Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington
January 2009

Another Day, another flood.

Happy New Year
January 2nd, 2009

Another day, another flood
Still Crazy, after all these years.

Please excuse the following,
which is a ramble of my thoughts.

Jan 2nd, later..

We had a celebration of life ceremony for our beloved "Bad Chicken" this morning. His name was Sassy. He was nine years old, and man oh man, was he sassy!!
He passed on weeks ago, but the ground is just now unfrozen enough to give him a proper burial. He's been wrapped in our freezer for a while.
We have a lovely place for our animals that pass on. It's a little corner, a clearing in the woods, protected by overhanging branches, vines, and wildness.
Bill makes little grave "stones" out of metal and his metal writer-thingy (I forget what to call it!) and we have a beautiful cemetary, complete with decorative bench that says:
If tears could build a stairway.
And memories were a lane.
We would walk right up to Heaven And bring you back again.
Sassy was a bratty little banty rooster that we all loved to hate. That's a little strong. We never hated him. We just were very wary of him. I miss him. He was a character, and added spunk to the group.
He'd attack me with those long spurs and I'd have gushing wounds, several times a year from his eh... loving attacks.
Kilchis, my dog, was trained that when I'd say "Kilchy! Bad Chicken!" he'd chase after him. He knew which one, too. Out of all our lovely hens and majestic roosters, Kilchis knew the roosters and which one caused me panic. And it was panic! Sheer, awful panic!
In fact, the neighbor lady was once asked to feed our chickens, while we were on vacation. Due to Sassy, she quit her job. :)
And still... I cried when we buried him.
I just love our animals. Every last "bad" one of them.
When we poured the dirt over his little body, I said to Kilchis, "Bad Chicken!" in a very tender voice. His tail did not wag.
I swear that dog cried a tear, too.

Jan 2nd in the morning- early.

Long ago, I saw a scene in a movie that forever sticks with me.
A family was gathered around the dinner table. The wife and children were upset, and began to accuse the Father of unbecoming habits and traits that bothered them. They were serious accusations, and affected their family life. But, instead of denying or becoming defensive, he sat, pondered a moment and said, "Yes. I do that. I do!"
It was so unexpected!
That just really struck me.
I think that the key to being comfortable with yourself in life, is not so much to always overcome your bad habits, but to admit them and become comfortable with them, and readily admit the possibility that you, indeed, may not be perfect, and especially in other people's eyes. :)
How refreshing is that! Learn from it!
If someone is mad at me and says, "you are so... (fill in the blank)" If it is true in the least, I would much prefer I admit it and be alright with the person's honest evaluation.
It's hard to do!
What's interesting, also, is that you can find out alot about the other person, by listening to what they see in you. Most often, I find, that whatever it is they see in you and complain about, is most often true, also, of themselves! Aha! Otherwise, how else would they see it in you, if they weren't familiar with it, themselves? But... I digress.
Of course I'm not happy with my bad habits or unbecoming traits that people might notice in me. But, we can work on those! It's the admission that's the tough part!
I've noticed that as some people get older, this is harder and harder for them to do. I will fight against ever letting that happen!
2008. I've made new friends this year, and lost touch and closeness with others. I think it's just the rhythm of things. We all move on in different directions. I mourn the loss of friends that have left my life, and I celebrate the new. Some have gotten married. Some have moved to new and exciting places. Some have gone from a close visiting relationship to communicating through much to rare emails, only.
And as ifish grows, I find myself in a different role. Some places where I used to belong, I'm not so at home or welcome, anymore.
It's an uncomfortable thing, sometimes, the way life always evolves and moves on. But through it all, and no matter what, deep down I feel so truly blessed and lucky.
When God closes a window, a door springs open full of opportunity, possibilities, and new experiences.
Wow. Isn't life interesting? Isn't it exciting? I think the most important thing is to embrace it all. In all of it's wonder, and even all of it's sadness. Feel it! Breathe it! Live it! Embrace it all!
As we approach Andrew's surgery date, January 5th, (this Monday!!!) I find myself nervous to the point of not being able to sleep well.
Just the thought of my son, my baby... going through this. It's tough!
I've started a new weblog for his surgery so that I can keep friends and family easily updated. It's a wordpress site. Soon as I learn how to use it well enough, I'll share the link, here. I don't think I'll leave it open to comments. I just want to be able to use my iphone to upload what's happening. Just a play by play notebook for people to keep up to date
Sometimes it all feels so unfair. Sometimes it seems like people with marfan, with all of our existing problems should be void to normal stuff. Isn't marfan enough? But, no!
I heard there is a new book coming out about growing older with marfan. Since they've successfully made our life span longer, now we need to face the regular problems of getting older, in addition to marfan health problems. Nothing like, oh say... arthritis and aortic dissections... lol
It makes me wonder... are we doing good, going against what God's plans were for us? Is it better that marfan people live shorter lives, as intended? I have to think not. I'm darn glad to still be here, even so. Plus, just think how strong we'll be! At least, in spirit!
I grew up fully believing that my life span was to be shorter. Now, it's not always so.
All I know for sure is that I'm still thrilled to be here!
What in the world can I do about any of it, anyhow? LOL.
My mind is just full. I think about Andrew being at that totally invincible age where he thinks he's immortal and will live forever.
This surgery has got to harden him a bit to that wonderful time in his life. At his age, I remember dreaming as though I'd live forever. I can only hope that he still lives as full as though he'll die tomorrow.
Live, love, laugh and eat lots of good food!
I look around me and try to take it all in. The world is so beautiful! The colors, the winter, the flood! There was a time I couldn't see at all, and it wasn't that long ago. I remember tossing a bobber out onto the river and laughing. I couldn't see the dang thing to see if it went down! What in the world was I thinking, to even try to bobber fish? Doh! But, I DID learn to make my way up and down the river by feel, and I was so proud of that!
Tough circumstances can teach us such awesome things!
Right now, thanks to the awesome work of the doctors, I can follow a jig bobber all the way down the drift! I'm so thankful! I feel like I can see everything, even though my vision isn't comparatively what you'd call good. I see things beyond what my physical vision portrays, too. Things I never thought I would see! I see abilities in myself that I never knew I possessed.
Two days ago, my eye became really scratchy and sore. I couldn't open it. It's gotten no better. Thing is, I'm so confused with so many eye surgeries. Which of my eyes had the retinal detachment? Which eye had the corneal transplant? Which had the last lens put in? Which has the most blebs? What is it that might be happening? Is a bleb leaking? Is my corneal transplant coming loose? Is my retina detaching, again? Pheh!
I gave up trying to update my "All my eye surgeries" page! I don't know what is what, anymore!
Never mind, but what worries me, is if I'm not healthy and if something happens to me at the same time Andrew has his surgery, I'd freak. God, please just keep me well! I just couldn't deal with anything new, now! So, I'm pretending my eye is fine. What eye? LOL.
Must... must move on. Must be strong.
My New Year's resolution this year is to admit my faults, to work on them, but mainly... to be alright with them. We were made with lots of inadequacies. If not for that, what in the world would we do all day than to try to improve ourselves?
I know in my heart that my Heavenly Father made me with lots of things to work on. He also made me with lots of things for doctors to work on! LOL.
In all of my faults, I am a wonderful learning tool for both myself, and for the doctors in this world.
It is my sincere prayer that the things that the doctors learn by working with Andrew and I, can someday benefit others with marfan syndrome.
I also pray that through my mistakes and errors, I learn things about myself and those things can benefit those that I love around me. May I become a more lovable and loving friend to others, in the future.
Happy New Years to Everyone!

January 4th, 2009

Oh, my. Is this really happening?
Tis the day before surgery and all through the night, I couldn't stop waking, with nightmares of fright!
Why am I like this? I'm not having surgery! it's time to let go, and let God. :)
I can tell you right now, it's even worse when it's your baby, and yes, 21 year old adults are still babies and forever will be, if they are your own!
I think he's stronger than I am! When I went in for heart surgery, I had no choice, nor was I in a proper state of mind. I was in shock, and don't recall but bits and pieces, after the ambulance guys came. I was shocked to find out that in the ambulance, I called family and friends. Here I am, bleeding internally and chatting on the phone! What forever must I have said? I don't know!
Too funny, but I guess I told the surgeon that I was not, under any circumstance, having heart surgery. LOL. So, THERE!
I told the surgeon that I must have a second opinion from my own cardiologist. They told me! They told me that yes, I was having surgery! Indeed!
I don't recall any of that, but it does make me giggle a bit.
Thing is, Andrew needs to walk right in there, on his own cognition, his own thinking, his own choice, and sign himself up. He's willing! Don't tell him this, but I think if it were me, I might run, last minute. That makes me wonder if he will. Will I have trouble getting him in there?
I'm scared, you guys!
Honest to God, is this all a dream? Please wake me, if it is!
I'm chickening out. Perhaps I'll buy tickets to Cabo and we'll jump a plane and run away? I want to!
OK, I've got to finish packing and drive on over there.
Andrew, let's get you fixed up!
I have to believe with all my heart that Andrew is being watched over by his Heavenly Father, even though Andrew isn't so sure of that whole thing.
Maybe... just maybe this will play a role in his faith in Him?
I can pray, can't I?
Honest to God, (lol) I don't know how people do it without Him!
I will keep in touch and keep Andrew's story updated, here.
I have it set so that all comments must be approved, first. With all the ding dongs in the world, I don't want spammers getting to it.
Have a great week! The rivers are going to be beautiful!

Heart surgery is recorded on Andrew's blog, here.


January 11th, 2009
Hi, honey! I'm home!
I'm copying my last Andrew blog, here.

We are home!
It’s got its advantages and dis, but we are home!
Those nurses come in handy, sometimes. You know, like at 6 in the morning, when the cats have a fight over my nearly dead body. Sheesh. When will they ever get along?
Andrew has kind of adopted the cat. It has many names, so far. It’s so soft, so Roo co named him “Biz-cashmere”. It’s originally Sarg. Pepper. :) I like both.
The cat is in the terrible twos stage. Either that, or it’s just plain a wild man. Sometimes it’s a crazy mean little banty man, too! He draws blood on us, everywhere!
Therefore, Andrew didn’t want it to sleep in his room. It leaps and jumps and lands on Andrew’s chest. Loud cries of pain erupt from Andrew. Not good.
We can’t let the kitty loose, or Molly attacks it. (Molly the fishing cat.) So… last night, I slept in the guest bedroom with Sgt. Pepper. Kilchis wouldn’t go in there near it, as frankly, he is afraid of the wild thing! Even Rev thinks he is too wild! Get that!
Molly spent four hours fishing on the river with Bill, yesterday, so I thought she’d be too tired to pick a fight. WRONG!
At 6 in the morning, Kilchis must have opened my door and out of a dead sleep, I wake to terrible cat yowling and fur flying!
So… after six hours of sleep, I’m up!
Andrew had a hard time getting up, after a pretty good night’s sleep. Finally, I have coffee in hand, and I’m at the computer. I’m not to get too comfortable, though. I have a walkie talkie thing, and it seems as soon as my knees bend to sit down, I hear, “Mom? Can you please…” Argh.
I’m really liking this word press blog to write on better than using Dreamweaver. I’m going to have a tech build a Dreamweaver page for ifish. That way, I’m more apt to write small updates and fishing reports etc., when they happen, since I can do it from anywhere. Anywhere but home, that is, as I don’t get iphone internet, here at home on the river.
Kilchis and Rev were crazy to see us, when we got home. It was a wonderful home coming.
I need to catch up on my mail, do some contests, talk to some advertisers about things, and generally catch up. Last night it seemed overwhelming to me, and I thought about just giving up. Today, with a fresh outlook, I feel I can attack it and at least whack my list of things to do, down to a manageable level. :)
From now until I get the word press site up on ifish home page, I’ll be back on the main page at In fact, I’ll copy this over there, so it’s duplicated.
Have a wonderful day! I’d so love to go to church and begin my prayers of Thanksgiving for Andrew’s successful surgery, but with Andrew needing me so often, I doubt I should go further than the walkie talkie let’s me.
The only thing is that he has a bit of a leak in his aorta. The Dr. says it’s not perfect, but then what is perfect in this world?
I do wonder, though… will the walkie talkie work, down on the river? That’s a grand place to give thanks. :)
I can’t wait to get down on that river. It is so beautiful! On the drive home, I kept looking at the awful dirty Wilson. Then, I came upon the Kilchis and it was nothing but beautiful! Steelhead green and gorgeous!
I guess that one guide boat did really well, but the rest of the boats- not so well.
Last night I took a hot bath and had fun piling my hair on top my head with conditioner and I slept in it, all night. Time to go wash it out and feel clean for the first time all week!

January 14th, 2009

The Return of Magic.

I didn't know what it was, but I thought it was something about being legal that gave me that magic, "Expect a fish with every cast" feeling. I had just gotten my new fishing license. All shiny new and paid for with a likewise shiny new plastic credit card.
I worked the river, up and down and in all the right slots, fully expecting a fish. I even fished some new slots that the river has created. Surely, magic would occur! I deserved magic!
I'm of the belief that the best jig conditions come at a lower water level. It was a pretty good level for jigs, so I knew, I just knew that bobber was going to dive, dive, dive... at any time!
A drift boat passed, and I kindly backed up, giving them full rights to the hole. "How you doing?" Oops. It was the river sheriff, checking boat licenses. Of course, they weren't fishing! Still, we had a lovely chat. It wasn't raining. It was a perfect river day. Perfect magic could happen at any moment!
Their drift boat slid effortlessly across dangerous looking white water, and landed at my feet. By that time, I'd changed to tossing out a wobbler and letting it play in the current. Maybe the river was too high for jigs.
He commented on my lovely purple plug. He liked it! He liked it! This renewed my confidence.
As they pulled away, my mind got lost on the experience of my first drift trip.
Frankly, I'm a bank angler, a bank "maggot" at heart. (giggle)
I grew up fishing the banks of the Molalla, and then the banks of the Clackamas.
When I moved to the beach as a young adult, I'd wake every morning and fish the banks of a nearby creek, before work. Back then, it wasn't strange at all to see huge, silvery salmon burst from the still water. It was a small creek, with overhanging mossy trees that towered over head. A true rain forest dream, come true. I'll never forget the charge I got out of those experiences. I never caught one of those chinook salmon, but I never ceased to grow weary, trying. Most of the magic came from sitting quietly, never knowing when those huge salmon would shock me with their sudden explosions from the water! Makes my heart skip a beat, just thinking of it!
I was rewarded with jack salmon, occasionally. I certainly never got over the magic of just sitting there on the banks, waiting. Both bobber down and salmon up(!) gave me my fix.
On the banks of that river, I met a nice couple of gentlemen, and we'd share coffee and fish tales, occasionally. Those are the only people I met, fishing there. It was a quiet river, a quiet magic that I experienced on the banks of that river, and I hear the magic has since gone. It is a rare salmon that travels up the river to spawn.
I moved North up the coast and learned the banks of new rivers and met new magic. The Nehalem, the Necanicum, the Lewis and Clark, the Clatskanie. Ben "Tag" Tagliovento taught me them all. On the L&C, we'd walk the banks up with bait and back down with flatfish, and on the Necanicum, we'd sit on a floating platform and plunk with wobblers. We'd fish from bridges and banks and people's backyard terraces. I still feel the Borax under my fingernails. We'd travel muddy roads, and walk over pasture, and land at quiet pools where the jack salmon came in with the high tide and left just as sure.
We ate mushy sandwiches wrapped in tin foil.
The magic traveled with me at every stop and fed my needs quite nicely.
Oh! And the banks of the Columbia, watching huge container ships pass by while fighting wily silver salmon! That was a magic I'll hold in my soul, forever. We traded garden fare while sitting in our rigs in the sand. Tomatoes and zucchini and fresh corn, oh my! We'd laugh and talk, while waiting for our rods sitting quiet in rod holders. At any moment the magic could begin and they'd do their happy fish dance. Some people had bells on their rods, but it really wasn't needed. We were a family a dozen cars long, all watching, in wait. That was our main goal. A rod left unattended by its owner was attended by several others!
I seldom left watch, though. I was known and teased about standing by my rod, never letting my eyes off for a second, lest I miss the magic.
In Washington, Ben and I bought one day licenses after traveling over the huge bridge. We'd climb on rocks the size of Volkswagens and fish for sturgeon while cars whizzed by on the road behind us. There was a time that my reel was completely spooled by a huge sturgeon. There was nothing I could do but just stare while my reel zinged until the music ended with a "pnk!" Now, that, was pure magic! No matter where we traveled, there is magic under them thar waters!
I lost my life partner, partly due I'm sure, to the pull of this fishing magic that kept me wandering from my nest at home. I was unsettled always, in search of fish.. in search of magic.
When he left, my life was shattered, and I was likewise pulled by a need for even greater magic to fill the void. I found the answer to that need in the back pages of an STS magazine: the drift boat and the guided trip. I needed to experience being on the water!
My ex husband would pick up the kids and for the first time, I was left alone, with long spells of time that I needed to fill with big magic.
For nights on end after the kids went to bed, I planned my follies. I'd sit in a hot bubble bath, reading an STS magazine, dreaming. I flipped the pages, searching the classifieds at the back for the perfect escape. The perfect guide. The perfect river trip on, instead of beside, the water.
My Grandmother passed away, leaving me just enough money to buy a pair of waders, and to pay for this magic trip on water.
I would be immersed in magic! Yes!
Finally, I made the call that changed my fishing life, forever.
First, I fished with Milton Fischer. It was a magic trip, indeed. However, my newly found personal freedom left two needs for magic in my life, and they got all mixed up. I found myself looking for magic in all the wrong places. His eyes were magical and he was darn cute! Note to self: Must not mix up needs for magic.
First and foremost, I needed to fulfill my need for magic on water. I needed to be happy with myself, first. Never, ever look for a romantic partner when your fishing needs aren't met, first! Huh uh! That's not good at all!
And so it was, one day, that I met Jim Erickson. I think that Milton knew that I wasn't ready for any kind of personal relationship, because he introduced me to the fish God of the North Fork Nehalem. Mr. Jim Erickson! -Fish magic master!
Unlike Milton, who was young and handsome and far too tempting, Jim was a happily married older gen... I mean, man. Milton wore LL Bean clothing, and tied flies by candle light. He had magic in his eyes that lured me from the magic of fishing that I had originally searched out.
Jim, on the other hand, wore the same fishing clothes for whole seasons at a time. His scruffy, unshaven face held a gentle and see-through smirk, but even so, I was never fully sure when he was serious, or not. That kept me on guard. He was approachable and unapproachable, all at the same time. His waders were crusted with salmon eggs so thick that they'd stand up on their own. One thing I knew for sure. This man knew years of magic. This man was the sum total of the North Fork Nehalem's river and its fishes magic.
I had to follow.
It was one fine sunny and cold morning, when my toes were already froze, and my heart beat in anticipation at the put-in at the North Fork hatchery. I was waiting for Jim Erickson to arrive. I chatted with my bank angler friends, telling them, and trying not to brag, that I was about to fish the river in places that we'd never been able to fish, before. I was launching into a world that we, as bank anglers, had never seen!
I felt apart from the crowd that I had come to know so well, fishing from the banks. My intimate fishing friends! I sensed some kind of change that was going to happen that would make our relationship change, forever. I was excited and flip, but at the same time, worried if my friends on the bank would still remain my friends. Was I about to do something that would separate us, forever? Would I be seen as a river snob, now?
It happens! I've seen the looks from bank anglers, as I drift by in a boat, now. Bill and I try so hard to show them the utmost respect by going behind, but still... there is a division. I feel it.
I brushed the fear aside, that morning, as Loretta showed up behind the wheel of a big truck, towing a raft. The raft that I was about to get into! Loretta expertly backed up the rig, and it sloshed into the water. Life jackets, umpteen years old and soaked to rotten, sloshed around in the bottom of the raft. "Good thing I brought my own life jacket!" I thought to myself. LOL.
I'll just never forget waving goodbye to all my bank anglers friends, as we turned the corner past the falls, and floated into a magic fantasy land far greater than what Disney could ever create.
That trip with Jim that day changed my life, forever. I was fully able to concentrate on the magic of the river and of the fish. Jim barked orders to me "Throw a cast out there!" without giving me any time to prepare. He was a serious fisher, but at the same time he was fun and jovial and deep down, so entirely kind hearted.
I worked so hard to try to earn his respect. It wasn't easy! He was good on the oars, good with a rod, and knew everything I ever wanted to know! Oh, he loved fish and fishing more than anyone, and I knew we'd have a relationship based on that fishing magic, forever.
Man. I miss Jim and Milton, so much. I miss the North Fork. I haven't fished it, since they passed. A mutual friend of ours sold his raft that he'd bought especially to drift the North Fork. Jim had coached him on how to maneuver that dangerous stretch, and something about not having the guts to float it without Jim around. That was the explanation of why he passed it on to a friend of his.
I can relate.
The magic that I feel in fishing took a big hit when those two fishing heroes left my life.
Sometimes when I have a fish on, I'll yell at the top of my lungs, "Look, Jim! Look!" I know... I just know they are with me, and that the magic is out there, still, for all of us to own, freely.
I didn't catch a fish, yesterday, but I caught the magic. That "expect a fish with every cast" is part of it, and it felt darn good to feel it, again.
It came to me out of the blue, as I fished yesterday. I hadn't even realized I'd missed it, and that's the saddest part!
I have to laugh, today, because I had thoughts of Jim, Ben and Milton up there in some magic fishing land, fighting to be the first, down the river. One of them must have stopped to watch me cast, because I felt them. I felt them all! I felt the magic return.
I didn't catch a fish, yesterday, but I caught something even better. Magic!
Thanks, Jim!
Thanks, Milton!
Thanks, Ben!
I need that magic in my life. Oh! How I really, really do!

January 16th, 2009

Click to zoom

This is what my jacket
will look like for the show! Except, of course, the Kwikfish will be the Eyefish ll Kwik, and copper!
Muhahaha... Grant's Getaways are back! I got my sand shrimp tainted grubbies on a sneak peak! Life is good, again! I love the evening news hour, once more! Thanks, Grant! You can read comments about it, here.
Welcome to ifish, "Waves of Newport Hotel", just in time for the Salty Dog Convention! I'm thinking I might stay there, and invite some of the mods. What fun! You will always be able to find the link on the left hand column, under "Accommodations".
Andrew is still in a bunch of pain, but doing better, each day. I'm off to go help.
Oh! And another new one! Fish with Andy Martin and chase halibut, lings and salmon in Seward, Alaska! Wild River Fishing is now a sponsor of ifish! Welcome!

January 17th, 2009

Not again. The cat got out, this morning, and Molly and he got into a terrible fight. What a thing to wake to! The fur was flying, again!
Andrew's been having terrible pain and migraines. It's just a helpless feeling. I wish I could take it away for him. My hands are so sore from giving massages. It's all I can do, though.
David is home for a spell, discussing his upcoming plans. We may go for pancakes this morning in Bay City to discuss.
What a beautiful morning.. weather it's been, lately. It's frozen here, all day, though. We have to travel to town to get in on the warmth. The Kilchis Canyon is an ice box!
I'm so excited! Ollie Damon's has joined the ifish family! Look for a reel repair forum, soon! I have wanted Ollie's on ifish forever! In fact, I think I first asked them in 2001! At that point, ifish wasn't very well known, though. I'm just so proud. I spent hours there, as a kid. Before and after fishing with my Dad. Truth be told, I wasn't always happy about being there, but the whole of it has left me with very good memories. At the time, though, it was often, "Can we go home, yet?" I was frozen, most of the time, from fishing all day! LOL
Ollie's remains the go-to place to get your reels repaired. They just have a well deserved reputation for friendliness and quality that can't be beat!

January 18th, 2009

Every single time I watch football... It seems like they would learn.
If they would just space right, or turn around, even, they wouldn't run into each other and get hurt. They say blondes aren't very smart! Sheesh!
They probably LIKE getting hurt, right?
Along with a small wild steelhead hen, today, battled a cold. The coastal crud has come to visit all of us at the Hedlund household, this week. Even Andrew. Scary!
It's no wonder they want you out of the hospital as fast as possible, the things you can catch, there! Andrew also caught this awful looking scar down his chest!
The steelhead was caught on a First Bite jig and made me feel a bit better.
Don't forget about our First Springer Contest! I almost did, but whewie! Last minute, I remembered and it's up! I don't have the prizes yet, but they'll be great, as always!
I just signed a check to help our local guys keep the river boat ramps in good shape for the seasonal fisheries. Thanks to Jerry Dove and all, who do all this hard work. Let's support them! Click here! Thanks, Bill, for the reminder!
Now, back so that I can shake my head at those silly football players. They'll learn!

January 21st, 2009

The long and winding road...
Kilchis River Road

Click to zoom

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

-Alexander Pope,
An Essay on Man, Epistle I, 1733

These are a few of my favorite things!-
and the first one is hope!
The very fact that Andrew shot the above picture while on his daily walk helps me to realize that he is healing; mind, spirit and body!
Isn't it beautiful?
We live down in a canyon where it is dark almost all day. If you climb our long driveway to the top, it's like popping out of a mole hole. Sunshine! Life!
Down here, our lawn stays frozen and white all day long during the winter months.
Sometime, in late January you'll hear someone in our household exclaim, "Hey! There's sunshine on our porch!" and we all get up to see it. It's the turn from winter to a slice of hope for Spring.
Hope Springs eternal! We are eternally hopeful for Spring! That's it!
For many years, this powder-blue-sky of winter haunted me of my aortic surgery. I couldn't shake it. But, somehow, with Andrew's surgery, now, it has shaken that out of me, and I haven't had that feeling in a while! Through his healing, I think I've rid myself of that dark weight. I sure hope so!
Sometimes I wonder... The longer you live, the more real hurt you have to experience. I've always found that the our hurts and losses affect how we feel about certain seasons. When people close to me die, for instance, it has an affect on how I feel about the season it happened. The older I get, the more seasons are affected.
Wait! I only have four seasons! Don't ruin them all! How can I sustain my excitement for my favorite seasons if they are all affected by loss? I refuse to let that happen! That's how! I have to laugh at our ability to think optimistically, despite the odds, despite any forecast.
Plus, with every window that is closed, a door is opened. For every loss, there is an equal and opposite joy.
Hearts heal and the excitement for new season is eternal!
It's music to my ears to hear Andrew say, "I feel good!" So many long days of enduring watching someone in pain, especially my son, has been hard on me.
One magic and wonderful day it just turned around, though. He woke up and asked to visit a friend.
What a huge relief it must be for him to have this surgery behind him! So many people prayed for him, and I am so grateful! Thank you!
Andrew is enjoying his iphone and re-found ability to read books. When he lost his vision last Spring, he lost so much more. Now, he holds that tool close to him and keeps expressing how much he enjoys it. We find him most often sitting in his chair in his room, reading books that he downloads on that thing! He is so ready to go back to school. I wonder if they have school books that are downloadable? :)
I caught a beautiful little wild hen the other day, out on the Kilchis. I thought it was a cutthroat, but was I ever surprised when I brought it close to me. It was a gorgeous steelhead!
We really are experiencing real hints of Spring around here! There is this beautiful little natural spring along the roadside ditch that is so beautiful! I have to take a picture of it for you! It happens each late winter, and it's just gorgeous! Cool, clear water that shoots a strong stream from within dark greenery that grows alongside the road. I am always driving too fast and think after I pass it, that I should stop. I have to just do it!
Dare I suppose that the more we experience sadness and/or loss, the more we are apt to find equal and opposite joy?
I have a beautiful pink sprout of asparagus peeking out of the ground! I have freesia that are sprouting little greens from their bulbs! Tiny tips of light purple paint the groves of trees, surrounding me.
Andrew is healing!
I dare believe that for every loss, we find equal and opposite hope and joy. I still feel that childlike happiness for no seemingly no reason at all. Just poof!- from deep within that cold, powdery blue sky, comes complete and absolute joy and the hope for Spring, anew!

January 22nd, 2009

I'm in a lot of pain, lately, so it's been hard to do ifish. Thank God for the moderators, and I mean that most sincerely!
It's weird how I do well in an emergent situation, but then I end up paying the price for weeks, after.
Well, I'm off for a walk. I hope that makes me feel better. It seems to be working for Andrew!
Oh! Do you need a place to stay for the Pacific Northwest Sportsmen's Show?
It's February 4-8th and is coming RIGHT up!
Time to reserve your rooms!
Man, life goes so fast, now and I had forgotten all about it!
Ifish was able to get a block of really nice rooms at Oxford Suites for a discounted rate of $99.00 for the Sportsman Show, but you have to reserve early!
I spent some enjoyable quality time on the phone with the nicest people, trying to get this rate for you, so please call early if you want it.
Oxford Suites is the nicest place to stay! I adore the people, there. It's like my home away from home. I love their nightly snacks, how friendly they are, and the fact you can get coffee and creamer all day long. LOL
Their breakfast is really awesome, too!
BTW, if you are expecting to get in on the nightly Manager’s Reception, please come early. Don't wait till the end of the show and expect to be fed. The Manager’s Reception begins at 5:30 pm and goes until 9:30 pm Monday through Saturday. The hot food is only out until 7:30 pm with the cold food staying out until closing.
The shuttle is really reliable. All you have to do is call them and they get there as soon as they can. I carry their business card around at the show and anytime I get tired, I just give them a call and take a break in my room. Soooooooooo nice! Please keep in mind that the shuttle makes airport runs as well, so there may be a wait but they will let you know, so, be patient!
So, if you want in on this special $99 dollar rate for a clean, nice hotel, please call them and use the code word "IFISH". You may have to give them the ifish wave, too. (When you check in!)
They offered the same rate to ifishers as to the people who have booths, so if you want one of these rooms, please call them at: 800-548-7848
Read the fine print, here.

January 23rd, 2009

The official kwikfish 2009 order form is up, here!
Put your order in, now!
I'm wondering about this snow, thing. Snow? Again? Is anyone in the mood for it, after the last, em... brush with snow? I love snow! I do! But, I'm ready for Spring, now. :)
I really got a touch of it yesterday when I found a buzzing honey bee in my windowsill! Is that how you spell windowsill? That looks wrong to me!
Anyhow, I'm fighting a cold, and I want to win! I don't think I've been able to get over a cold without antibiotics since my surgery. Fight, Jennie, FIGHT! I can do this!
See ya later-- I have a busy medical week for Andrew, next week. I must be well!

January 25th, 2009

Too funny! Technology is amazing. I just chatted with a guy in Denver. It's got sound and everything! Wow!
I'm setting up a webcam for the show. My laptop is almost 6 years old and almost dead. I haven't been able to afford to buy a new one, but I've been thinking about it a lot. I didn't know how I could use it again, this year.
Yesterday I went to Costco and picked up a demo model of an Acer mini netbook at a discount. They offered me this one at a discount since they were all out. I guess it's a hot item! Isn't it cool? Perfect for me since I can't lift more than 10 pounds, says the cardio. Wish I could get one for KJ, too!
I hope... I hope that it will work for running a webcam at the show! On the mod board, I asked if it's an important thing to do to have a webcam at the show and they all love having the webcam, so it's a go if it works!
Now I have to figure out all the techno stuff regarding how to get software on this little drive-less netbook. Either download directly or usb cable, right? Argh. I wish I knew more about this end of computer stuff!
It's a beautiful day, today. It's not snowing like you Portland people have, so I'm going for a walk!

January 26th, 2009

I drove to Costco in Warrenton the other day. What a trip down memory lane it is, each time I drive 101 on the coast in any direction! I go through a thousand different emotions. I enjoy it. From my first married days, South, at Gleneden Beach in a small beach shack, North to Astoria.
I turn the music up loud, often listening to things I haven't heard for years. I cry while I drive, and I laugh, but mostly, I remember.
My life has mostly been lived along the Oregon Coast. I seemed to jump South and North as I go through stages in my life. Starting after high school, in Neakahnie, I jumped North to Cannon Beach and spent 8 years or so, there. There started my piano career and I soon met up with an opera singer and traveled around the US, accompanying her in concert.
Then, I moved to Astoria and played at Fiddler's Green for many years. I spent evenings playing with the local college jazz band! Fun! I played for the Coaster Theater, both concerts and for plays.
I fished along the many rivers and learned them in between playing gigs.
Many times I gave up on the coast, and tried to move Metro to Portland, again. I played at a gay bar in downtown for a while, and that was really fun! Being straight, those guys never bothered me, but instead appreciated my classical music, and told me so. They were great friends! But, Portland wasn't me. It just never worked out. I always move back to the coast. I guess my heart is here by the big blue.
Married, we moved to Gleneden Beach and then lived along the Salmon River. Then, back to Canby and Portland for a while, before I was called back to Seaside. Then, it was a bump North again to Astoria.
I finally landed here in Tillamook years later and now my home is along the Kilchis River.
It was a wonderful break, driving, winding along 101, remembering times with Jim and Loretta Erickson in Wheeler, in their new home, and then North at every single nook and cranny in the road. With every turnout, different people that have graced my life appeared in my mind, along the road. I mean, every turnout! Each road brings memories of different friends and fishing partners! I found myself pulling off the road, so many times to stop and to remember them, and to smile.
I have lived well. I have been blessed with so many wonderful friendships, and so many fish!
When my kids were little, they lost their favor tie Grandma. (My Mom). Once, way back when, while driving, the sun broke through the clouds and little Andrew said, "Look Mom! It's Grandma!" He pointed to the streaming sunlight, coming down from Heaven.
And so, forever more when the sun breaks through the clouds, that's Grandma.
As I passed over the road up Neakahnie mountain, and my brain was flooded with memories of friends that had graced my life, the sun shown through the clouds and lit up a big piece of the ocean. Of all my memories of people that I have loved, I didn't expect to find my Mother along this coastal road of memories! But, there she was! Shining down on the ocean, big as life!

Memories Over Neakahnie Mountain
Click to zoom!

Isn't that hauntingly beautiful!?
I couldn't help it. Tears streamed down my face, and I spent almost an hour up there on that pullout, just talking to her.
I'm off to Portland, roads permitting. Andrew has a bunch of medical appointments. I am one heck of a good advocate for him.
Moms are great and they live forever, if even from Heaven.

January 29th, 2009

Busy life I lead. It seems to go from running madly, to recovering. Soon as I get wellish again, I run again. Pheh!
I can't even remember the last time I was in a drift boat. Is it steelhead season? Where have I been?
I think that Edward Abbey's quotes over there should be read to me as a bedtime story... each and every night. (See end of column, right!) I need to read that as a prayer, a mantra.
Andrew and I were seen by, (scuze me) 'Nurse Ratchet' a couple days ago. Andrew left the appointment just feeling miserable. She wasn't nice at all, besides the fact that she could have crushed Andrew's chest by asking him to raise his arms over his head. Gee whiz, as a nurse, shouldn't you know that you don't do that, three weeks after heart surgery?
It was not a good visit and not a nice lady.
However, the next day we saw Dr. Song and he is so awesome that he made the whole trip worthwhile. He justified our concerns and everything is "all better" now.
What a waste of a trip though, for the previous days appointment. I could have gone fishing.
You know, I just have to write this down. Most people won't understand the following, but there are times when my heart beats weird, or I feel pain in my chest that startles me, and I immediately think, "Not now! I'm having too much darn fun!" No kidding, though. That's exactly what I think!
Seriously, though, living a life where you know that your insides are very delicate is scary, sometimes. I'm dissected from my carotid artery to my iliac. Don't look if you have a weak stomach, but here is what it looks like. I have a false lumen running clear down me, from when it dissected four years ago. Click here if your stomach can take it.
It just explains it so well. Don't say I didn't warn you, though!
But, anyhow, knowing that quite fully, knowing that my life, my very heartbeat is jeopardized by that, and feeling like a ticking clock, well? I just want to do everything, and do it now! Quickly-- before my clock runs out!
And every time I lie in bed and feel my heart beat strangely, I wonder if I should be sleeping, or if perhaps I should get up and write to a dear friend, or go kiss my sleeping son on his cheek and wish him a wonderful, happy life... or call my other son and tell him I love him, (knowing full well he's up in the wee hours, playing WOW- LOL) or if I should stroke my dogs soft fur, and give him a big hug.
I am so thankful that my son who also has marfan syndrome, Andrew, has had the surgery that may help him to live a longer life, and not experience this feeling that drives me.
But, I question that, sometimes. Maybe it's a good thing that I realize how fragile life really is? Maybe it's a gift to know that?
People say that they know, but I wonder. I sometimes doubt it when I watch their busy lives and try to catch up with them.
Knowing what I know, sometimes drives me to do things that some people forget to, and to appreciate things that they take for granted.
At the same time, though, like I said, I haven't been in a drift boat for ages. Am I so busy rushing, trying to do all these things, that I don't take the time to breathe the cold, crisp air of winter? To smell the first blossom of spring? To taste the cold dew on a fresh strawberry? To feel the tug of a wild steelhead on the end of my line?
I guess it's our choice to pick and choose what is important in life. I'm just struggling to do it all and there isn't time enough in one day! Sometimes it leaves me maniacally spinning, not knowing which thing to choose to do, and I don't get anything done at all!
This all occurred to me when a couple days ago I had a very sharp pain and a feeling very much like when I originally dissected. I was sure something was very wrong. I had that "Oh, crud!" feeling that my time was over. But, just as I as about to alert someone to call for help, it went away.
I think it was a direct warning that I need to redirect my attention to those that I love. I am appreciative of the warning, and I will take heed. But, first-- real quick, let me work on ifish a little bit! Then I'll do my bills, and then... then I'll go fishing! Or, should I fish, first?
That's funny. I think I should have named my website :)

January 31st, 2009

Welcome to ifish, The Barview Jetty Store! They are the nicest people! Stop by and greet them, next time you are in Rockaway!
Stan's column is up and I found it very interesting. I think it applies to all of us fisher people, so keep up with Stan, here! He is always posted the first of each month! I did it early, this month, as tomorrow I'll be taking the day to prepare for the show.
Make sure you get your 3 dollar coupon for the show! Use this link or the banner, to your right!
I've got so much going on that my head is spinning! How on earth did ifish get this crazy?