Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington

November 2005
Jennie's Fishing Life

My brother, David and I... Memaloose fishing--

Wow! November 1st!

Can you believe it? I mean, even slightly? That winter has set in? The rain is coming down in buckets, the wood stove is burning and all of my short sleeved shirts are still hanging in the closet! I guess it's time to put them away and get out the sweaters and long johns!
Just out of curiosity, what is your browsing habit in the morning? Here's mine. They are linked, if you'd like to follow along.
Ifish.net
Ifish visitor stats (not linked.. private)
CNN
Coastal weather
Mt. St. Helens video cam
Webicorder results (I like this kind of stuff.)
Fish cam
Ifish Data page to check Wilson river levels and Garibaldi Winds
Then, I do whatever work needs to be done for the day. Today, I'm working on putting up Stan Fagerstrom's new article. I'm working on that, now, but I'll link it now, too! Here it is!
I love having Stan's column on ifish. If you want to breeze through his archives, they are listed here.
I have learned so much from Stan's column, even though I don't bass fish as much as I'd like to. His fisheries knowledge is incredible. Plus, he's a great and very entertaining gentleman!
Well, you have a great day, and Happy November!

November 3rd

Off I go! First to fish a bit, then to Portland. I'll have my laptop so that I can keep up, but I'll be pretty busy with doctors.
Anyhow, wish me luck. I may pass to getting to only go every 6 months, instead of 3! Whee!
Fishing is pretty good, but the rain is just pouring and the river is high enough so that I would think it'll blow out soon.
Until then, I'm going to hop in the drift boat and make a couple casts, with Bill!
Then, on to Portland. Have a great day!

November 5th

Please tune in to Hobart's show this morning on KPAM. He called last night, interested in the meeting news. Let's see what he has to report! (Plus, the rivers are washed out, so you probably are home, anyway. If you are at all like me, if you can't fish, you talk fish, listen to fishing, or spend your time in a store, shopping fishing!
Simply click on "Warp Radio" once you arrive at their home page.
Well, there is good news for me! I passed my tests with flying colors, yesterday! The story is here!
I've been writing all over the place, lately. Not just here, but on the board, more and more!
I am so tired. Trying to recoup from a long day of tests, and sometimes that contrast that they put in me for the cat scan makes me sick. It's just full of radiation. Am I glowing yet?
I can't wait to see the river. Looks like they've put off the high wind warning till later this afternoon. Think Kilchis and I will have a chance at some morning fish catching aerobics?
Please welcome Pacific Benefits Group to the Classified ads on ifish.net. Their banner is on the top right hand side of both the Boats and Tackle, and general class ads. Thank you for doing business with ifish!
Have a great day!

November 6th

The rain, the river, the sun...

There is a time of year when the sunshine totally disappears from the Kilchis river valley. It's almost that time, now. It's rare to find even a strip of sunshine.
The seagulls note the arrival of the chum salmon by their presence, along the bank, each year. Occasionally, you'll see a bald eagle, soaring gracefully up and down the river, in search of food. They are mostly absent from the river, until the chum salmon arrive in the Fall, and until the chinook salmon begins to spawn.
There are seagulls out for the first time, this week. Along with that, any evidence of sunshine has been mostly absent from our home in the canyon. I've had to go in search of it. I found it, today.

Sometimes you look ahead of you and you see the sunlight, but you just can't seem to get there.

Powerful churning dark waters block your way, every way you turn.

The entire river bank is wet, soggy and impassable.

Whichever way you choose to go... Sometimes it feels totally hopeless, and you want to give up.

But then, just as you are totally frustrated, you see a beam of light. It's down there.
You know it is. But even as you walk towards it, it seems to walk away from you.

It may even be right at your feet, but somehow, you can't quite catch up to it.

Don't give up!
If you keep after it, you'll find it.
When you do, bask in it! Don't let it go!
Take off your coat, and stay a while!

November 5th

Please tune in to Hobart's show this morning on KPAM. He called last night, interested in the meeting news. Let's see what he has to report! (Plus, the rivers are washed out, so you probably are home, anyway. If you are at all like me, if you can't fish, you talk fish, listen to fishing, or spend your time in a store, shopping fishing!
Simply click on "Warp Radio" once you arrive at their home page.
Well, there is good news for me! I passed my tests with flying colors, yesterday! The story is here!
I've been writing all over the place, lately. Not just here, but on the board, more and more!
I am so tired. Trying to recoup from a long day of tests, and sometimes that contrast that they put in me for the cat scan makes me sick. It's just full of radiation. Am I glowing yet?
I can't wait to see the river. Looks like they've put off the high wind warning till later this afternoon. Think Kilchis and I will have a chance at some morning fish catching aerobics?
Please welcome Pacific Benefits Group to the Classified ads on ifish.net. Their banner is on the top right hand side of both the Boats and Tackle, and general class ads. Thank you for doing business with ifish!
Have a great day!

November 9th

It really was a day that dreams are made of.
On the drive home from Portland, the fog was so thick I could barely see. At the top of the mountain, half way to home, the sun broke through and the forest lit up brightly-- from the tips of the trees, to the golden brown undergrowth inbetween the winter bare trees on the side of the road. It was so bright, I had to squint. The sun was leading me home, leading my way to the land of boats on greening rivers, and fishermen pulled over at every pullout. A Disneyland of piscatorial pursuits!
I stopped at one cut out and walked into the forest. As I lifted the heavy and still wet branches in a dark and forested area, the sun swiped through two trees and lit up a patch of mushrooms like a golden carpet. My knees got wet as I bent down amidst the soggy needles and soft mosses. A dozen or more large chanterelles poked their heads out, calling my name. I gathered enough to add to my dinner. They sparkled and dazzled me like a treasure!
Back on the road, I began to take note of just how many fishermen were on the Wilson and just how delightful the conditions were. Bright, warm sunshine and a greening stream, prime for chinook fishing. Who could ask for more? It was the day to be on the river!
As I passed the Guide Shop, I noticed just how many cars were parked in the lot. So many anglers had wished for, and received this perfect gift.
Sollie Smith was packed to overflowing with trailers parked on the roads, crooked and hurried as they raced for their boats.
The Kilchis logging bridge was a celebration of activity. It reminded me of a painting that should be painted. Boats putting in! Boats taking out! Bank anglers and their children standing elbow to elbow casting bobbers, jigs, and eggs. A couple bright shiny chinook salmon lay at the blessed one's feet.
After I caught up with my work, it was time for me to try my fate on the Kilchis. Thinking it cold, I pulled on my warmies, with a thick turtleneck underneath, and headed out to the sunshine, upstream. It wasn't a half hour passed before I was too warm to fish there, anymore! The sun was oddly strong and the air, without a whisper of wind.
I sat with my boots dangling in the still high waters. Oh! how I wanted to slip my boots off and feel the cold water on my toes! The tips of my jacket dipped in the mud where I laid it out to protect my backside from the soggy grassy patch where I sat.
Kilchis, after digging his share of deep holes, sat in 6 inches of water and mud, and begged for a pat. The sun hit the mud at such intensity, that the top soil began to crack and I could almost hear the slurping sound of water being sucked from the ground. All around me, the dirt was the consistency of this morning's coffee filter. Warm, soggy... and did I mention warm?
I didn't get a bite, but it didn't matter to me. The river was beautiful, and I was home.
Later, Bill got the boat out, and we rowed across to the other shore to enjoy a little Kwikfishing. We quickly picked up litter, left by other bank anglers, and set anchor.
Just to be different, I tied on a gob of eggs, and backbounced them through the hole. After no luck, I tied on a beautiful First Bite jig and a pink worm. It traveled perfectly down the slot. Still nothing! It was so odd! The conditions just reeked of fish, and we couldn't buy a bite. Bill did catch a nice buck earlier in the morning, though, so he was well satisfied.
I love Portland. I do! But as I think back to the rushing traffic, the busy stores and the hustle and bustle, I can't imagine trading it for this. But, perhaps visiting the beautiful city of roses helps me to appreciate my back yard, all the more!
A single lone chickadee keeps flitting to my feeder, and quickly darting away. The fog is clearing to yet another magical day on the river.
The boat is still out on the river, and the day is shaping up to be another dream come true. Oh, how I am tempted to try and row it across, myself! I am not supposed to do that, anymore, so I'm stuck, I suppose, alone, fishing from the banks of the Kilchis river.
"Stuck", huh?
There is no place I'd rather be.

November 11th

Some people feel "all new" after a massage. Some, after working out or climbing a mountain. Some, after vacation.
For me? It's encounters with fish. Encounters of many kinds.
I am all new!
Two days ago, I was frustrated by ifish. It was late afternoon, and I needed a break. Bill offered a trip down the Kilchis, and I gladly hopped in the boat. It wasn't the fish that I played that delighted me, so. It was standing, braced against the knee holds in the drift boat, scanning the shallow Kilchis spawning beds for chum.
"There's one! And another! And-- Oh Bill! Look at that! A whole school! Did you see that?"
I absolutely adore this time of year! There is a place in the lower river that chum gather to spawn. It is just now getting low enough to spot them. I can't wait to walk down this morning and take a peek. I kind of have to sneak around this grassy knoll and peek over the side. There they are! Every year! Depending on their physical state, they'll stay, finning slowly, or quickly dash away, when they see my shadow.
I'm watching for the first hint of daylight to go do that, soon!
Yesterday, I had the most magical experience! Twice!
In the morning, I walked down to the river to throw a jig for a while. Jig fishing is so great! No need for a sloppy jar of eggs. Just tie on a jig and go! You should see Mark's new salmon jigs this year. Beautiful! Click here to peek! I put a couple packs of assorted plastic worms in my pocket, for added lure.
As I stood there, casting, I noted in the back of my mind a couple dark "rocks" that were deeper in front of me. These "rocks" started moving towards me! You know that feeling of getting dizzy, or assuming movement when a car rolls next to you? I thought I was moving, and I struggled to maintain my balance. Rocks don't move!
It was a school of chum salmon, right before my feet! And they were coming closer! I stood, absolutely still as they lazily swam towards me, until they were right against my leg. I had lost my jig, so I had no reason to fish. I just stayed glued there, legs aching from standing until it happened! One brushed up against my leg! They were so involved in their mating ritual that they didn't mind my presence. I was in total awe! I stood there for much too long. They finally swam off. I am changed, forever!
Many people find chum salmon disgusting or ugly. I find them absolutely fascinating! Of course, I'm a fish freak! This year I think the chum run is a little weak. Either that, or they are late.
Yesterday afternoon, Bill again treated me to a boat ride. I have never caught salmon like that in my life! Four in an hour! My gosh! And one of the chum salmon, so bright that we could barely identify it as such! A bright, beautiful, barely striped hen!
We went home with two beautiful hen chinook, a respectable 21, and 22 pounds. It was nice to see chinook so beautifully bright this time of year!
Dinner last night was fantastic. I used the Foreman grille with a little Traeger salmon shake. Decorated it with a bit of Hollandaise, added some wild rice and broccoli and sat down to heaven on a plate!
Hey! You know how salmon filets are thick on one side and skinny on the other? The skinny side always gets overcooked on a grill. I rolled it up to match the thickness of the backbone area, and stuck it with a toothpick. That really works! It was evenly cooked through.
Last night, after darkness took over the canyon, I took a bright flashlight out to the river banks. Half to let Kilchis play, and half to spot a chum salmon in the river. I was successful at both. It's fun to watch salmon at night, finning in the calm waters. I can't get enough.
Even though I didn't play my salmon to the net due to my physical restrictions, I'm still played out! I've had as close to my satisfaction of salmon encounters in one day, as I've ever had!
A massage on my aching fish playing shoulders, and my throbbing fish watching legs would be divine, thank you!
However, today is a new day. There is light, spreading across the open sky. To heck with a massage. (As if I had the opportunity!) I'd better get ready in a hurry. The salmon are waiting!

November 13th

I absolutely adore this time of year! It's the season of close fish encounters, and I can't get enough! I catch fish, yes, but I also kiss them, and pet them, and talk to them!
There is something about my hip boots, too. Don't know what it is, but they seem to attract chums. My dry waders don't work, my knee boots don't work, but my old hip boots? Chum LOVE them! They actually gather around me! It's amazing! Bill didn't believe me until he saw it! I thought I might be standing in their spawning grounds, so I quickly moved to a whole new location, and they followed me! Don't believe me? They do! I mean, they rub up against my legs, they love these boots so much! What could it be? I can even keep reeling and fishing, and they just remain there! I can actually reach down in the water, and they still stay there! Oh, I love my little chum salmon! They are so beautiful with their war wounds from traveling so far upstream to complete their mission! I am impressed and encouraged by their stamina!
Oh! Yesterday was a hoot! Not only did I dance with salmons, but I caught one and released one, all by myself! Big, ug-toothed chum salmon!
I have never in my life released a chum salmon from a K-16 until this morning. What a riot!
I looked at the churning chum, and I looked around me. No one around for miles.
I raised my face to the sky and howled, "BILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!"

Holy Silence! No answer!

The whole thing was a riot, actually. I was fishing with my planer just to pass the time. I had a sardine- Marie scented wrapped K-16 "Eyefish" ifish Kwikfish (that was a mouthful, and a mouthful for the chum, too!) on the other end.
I was fishing close to shore, because the current was ripping. I set it in a rod holder and sat to rest and have a sip of coffee. I had been walking, setting out line and needed a rest.
I didn't get a rest. My rod started stripping out line! But help! The planer did not spring.
Holy carp!
I grabbed the rod out of the holder and tried to whip the planer to spring it. Couldn't whip it too hard! It was not a very heavy rod!
Nope! It wouldn't spring loose!
I started working the fish in until my planer got to the tip of my rod. I did not like that plastic piece of unnatural contraption rubbing against the tip of my rod, fearing it would damage it.
All I could do was to set down my rod with the fish still throbbing on the line, and work it free.
I did so. I set down my rod in the grass, grabbed the line, risking line burn, and started to untangle the line wrapped planer. It was stuck tight, though! It wouldn't budge! My fingers kept getting caught in loops of line, and thoughts of amputation danced in my head. Meanwhile, this chum salmon is trying to pull me in with him!
I finally figured it out. The line was twisted around the planer spring. By the time I got that undone, the line was wrapped around my rod tip.
I seriously considered cutting the line and cutting my losses. BUT NO!
I again turned my face to the wind and howled, "DAVIDDDDDDDDDD--
HELPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!"

Silence.

Hokay.
Holy chum salmon!
I'm on my own.

FINALLY got everything straight, and started working the fish in, again. Actually, this all happened pretty quickly, but the stress made it seem like hours!
Still, for some unknown reason, the planer would not slide freely. It was allowing line through, barely... but not very nicely.
I got the salmon to the shore in about 3 feet of water, and fell in with it. Line wrapped around Jennie, the chum salmon, the planer, and well?

"BILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!"

Yep, on my own.

I had never released a chum salmon with a Kwikfish in it's mouth. Did I mention that? No matter how many times I've watched it done, I still warn the unhooker, "Be careful!" It just looks dangerous, and Bill once told me a story of him being hooked in the hand by one treble, while the other was still in the chum. That's the stuff that make up nightmares, for me! I've always been protective of my hands, as I play piano, and well... I guess I don't play piano as much anymore, so I could do this, too. Right?
Hokay.... How is this done? I was now standing in three feet of murky water. I set my rod down and grabbed the line. Grabbing the the butt of the Kwikfish with my left hand and holding it for dear life, I took the pliers out of my mouth. (Yes, out of my mouth)
Thank God I had taken the middle hook off! Thank GOD!
I held on to that Kwikfish for dear life as I got a firm grip on the hook that was in that ug-toothed chum salmon.
Oh! Was it ugly and beautiful, all at the same time!
One quick pull, and it was out!

I DID IT!

I then tailed the salmon, gave it a quick princess kiss on the top of the head and bid it many, many baby salmons to come!
That was so fun!
I don't think I'll be planing again, anytime soon, though!
Next encounter?
Fly rod!
Never caught a chum on a fly.
What could possibly happen?
For now, off to go shuttle Liz and Art. It's awfully windy and nasty out there. I think I'll huddle for the day.

November 17th

Oops. I find myself writing on the ifish board, lately, and not as often, here. I caught a magnificent fish the other day, and posted the story, here. Feel free to click on over!
It was by far the most exciting fish I'd ever caught. Did I say "Whoooo hooooooo?" You bet I did!
The last two days have been warm and sunny. That powder blue sky both makes me feel warm and happy, and brings memories of my surgery and mishap last year. That's an odd mix. I've always loved and looked forward to the breaks in winter weather, so when I get that shiver down my spine, it's unfamiliar and spooky. I always end up feeling grateful that now I can walk, and I'm not stuck in that blasted wheelchair. I am free to open the door and go out in it.
I hope this medical memory fades with time. As my legs strengthen, so I will build fresh associations to block out the bad ones. Sometimes I wonder if I don't have a bit of post traumatic stress disorder over what I went through.
I wake in the night with nightmares, and powder blue skies bother me... and winter gives me flashback chills that aren't due to the cold.
Of course, when I wake bolt upright in fear, the medical staff is gone. Enough of those reassuring absences might erase it all from my memory, eventually.
It's interesting how we associate things with our past. Some things, in fact, I don't even associate, clearly. You know those "moods" you just get some days, and you don't know why? Some are happy, some not so much, but it takes a bit to figure out what association you are dealing with.
It took me forever to understand why I began feeling depressed in the springtime, after loving Spring, for years. It finally came to me that my Mother was very ill and died in the spring, and thus that association had washed over me. It took years to get over that, and to be able to enjoy spring to it's fullest again. If I am able to identify the reasons for things, it helps me to move past them.
I went to Diamond Lake for the last time, in 1994. Previous to then, I had been to the lake, every year of my life, since my birth.
I have not been back. I think that's partially due to coming home to an unexpected divorce, that year. I just have not had the heart to go back. I think I'll do that, this summer with the kids. We've all got to push past things. I want to reclaim my childhood joy that I held, for years, invested in that memory.
That said, I also need to "Whooo hoooo!" more often, as that's going to help me past my phobia of powder blue winter skies, and pick more flowers in the spring time to get past the death of my Mother.
There's simply not time in life to feel blue. Life is so terribly short-- I want to spend it in celebration of all the things that I love. I've got to fight past these blues, and not give them the time of my day.
Have you read my son David's essay? I got such a kick out of it. It is posted here. I'm really delighted that he has chosen writing and music as his two major interests.
It's still dark. I'm going to grab a cup of coffee, bundle up and go stare at the sky, in hopes for a shooting star. What a way to start a day!

November 19th

Aquariums are just not for me. I've tried. I've failed. I've bought all the right stuff. I've cleaned it religiously, and by the book. --and I've managed to kill everything I've ever had living in it.
So, it is with great pleasure that I walk to the river and gaze into the Kilchis river aquarium. It's not mine, I guess, but I am privileged to have excellent access to it.
It's really amazing! It's a deep aqua marine color draws my eyes in. It took me a while to even notice them. I thought the dark shadows in the depths were rocks, but then they began to change shape or move, and it was then that I realized... those are dang salmon!
The rapids that roll into the aquarium (the air hose, I suppose!) shoots a spray of bubbles into the 10 foot depths. They then roll in and clear to expose the dark clouds of salmon. If I look long enough, they separate into real and single salmon shapes! Sometimes, a chinook will roll on it's side and flash me brightly. That's when my breath draws in and I can barely stand up, it amazes me so! At times, I tilt my head in wonder. Bright salmon, or decaying chum? I can't tell!
I stop to wonder, the same way I wonder why traffic clogs up and then frees. What causes those bubbles to build up? To come and go? Why isn't it consistent, constant stream of bubbles? Why does the water pool up and rise, surging in a smooth wall that I think might overtake me, but then come crashing down? Where does this rhythm originate? It's the same way clouds form, and then dissipate. Sometimes I have many minutes of viewing, and then it clouds over in foaming bubbles. Other times, it's clear for hours.
Yesterday, after a uneventful but relaxing and sunny day on the bay, (Hey! You've got to fish the bay at least once in the fall!) I took my duck chair down to sit and rest. I had no fishing rod, nor did I want one. I was there for viewing, and viewing alone. On the way to the hole, I noticed more chum salmon than I had seen in quite some time. The sun sliced through the trees and exposed them in sharp contrast against the shaded areas. They were checking out the shallows for spawning purposes, I suppose. I can't wait for the coming week's dry spell. It will expose more and more of these amazing creatures, as their spawning season draws nearer. I love sneaking up on them! The river will get lower and lower, and I'll be treated to surprising and delightful sprays from the riffles, where they are digging their redds.
I have a special spot upriver, where a log has fallen to create the perfect bench for resting. It's up on the bank, about 10 feet on a rise above a popular salmon hangout. It's soft and soggy wet, so I have to wear rain gear to sit.
Populated thickly by undergrowth, and overgrowth in the old growth forest, I'm hidden from their view and shaded from the sun. I sit quietly and unnoticed as I wait for the first salmon's spotting. I take a picnic with me, and that's all the entertainment I need. Somehow fresh tangerines seem to go well with this activity. Sometimes I take the kids with me. They are good for at least a once a year visit. But, I can go many times and never be bored! Kilchis is glad for the time outdoors, and frantically digs a hole in the forest floor, while I watch.
The river here is about a city block wide at this point, and it's no more than a couple of feet deep, at it's best viewing level. The rocks break up the water's flow clear across the river, and makes a perfect nursery.
It's one of those things that takes a while to hone in on, but once you see one, you see several! It was happening all along, even as I walked out past them and set up camp, but it takes a while to find what I am looking for. Once I do, the whole river seems to come alive and it's a mass of confusion as to where to look, and when! Talk about busy! There are salmon here, and there, and look at that one racing upstream, being chased by those other two! It makes me giggle just to write about it.
...and it occurs to me that even in this aquarium, the fish are going to die. So, maybe that's the way it's supposed to be.
OK. That's it. I know what I'm going to do, today! I'm off to Freddies for a box of tangerines. Maybe a 1/2 pound of Havarti cheese, and it's a date! Anyone want to join me? Quick! Before they die!
And don't even think about feeding the fish in my aquarium. (But if you do, they like big fist sized globs of salmon roe, or First Cast Jigs!)

November 22nd

I thought I could make it a whole day without going to the river. Nope! Finally, around 3:00 PM, I gave in, bundled up and headed out. Honey, it's cold, outside!!
It looks so sunny and inviting when I go to town, but here in the Kilchis Canyon, from around mid November until January, we are in the mountain's shade. Brr! The only light and warmth I get is from the fireplace!
I'm starting to feel the Holiday spirit. Last year I really missed it! Well, I was around, but Christmas was really tough. I have to erase those memories with new ones, and I'm going to do it in style!
!!!
I'm going to decorate some of the outside trees with red ribbons and popcorn for the birds. Cranberries, too? Maybe!
My wreath is all ready to be decorated, and I've started buying new lights. Last year, on top of all of the other "stuff", most of my lights didn't work! I can fix that! There is no such thing as too many lights! And, bah humbug with the white ones. This year, it's multi colored and bright! None of that calm, silent night stuff. I'm going wild!
There will be candles inside, and boughs of greenery outside. (Fake and plastic as it may be. Who cares? There is plenty of "real", too!) Little red ribbons, everywhere!
The day after Thanksgiving, I'm going downtown with my sisters and my nieces, and we are going to stay overnight, shop till we drop, and watch the Christmas Tree lighting, downtown. I can't shop much before I drop, but they have assured me that there are lots of benches to rest on, downtown! I can't wait to see Santa on the corner! --and the Cinnamon bear!
On Thanksgiving, I'll get to see my Dad. He's flying in from Palm Springs to join us.
I am so excited for this year that I think I just may have to start decorating, today! Put the Christmas Carols on!
Jesus Christ is born today! Halllllllelujah!
later... OK, when was the last time you sat in your living room playing the Carpenter's Christmas CD and you started to cry? At 6 in the morning, no less? Oh brother... ad nauseum. I'm a real woman! Just watch me cry! But- but but... I was almost dead last Christmas! At least this proves I'm very much alive!



November 24th

Chestnuts roasting... on an open fire...
I can't wait till Christmas! I'm like a little kid this year! I'm going to deck the halls as soon as I get home from visiting with family.
I've been getting these darn migraines all week. It's so weird, because I can't plan when I'm going to have them. I'm so afraid I'll get one today, and I have to drive to Portland. If I get one, I can't go! It's really scary!
Yesterday I was sitting upstairs looking down at the lawn. Lawn mower tracks from summer were carved into the lawn, and the ice crystals outlined the wheel marks. The sun was shining in the sky, but yet failed to reach any part of our lawn, our roof, or our riverside. It's dead, cold winter, here. Memories of summer touched me, but not very closely! Brrr!
I am so thankful for freedom of movement, this year. I can move to the fireplace, move to the bathtub! I can get to all of the warm places in the world that I couldn't, without help, last year!
I remember giggling one year in church, as an older lady thanked God for things as simple as running water, and her dishwasher. It's no kidding! I am thankful for the same kinds of things, this year! Oh, how we take advantage of simple pleasures! They had to be taken away for me to realize how wonderful things are! A fireplace and the ability to get there! Thank you, God! Funny how we grow up taking all these things for granted. It is only when we get older, with the risk of losing some of them, that we realize how wonderful we have it!
Yesterday on a television program regarding disabilities with Grant MComie, I heard, "We are all only temporarily abled." How very true! We are all on the road to the same place!
This year, I have the most simple things to be thankful for and I am going to spend the day concentrating on that. Never have I had such an easy time of it!
This year, I walk where I want to walk. Kilchis my dog, follows me, wherever I go, tail wagging, happy all the time. The dogs claws click merrily on the hardwood floors as they follow me in the morning to the cookie drawer, and wait anxiously for the door to open. There are critters in the night to chase! Oh glory! Once out, they bark joyfully at nothing at all! Oh mighty hunters! I'm going to fish that way from now on. There COULD be a fish, out there!!!
Dogs know. They have it down. Be thankful! Be ridiculously happy! Bark for joy as if there is a herd of wild rhinos in the field! You never know!
Right now, I sit by the heater, warm, content, and safe. As I pat Kilchis's head, which rests in my lap, he wags his tail and his eyes say it all.
Life is really quite nice.

I believe that this prayer, says it all:

A Thanksgiving Prayer
Samuel F. Pugh

"O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.
Amen."

November 27th

OK! Ready, set go! I can legally start on Christmas, now! Therefore, I have changed the little Thanksgiving pilgrim hats on the board for sticky topics to Christmas Holly, and I can start on the real house, now! Down come the little pilgrim candles and up go the holly! The lights! The shiny bulbs and everything that glitters!
Back to reality, here, though. I had so much fun being a princess at The Marriott! The whole weekend seemed like it met every one of my needs, and I mean every single one of them! The Marriott Hotel, City Center is by far the nicest hotel I've stayed in, downtown. The people are so friendly, and the atmosphere is really warm and inviting.
Big smiles were the rule as my sisters, nieces and female cousins and I wandered the streets of downtown Portland, with absolutely nothing pressing to do! Nordstrom's saw us more than once, more than twice... well, several times!
A great story... My niece Allison's husband is currently in Iraq. While on our traditional visit to Dorcas, (A beautiful Christmas ornament shop, if you are downtown!) she mumbled, "I wish they had service discounts everywhere!"
(Oh! Oh! I have to stop for a minute! The little pale olive kinglet just visited my feeder for the first time, this winter! Cool! He's so cute! He is getting suet out of my feeder! What a doll!)
Anyhow... Ally muttered that she wished... and the sales clerk heard her and said, "Oh! Is your husband in the service?"
Ally said, "Yes, he's currently in Iraq."
Well, you could tell this nice lady was incredibly touched, and she said something very nice to Allison, and left the room.
I had to go, then, because my legs were getting wobbly and I was worried about falling into a decorated tree. We were all giggling about the possibility, so I left and went to my room to rest.
When the girls came up, they told me "the rest of the story."
I guess the lady came back with a gift wrapped ornament for Allison and her husband. It was a really expensive ornament, and they just gave it to her, because of the fact that her husband was in the service! Everyone in the shop started to get a little weepy as Allison oohed and ahhhed over the pretty sparkly ornament. It was a wreath made of glass. It's beautiful! When I heard the story, tears came to my eyes, too!
I suppose that was the most touching highlight of our trip.
We had lunch at the Heathman, and dinner at Jakes Grille. Breakfast at The Marriott was really fun, too!
My bed was a feather bed, with 10 (count them!) pillows on the bed! I slept so well!
We had fun shopping, racing up and down in the elevators to visit each other, and making plans for where to go, next.
I am so glad I decided to go this year! In years past, I have been hesitant to go. Actually, I have been hesitant to go and do many things, and I know I've missed out on many memories. Since my surgery, I try very hard to do almost everything that involves my friends and relatives. Life is so short! I don't want to miss out!
It's going to take me a couple days to recover, and I really need to rest up. Next weekend is going to be even crazier!
I hope I can make it to everything that is planned! There is the NSIA banquet on Saturday night at the Sheridan. On Sunday, there is the Fisherman's Marine meeting of sports fishermen and women, and on Monday, the Ifish Christmas Party! Wow! That's a run of fun! I've linked them all, so you know the ins and outs of it all.
I hesitate to think I can make every one of them, but I'm going to give it my all!
Allison, by the way, is a wonderful hair stylist, who graduated from Sassoon not too long ago. She is now employed downtown Portland and if you'd like to go see her, she's here:
BOB Shop
555 S.W. Oak Portland OR
1 (503) 226-2886
Just ask for Allison.
She's working hard, while her husband is deployed in Iraq. Please help support her! She's a really neat gal, and fun to be around. She's also very good at her job! I think it's in the US Bank tower.
Anyhow, I'm off to catch up on home life. Oh! Here comes that little kinglet, again. I always wonder if he's here for Christmas. I wish I could put little red collars on them for Christmas!

November 28th

Do you know that I have a sled that I bought at Costco four years ago, and I have yet to use it? I will NOT give up hope! It's the slickest looking sled I've ever seen and I want a ride in it!
I almost hate to mention the possibility of snow, in case I jinx it! Still, I will be waiting and watching! I love snow! I love it!
That's one memory that has never been jaded in any way. Never have I had a bad snow memory! They are all filled with laughs and dogs chasing around with waggly tails, and the kids and I coming in for hot chocolate, afterwards. Clear back to my childhood-- they are all wonderful memories! My neighbors and I used to all get together and spend all day outside! Piles of snow clothes at the front door, all soggy and wet. The snow brought everyone out to play! Even more so than our summer pool days!
In this house, now, I tend to get all excited all by myself, but the memories of my past keep me in constant joyful company! People just shake their heads at my excitement. Yes, I'm known to jump up and down when the first snow flakes come down! My kids think I'm nuts, but somehow I think it will be catching. How can anyone look at someone's pure joy and not catch a bit of it? I think that someday, my kids will have kids, and as adults, they'll remember me, and jump up and down in front of their kids, too!
After all, I did catch it from my Mother. Even after I moved out, she'd call on the telephone with this "I have something that you don't!" tone in her voice and say, "Jennie... I have snow!"


Let it snow!

FISHING THE COAST
A journal of my adventures.

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