! But, Andrew, you know, being the grown up in the bunch!- declined my offer. "You can't afford that, Mom". I'm glad he did, actually. He was right. That's the last thing my finances or my VISA could sustain! But I still think it would have been worth the debt to me, to escape this day to day waiting stress!
Andrew is probably reading this and shaking his head. I'm probably way more stressed than he is. He's probably thinking, "What the heck?"
I don't know, Roo! It just hit me harder than normal, this morning! Maybe, maybe if you don't mind, Andrew... could you please give me a hug? Truthfully, with Marfan, we have a very close bond. It's always been, "Together, wherever we go!" I remember singing that with the kids, when we were a young family, just the three of us!
It really touched my heart the other night, when I was speaking with my Dad on the phone. I jokingly said, "But, Dad? Andrew is concerned that Santa won't find him in the hospital." I was kidding, of course, and I thought it was funny. I said it as a joke, but I think I did need reassurance. We just have a weird way of asking for it, in our family.
How my Dad answered tumbled me back to my childhood. In the most comforting and enchanting, 'magic-of Christmas' voice he said, "Oh! Of course he will find Andrew in the hospital! I think... if I remember correctly, that the hospital is Santa's first stop!" He went on, as if to try to recall or was looking through the Christmas rule book, and then said, "Ohhhh, Yes! Yes, it's right here! OHSU is Santa's first stop!"
When he said that, my heart just soared back into a time when as a young child, sitting in my Dad's lap was the cure for any fear or ill! His words could erase my fears and make me feel happy and safe, and if my Dad said there was a Santa Claus, by golly, there was a Santa Claus!!!
On the phone, my eyes watered up and I'll tell each one of you, here and now... There IS a Santa Claus! I know it to be true because my Dad says so! And so for Christmas, Santa Claus is bringing my Andrew a long and healthy life!
Merry Christmas

December 17th

Hazardous Weather Outlook
Special Weather Statement
Winter Weather Advisory

I am so thankful for the ifish people! Due to the economy, Ifish was having trouble sustaining itself to pay the people that keep ifish running. You have saved us! Click here, to see!
Due to the inclemate and snowy, icy and treacherous weather, surgery is now on hold! Again! I think Andrew is going nuts. In fact, I know he is. It is so hard to be around him. (Grouch!) I really don't blame him. This has been going on-- this endless "surgery or no surgery" for months, now!
Andrew's smart, though. He said that he's stopped telling anyone about it, because it keeps getting changed. Me? I've told the whole world at ifish! I should heed Andrew's wisdom. Mums the word from now on! I think I'll let you know after... or at least the night before! LOL
Thing is, it's so hard with reservations for where family will stay, and all. But, for now, its' time to put it on hold, again.
Thing is, the doctors can do it, they live up or near the hospital, but the staff may not be there. So if he needs, say a blood transfusion or whatever, it might be late, or generally messed up. He doesn't want 'messed up' heart surgery!!
Makes me wonder why they'd build a hospital on the hill so that it's difficult to get up there? They ask that their office staff stay home for safety reasons when it's icy. It's too cold for the de-icer to work on the road up there, so it's too dangerous to traverse.
The weather people are calling for yet another frigid arctic mass on Sunday. Andrew's surgery was scheduled for Monday. Hmmmm.
What's incredibly difficult about this, is not knowing when we should have Christmas! We were going to have Christmas for the family on Saturday, so that Andrew could leave on Sunday. Now, without knowing the weather conditions, I don't know what to do! If we go ahead and have Christmas on Saturday and end up with no surgery, we could either miss Christmas on the 25th due to surgery, or end up having Christmas at home, with no presents to unwrap! Maybe, if that happens, we'll go donate our time to help with meals on wheels or something. That would be nice!
What a terribly confusing time! But, in all of this, I am so thankful for so many things. I have received not only donations for ifish, but even more importantly, literally hundreds of thank you notes that mean far more to me, than anything!
People really love ifish! As much as I do! There are so few people that feel the opposite, that I need never worry about that. I do get it from both sides, and oh, how! But the majority loves it as much as the few "hate". Stories of how people at ifish have made so many friends, and how they've learned so much. It really touches me to know that Ifish has helped to create friendships. What could be more important, than that?
Along the way, hopefully some will pick up better ways of doing things, of caring for our rivers and streams, and of helping our fishery.
I'm convinced that I'll never be financially secure doing ifish. I never thought I would be. My goal was to do it for the love of fishing, and that has sustained me in a way far greater than finances!
Even the owner of facebook, a huge, extremely successful website, tells of the troubles making ends meet through advertising. While I was surprised to hear that, it set my mind at ease. I'm not a failure after all!
With your help, I keep ifish running because it is emotionally satisfying to me. It is a real blessing! And the thing that makes it even moreso, is that it seems to not only work for me, but it is also a blessing for you!
That's so cool!

December 18th

This is officially the disabled home. Just picked up Bill from the hospital. He had hand surgery today and it lasted longer than they thought.
He's in pain, but doing well.
After I left him, I started to come home, but it was packed snow and ice, and I was afraid it would get worse, so I ended up sitting in my car from 7 to 12:30. I'm glad to be home!
However, with taking care of Bill, (like he does me!) I'll be a bit tied up. So, the mods are there to answer your questions. I'm going to be occupied pretty much from now until Andrew come home from surgery, unless his surgery, Monday, is postponed due to future bad weather this weekend.
Have a Great Christmas!

December 19th

It's been a whirlwind of closely watching the forecasts and finding hope, and then none. Calling in at OHSU and getting good news, and then not-so-good!
Last night we were all excited as the forecast said that warming temperatures were to happen on Sunday. That's good! But, now, the forecast looks terrible!
There is a reason if the surgery is to be put off. I just wish I could make Andrew feel better about it. He's so tired of waiting! I don't blame him at all.
A couple days ago, I spotted a formation of salmon out in the shallows. It's interesting, how they form a fish bone pattern, just like the fish bones I'd have on my plate from eating trout at Diamond Lake. They line up in that pattern in the shallows! They look like dark imprints to me. Hard to even tell they are salmon, unless you notice them move. It's hard to see them through the river's current and concentrate on whether they are moving, or the river is moving! They kind of look like moss waving in the current.
Anyhow, two days later, yesterday, I walk out and find a new redd! That is just so amazing to me! It took my breath away. Our problems are just so small. Things move on. Magic, amazing things!

December 22nd

I don't know. I just don't know what to say, really!
Andrew's surgery was not to be, I guess. Not to be today, anyhow.
What a long and crazy ride, it's been! With the weather, and the stress, and oh, my! We'll have some crazy memories!
David came to the coast on Friday to celebrate Christmas with us, early. We had our Christmas the day before yesterday with presents and a nice ham dinner and all. If we hadn't looked on the calendar, we wouldn't have known that it really wasn't Christmas Day! It was festive and fun and we had a great time! It was the first white Christmas we've had, together!
It was all a bit backwards, though. Yesterday we woke up and found that our Christmas tree was dangerously dead. Somehow, somewhere along the line, we made a mistake in keeping it watered. But, our most beautiful tree needed to be taken down. There were needles everywhere! You couldn't touch it, but it would shed! So, as the boys opened their stockings, Bill and I took down the tree. It was so sad!
All day, we carefully watched the forecast and the storm news. It was as if an act of God, but highway 6 was open! All of the passes to Portland were closed except for ours! The surgery was on! I clicked madly on the Tripcheck link every five minutes throughout the day and it was still open, every time!
We had decided to use public transportation. Our bus was to leave at 4:00 PM. All was well!
I had been so stressed about having Christmas early, betting on that we could get to the hospital in time. It looked as if everything was working as planned!
At the last minute, I received an e mail from ifish member "Lurking out Loud". Not only was everything working out, but he offered us a ride up the hill from whatever landing point we would come to, in Portland. What a blessing! Everything... all laid out and working! Amazing Grace!
We packed our bags and David packed up his Christmas booty to take to his home.
We cheerfully headed out to the bus station. I couldn't believe it all to be true! We boarded the bus! Our best made plans were working!
It was funny, in a way, as we almost half expected to be tripped up, somewhere... somehow!
But, no! It was working! It was a go! Literally!
The bus driver carefully went over our route, and warned of the treacherous drive, ahead. He was more than up for it, and had traversed highway six in the worst of condition, several times. They have auto chains on the bus. The bus is heavy and does well in the snow and ice. I was confident and not the least bit afraid. God was in our corner and I knew it!
We took off. Spirits were high! It was happening!
David settled in with his book, and Andrew and I with our ear pods, playing music. The light of day was dimming.
Silent Night! All was clear... all was calm.
But... oh no! Up ahead... on the highway... what were those lights? I yanked the plugs out of my ears. The bus driver said, "I don't like the looks of this." But, quickly noted, "It's just the power company. It's OK!"
Panic, then calm.
But, no! He came to a stop and spoke with the man with the flag. The evil character in the play! The bad, bad, man with the flag!
"Roads are closed."
But, but, but... I grabbed my iphone and quickly pulled up my bookmarked "Tripcheck". It didn't say hiway 6 was closed?!? Says right here... OPEN!
I looked at Andrew. He, at me. You could feel the stress. It was heavy! Really, really heavy! We stared together in disbelief, hanging on every word of their conversation.
"Closed five minutes ago due to falling trees!" The bad man burped.
The term, "I couldn't believe it." took on new meaning.

We discussed going hiway 30 through Astoria, and waited for the bus driver's boss to approve the plan. We were denied. Understandable. It was a long, long way and we could understand their reasoning. It was treacherous and not smart to try it. But- just the fact that the driver was willing was so nice of him.
Back at the bus stop, standing in the cold wet, we pondered what to do. Bill had long gone home after dropping us off, and our phones didn't work at home. We had no ride, and no way to ask for one! How were we to get home? I dialed repeatedly, only to hear, "All circuits are busy."
In times of trouble, it's amazing how people come together to help one another.
We were driven home by the most amazingly kind people! The owners of the Terimore motel in Netarts offered David and I a ride home. We visited on the way home and I was so impressed by these people! I looked it up on the internet. Here is a picture of Ben and his Dad, Benjamin!

Owners of the Terimore Motel in Netarts

From talking to them, I'd really recommend staying there, if you have the chance. The reason they've kept the business told me all I needed to know. Benjamin senior said to me, "People are happy when they come to stay." I loved that! I can see why, by the looks of the view, and from speaking with them. What great people! If not for this emergency, I would never have had the pleasure of meeting them.
Andrew, feeling very disappointed, opted to go vent his troubles to his friend Nathaniel, who lives in town.
I keep telling myself that there is a reason that Andrew's surgery has been put off so many, many times.
I had been a good girl, too. I didn't even post that we were going to go ahead with it. I didn't post it, due to fear that it would be changed. And -- it was changed anyhow!
I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to mentally prepare for a serious heart surgery so many times, and be rerouted, each time. You know, when I dissected it was an emergency. I had no time to prepare, and it was a blessing. I had no choice but to just go to the hospital.
Andrew must be emotionally exhausted by now. If it weren't so frustrating, it would be funny. It's just not at all funny, though.
Christmas Day, Bill and I have decided that since we have already celebrated, that we will go help serve dinner to the homeless, or help deliver dinners to shut ins.
We'd go to Portland to be with our family, except for the roads. If we can't make it for surgery, surely we shouldn't travel for pleasure.
Today, we will research who would need our volunteer help. That will feel good to us. Hopefully Andrew will be up for it, too. I haven't asked him, yet. I'm sure he will be game. David, too, if he's in town. Helping someone will make us feel like Christmas.
It's just frustrating, though, not knowing when, now. With the weather forecast changing daily, it's just hard to figure it all out. Last night, it was a challenge to notify anyone that we weren't coming. As I noted before, our phones were out. I finally figured out how to e mail the surgeon and he answered back, as did the owner of the Inn at Marquam Hill, where I was to stay.
The owners of the inn were very gracious and understanding, also. I can't wait to actually meet them in person. They have been more than helpful!
So, that's my story.
This morning I'm home, and again, but with less passion, clicking on the Tripcheck link, wondering when-oh-when Andrew will have this heart surgery.
Last I heard, that if it weren't to happen today, it would have to be put off till Dec. 29th. We'll see!
Wow. It's snowing out. Who'da thunk?

December 24th

Twas the night before Christmas and a child lay in bed,
What were those scared feelings that raced through her head?

"Will Santa forget me, I sure hope he does not!
Although I've been sick, I've sure been a good tot!"

This sweet little child, with her heart filled with fear, didn't know that Gary and Bullet Freight were Santa's helpers this year!

(Pictures by Pete Morris)

Kind people from ifish gathered and brought presents from miles away!

(Pictures by Pete Morris)

Like elves, we all worked to make children happy on Christmas Day!

She drifted to sleep fitfully,
but awoke in the night-
She thought she saw a sleigh in the sky,
lit up against the snowfall, so bright!

Christmas morning she woke to sounds of great cheer-
Santa had NOT forgotten any of them, this year!

She heard laughter and excitement up and down through the halls-
Brightly wrapped presents filled with toys and glittery Barbie dolls!

Merry Christmas to all,
no matter where you are!

This Christmas, I would like to again thank Gary, the driver at Bullet Freight. for hauling the toys over to the hospital. I'd also like to thank my brother David Logsdon, and all the people at Bullet Freight for the use of the truck. Bullet Freight has shown wonderful support for the children at Emanuel Hospital, and we couldn't do it without them!
I'd also like to mention my appreciation for Sally at the hospital, who gets us all excited to do this, and to the crew at Emanuel who do so much for the children. If you have to be in the hospital during Christmas, that's the place to be!
And to all of my friends at ifish who came together to make this a very special Christmas for these boys and girls at Emanuel, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Merry Christmas everyone!
And to all a good night!

December 25th

Without dusting off the keyboard, after having not played for literally weeks, if not months...
This is the best way I know how to wish you a very Merry Christmas!
Medley of some of my favorites!
(And oh, my! The keys are dusty! Yuck! Going to clean, now!)
The snow is falling, and the river looks devine! How bout a Christmas steelhead? We can't drive anywhere! Might as well, huh? :)
Here's one after the dusted keys!December 27th

It is a dark and stormy day on the North Oregon Coast. Last night, as I fitfully slept through the racket, a warm front crashed into the existing stagnant cold and blew the stubborn cold and snow away. It's as if the Holidays were swept with it, all in one night's blow!
I had no desire to turn on the twinkling lights of Christmas, this morning. The snow had been so cheerful! The brightly colored lights spiked the boughs of branches that gracefully hung from the porch rail. They were tied up with sparkly gold ribbon and everything glittered against the snow on my porch.
Today, in the weak morning daylight, it is a different season, altogether! Not a trace of snow is left on the ground. The wind whips and whistles through the cracks of my window frame. Everything looks soggy, like you'd sink in a mudhole if you stepped out.
Throughout the night, the wind tossed weakened trees to and fro. Some weren't able to stand the change. Those beautiful trees, so gracefully tipped with snow on their bough, so regal and proud (and frozen!), standing against the gray sky, now lay soaking, across the river. Their purpose has changed. Morphed from a habitat for birds into a habitat for the salmon. Even in death, there is purpose. Their tips are pulled by a ferocious current. Some give way and float by me, as I stare out into the Kilchis river. I stumble, trying hard to stand against the 50 MPH gusting winds. I can see it coming at me, by the ripples down river. Around the corner it comes at me, and I brace myself. Wham!
I've learned to cast in between gusts. That is, after catching myself with a lure in the ear, once. Jigs do not pretty earrings make!
The river rages four feet higher than when I cast a jig to the elusive steelhead, right before dark. The waves splash at my feet, where yesterday I gripped my stand against icy snow and bare rock.
The dogs wag their tails. Both extremes of winter excite them. They love the wind in their fur and they race to and fro sniffing out whatever the snow melt hid from them, this past week. Of course, they love anything and everything - at all!
To be so happy so easily!
Christmas is past us. It's been such a strange and still wonderful season, this year.
We celebrated early, thinking sure Andrew would have been in the hospital for Christmas. When that didn't happen, the "real" Christmas Day came to us and past us with little attention and less festivity.
I had been able to shop for groceries the day before Christmas, while all others were scrambling to finish their last minute present shopping. I felt a strange and wonderful ease as I wandered the isles for mayonnaise and ordinary faire, while other rushed and pushed and shoved with a look of panicked stress on their faces. Who said we don't wear costumes for Christmas? Sure seemed so to me! Scary!
I wore light up Christmas earrings and smiled at people. It was kind of fun, being at ease with the day.
I came home and made special eat treats for the family. A rich artichoke dip and Italian crustini to dip. Yum. We had plenty of goodies that came in the mail from our friends. Sugary cookies and candies and breads, oh my!
I fished on Christmas Day. It was uneventful, even though the river was prime. It looked fishy! But, I had no luck.
Funny... yesterday I was so concentrating on my fishing, and trying to keep warm. Head down, with my furry hat on, I had extremely limited vision. Even more so than usual!
I worked my way down river, as I cast my jig into the normal slots. It gets so routine, when you fish a certain river stretch over, and over and over again. I know the rocks at my feet. I know where to go close to the river to cast, and where to travel where the rocks are smaller and sand makes my way easier to travel.
I had come close to the water to work the last stretch before going into the house to warm myself and I was casting to the usual honey holes. Over and over, I threw my jig, and retrieved it, without event.
All of the sudden, a booming voice from.. above? -that reminded me of the Bill Cosby skit that includes, "Noah? This is the Lord speaking..."
The voice said, "Doing any good?"
Heavens to Murgatroyd!
I almost answered, "No, Lord!"
I get so used to fishing alone on that stretch. It is always so beautiful out there, that hearing the Lord's voice wouldn't surprise me a bit!
I looked up and there, standing across the river was another fisherman! I was so embarrassed! With my vision, which isn't too hot, his dark clothing melted right into the wintry background. I hadn't even seen him! My head mostly down against the wind, I had been casting mindlessly into "his" waters for 15 minutes, at least!! What patience this man had! He stood, waiting for me to notice him for how long? He waited and watched, smiling, his hands folded with his rod by his side. Waiting... for some dumb girl to finish catching his fish!
I apologized profusely and quickly, red faced, headed towards the house. I kind of giggled, too. He had been so nice about it!
Well, by the looks of the weather station that measures 2.12 inches of rain since midnight, perhaps I had been dreaming. Perhaps it was the Lord. Perhaps I left before the Lord told me to build an ark.
I have to giggle, because I really did think that fisherman sounded like the Lord. I wouldn't have doubted his presence on the beautiful banks of the Kilchis river. I talk to Him so often, out on the river! This young fisherman certainly had the patience of the Lord!
Andrew's surgery is set for January 5th, now. My girlfriend called and has the week off. Hmmm Maybe I do, too? We giggled about running away to the sunshine.
Perhaps? Who knows! Stranger things have happened!

December 28th

The Caddis Fly
Oregon's Fly Fishing Blog

I found a treasure!
For all of you fly fishers out there, (and especially like me, fly-fishing-wannabes!) -make sure you visit and bookmark The Oregon Fly Fishing Blog.
I spent some time visiting with Matt Stansberry after I happened upon the site the other day. Like a good book, you can't... close your browser?!
The site has been active for about a year, now. You'd never know it, though. It's got years of information! I Don't know how I missed it for so long. I browse lots of fishing sites, but this one is a gold mine.
Not only do they do fishing reports and offer information for people planning fishing trips to Oregon, but gear reviews, fly tying instruction and conservation news for Oregon's fly fishing community.
Most fly fishers out there are familiar with fly tying guru, Barrett Christiansen. About once a week, Barrett offers a fly fishing video that is one of the most awesome additions to this informative site. Here's the Latest: Fly patterns for steelhead: The Egg-sucking Leech.
You'll also find published profiles on some of Oregon's most important fly fishing personalities, like Jon Bauer (founder of Bauer Fly Reels), Jim Teeny, Jim Van Loan (owner of the Steamboat Inn on the N. Umpqua), Chet Croco (owner of Bellinger Bamboo fly rods), Jay Nicholas (salmon biologist), and tons of others.
Karl Mueller heads up plenty of conservation coverage. Karl is the conservation director for Trout Unlimited Chapter 678. They've written pretty extensively about dam relicensing issues, how the BLM's Western Oregon Plan Revision would affect coastal salmonids, and man, so much, much, more!
Matt Stansberry (the outreach coordinator for TU Chapter 678) writes the profiles, fishing reports, edits the videos and generally keeps the current flowing.
In the summer, (someone say summer?- I can't wait!) you can expect Caddis Fly Shop owner and guide Chris Daughters to be writing about their home waters -- The McKenzie River, Willamette town-run, and Upper Willamette -- just about every day. Dig that!
Oh! Oh! I just found a podcast I can subscribe to, also!
During the winter Chris is writing about new gear, winter steelheading, and fly fishing destination trips like the Bahamas, (see podcast, above) Argentina, etc. (ooh, lah lah! Want to go!)
Guest bloggers from the shop, Lou Verdugo and Matt's brother, Nate Stansberry often chimes in with trip reports and gear reviews.
I was impressed that they try to update five times a week! Monday and Tuesday are big days.
"The fly tying videos are our most popular feature." Says Matt. "Barrett has a great style. He's tying flies that work on local waters, and he's got a lot of tricks up his sleeve that other tyers can use."
The crew at this web site spends a ton of time on the water, all year around and it sure shows!
"We're obsessed and we love fishing in Oregon." Matt tells me. "Chris has been listening to what Pacific Northwest anglers have been saying and asking for 20 plus years."
Want answers?
Go take a gander if you have a couple hours, handy this weekend!
It's a cinch you won't be disappointed if fly fishing is your thing! I would bet it will become a regular stop for you. (Just like it has been for me!)
I'm going to catch a darn steelhead on a fly if it's the last thing I do! I think this site will help, if not finally make it entirely possible!
Thanks, Matt! Keep it up!

December 30th

My New Year's resolution is to write here before I go read the mod board.
I mean, think about it. I wake up in the early morning hours and read some of the nasties that people send at night, most probably after they have consumed way too much alcohol.
I suppose it is a good thing that I receive mostly good things in the mail. I should be thankful.
Also, my other resolution is to get back on the wagon to do "Ready, Set" contests. I don't know what is going on, but I never have the time! I will make time! Those are fun!
Today, I am trying to get ahold of Luhr Jensen to find out the status of the Kwikfish! Fun!
Andrew's surgery is scheduled for January 5th. That's this Monday. I will be out, most of that week.
I suppose my very first resolution is to see Andrew through this scary time. It will all fly by, I'm sure!
Because of leaving, I have treated you to an early edition of Stan Fagerstrom's column on casting, featuring Gary Thien and his bass clinic. Please enjoy!