Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington
A wet Spring!
May 2nd 2008
I'm excited for the "unveiling" today.
I'll never forget a story. When I had my aortic dissection, my nurse told me that when I came to, out of deep anesthesia, I asked, "Did I have a total makeover?" LOL
"No way! I asked that?"
She assured me, laughing, that I had.
That's when that show was popular, and looking back, before the whole ordeal, I walked to the bathroom sink to wash my face, and walked back to watch that very show, when I felt the dissection occur.
I knew what it was, right away, but I was just oddly calm about it. I recall calling for Bill to call 911, and to have the kids come up.
I had always been taught to believe, before, that having marfan syndrome and dissecting was a pretty fatal thing. I had my aorta checked every six months, and I was getting to the point of worry, but not the point where you call the odds and do the prophylactic surgery. I said my good byes and told the kids how very much I loved them, and off I went on the adventure of a... a....death time? I guess you could call it that, as I really did die, briefly, a couple times, but... for sure, I had the makeover of a lifetime!
Why am I off on this? I suppose because since then, any surgery is a reminder of all of that. Sometimes I like to go to ifish and read all of the wonderful and kind thoughts expressed on the board. That thread kept me going. I spent over 2 weeks in the hospital after a 15 hour surgery. When I had the strength, I'd try to walk down the hall to the computer to visit ifish and I'd read that thread to add to the many gifts I received during my total makeover.
Well, my total makeover continues! Now, I have a bright shiny new cornea, thanks to some lovely soul who donated theirs! Thank you! Thank you so much!
I am all bandaged up, but the doc said it went well. Now, we just hope that it doesn't reject or get infected, and that I can see the beauty in everyone and everything!
The thought that I might see out of this eye again, after all of these years nearly without, tickles me pink!
Last time I improved my vision, I spent hours staring at a lovely diamond decked Barbie Doll at Costco. The kids were so embarrassed by my appreciation of this sparkly doll that they nearly walked out of the store. "MOM! QUIT!" LO L...
I also cleaned my house up to 20.40. Man, it was dirty and I had no clue! I want that experience again, please! Oh, please!
If it doesn't work... no. I'm not going there. It WILL work! It will! I did my due diligence in praying to my Heavenly Father, the almighty healer, and I've had prayer from some very wonderful and spirit filled people! It will work! I will see! AMEN! :)
And so... out of this hotel room I go, and I'm going to march into my doctor's office and tell him to take it off! I'll start shouting, "Move that bandage! Move that Bandage!"
When they do, I will notice how incredibly beautiful my doctor and nurse are!
Then... I'll ask for a mirror and gaze deeply at the beautiful brown and blue bruises that surround my eyes, and the wrinkles! Oh! The beautiful wrinkles that I didn't know were so deeply embedded in that lovely skin!
Butcha know what? They are beautiful wrinkles! Beautiful wrinkles of life experience and I'm darn proud to be here still, to have them!
On top of everything, next up is plastic surgery! LOL! I've had too many surgeries on my eye, and now my upper lids are falling over my pupils and they are blocking my vision. That means that I can have plastic surgery that is medically necessary.
Whoo hoooo! Maybe I will belong in Palm Springs, in the future! I wonder if any other part of me blocks my vision??? Muhahahahha.... I wish!
Anyhow, enough of the sillies. I'm excited. I'll let you know when I get home how it went!
May 3rd 2008
Here we go! Wheee! It's a life ride! Hold on, tight!
Before I get into all of what I have to say about that, let's talk about tying flies for bass, first! It sounds so much more fun!
Stan, thank you for writing your awesome column on flies for ifish! My friend Kim will love it! She lives in California on a neat little homestead and she has her own lake! Kim! Read this! It's Stan Fagerstrom's latest, and there is more to come! I am so sorry to be late. Usually I have Stan's column up, zippity flat, on the first. But, I had surgery and I failed! So, it's up, now! Enjoy!
Yesterday I went to the "unveiling" of the eye. It was all bandaged up so well that there was no way to play peekie and find out if I could see, without the doctor's knowing. So, being the good girl that I am, I left it all on, and waited.
I was so excited! The minute they took it off, I could see! Better! Not great, but better!
My eyesight with my glasses with that eye, was about 20/200 before the surgery, which is legally blind. Without my glasses, that morning, I could see 20/150! And that's great, because it's supposed to be worse after surgery, and only gradually get better! I'm very excited! Even this morning it's a little better than that! Whoo hooo!! Every day is going to be exciting to wake up and see!
Bill and I headed over to Andrew's appointment with Dr. Menashe, the cardiologist for marfan syndrome.
I knew... I just knew. I wondered as I wrote yesterday's column, why I brought up my aortic surgery. Why it was on my mind. I knew! I just knew!
See? Andrew is 20, now, and had decided to give his annual echoes a break, seeing that he was an adult, and all. He could make his own plans medically. His choice was to forget about it for a while. This worried me terribly, of course, as the yearly echoes are what keeps marfan patients alive, longer. I continued to nag him about it.
The docs, in order to keep us marfan people alive, need to measure the growth of the aortic aneurysms, and 'play the odds'. From other patients stats, they tell us when to have valve sparing surgeries to save us from dissection, like the one I had. I nearly died. In fact, I did die! But, I'm alive, today!
I had the yearly echoes, and I didn't beat the odds. They thought I was still under the level of need for surgery, but all we have to go on is odds, and I had been still under that measurement. But, my aorta blew, anyhow.
The docs measure the odds by when other people dissect, and by any aneurysm that rapidly grows. Those are both alerts to lead us into surgery to save our lives.
I was anxious. I asked Dr. Menashe right off, "So, what's his measurement, doc?"
When he said, "We'll get to that..." I knew. I just knew.
In fact, I knew before the appointment, somehow! Sitting in the waiting room, I asked Andrew, "So, what if?-"
"What if what?" Andrew blew me off.
"What if it's your time to have surgery? What if they say that your aorta has grown?"
He further dismissed me, but I just somehow knew. My valve beat rapidly in my chest. I didn't want Andrew to have a St. Judes valve like I have. I want him not to have to take blood thinners. I want him to live long and healthy and to have this surgery before he dissects and before he's faced with an emergent surgery. That wasn't fun at all for me!
I got my wish and it still doesn't feel good at all. We have beat the odds. It's time.
Sure enough, Dr. Victor Menashe reported that not only had his aorta grown rapidly, but it was past the point where I had dissected.
I thought I whispered quietly, under my breath, "Crap".
But the good doc picked up and it and he said, with frustration, "That's what I said when I read the report."
So, Roo needs surgery ASAP. Andrew wants it done even sooner! As in, today, if he could have it. We'll see.
We have to decide on whether we can afford to go to Stanford, or whether we feel comfortable staying here. They have more experience at Stanford, but Dr. Song here in town is very, very good and also has experience. We'll see.
Our hearts will guide us, both. Dr. Song saved my life. I call him the "Song in my Heart". He truly is!
My guilt over this whole deal... over choosing to give birth to a possible marfan child 20 years ago in August, bought Andrew a Nintendo last night. I paid for it on my credit card. I hope it makes him happier. I will pay off my guilt, monthly until that Nintendo is paid for! Will the guilt also expire then?
I think not.
Andrew left to go be with the company of his friends in Portland. (And to play Nintendo!) I didn't blame him for the need to be with his friends, and wished him well on his way. He really is a good boy. He is responsible and bright and so alive! So funny! He always makes me laugh!
Sound asleep in my bed at 1:30 AM, I received one of those middle of the night phone calls that Mother's dread.
It was Andrew.
I shook the sleep out of my head, and was awaked by the sharp pain of my eye which was still bandaged heavily. Ouch!
I stumbled over the sleep in my head.
Andrew had been pulled over for being in the wrong turn lane. He was given no ticket, but they checked for proof of insurance. Andrew had forgotten to put this month's proof-card in his car. The police told him that they had called his insurance carrier, and indeed it had expired.
Huh? I say, "no way!" I have proof! Insurance companies don't answer in the middle of the night, do they?
Regardless, his vehicle was towed and he was stranded in Portland, somewhere! Oh, brother! He has current insurance!!!
They told him that if he can prove he has insurance, (which he does) they'll refund the 250.00 dollars that they charged to tow him. But, only when he goes to court to challenge it.
Get out your VISA, MOM!
Andrew said on the phone to me, "Mom! This is the worst day of my life! First, I find out I'm going to die, and then..."
I interrupted him. "Andrew! You are not going to die! You made the choice today to LIVE! You said yes to surgery!"
He was silent and I think it sunk in.
I think that along with the relief of not having a mad Mom, and realizing that yes, he was making the right choice for surgery, made him feel a bit better.
Still... man! What a day for us both!
After the appointment with Dr. Menashe yesterday morning, I had to ride home with Andrew in the car, for two hours.
I had to be strong. I wanted so badly to cry! I so wanted to call my Daddy and blurt out how I hurt for Andrew! I wanted to call my sisters, my friends, my anyone-who-would care and cry, cry, cry!
I was tired from surgery and so wanted to nap! I was so not ready for this news!
I don't want Andrew to have to do this!
Andrew asked the good doc if the surgery hurts.
"Yes, it hurts!" Of course, it hurts! And I don't want my baby to hurt!
My six foot four, 20 year old baby, who is an adult... who looks to me as a mirror of what his life may be, is facing a critical heart surgery.
He sees in me the multi surgeries, the multi scares, the multi roller coaster with dips and flips! Maybe this is why Andrew refuses to go on roller coasters with me! Seriously! He won't! LOL.
I adore roller coasters, but this kind? The life kind? I could do without so many, frankly.
I was so excited to unveil my eye, yesterday. I had confidence and it was really wonderful!
I need to pray for the confidence that I had in my eye surgery and apply it to Andrew's upcoming heart surgery. I do need to be strong for Andrew. I think I can feel it down there, too. I know I have it in me. I just have to reach way down there and bring it out.
Six months ago, Andrew lost his eyesight. But, it all turned out, alright. Now he sees and he is able to drive again. Miracles do happen and they are about to happen, again! I just know it!
I will be with him, and yes, I bought him a Nintendo-of-guilt. I bought it partly to satisfy me, even if I don't have the money! It brought a smile to his face and thus, to mine. That was a smile that I needed!
So, now... it's off to fax proof of insurance over to Roo, so that he can get his car back.
LOL. Life. What a trip! I just have to laugh. He is gone now, I can cry, without his knowing... but somehow, out of me comes a smile.
I'm going to do OK for Andrew. I'm going to be strong.
Life sure keeps me spinning, and somehow, just as in the glee of a good roller coaster-- grinning.
Thank God for that! We are going to make it, Roo! Hold on!
May 4th 2008
The decision is Andrew's, but I can't help but pray on it.
Dr. Howard Song or Dr. Craig Miller?
How do you choose, really?
Dr. Song saved my life when my aorta dissected. But, Dr. Miller is the guy who has paved the way in the valve sparing procedure. At least, that's what I read.
I sent this to article to Andrew.
If he reads anything, I want him to read that.
But, then this is interesting, too! So much info and wow! -8 hours of surgery.
He says he doesn't really want to know much about it, and I can appreciate that, but at the same time, I want him to know and to be educated on it. I don't want to make his decisions for him.
It's just that we don't know how long valve sparing procedures last.
If he goes the other route, then he'll have to take blood thinners for the rest of his life.
Lots to think about!
What a beautiful, sunny day it is. I'm going to rest and heal and get better, today. I need to be strong!
May 5th 2008
People ask me why they can't joke about shooting the sea lions.
this is why!
Some people think that it's funny. It's not! It happened, now. Someone actually shot them. So, will the legal forces go through ifish and demand the names of all those that wrote in on threads and threatened lethal force on sea lions?
Probably not, but you have to admit. It's not funny. Not even a little.
A quote from ifish member GaryK:
"Stunning and depraved!
Our best response right now would be for our various fish organizations (NSIA, NWGAA, etc.) who were involved in pushing through the sealion control to offer up a substantial reward for the apprehension of this criminal.
This is really going to set back efforts to control the sealions and as a group, we need to come down with both feet on this criminal."
I agree! I so agree! Where do we start?
I'm so ashamed of those that joked on ifish about killing sea lions. As a moderator team we don't allow illegal acts to be posted on ifish, and I'm so relieved that we don't! We have tried to remove and note any and every 'joke' like that. It's just not at all funny!
On a much lighter note, yesterday, Spring was in full force
(finally!) and the sun was shining down on the river, I saw them! Finally!
In May! I had almost given up hope, thinking that they had gone up river to
spawn! It's late, but they are here!
Like rib bones laid on the river with the shore as a spine, stacked up by a tiny start of redd, they finned in the current!
The steelhead are finally laying their redds!
I had to squint with my new vision to see them. Really? Are they fish, or was it a visual trick?
They lay so quiet and unmoving that I couldn't tell for sure. Finally, one broke loose and fell out of line, identifying itself. It floated in the current towards me.
At the shallows, it must have seen the head of my shadow! In a magical swish and swirl, she spooked and twisted and magically disappeared like Disney-dust into the current. But I saw her!
My eyes quickly scanned back to the line up, watching for the next fish to break formation. I saw the flashing side of a hen, digging her redd.
It is the most magical, most poetic, most graceful, most fragile ballet that I've seen. I can sit on my log and stare for hours.
I walk on the river daily. Alot of it is for the dogs benefit, and although I enjoy my time there, I often search for new things to amuse me. New things to lengthen the stay for the dogs.
I keep track of new flowers blooming, or growth on newly planted trees. I watch the water level on the big mossy rock out in the current. I imagine where the fish will hold, as the water level drops and I study the structure on the river bottom.
But-- This goes way past amusing, and hovers near obsession for me!
I wake in the morning and want to skip coffee, so that I can race out to watch the fish! The dogs have no argument!
That said, I think I'll go, now. I so wish that I could share this with you!
May 7th 2008
When the kids were little, every night at bed time I'd ask them
the best and worst thing that happened that day.
I still think about that, and apply it to my life, when I snuggle up for bed.
The most exciting thing that happened in my life was last night on the river.
"I spied with my little eyes" a whole "flock" (LOL) of steelhead, working on the redds that are now spreading all across the other side of the river. Their work is significant in only three days!
While I was watching this busy bees nest of fish, something spooked this very large one. First, a ripple on the shallow water, then he/she shot like a torpedo upstream about 20 feet! It was so cool! It took my breath away! This fish was large, and didn't have any white spots on it. Just this large gray torpedo, shooting straight upstream in a foot of water. Awesome!
I decided to walk a bit downstream. You can see them better, the higher in elevation you stand.
I stood on an old log, and held my hand over my brow to block the glare. Another one shot off like a torpedo! Fire one! Fire two! Whoo hooo!
It's kind of like when I have a fish on! I can't help but scream with glee, and then glance around to make sure no one is watching me, laughing!
Can you imagine? The crazy lady standing on the beach, screaming and laughing and pointing at ?? What's she pointing and yelling about? LOL.
Click to zoom to count the fish!
Yesterday I found out at my eye appointment that my surgery
was a resounding success.
Funny, but I've been dizzy lately, and it turns out the reason why is that I now have Anisometropia worse than ever. I love that word!
Anisometropia: The condition in which the two eyes have an unequal refractive power. One eye may be myopic (nearsighted) and the other hyperopic (farsighted).
What that means, is that my surgery eye, pre-surgery was legally blind and a little worse than that. Yesterday, the lady checking my vision was so excited! She started off with two fingers. That's how they usually measure blind people's site, instead of with the chart. Tee hee. No problem! I passed that test with ease! "Well, can you see this big E, if you didn't know what it was?"
With each size, she'd be amazed. "Can you see this?" LOL... Uh huh! I read off the smaller and smaller line of letters while she gasped.
"Jennie! That's 20/50!" Whoo hooo!
I'd say my corneal transplant surgery was a resounding success! I don't have glasses to help me to see that well yet, but I will someday! I can't wait! My eyes are still healing and improving! Wow! Thank you, Lord!
News on Andrew: Roo will have a telephone meeting with the cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Song, Friday at 9:00 AM. That seems like forever away, but we can wait.
Poor Roo. He says he keeps telling himself things will get better, but it's just one thing on top of another, for him.
He has absolutely no money, and can't get a job now due to the upcoming surgery... and then he got pulled over for no proof of insurance. The policeman said that everything was refundable, but turns out, the tow fee is not refundable at all. That is over 300.00.
Seems not fair, but I guess the law is the law.
A few weeks ago, I told him to make sure to put his new "proof of insurance" paper in his car. He said it is in there. -that he just couldn't find it in the dark, while he was so upset about his surgery. He was rattled. I guess! I do believe this is so! He found and gave the policeman the old one, which was dated three days before the day he got pulled over. Sheesh.
They towed him and left him standing out in the dark at 1:00 in the morning. That doesn't make me happy at all. It's a dangerous city at night.
Breathe, Jennie... go look at the steelhead... things will all work out. And the same for Andrew. Things will get better. You'll see!
Some on, Andrew. Let's go watch the torpedos.
May 8th 2008
Only two fish on the redds this morning. Wonder where they went?
Perhaps to tea?
Patiently waiting for tomorrow morning. That's all anyone can think of. Tomorrow at 9... tomorrow at 9.
I've been having these great thoughts, and if there is any chance that Roo's surgery is to be put off a couple weeks, I'm out of here. So is Andrew, and I might just take David out of school.
We will be heading to Mexico! - or someplace that we have always wanted to go! I have enough Alaska points for flights for three, anywhere they fly. And, as far as money? We have credit cards! Whee! I've never ever been careless with my credit cards, but if we go, I wouldn't call it careless, I'd call it "caring."
There is just no way that we can sit around and wait, and what great timing! Andrew can't really get a job right now, and he's not attending school. He was right in the middle of a transition from school to work. David would be a little more tricky. Who knows? I don't hear much from David. Maybe it will just be Roo and I?
Escape! Escape the stress!
Besides that, the Kilchis River is closed. What else is there to do?
“I should think there is nothing very bad about dying except for
the people one has to leave and the things one hasn’t had time to do.
When the time comes, if I know what it’s all about, I suppose I shall
think, among other things, of the fish I haven’t caught and the places
I haven’t fished.”
--- Roderick Haig-Brown
Lately, I look longingly over the receding river, waiting for
the time I can stand in the current, and dance a fly on the top water. Or,
sink a muddler and feel it free flowing in the current, and then feel the
take! Whoo hoo! I miss that! The savage pull of a coastal cutthroat trout!
The dance! The fight! The challenge!
God still my soul!
I stumbled upon this writing of the past, and my heart settles to a content rhythm.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
June 4th 2002
Lately, I fly fish out back in the Kilchis 4 or 5 times a day,
whether I need to or not.
It's fun and so easy. I can just tie one fly on, and when or if I lose it, I'm done. One fly, and a pair of pliers. It doesn't matter the attire. I can wear anything from pajamas and slippers, to a sun dress and sandals. I have been out there when I just had to get to the other side. It's not easy to wade in slippers. It's messy, too.
Last night, after dinner, I grabbed my rod off of the office wall. This is Kilchis' trigger to get hysterical. He talks to me in long "woo woo wooooo's".
As I arrive at the river's edge, I have to plan my fishing water carefully. Kilchis helps me see where NOT to fish. That would be where there is a Merganser, flopping around, playing lame, protecting its nest.
Ever seen a dog walk on water? Kilchis starts at the bank at a dead solid run and continues half way across the river after anything with wings. I mean anything! Butterflies, dippers, ducks... He's gone! He spends the entire time in the water, swimming up and downstream, without rest. The whole time he is in chase, his mouth is going, "Woo woo rar rarr woof woof whine". Dog frustration. Those things with wings go fast. He is not deterred and will go for hours without stopping.
So we split up, on different missions. Kilchis to the left, after the Merganser, and me, upriver, to the big deep hole with a Muddler's minnow...
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Somehow, those days seem so distant, and carefree. So fun and
easy. I used to look back at my childhood and long for those days. Now, I
long for as little as five years ago!
Five years ago, I spent my entire life fishing. I want to get back there!
Last night I gave my problems over to Him. They are too big for my britches. Do you do that? Give your problems to God, only to snatch them back to worry over them for a while? Just out of idleness! I mean, if I give my troubles over to God, what have I to do? (lol)
But, this time I want to give them away for good! -and if only fly fishing were open, it would complete my day and direct my wishes and way.
I had a day yesterday, with emotional dips and hills that no roller coaster could compete.
I can't rewrite the whole thing here. It's too long. I posted about it on the Angler's Chapel, asking for prayer. It is here.
In short, in deciding on what doctor should perform Andrew's "urgent" surgery, we called to get the echo films Fed-exed to Stanford. When I told them how much Andrew's aorta had grown, they simply didn't believe it. "Oh! I have to see this!" they said. "I don't believe that!"
Sure enough, when our local doctor heard, he rechecked it and it was indeed incorrect!
I'm so sorry that they didn't recheck it before we spent a week in high gear, shocked and worrying... but at least we know, now.
Jeanette, a very wise friend of mine said something to me that really sticks with me.
"Dealing with doctors is just nuts sometimes. I do have a little confidence in them. They are like helpers, helping us make the right decisions based on knowledge they've gained from the experiences
they've had and books they've written. They're not perfect (some are so far from perfect it isn't funny). But they can be very useful resources to help us decide what to do, what to assent to and what to
decline, what choices to make and what paths to follow."
Wow. That's awesome! So true!
Now, Andrew's surgery, rather than urgent, is a more calm but still serious decision that Andrew needs to make. Andrew, and Andrew alone.
If he chooses to have it, the doctor believes it will go well. He is confident.
If he chooses not, he is in the danger zone, and will have to live with the possibility of dissection. He will have to live being followed very closely, in six month intervals. Life in six month leases can be stressful. I know. I live that way!
I guess from my writing you know what my opinion is. But, Andrew... Andrew has to make that final decision.
Thing is, I want to be OK if he chooses to not have surgery. I know there is a possibility he will choose to put it off, and if he does, I need to support that and not worry. He is informed. He is adult.
I feel calm, today. Calm, fun, and easy, sunshine and breezy like a day on the river, fly fishing.
My heartbeat-content rhythm.
If only... If only the river were open!
May 10th 2008
Roo has made his decision. He's going to wait three months and
see what a new echo shows.
I don't necessarily agree with his decision but I am glad that it's made. I can breathe again.
At least-- for three months.
Happy Mother's Day!
If you are against the 2009 proposal to have a "keep" cutthroat fishery like they do on the South Coast, please stop by the River City Fly Shop where you'll find a petition to sign.
You can also download it, here and send it to ODFW.
Please read about this proposal at Westfly.com
It felt great to get out on the bay, yesterday.
It was a lonely place to be, though. The weather was nice, but only one or two other boats were doing the same- fishing for springers!
The tide was high when we began, and the bay always feels such a huge and empty expanse when the water reaches up, spreading into the pastures. It reminded me of a blank chalkboard in the summertime- flat, with a full and quiet tide. All the usual logs that the low tides expose are buried in the water. Even if there are a few other boats, they are far and few between, leaving so much empty space, between us.
As the song of the high tide began to suck out, the bay slowly comes to life, again. Boats get scrunched up closer, and you can hear faint conversations from under their boat tops. Those old familiar snags begin to reappear. Birds leave their nesting places in the pasture, and squawk with activity as their food sources are uncovered. Even the sound of the tide being pulled out to sea, seems to create a whir of noise.
When the low tide approaches, I always feel that surge of excitement, knowing full well that my chances for hooking a fish are higher. But, not yesterday. We weren't lucky.
I asked Bill if with the declining runs this year, that if our local Springer season is also poor, if perhaps that points more towards the fact that the ocean is where we are running into trouble. He agreed that that would make sense. But, is it ocean conditions, or commercial harvest?
Bill told me about the radio tagging going on. We discussed the fisheries for a long time as we adjusted the rotation of our spinners and continued to try our luck.
I love how Bill knows the answers to alot of my questions. That's always attracted me to him. I can ask him questions till the cows come home, till the tide goes out, and till the fish bite. :)
Yesterday afternoon, Bill helped Andrew move to Portland. When Andrew left, he gave me a big hug, and a kiss. It felt so final, this time.
This was it! The first time I've totally had an "empty nest". God is going easy on me with this, knowing full well that it's hard for me!
Seems that as one of my sons leaves for school, another comes back to go to the local college for a while. Actually, David is probably coming home for the summer in mid June. I'll get a taste of what the house is like with just Bill and I until then.
It's hard on me to let Andrew go right now, with his health the way it is. His upcoming heart surgery feels heavy on my heart, looming over me like a full and heavy tide.
Last night it was starting to sink in. I was alone! Totally without kids! Just as I was wondering if I might shed a tear over my newly felt and real 'empty nest syndrome', this time, Andrew called.
"Mom? I went to go to Burger King for dinner and I got lost." (He lives over in North East Portland, mind you!) "I ended up on 26 headed West, so I'm just going to continue, and come back to get the rest of my stuff."
I had to laugh. I had to smile.
When he got to the door, I wanted to run and to greet him like he'd been gone for years. Instead, I casually yelled out a greeting, and then turned out the lights and slept like a baby. Lulled and comforted by the reassurance that my family was still home.
I sure can't wait for these sunny days that they are predicting! I really need some sunshine. Don't you?
May 14th 2008
I'm spoiled rotten.
Actually, I've been a bit shy to talk about this, but I think I'm ready. It won't jinx me, will it?
I can see! I can hardly believe it or trust it but I can see! Once, last week, I was sure that my new cornea transplant eye was failing. It was all blurry. I took it in stride. I wasn't even that panicked. I almost expected it. I had so little faith in this surgery and I was afraid to hope, but you guys! I can see!
It's not perfect, but it did go from 20/200 to 20/50, as recorded last visit, last week. But, now? It seems even more clear! I don't have to grab my glasses to go outside!The rocks on the river are all amazing in color! The river shows me every rock on the bottom! I can see the steelhead so much faster!
I had to buy way too many flowers at the store to plant, because their colors were so vibrant as they dance amongst the green foliage in my garden.
It's better yet, with my glasses, but it is the wrong prescription. I simply can't wait to get real glasses that are for me!
I can see to back the trailer, again, with confidence! I can see wildflowers as I drive into town! I can see raindrops fall in the sky!
It is so freeing to allow hope into your life! Hope, and promise!
How many of us are living for Thursday? We all know what is predicted for Thursday, right? Sunny skies and temperature like summer. They even say that the nights will feel like summer! It's so amazing to me that in Oregon, we live, looking forward. Always looking forward to the next season, to the next snowstorm, to the next sunny day. I'm guilty! I sure do it, too!
As fisher people, it's even more intense. Waiting for the river to rise, to fall, to clear. Waiting for steelhead season, for springers to arrive! There are contests for the "First Springer!" We are waiting for trout season to open and waiting (forever and a day) for the Kilchis to reopen! Count it! 9 more days! I know!
Here at home, we wait for the hummingbirds to arrive, and wait for the first freesia to bloom. We wait for the first pea to poke it's head out of the freshly tilled soil.
Maybe tomorrow? Maybe next week!
Wait a minute! What about today?
I can see, today! Today is rainy and lush and beautiful, if you only stop to notice! Today is a rainy day that would be welcome after a drought! But, since we are so tired of it, lately, we rush to the next change! I myself, need to slow down! I'm going to hurry and wait my life away! I don't want that! So, stop! Enjoy what we have, today!
Today, most likely, you and I have all that we need. We are happy, content! There are no earthquakes, today! No war in Oregon! No hunger, and no awful tornadoes! We are comfortable and alive!
I really have to remember that, especially after what I've been through in my life! You'd think I'd know better! And I did! For a while... but it fades, and I'm tending to grow apathetic and I'm taking my life, my moments for granted! This song comes to mind, and I've been singing it, all morning.
So, let it rain! I can wait for the sunshine! In fact, I'm going to go appreciate and dance in the rain, right now!
Today, while the blossoms still cling
to the vine
Ill taste your strawberries, Ill drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today
Ill be a dandy, and Ill be a rover
Youll know who I am by the songs that I sing
Ill feast at your table, Ill sleep in your clover
Who cares what the morrow shall bring
Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
Ill taste your strawberries, Ill drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today
I cant be contented with yesterdays glory
I cant live on promises winter to spring
Today is my moment, now is my story
Ill laugh and Ill cry and Ill sing
Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
Ill taste your strawberries, Ill drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today
Ill taste your strawberries, Ill drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today
So, laugh, and cry and sing. Shower the people you love with love,
tell them the way that you feel! And -Have a wonderful today!
And now? Now that we've done our positive thinking, could we have a little bit of that sunshine?
May 16th 2008
Yesterday I worshipped the sun.
I put on old sneakers and spent almost all day walking in the river's current. I had a cane to stabilize me. I celebrated my new vision, finding agates under the water that had been hidden all winter! I can see them so well!
I found frog larvae! I found swarms of baby steelhead!
The warm wind and the sunshine felt wonderful on my shoulders and back.
Later, I hosed down the back deck, cleaning all of the birdseed that had stuck in between the boards.
I decorated the deck with planted flowers and outdoor rugs and patio furniture.
I played ball with the dogs in the afternoon.
Andrew and I went to the Mexican food shack on 101 for dinner. We brought it home and ate on the back porch. It was still warm and lovely!
I kept feeling guilty for not "i-fishing". I'd stop and come indoors to check it and for once, there wasn't 100 posts on the mod board that needed care. It was silent, and not one mod dare jinx it by posting how lovely and quiet it was!
I had a full day of magic yesterday and now I'm set for the Bounty on the Bay, and any other activities on my calendar. My one day in the sunshine by myself was all I could ask for, and more!
I'm all new!
A friend of mine knows all about the signs of the zodiac. She says that Pisces people, like myself, have trouble making a decision. Uh huh. If it is all of that, then I believe! Decisions torture me!
I had been waiting on a day of luscious sunshine for weeks, months, a year? The rain in Oregon this past winter and spring have occupied almost every day and although I love the rain, it was getting old.
So far this year, we have had three days of sunshine. I know. I've counted. And every one of them, I've had something important to do that I was obliged.
Oh, how I wanted to soak in the sunshine! Lay in it! Play in it! Hold my hands up and worship!
Night before last, the eve of the promised sunshine that I had x'd off of the calendar as mine-all-mine, Chris Vertopoulos invited me to fish. Argh! Torture! What to do! I have wanted to fish with Chris forever!
The Pisces in me, or whatever it is, was in a tizzy. What to do? I wanted to do both!
With all of the surgery that has been going on in the house, and all of the stress over Andrew's surgery, I just wanted to be blank-minded in the sunshine. Not only that, but they were fishing the jaws, and that means dragging 10 ounce weights around in the rocking water. That hurts my wimpy muscles!
I finally decided and regretting much, and still wondering if I was making the right decision, I wrote to Chris to decline. Oh, that hurt.
Bill took him up on the offer, and went. On the way out the door, Bill nearly killed me with this comment. "Sorry you don't like to fish anymore." WHAT? Oh, he knows how to stab it to me! I love to fish! I fish more than he does! Man, did that ever bring out the defense in me!
But, I made a decision and despite all the wishy washy Pisces in me, I was sticking to it!
As he shut the door, I hurried upstairs to put my swim suit on. The day was mine, all mine!
I indeed needed this day and I indeed had the time of my life! Now, I just hope that Chris doesn't give up on me! I want to fish with Chris!
Now, I'm going to put up Francis' new column. I just realized I was supposed to do that yesterday. Francis! I'm sorry! But the sunshine called me!
May 18th 2008
I'm exhausted, but what fun we all had!
Bill and I chuckled as we trolled on the bay in 80 degree sunshine. A slight breeze kept us cool. It was so beautiful! I had never fished a prettier day!
"Can't catch fish if you aren't miserable!" Bill said. What truth there is, to that!
I used my cell phone to call some of our buddies out on the lower bay and they confirmed. "It's just too nice, to catch fish!"
Bill and I discussed fishing, as we usually do. Dreaming of a better way, something new that we need to make us the perfect fishing duo. "Someone needs to invent a fish finder that you can set for a larger area totally surrounding the boat."
"But, Bill... at what point is there too much technology? If you knew there were no fish around, right now, wouldn't you go home?"
I almost wonder if we don't have too much, already, sometimes! Don't you?
If there were no mystery, we might as well buy the fish at Safeway!
More after a bit-. I need to catch up on what's going on at ifish, first! Look here later and I'll have pictures and the winners of the Bounty on the Bay!
We had so much fun!
Oh! And I read the winners without using glasses or contacts of any kind. I didn't even notice, until Chris V. said something! I can see! Did I mention that?
May 21st 2008
The rain made for a comfortable evening and lulled me to a
deep, exhausted and cleansing sleep.
I love the sound of rain, each Spring. The trees and greens are so thick, and they reach upward to collect the rain. Little tiny sprouts even jump out of the ground to catch some!
It's a good thing, because I wonder if it would never come down. The rain was so thick, it seemed to want to hang suspended, rather than fall from the sky.
Regardless, they met in the middle, somewhere. The sky is cleansed by the greens and the greens be all wet. :)
Everything is very nice, cool, and fresh after that heat, last weekend! (You know... the heat that I prayed for. Sorry!)
When I got home, yesterday, the death of Rola76 hit the board hard. He'll be missed on ifish.
I know that there is always more to the story, but on ifish, we knew him as a very enthusiastic and friendly fishermen who helped several others. We will celebrate his life on ifish, on this thread. It's all I know for sure, right now... that he is no longer with us, with his family or his dogs, and that is a tragedy.
My freesia are bolting from the ground, finally. I've been hovering over each planter, checking, every day. Finally! Finally they are taking root!
It's good to see that life pop out of the ground.
May 24th 2008
Happy Trout Day!
The river is finally open and I'm going to go sling flies! Of all things, I woke up with a sore lower back! I must get a new bed, someday! I hurt!
I have to remember all of the wonderful things I read in an Amato book about how to gradually get into new activities... slowly! To maintain pain free fishing. I'll tell you the book's name, when I get back. It's a great tool for me!
And... and... I have to tell you all about the meeting last night, and all kinds of other news!
I'll be back to write more, but right now, I can't wait to grab my fly rod! Come on, dogs! Let's go fishin! (Break those muscles in slowly!)
"He restoreth my Soul"
When I first noticed my cornea going, I thought I had something
in my eye. I kept blinking to clear it and nothing helped. I tried wiping,
rubbing, and still, my vision was cloudy and foggy.
In the years while it deteriorated, Bill learned to stop asking me if I saw the wild rabbits out in the field, or the Northern Flicker in the tree.
Sitting at the kitchen table used to be such fun. We'd watch the wildlife and comment on what we saw. Bill learned to just tell me, rather than point and share.
I didn't cry about the loss of my vision. It just was what it was, and I get used to losing things like this. I become a bit complacent, I think.
I first felt the loss of vision, oh, three years ago? It was more of a bother than bad, then, and I forgot about it as my aorta problems surfaced and I had that to deal with.
I totally lost my ability to walk at that time, and folks, I'm still learning how to do that, again! If you see me around, you may see me stumble. That's me, relearning where to put my feet! LOL
I didn't really notice that I totally lost my vision in that eye. I was so busy relearning how to live with my new heart valve, post surgery, too. But, at an eye appointment, I learned that my vision was 20/200. Legally blind, even with glasses.
I'd still try to wipe my eye clear but after a while, I learned it was futile, and when I tried, I'd giggle. As if! I learned to close it half way and use the other eye for seeing. My left eye, the cloudy eye, was used only for peripheral balance and light.
We learn to get by, don't we?
I got used to carrying my long distance driving glasses with me everywhere I went, just so that I could see to get around.
I live in a world where I am forever thankful. Some people wonder how. I'll tell you.
...At Stanford Hospital
(Dad's friend, Dad, and sister Teri)
When you have something precious, after a while, you become
so used to it that you take it for granted. I have things taken away from
me on a somewhat sporadic, but regular basis.
I believe that this is due to the fact that I take things for granted.
Things as basic as my life and my vision and the use of my legs, it's all been threatened at one point and several others!
In the picture above, I couldn't walk. What a strange thing after walking my entire life! How frustrating it was to want to see and feel the sunshine, when no one was home. I'd try to get that wheelchair outside all by myself. One day I got stuck on the door jam. It was freezing cold outside. The door was stuck, and so was I! I had to wait until help came.
Right now, I have it all. I am ashamed of myself for ever being in a bad mood! I can walk outside now, any time I choose!
I can go down to the river with the dogs! Whoo hooo! How soon we forget that this is a gift!
Sometimes I think that God has given me more than I can handle. But, there is a promise in the Bible that this will not ever happen. Sometimes I have trouble believing that and I celebrate my own little pity party, feeling especially challenged.
Can you believe that?
Here I am. Walking, seeing, talking, heart beating and I feel challenged? Oh, my!
I should know better!
Yesterday I had a pity party.
I went out fly fishing. It was the day I had waited for for months! Finally, the river was open to me to fish!
However, of all days, I woke with a really bad backache and for some reason, my legs were numb, and my feet were all stumbly. I couldn't stand up very well, and I especially had trouble navigating the rocks on the river shore. It was pain like I hadn't felt in a long time. Even a walking stick didn't help me. I was so frustrated! I finally gave up and sat on the rocks on the river beach, while Bill fished.
Pity party for Jennie!
I kept telling myself that God will not give me more than I can handle. I fought to make the best of it.
Sitting there, I tried. I really did! I tried to smile through it. I was appreciating the beauty, surrounding me. The greens, the water, the image of Bill's fly line, so graceful in the slight wind. The smell of the world really was delightful, yesterday on the river. No Tillamook manure... It was fresh and clean!
I smiled, and turned to look down around me at the amazing array of colors in the assorted rocks and... there, laying right beside me...! There, wedged between several larger rocks was the most beautiful, "once-in-a-year" agate I had seen!
It was crystallized like a diamond! I search for these all the time, and I rarely find them! These are my abs fav!!
It was the most beautiful gift from God! There are so few of these, that I have one special place; a small hanging shelf in my bathroom, where I keep these special rocks! They are more precious to me than diamonds.
My breath sharply halted and I yelled out, "Got one! Bill! I got one!"
I realized with excited glee that I probably would not have seen this rock, nor would it be so beautiful if I had not had my eye fixed! In the sunlight, it shot off the most gloriously colored prism I had ever seen!
I just love it when God speaks to me in these ways. It makes
me giggle and feel really close to Him.
That's what friends are for! To make you feel better! God is the best friend I have!
Now, sitting at the kitchen table with Bill, pointing out and watching the wildlife is fun, again!
I wrote a note to Dr. Mathers, today, thanking him for the work he did, to restore my vision. I can't imagine what that must be like! To give someone their sight back is such a precious gift to give! I just can't imagine!
I have so many people to thank, in my life. So many healers!
Just a few, -Thank you to
-Dr. Mathers for my sight.
-Dr. Song for the valve and the Dacron that wraps my aorta inside of me, that enables my life to be lived! He really did bring me back to life, after I died! That's so amazing!
-Dr. Landry and Dr. Miller, for helping me to walk again! How did you do that, Doc? :) A simple (ha!) stent that allows blood to flow to my feet!
-Dr. Hwang for repairing my retina and replacing my lens!
It is Sunday. It is a day of thanks, and I have so much to be thankful for!
I do believe that the reason that I am fragile and that God fixes me all the time, is that I am in danger of taking things for granted and I need to learn this lesson over and over again.
There is no need for any human to become complacent.
“The Lord is my Shepherd—I shall not want-He maketh Me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul”
God Bless our Soldiers
I made this!
As soon as "Taps" was first sounded in July 1862, words were put with the music. The first were, "Go To Sleep, Go to Sleep." Over the years, other versions have been created. There are no official words to the music but here are some of the more popular verses:
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.
Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.
This Memorial Day, please remember those who have paid the ultimate price.
Regardless how some may feel about war, please, let's join hands and remember
Bill's out putting up my flag! Whoo hoo! I love days that
we can fly the flag.
It used to make my Mom so happy when we could put out the flag. I can see her smile, right now! Wow. It's so true that your Mom sets the mood in the household. And it carries on generations, too! Things that made my Mom happy, make me happy!
I was thinking about yesterday's 'restoreth my soul' writing, and the more I think about it, the more true it is for me!
Our bodies are so unimportant! It's what's inside that counts!
If I lose the ability to walk, that means I'm that much more ready for the priveledge to enter those pearly gates! I'm that much closer to being floated up to Heaven! -and if my heart stops beating again, that means that I'm 'perfectly cooked' and ready to enter those pearly gates!
So if you look at it this way, folks, the older you get, and the more your body parts fail you- That is a GOOD thing!
Alright... this is turning into a preachy column, and I don't want that. I'm going fishing out on the bay today! I will let you know how I do!
May 30th 2008
Wow! That was a long spell in between things to write!
Yesterday we put in a morning on the bay. It's eerie! It's scary! There is no one fishing and no one catching! Actually, we heard of one caught.
On the way there, I drilled Bill with a battery of questions.
"Is it just a late season?" He thought so.
Then, I asked him if he thought it was the ocean conditions, since it seems to be all around us. Few fish in the ocean! No fish South of us, or in Tillamook Bay, The Columbia, The Willamette!
He thought that, too.
I pondered this for a while and then said, "Well, why are we bothering them, then, if there are so few? Shouldn't we let them be?"
"Because we haven't caught one yet."
That satisfied me for the most part, but like a two year old, I kept up. "What do they taste like?"
He laughed. It has been a long time!
I hold those people on high. Those people who have tasted the ominous spring chinook this year!
There have been few celebratory pictures on ifish of barbecued springer that make my mouth water. No new recipes have come forth. I really miss all that!
Where is the joy?
Usually, it's almost like Christmas around here, with everyone celebrating with pictures and recipes and "how to cook" posts. If I get a springer this year, I will be thanking the salmon Gods in a way I've never been thankful, before!
Instead, the board seems a political battering place, with who is to blame and who was right on run sizes, and who is to blame. (Did I say that?)
There were probably four other boats on the bay. The parking lot looked deserted. No one to show off in front of, as I expertly backed the trailer in! LOL.
There was a dark cast to the sky and it was freezing out! Not much like a late May day on the bay! (Hey, I'm a poet!)
It's just an odd year. I feel a disconnect, really. Everything seems different and yes, kind of scary. I don't see the usual suspects, trolling in the current.
Oh! And on opening day of the river for trout, Bill and I gave it our all with the flies. We cast and spent all morning trying to tease up a bite at all. Nothing!
And I have not been, since! Isn't that strange?
Odd, that last night I took the dogs out, and every night since opening day, without a fly rod! I just take the dogs and sit. I enjoy watching them play. Kilchis with his forever digging and Rev, as she does her wild things.
But- there is just an eerie feel of fishlessness everywhere I go!
I really need to meet a bounty of fish again, somewhere.
I have to believe that sometime soon, I will catch fish after fish and laugh and scream while my reel accompanies me with it's orchestral zinging!
It will happen again!
It has to!
May 31st 2008
Mmmmm! Last night I woke from a nap after dinner. In front
of me was a pretty plate, with a fresh, warm piece of rhubarb pie and ice
"Jennie... wake up!"
Oh, yes! I woke up! Give me that fork!
I made the pie from fresh rhubarb out of the garden last night as I made dinner. It was too hot to eat at the time.
I love this video. Just watch it! I know you've heard it before, but in all the years I'd heard it, it never struck me until I watched the video. It hit home just the same way as the rhubarb pie did.
Shower The People
Ah, James, you touch me! My sister once said that he was too whiney and she didn't care for him, but I just adore him! I guess my life has been a bit different than hers.
I walked on the river last evening and sang this song. It echoed through the canyon. I don't have a beautiful voice by far, but the message was nothing but beautiful. I hugged my dogs. I smiled. I thought of my family, my friends.
Love is flat out contageous.
I've been trying, daily, to mean something to my friends, and people I meet.
Sometimes I'll be driving along, alone, and I'll come upon a memory about a friend that I previously had lost, or forgotten about. Just a clip of a memory of them that I hadn't thought about for ages. It's so exciting! It's like a visit from them, and it tickles me pink.
Yesterday I had one of those regarding Jim Erickson. For the life of me, right now I can't even remember what it was, but it was something kind he had said to me. (It will come to me, I'm sure, as I drink more coffee!) Some of his words were a gift he gave me to keep forever. The less than fun times fade away and these remain forever.
The reason Jim was my friend is something some may think child-like. Jim made me feel liked and loved. He made me feel worthy. He said nice things to me that made me feel good. He showered the people he loved with love!
So, as I go through my life, I would like to leave little bits of memories with the people in my life that make them feel loved. I really like the way it makes me feel, and I want others to feel that way about me, too!
I want to try to shower the people I love with love. I want them to remember me as the person who loved them best and thought them worthy. From nice things I say to rhubarb pie, I love you!
Funny, but food can do the same thing! Someone gave me cookies once that just hit the spot, and I love that couple dearly, to this day! Not only about the cookies, of course, they are wonderful people, too! But, the cookies sure help!
I giggle a bit as I think of my Grandpa. I always liked to think that my Grandpa 'loved me best' out of all the grandchildren. I know that's not really true, and I do hope the rest of the grandkids feel the same! But truely, when you think people loved you best, don't you just have to love them back?
It makes me want to wipe clean any memories of things that ever made me the least critical of their life. Forget all that, and remember the nice things!
So, get out there! From people that we have quick encounters with, to dear friends... Shower the people with love!
Sometimes I groan when someone puts a song in my head that it plays over and over all day long. But this one has a great message to it, so I hope it's sticks in your heart, today, tomorrow, forever!
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