Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington
September 2002


Jennie's Fishing Life


A journal of my adventures.

September 1st

Yesterday, it was just Kilchis and I, alone, on a Fall day.
I promised myself that after I picked David and Andrew up, later, I wouldn't drive the rest of the weekend, in Labor Day traffic. When I took Andrew to work, I stopped at the store, and got any supplies and food that I would need for the weekend. I'm a Labor Day weekend hermit, and I'm happy that way.
Andrew at work, David at a friends, and Bill in Portland with his Mom.
I wasn't prepared for the wind of nostalgia that hit me, as I ventured out to pick some wild blackberries.
It was that "alone" feeling, that is unnatural, eerie, but peaceful and oddly joyful at the same time.
The air was a dry, powdery blue. I could actually touch and feel the wind. Microscopic bits of dead debris from the leaves of trees touched my tongue, and tiny bugs, dancing circles in front of my mouth, were in danger of being inhaled.
The river was singing a muted, steady and parched "husssss".
The blackberry underbrush crunched loudly, as I reached for a bounty of ripe beauties, of course, just out of my reach. The stickers clung to my sweater. I was in danger of being swallowed up! Let me go!
Funny, how you see blackberries all along the road, and you note them, but the thrill factor doesn't hit you, until you actually get up close and personal with them. I'm convinced that I need grandiose and huge events to get me excited; steelhead on a fly rod, trips to Disneyland, etc...
However, making my way down a blackberry patch, and coming upon a huge cluster of ripe berries I felt that same excitement. "Oh! Look at those!!! Andrew! Bill! David! Look at these!!!"
No one was there to share my enthusiasm. Kilchis stopped his follies chasing dippers to stare at me. "Who are you talking to, Mom?"
There it was again. That feeling that I have felt, off and on, through a 42 year lifespan.
Memories rushed back to me.
... It was Fall, and I should have been at school, but I was recovering from one of many surgeries. When I woke from a nap, I found a note my Mom had left, that she had gone to get music for her students at Wiltsy Weathers in Salem. I was alone. I wandered outside and felt this same air, this same muted sunshine, the same solitary, and oddly quiet feeling. The inner tubes my neighbor friends had played on, just weeks before in the summer, were still laying on the lawn. I sat down on one of them, the sun was too weak to warm the rubber, and I shivered, as I listened to the quiet. I had received a new 10 speed bike for a get well gift. Three hours post surgery, I mounted that bike and sped off into the country. The fields were quiet, tall brown grasses waved in the wind. I'll never forget the angry interruption of the tone of my Mom's Volvo behind me. "What are you doing???" She shreaked.
I was trying to outrun the loneliness. Trying to fast forward, past this awkward silent season to the warm fireplace of winter.
The first of September is the ghost of summer. Quiet. Respectfully and silently, the graveyard of all of spring's creation.
It's the same feeling that I feel, every year, the first day that my children are back in school.
When we lived in Astoria, the familiar noises of children riding their bikes in the early morning sun, the laughter, the constant chatter, it was all absent. I'd open my front door to this same dry wind. The roads were abandoned. My flowers were taking on that crunchy look.
Wait! Summer can't be over! I still have popsicles in the freezer!
I still have my Grandmothers tin berry picking bucket. It's tradition. I can't pick berries without it.
I worked my way down the patch, until the berries no longer hit the bottom with a plunk. Enough to make two pies, I glanced into the bucket, satisfied. I prepared to wander into the house to freeze them, and vac pack them for a winter pies.
So many memories... 911 was like this, last year... Warm, windy, dry... I remembered having to turn off the TV, and forcing myself to go down to the river to fish, to try to absorb all that had occurred. It sent a chill down my spine.
As I neared the house, the phone rang, and I ran to greet the voice on the other end.
"Andrew? You need to be picked up?" I was so grateful to hear his voice! I had been alone for years, not hours, and I couldn't wait to pick him up, Labor Day Traffic or not.
Later, I sat on my back deck, and basked in the sound of the kid's laughter, as they bounced on the trampoline and played with Kilchis.
I do love the quiet of this season, but for now, I need to hear life. I drew a deep breath in and felt prepared.
It will be deathly quiet, soon enough.


September 3rd

Well, in an effort to support our sponsors, I have moved the Guides to the top left and the charters to the top right. This moves all the other supporting categories up too! What a bold move, Jen! :)
The resources that you have come to know and use are simply down the page just a bit further. Take a browse around. Nothing is missing, just moved around a bit. :) All fish counts, all contact numbers, all buoy reports... They are still there.
All this, in keeping with Jennie's Fall cleaning. I never get the bug to clean in the spring. I get the bug to deep clean and arrange things in the Fall.
My Dad came to visit yesterday, with my old fishing partner in tow! I mentioned to my Dad, "You really ought to meet Ester". Well, he did, and they came to visit.
I had more than matchmaking in mind. My friend Ester loves to fish. My Dad gave up fishing for golf. Perhaps Ester might have a little influence somewhere here...
I made a blackberry pie yesterday, in celebration of their visit. We all sat down to indulge. One pie... 20 minutes... Goodbye. :)
Labor Day weekend is over, and the masses have settled back into the valley. My son, David, went back to school today, but Andrew, in high school, gets one more day off before he goes tomorrow.
I'm busy building a new contest for you to enter, a steelhead trip for two with Scott McKnight. It's not up yet, but I'll holler when it is.
I think that Bill and I might venture out later, in search of some cutts somewhere in these coastal waters.
The rain, that was supposed to be, never "be'd". It's sunny here, in the canyon, with a little fog dancing along the treetops. Not at all what my little heart had dreamed of. I wanted pouring rain, and sideways wind, surging rivers and fish on the move. I wanted my river to sing a new song this morning. Instead, the radio repeats the summer's top hit: "Barely Moving and Parched".
With that said, I'll play along. It's still summer, I suppose, and my sleeveless shirts are still neatly stacked in the drawer.
Don't forget about Ifishstock, properly dated four days prior to my eye surgery. That way, I don't have time to worry about surgery. Too much to do, to plan for the party! Please write to me if you are coming, so I know how many to plan for. Please? :)
I think I'm going to rush the season and remove all traces of summer from my chest of drawers. Out with the swim suits! Gone be the tank tops!
On sweaters, and turtles and wool sox, and boots!
Perhaps then, the season will take a hint. :)


September 4th

We have a new ifish contest! Win a trip for two with Scott McKnight! Enter it, you never know who will win! I just spin the carrot, and strange things happen!
Just when I received a present from Marie and Dennis, at Tillamook Bait Shop, a jar full of her beautiful eggs! Just when I get a fresh bottle of her shrimp scent... Just as the Fall hogs get ready to come visit my back yard.... Just as the chill in the air hits the garage, where all the bobber rods are strung with care....
Along comes the hatchery wars... AGAIN.
"We are going to shut them down!" "No we are not!" "Yes we are!"
This is getting old. It is the season of special session 59503837493843. Yep, it's special.
It's vital that you get involved. Please click here.
We are all tired of fighting this battle, not knowing just how we are being played, what is for real, and what isn't. But the fact remains that it is time to get out your pen and paper and go to work supporting our hatcheries. We need people power!
It's tough in so many ways, especially if you have children in schools. They need the money too. These issues are near and dear to me.
Off to the showers, to start my daily drive to take David to jazz band. We saved that program for now, but, we are not out of the woods, even for that. We raised the money to keep our dear band teacher, Mr. Hammond. WE paid his salary-- but we shouldn't have had to!
Good morning! I'll try to smile. :)
Do you ever get the feeling that everything is too calm and peaceful and something awful is about to happen? I hate that.


September 6th

I caught a fish where there are no fish to be caught! --At the ghost hole! There are no fish there, right? That's what I heard!
Too funny, because, as we were waiting for our crab pots to fill up (which they never did), we cruised through the ghost hole... once.
Bill was glancing at the fish finder.
"There's one, at 10 feet!"
I had just pulled up my rig to pull off the ever present Tillamook seaweed, and noticed that my herring had a harsh bend to it, causing a fast, spastic twirl. Oh well, I'm not changing it. It's no big deal, there are no fish here.
So, down it went, hit bottom at 14 feet of water, and up two turns.
Fast twirls? Coho? :) :)
Wham! There's the fish Bill spotted!
Because of the lack of expectancy, I was more excited about this fish than I had been in years!
"Bill!" I jumped up and down. It's a silver! I know it is! It's a fast action silver!" I was so frantic that Bill had to lean over and loosen my drag. The fish played across the top of the water, screaming like a torpedo towards hiway 101. Log trucks, passing by, gave a couple honks as they sped past.
I was using Bill's old stash of stainless steel Mustad 92553S in a 6/0. He's had them since 1990, and reuses them frequently. He bought a box of 100 back then, for saltwater salmon and sturgeon guide trips. They resharpen easily, and since they don't rust, they can be retied over and over again.
The fish was hooked solidly in the corner of the mouth.
As we oohed and ahhhed at the tremendous strength of the fish, we checked for the adipose, which was conveniently missing. Bill took a neat swoosh, and netted the fish.
Barbecued silver and one nice crab to split for dinner! What could be better? :)
The crab, although scarce in the bay yesterday, was packed full, and the shells were heavy with barnacles. That's a fine sign that the crab meat is going to be top of the class! There were plenty of nice big females, and our crab pots were full, but we noted a shortage of legal males. With no room to store fish heads in the freezer, we used turkey legs from Freddy's, and were quite satisfied with the results.
Kilchis had a great day aboard our boat, and rewarded me with a couple wet dog kisses during our outing.

Kilchis Kiss

All in all, you couldn't ask for a nicer day on the water. It was warm enough to go sleeveless, the bar and the ocean were calm and beautiful. There wasn't a wind in the sky...
If the ocean was so calm, why didn't I go out? Because I prefer to fish where there aren't any fish. Works for me!


September 7th

I am tortured.
From outside my door comes the most pitiful sound. The whining and crying is driving me over the edge.
He wants to come inside. I'd do it in a flash, but Bill won't let me. I have fed him, made him an outdoor bed, and I haven't slept much, worrying about him.
I don't know the dogs name, so I'll just call him X dog.
X dog showed up at our back door yesterday at three or so. X dog just stood there, half in, and half out of the open door, all 100 pounds plus of him. X dog is lost.
"Sit!" X dog sits.
"Lay down!" X dog lays down.
X dog puts his paw inside the door. "Outside!" X dog backs up and lays down.

x dog

When I gaze into his eyes, you can see, very clearly that he knows "people love". He can play me like any dog who owns a person. He holds the trump card for my heart.
Kilchis wants to be with X dog. However, Kilchis wants X dog to come inside. I let Kilchis outside to play, but when it's time to come in, I have Kilchis whining on the inside, and X dog whining on the outside.
I'm going stir crazy!
I'm conflicted. Am I angry that someone may have dropped him off across the road, where he was first seen by my upriver/across the river neighbors? Or am I sad that someone lost him and doesn't know where he is?
Somehow, I always feel that God is in charge of these lost pet situations. Why are you punishing me, God? Is this a test? Did you send me this dog to love?
Even if, Bill won't allow it, so sorry God, I'm failing you. I can't keep the dog, God. Sorry. Guilt.
Guilt, shame, anger, sadness... and love.
We have no humane society in Tillamook.
Once I reported a dog hit by a car to the Tillamook Police. They said, "Call the County". I did. That dog lay by the road, rotting, until he totally decomposed.
We are to take the dog to the Tillamook Vet. If I do that, they have a three day rule. They are closed half of today and tomorrow. That means... you guessed it.
Tuesday, X dog = gone.
I love X dog already.
So... I've heard that the Portland Humane Society rarely has to put dogs down. Oh great... I just learned that they don't keep stray dogs either.
This is a good dog, X dog. This dog has been loved and trained and cared for. This dog wants to ride in the bow of a boat, to lay his head on your lap, and return love.
"Why can't I come in and be warm like I was at home?" X dog incessantly whines. "That girl loves me. I can tell. Why won't she let me in to lay on her couch?"
If, indeed, someone dropped X dog off in the woods, and abandoned him, I feel intense anger with them. It's the same passion and anger that I feel when I see someone selectively fishing for hens for eggs. Crimes against animals or nature enrage me more than any crime against me.
I had dreams last night of the owner coming, so excited that they found their friend. I woke up happy and relieved, only to stare blankly into the darkness, listening to the pitiful whine.
I feel like taking Kilchis and X dog and running away. Running far, far, away, where X dog, Kilchis, the kids and I can all come inside and be warm, fed, and loved.
If you have a home for X dog, let me know. You could save me from becoming homeless.

September 8th

I spent the entire day yesterday, and the night before trying to find X dog's owner.
I crossed the logging bridge road, and drove 6 or 7 miles up, looking for campers who might have lost a dog. I double dutied. As I drove along, I searched the low water for future holding areas for steelhead and salmon, and access routes to the waters below. I stopped at every neighbors house I could. I finally drove to town, to get him scanned for microchips at the vets.
He had one! "Don't get too excited!" The vet reminded me. "Some dogs are originally owned by responsible owners, only to be given away to less responsible owners."
I was given two phone numbers that matched the registration and proceeded to dial them all afternoon. Busy signal on one, no answer on the other.
However, the people at Avid, supplied me with the pet's name. Bandit! "Here Bandit!" I called outside. He came running, with a sincere relief in his eyes. "They know me! Yep! I'm Bandit!"
One mystery solved.
I gave up calling midday. Bandit was chasing my cat, and was interested in my chickens. I couldn't take it anymore. Bandit wanted in the house, and with a lonesome, winsome cry, let me know that, constantly. Bill wouldn't allow it.
Bill and I took Bandit into the Portland Humane Society, since that is where he was from, at 5:00 PM last night.
The lady at the Humane Society said, "Follow me, we'll put him in the kennel". I couldn't. I let Bill do that. I gave Bandit a big hug, and left for the car, not dry eyed.
It wasn't only Bandit. It was the other dog who was brought in, who was too aggressive for adoption, and had to be put down. It was the kittens, abandoned, that had to be put down. It was the puppies, who had been abused that were taken in. I saw a whole TV series of unfortunate situations in one hour.
I guess the kennels in the new building are sparkling clean, and the people there are more than kind, helpful and caring.
Still, I felt I had failed him. I wanted to love that dog, and protect him from all of the unkindness in the world.
Here is to hoping against all odds that someone is looking for Bandit. Somehow, I doubt it. Why would someone's phone be busy all day if they were looking for their pet?
I'm going to keep calling the humane society and follow Bandit's progress.
Tomorrow, I'm going to get a day of fishing in. Tuesday, I have to go to my pre op appointment. Today, it's off to church in Warrenton.
Monday. Monday is fishing. Monday is my favorite day. :)

September 11th

My doctor says I know way too many medical terms.
Just like Andrew, there are fun games to play at the doctors.
Andrew walks into a new doctors office and interrupts his/her first words. "I have dislocated lenses in my eyes. I'm hyper mobile. I am tall, with long arms, legs, toes, and fingers. Arachnodactyly, it's called. Look at my hands, doc. What do I have?"
If the doctor hesitates at all, he turns to me and says, "Fail. Mom, this one just won't do."
Yesterday, as the (fellow) doctor described in detail how my eye operation will be different then most cataract operations, I began to follow his dialogue and speak before him.
"See?" He held a plastic mold of an eye ball up to me. "Your muscles that hold the lens in place are broken. They are called..."
"Zonules". I interjected.
"Yes, so, you have no capsule to hold the lens in. With a cataract operation in a healthy eye, we can go straight through the iris, the pupil, and suck it out and replace it. Bingo! Done! In yours, we have to make two incisions and go to the back of the eye to remove almost the entire..."
"Which leaves you vulnerable to a..."
"Retinal detachment. With marfan syndrome, I am already vulnerable to those. Is this cumulative?"
"Also, marfan tissue is sometimes like trying to make incisions and sew up foam rubber. It's very porous and weak. This is called..."
"Scleral weakness. Doc, look at my other eye they did surgery on. I have a scleral implant because the tissue wouldn't heal. A perfect example of scleral weakness".
I lifted my eyelid to reveal a cute little bandaid looking patch.
"I give up." He shook his head. "You know what we are going to do, right?"
"You know the risks, right?"
He looked down to review my notes... He began to chuckle as he read...
"What's this about? The chart notes state that last time we saw you, you put off this surgery until Spring Chinook Fishing was over."
"Yes, doctor".
I wanted so badly to add to those chart notes.--Surgery put off until Fall Chinook is over... Surgery put off until winter steelhead is over.... Oops! It's spring again!
After September 18th, you may see me out on the river with a metal cage over my left eye.
Don't tell my doctor.
I promise to hand off the fish to Bill, but I have GOT to feel that bite!
Maybe this year would be the best year to learn to pheasant hunt, instead.
I dunno. Four to six weeks, he says...
I know what the doctors are going to put on my chart notes.
Good patient?

September 13th

Lately, I have been kind of swimming along, multi tasking. Ticking off one errand after another, trying to not think about things.
Last night, Bill was out of town, so the kids and I did our pizza and ice cream thing. I woke up in the middle of the night, my stomach complaining about our follies. I just love those little single serve portions of Ben and Jerrys. Why would that bother me?
That first, and then, in order, a little Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza. I consider that mental health food, and if my stomach has a problem with that, then so be it.
I haven't fished since that last 31 pound salmon. This frustrates me, as I have to quit for a while after my surgery on Wednesday. I will make up for this on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.
I've been busy with Ifishstock. Doing prizes, signs, assorted cans for different funds and door prize tickets. Signing park waivers, counting kids that will attend, and making sure everyone has a good time.
Today I'm going to bake a pie to give away at the party, and take care of some last minute purchases at Freddies.
I want to fish alone somewhere and find a hole where there are salmon that no one knows about.
I had visions last night, before drifting off to sleep, of getting in a float tube, or the canoe, or something... Floating down the tidewater where no one else can go, and finding a deep hole where fresh salmon lay. I planned it all out; how to carry my best salmon eggs, a bobber rod, and my gear.
About the time I saw myself catch a huge sea liced chinook, and wonder how the heck I could get back upstream with everything, I drifted off to sleep.
Just talking about it makes me want to abort any plans for doing anything constructive, and find the end to this story.
There is nothing more fun than a lone fish challenge! How can I get back up, working against the tides?
A salmon from a boat... That's easy. I want to do the whole thing, start to finish, by myself. No, I don't want a trolling motor. No, I don't want anyone to tell me where there are fish. No modern advances, no fish finder, no GPS, no maps.
I want to float down from a public ramp, where the sloughs of Tillamook wind through farms, and plains, and turn the bend into dark wild rain forests.
I want an adventure.
Then I would see it. A deep pool with the familiar V of a salmon trecking across the top water. Just me, and the fish.
I want to hoop and holler, my shouts echoing to no one but myself.
Then, I want to work my way upstream, struggling, sweating, with my prize chinook hanging off my belt, attracting dry grasses and mud, until I reach my car.
Then, I would know for sure.
If you catch a chinook, deep in the forest, and no one is looking... you can glance down at it's shining purple scales and say, "Yip. It happened."

September 14th

It's Ifishstock Day!
I'm going to the Tillamook Anglers Disabled Kids Day at 9, picking up my son's three friends at 11:00. It's David's birthday on the 18th, and I have surgery that day. Happy Birthday, David! In celebration, I will have my eye cut open and have a new lens put in! :) The things I do for my kids...
I've been trying my hardest to punish everyone around me for this decision. "Bill! It's bobber season! How could you have encouraged me to get this done during my FAVORITE fishing season? I'll miss EVERYTHING!"
I'm beginning to think it's a conspiracy. Just because I have caught 8 salmon, and he hasn't...
He wants to punish me!
Don't you think?
I do.
He wants to go out fishing with his friends, come back and flash those huge chrome hogs in front of my bleary black eye.
"Can you see it, Jennie? Aren't they purdy???" ARGH!
I think I'm sick. I have a fever. They can't do surgery when I'm sick, right? My car broke down. Can't get there, Doc. I'll do the surgery after fall hogs, after steelhead, after spring chinook, after cutthroat... sometime.
I think I'm nailed in on this one. I'm going to have to live vicariously through ifish. You know, receive pictures like this one, of Tim Juarez, and drool.

Tim Juarez
Click here for a larger image

People laughing, holding up beautiful chrome chinook, and high fiving, as if to say, "Poor, poor Jennie.... OH WELL!"
The other day Tim was out fishing, picking off the pretty fish, one by one, with his cousins in tow. You could hear them a mile away. They had a wonderful time!
You always know when Tim is approaching your boat. You hear people laughing, whooping it up. Tim has a permanently embedded and contagious sunny outlook on life and fishing.
Even on a slow day, he is SURE the next cast will produce a fish.
"Here it is, guys! This is the one! There will be a take down right here. It's time! WHOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!"
You never lose hope with Juarez! He's a total blast to fish with, and his excitement is contagious.
O.K., Time to get moving. Into the shower, over to Whiskey Creek Hatchery, and then to Kilchis River Park.
I think I'll be exhausted by tomorrow! Way too tired and physically wrecked for surgery, right? No way I can recoup by Wednesday, right Doc?
I feel a cold coming on.

September 15th

What a blast! The roast pig was divine! Salads, and cakes, and pies, oh my! Salmon and smoked tuna, crabs and fresh corn on the cob, and ifish friends, divine!
At about 4:00, party time, I started getting worried. "Was anyone going to come?" I paced, rather nervously, adjusting paper plates, napkins, and readying last minute details.
Thumper heard me worry, turned toward the prize layout and said, "If no one comes, Jennie, we will be just fine!" He glanced at the two beautiful rods laying on the "Winner's Choice table. One TH, and one Lamiglas, and said, "Which one would you like? :) He's such a gentleman! :)
Then, from out of the woods, as if from nowhere, the people emerged! Trucks and boats and cars! Carrying foods and delicacies, people stopped at registration to fill out their name tag with their moniker.
"OH! You are???"
How fun it is to meet people that you know from only a handle, and what a great group of people! It's like a 'coming out' party! :)
No matter how much fun I had, though, last night, laying totally exhausted in bed, I began to cry.
It had been an extremely emotional day.
It started when I drove to the park, early in the morning, only to find Waterdog and Kiwanda Kid, roasting the pig. They had promised me no face on the pig. I don't like a face on my meat. It had a face on it.
It had a face on that pig!!
At first sight, I was upset, but after seeing the careful preparation and how excited these men were, with their project, I caught the chest beating attitude too! Gr!!! Animal! Kill! Eat!
Dang, but it did look tasty! Much thanks to those guys. They worked so hard on that pig!
With any upset dissolved into excitement, I was quickly off to the Disabled Anglers Day. I wasn't emotionally prepared. I showed up with a smile, greeting people that I have known in the fishing world for quite some time. I listened to Bill fill me in on what we were to do. I had to miss the opening welcome speech, because I had to pick up David's friends.
At 10:00 A.M., the kids began to arrive. I was still fine-- for a while.
Then the activity picked up, and I met my first fishing partner. The excitement in her eyes, the anticipation.... Uh Oh. My eyes began to well up, and they wouldn't stop. Seeing all these kids around me so excited at this opportunity. Seeing the adults, so willing and ready to help... Seeing these huge monster trout on a child's line, and their eyes as big as saucers.... I lost it.
"Uh, Bill? Can you help this little girl?"
I turned away to gain my composure. I was afraid I wasn't very good at this task, if I couldn't keep my emotions in check.
I soon toughened up enough to continue, my tears went away, and a permafix smile, ear to ear, accompanied me through the rest of the event.
Hooray for The Tillamook Anglers, in a big, big, way! What an AWESOME event!
O.K., off to set up for the party.
Truck load after truck load, I hauled things to the party location.
People came, people ate, people laughed and hugged.
Crabbait was our M.C., and we had a blast giving out prizes. All the children left with a prize.
Then, onto the adult prizes.
I spent my time visiting with newer members. I don't think I spent 5 minutes eating, myself. I was too busy helping out with things, visiting, and shuffling my kids back and fourth from the party, to the house. My boys, and three of their friends, keeps me hopping!
As darkness came on, people began to leave.
It took Bill and I about an hour to clean the place up, and get everything loaded.
A small group lingered by the fire, rehashing the days events, and whispering small talk. I joined them, before heading back home.
When I finally stretched out beneath fresh sheets and a down comforter, I pet Kilchis, and the tears came. I cried like the Motherless child I am, and that made me cry even harder.
I'm not sure what started it.
Perhaps because some of our old time members weren't able to attend, and I remembered the days when ifish was a small, tightly knit group. I missed so many people.
Perhaps partly because it was all over and done, and this was letdown time. Perhaps partly because now, I face surgery looming large and very real, in the very near future. Three days, and counting.
Perhaps it's just because I'm female.
I snuggled up close to a very sleepy Kilchis pup, and pet and kissed the silky soft side of his face. I think, mostly, I cried out of sheer exhaustion.
Ifishstock 2002... over and out.
Thank God, I woke this morning with a refreshed outlook, fond memories of new friends that I met last night, and warm recollections of hugs from older members. What a strange and wonderful trip this has been.
I deeply thank God for so much--For all the friendship and experience that ifish has brought me. For my life, which is truly more full and rich than I could have ever hoped.
The rain falls for the first time in what feels like months. It's a fresh start, and onto Fall.

September 17th

I'm excited about the rain. I'm even more excited about how I'll handle being comfortable while outdoors in it.
A heavy shower hit about 10:00 A.M., just as I was driving into the parking lot at Memaloose boat ramp.
Several boats dotted the water, with the customary yellow, orange, and green rain gear clad fisherman.
I didn't bring mine. The rain gear fishermen depend on, here on the Oregon Coast, is heavy and cumbersome.
I decided to be trusting and rely only on my new rainsuit. I needed to give it the real test.
By the weight of it, you'd never think it would do the trick for Oregon downpours.
I parked the car, opened the back of the truck and pulled out a small, lightweight package that fit neatly into a compact side pocket of my Ford Explorer.
The label read "Frogg Toggs."
I slipped the pants over my jeans, zipped up the ankles, and put the Frogg Toggs overcoat over three layers. Turtle neck, sweater, and overshirt. It fit comfortably. I didn't feel heavy and awkward, like I used to, fishing in Oregon's fierce rainstorms.
Freedom of movement! Look out, salmon! I felt I could jog, run, do jumping jacks! :)
I felt almost guilty as I passed up other slow moving fishermen, as they slogged through the parking lot, their gear hanging heavy on their shoulders.
One of the things that bother me about heavy rain gear is the inability to move freely while netting, or playing a large fish. That nasty heavy stuff just gets in my way!
Not with Frogg Toggs! I could actually do aerobics in this stuff!
I know a product is good, if I keep thinking of all the people I care about, and how I can get them into owning some.
At a bathroom stop, I met Marty Peterson at the ramp. "Marty! Look at this stuff! Isn't it cool?"
I'm buying some for my Dad. He is an avid golfer. It was first actually designed for golfing, but believe me, it's perfect for fishing!
Bill and I both own a pair.
So many times, Bill and I have stood in the garage, staring at the mounds of rain gear hanging from the shelves. Ugh. Will it rain? Do we want to pack all that stuff?
Most often, we decide that if it rains, we will simply quit fishing.
That's not a threat anymore. If it rains, we simply pull out our Frogg Toggs that are neatly stowed under our boat seats.
Frogg Toggs are made of a very unique material. They are very interesting to the touch. It almost feels like they are made of some kind of foam or something. Made of a patented 3 layer fabric that prevents water and wind from penetrating, they allow body heat and perspiration to evaporate.
I'm really excited about the new camouflage Frogg Toggs, and that will be my next order. You will find the camo is available in two styles, Realtree Advantage Wetlands, and Realtree Advantage Timber. You may view the pictures here. Perfect for fall hunting, I'm sure you'll find them the perfect solution to lighten your load.
I own the Pro Action Suit, but I simply must have the Pro Angler Suit too!

Frogg Toggs Pro Angler Suit

Never, ever, will I be caught out in the rain again. I don't have to carry along 10 pounds of rain gear. I won't be restricted of movement. I'll be warm, I'll be dry.
If it were up to me, my friend, you will own your very own Frogg Toggs too.
You may order them online, or call 1 256 505 0075.

September 18th

I keep thinking... Hey, as long as they have me under anesthesia, do you think that they could wax my legs, too? It hurts so bad when they wax my legs! I'm under and asleep, let's get the important things in life done. Make my legs soft and silky, Doc! Go to it!
I'm thirsty, and it's 5:30. I can't have a drink until when? AFTER SURGERY? No way! :)
I walked on the river last night and had a little talk with God. I spoke out loud. It was so beautiful on the river bank. "God, there is a little bit of flow to this river!" I squatted down, level with the deep green water. Tiny fingerlings jumped, as if for joy, and no other reason. A tiny leaf was making it's way downstream for the first time in so long. The river has been nearly still, stagnant, and the recent rains gave it just enough momentum to start the flow in motion.
Fall is here, ladies and gentlemen, start your engines, please!
The sun was setting, casting a dark shadow over the river. The sky turned crimson. I realized my mind was full of questions.
"God? Have I been good? Will I get good eye sight, or am I about to learn a huge new lesson?"
"God? Why so many bad things? Why the World Trade Center, and the hatchery closure, and why do a certain small group of people on the discussion board want to cause problems? Why do you allow these things? Why do politicians care more about popularity and votes then the causes we have chosen them to stand for?" It scares me, because if those things can happen..."
I continued my walk. Kilchis was 'out of character' quiet.
I am terrible with names and faces, when I meet people.
But the river... I have spent three years getting to know this stretch of river. I know it's name and face better than any person I have met.
As I walk along, I am met with small rocks, then a strip of sand. Large boulders to my right, tiny pebbles to my left. Listen. I hear the second riffle! I could make my way up and down that river, with my eyes closed, and know just where I am by listening and touching. I bet I could even cast to the right spots, with my eyes closed.
I opened my eyes to find bright orange maple leaves shining in the evening light, standing out against the wet, black rocks. They were surreal and beautiful.
"God, thank you for sharing with me this river, that always stays the same, constant, yet changes with each season. Thank you for the mountains that stand above me, strong and proud. Thank you for all of the beautiful places that I have lived, that I never thought I would blessed with. Im undeserving.
Thank you for my kids, for the vision that I have, and for the friends that have showed concern for me."

Photo, courtesy of Marie

Looks like Marie was out last night too. This picture is nearly exactly what I saw, as I left the river banks.
I'm still thirsty. I'm off to take David to school, and then off for a vitrectomy and artificial lens replacement.... By the way, sewn in with monofilament. :) How appropriate!
It's going to work, right? :)

September 21st

Hi. Testing... Can't see very well.
For all of this pain, they didn't even wax my legs. :(
OK, I think I can write a little.
I am going to keep a complete diary of what it is like to go through this surgery, because I forgot last time, and I want to be able to let others, who might go through it, read it to see. I am going to be totally honest about it too.
First off, it's no fun. Period. :)
The night before, I figured I would eat a whole bunch, because I couldn't eat after midnight. Unfortunately, I just wasn't very hungry. The next morning, on the other hand, I was starving and thirsty!
I must admit, I cheated a little. I had a couple sips of water, and on the way to Portland, I had a sip of Bill's coffee. It was superb!
The ride to Portland was calm and uneventful. Bill drove me to the Casey Eye Clinic, all the while trying to maintain calm as I picked fights with him. I was not in a good mood. He took me to photography, so that they could get a picture of my eye.
They told me surgery was scheduled for 1:15 PM. I was there at 11:00.
Bill left, to go visit his Mother, and then Pete came to visit.
I was jittery. Then, Glenn and Ginny came to visit. Right when I saw them, a nurse called me into the operating room. Hugs all around, and they whisked me off to the yucky room.
They did all the pre op stuff, made sure my last echo report was there. Then they gave me some kind of medication that helps you to forget. Isn't that strange? Ever heard of that stuff?
So, I would be calm, awake, but not remember? Bizarre.
The doc explained that he might want to put the lens in a different place then before, due to my weak scleral tissue.
Then, I forget what happened until I woke up.
I felt awesome! "Hi Bill!" I guess I told the doctor I wanted a cheeseburger, but I have no memory of that, either. "Let's go home!" I threw on my clothes, feeling awesome, chugged down a 7 up, and was out the door and into my car.
"Do you want to go home, or to a motel?" Bill asked. I wasn't sure. He suggested we drive around a bit, and figure it out.
Five minutes down the road it hit. I hurt. I hurt bad. I hurt really, really bad. My stomach began to turn. I felt hot, then cold, then hot, then...
"Bill.... take me to a motel. No way can I travel."
He took me downtown to the Doubletree. Every bump in the road sent pain through my entire body. He registered for me, and then came to get me out of the truck. I have never felt so helpless. I followed him, hand on his shoulder to the room, where I collapsed onto the bed.
I felt awful. He wanted to help, but nothing helped. He finally left to go home to take care of the boys.
I'm not sure of the timing of all of this, but sometime Pete came to see me. He brought chicken soup and crackers. I dozed off and on, and cried a lot. That's all I remember. Oh, I remember getting up to throw up, but I couldn't. I wasn't the least bit embarrassed. I guess the anesthesia was wearing off, and that's tough on your body. Pete left, and came back. Bill called. Pete left again. It's all a blur. I called room service and ordered toast.
I called the kids, and I remember crying on the phone. What a wimp I was! I must have just felt awful. I did.
Next morning, I went back to the doc, and they took off the bandage. Talk about pain. MAN! Get away from me, nurse!
They applied some drops that numbed my eye, and I really wanted to steal a bottle of that stuff. :)
The doc came to check my vision. Everything was bright pink and neon! 20/200. "Don't expect much more for a while. There is much bleeding and trauma to heal from first."
Bill came to pick me up, and we went home. I was fine the first half of the drive. Then the percodan began to wear off. I started to sob again, and feel miserable.
I'll start on day two later...
Yes, I am feeling a bit better. The worst part is waking up. My eye crusts shut and there are these little crusty things floating around by my sutures in my eye. Now that smarts!
I am going to try and not take pain pills again today... Didn't work yesterday. Maybe today?
One bit of encouraging news: Yesterday, while watching TV, I could, for the first time, read the news ticker on the bottom of the screen! I read it to Bill for much longer than he wanted to hear it! I don't know how, cuz if I open only my surgery eye, and close my other, it is all blurry, but I did it! --and I have never, ever, been able to read that before!!! :)

September 22nd

I'm sitting here waiting for fall to happen. Any minute now... It says so on the calendar. I keep looking outside. Rain, wind, rivers rising.... any time now.
Especially with my eye so sensitive, I'm getting tired of "beautiful" weather. Sunshine, warm, and dry. It's just too darn bright out there.
It took me less time today then yesterday to wedge my eye open. It's the worst part of the day. Waking to swollen tissue that is glued shut. First, I have to wash the tape goo off my face with oil. I have to wear a wire cage over my eye at night, taped on with sticky tape that is absolutely wreaking havoc on my complexion. Where is the Estee Lauder tape remover? :)
I woke up twice last night, my wire cage flopping around on the side of my face. Get up, retape.... go back to sleep.
I'm having less pain today, and haven't taken any pain medicine yet. I have been tempted, but NO! Jennie wants to be Jennie today.
It's almost normal routine. Get up, soak my eye till it opens, give dogs a cookie, let them out, go get coffee, sit down, get up, let dogs in, give them a chewie, sit down, and try to wake up.
Since I can't work on the computer for hours, or watch TV for hours, I've been getting up to take the dogs for more walks on the river. I think we did five yesterday. Sometimes I walk, sometimes I just sit in the warm gravel and marvel at my surroundings.
I found a cane on the river beach that fits my hand and height perfectly. It helps me to not fall as I try to maneuver the rocks. I can't help but think the tree that lost this limb was thinking of me.
Between the pain medication and the new sight, it's difficult to tell where the ground is. I look a little like Grandma out there, I'm sure, but the dogs enjoy their follies on the river, even if Mom's a bit slow.
Anyone passing, seeing me with huge sunglasses and a cane, wobbling slowly down the beach must think strange things are happening in the neighborhood.
About midday, my vision begins to come into the best focus. It's still not perfect, but I can tell improvement, day by day.
I found a rock on the beach yesterday that contained crystals. It was amazing. I stared at it for quite some time, oohing and awing at the sunlight's reflection on it. I put it in my pocket. I'll never give up this rock... this rock of vision.
I looked over the river's riffles as the sunlight danced on them. A million crystal jewels sparkling in the sun, just like my rock. Is this what people see all the time, or is my vision skewed? I'll never know.
What's that? Can I see the definition of structure on the bottom of the river more clearly? I studied the rock bottom, the shadows and hiding places where steelhead may lay. I approximated the winter river flow, and measured just where I would cast to follow those lines.
I looked up at the trees and the definition stood out more boldly then I've ever seen. More green, more intricate, more intense.
It seems I take so much in, that my brain becomes exhausted and I have to close that eye for a while. Too much stimulation, too much information. Bright lights like flame, or sunshine into that eye causes a bolt of pain along with the detail and stimulation. Another cause to close, to rest, to regroup before I dare open it to new experiences again.
I'm just now beginning to open that eye for small peaks at the screen. It's just too bright for it yet this morning. It will open when it's ready.
Until then, I'm just going to sit here and wait for fall. I have a feeling that fall is waiting for me. I haven't healed yet. I don't have permission yet to reel in a 40 pound monster king.
When I get that note of approval from the doctors, the sky will cloud over, the sun will hide behind great billows of black and gray, and a new and eerie darkness will spread over the horizon. The wind will pick up, and strip the vivid orange and yellow colors from the trees.
Big, fat raindrops will fall, taking the crunch out of my step. The rocks will be blanketed in wet leaves as I make my way down to the river.
I'm hurrying to get well. I have to heal first, before those salmon come by my back door.
Blame the weather delay on me. Blame it on the doctors... but Fall is coming. I have new confidence every day.

September 23rd

Bummer. Thought I was mostly done with the pain thing, but this morning, I woke up to OUCH!
I had a rough night. Kilchis was sprawled out on the foot of the bed, and for all the life of me, I thought a cow had taken up residence. I can only sleep on my right side, because of the eye cage, and Kilchis is used to making room for me on the other side.
I woke up at 4:30 to intense pain. I was bummed to have to grab a pain pill, but... I guess that's what they are for. 5 days post surgery... still hurtin.
Speaking of Kilchis. I nearly killed him yesterday. It was a frightful, awful, experience.
In my Ford Explorer, the back electric window button is poorly designed, in my opinion. It is flush flat with the arm rest, thus allowing him, when sticking his head out the window, and resting his paws on the arm rest, to roll it up or down. I have learned from near death/choking experience, that I need to keep it locked from the front panel.
I have had three scares that taught me to be careful.
Yesterday I got brave. I needed something from the store, and no one was home. Idaville! I can drive to Idaville, I know I can! It's only 5 miles down a country road.
Bill had driven my car last, and thus, didn't know about the dog situation and the window lock. It had been left unlocked.
I was concerned mainly about my driving ability, and didn't check it.
In with the dogs! Come on, Dee Dee! Come on Kilchis! Mom's driving!
Down the road, with deep concentration I went. I adjusted the windows so that only Kilchis's head could pop out a little ways.
Soon, I heard thrashing about, and Kilchis's paw on my shoulder.. ? I turned around quickly to find Kilchis, hanging from the closed window, thrashing wildly. He had lost his grip on the arm rest and was hanging/choking himself!
I quickly unrolled his window, but dang! This seems like a design flaw to me! I wish there were some way to fix it! Cover the button, something!
Kilchis appears alright, but was plenty shaken by the experience.
Anyway... I spent the day yesterday mulling around the house... actually went out fly fishing for a bit. Don't worry, it's safe! There are no fish out there, anyway. :)
The weather forecast calls for "beautiful" weather for the next 10 days. It's all my fault, you know. No salmon in the rivers till Jennie heals and gets the doctors OK to reel in a big one. I feel so dang powerful

September 24th

What am I missing this morning? Eye pain! Cool!
It even opened faster, I've been up for a half hour, and I'm already actually "using" it!
Truth be told, I'm a bad patient. Bill and I drove to Pacific City to watch the action yesterday. It's more like driving to see a wrestling show, or roller derby than fishing. It's hilarious! Elbow to elbow casting! People yelling, screaming, boats on one side, bankies on the other. They don't mix well, either! I really don't see that the fish have much of a chance trying to get through. I guess there was a good bite in the early morning, but we missed it.
On the way home, there was a vacant parking spot on the riverside. "Bill? Got bobber rod? Got eggs?"
We fished! I told Bill that I couldn't set the hook, nor play a fish, but that I could cast, gently. I did. The bobber did not go down.
Imagine, just for a minute if it had gone down. Talk about a practice in patients! -- I mean patience!! What would I have done? Free spool and say, "Uh... Bill? There happens to be a chinook salmon on the other end of this line, swimming around free. Mind reeling it in?" RIGHT.
I'm off to Portland to see the doctor. I think they are going to remove some stitches and measure my visual acuity. I'm kind of nervous and excited. "Is it good, doc? Izzit?"
My son Andrew, born blind, had this surgery performed at the age of eight. When they measured his acuity, post surgery, I'll never forget it. I could hear Dr. Robertson, same surgeon yell happily, up and down the medical office corridor, "Andrew sees 20/40! Andrew sees 20/40!" He was thrilled with his work. So was I.
I want to hear that same thing about me, 7 years later.
We have a new member in the family. Her name is Phoebe. She is Andrew's new sugar glider. They are nocturnal animals. Andrew worked all summer to buy her, and all her accessories, including a rodent wheel. Andrew's room is right beneath mine. Phoebe likes her rodent wheel. Rodent wheels make a lot of noise.

Hear Phoebe! Hear Phoebe play!
Hear Phoebe play all night!
Play, Phoebe, Play!

Jennie will eventually learn to sleep through the sounds of the rodent wheel, right?

September 25th

What a horrible night! I am supposed to wear and eye cage, taped to my face every night.
I searched for it. I could have sworn I put it "right there"!
I searched until midnight, when I finally gave up and taped gauze to my eye, giving up. This is a doctor no no. You have to keep pressure off of the eye.
As I lay there, a thought came to mind.
Earlier that morning, I had Bill drive me to Portland to my eye doctor. I was wearing a full free flowing skirt and tank top.
The nurse called me in, and I sat down. I got back up. "What's this?" There was an eye cage stuck to my rear end! I thought the patient before had left it, and the nurse had failed to whisk it away.
"Gross! Let me wash my hands! I know what gets stuck on these things!"
Well... Now I think that that was MY eye cage, and I wore it on my backside all the way to Portland. DON'T LAUGH AT ME.
I'm sure the nurse was plenty embarrassed, and now I feel bad.
"Nurse? This is Jennie. I owe you an apology. That was my eye cage in the chair. I wore it on my skirt. Please send another?" Argh.
I guess life balances out with good and embarrassing.
I really was thrilled with what the doctor told me!!!
It can rain now! I can fish!
Click here to read the results of the eye tests!

September 27th

I am being thrown into work overload.
I have received too many requests for work!
Why is it, when you are self employed you either spend half of your time worrying about too little work, convincing yourself that you are no good, and no one wants you anymore, and then, all of a sudden, bang! You cry in self pity because you have too much work!
Please help me to remember that when I have too little work, I should celebrate, go fishing, and know that all will be OK?
I'm doing better, eye sight wise. It's a little strange, and difficult to sort out new images, and sometimes I get overloaded and see nothing at all. It's like it totally blanks out on me. Wide spaces of nothingness. I have to close my eyes for a moment and it all reappears. I have to sort it out. This is a leaf. This is gravel. This is ground dirt... It's like baby steps.
I can't wait to see rain though. I want to see the trees move, and the sky get dark and ominous. I want to watch the leaves stripped from their limbs.
Most of all, though, I want to see my bobber, bobbing sideways in the wind, dancing in the raindrops.
Then, I want to get overloaded and see nothing at all. The bobber will totally blank out on me.
This is overload.
This is a Fall Chinook.
I'll open my eyes, and all my senses will come alive to the shock, and pressure, and wild erratic movements of the dance that I love most.
Everything in my line of sight will come alive, and I'll see everything at once, and yet nothing, all at the same time.
Yeah, that's what I want to see.

September 29th

Lots of company this weekend.
Dudley Nelson stopped by last night, bought us all pizza and shared with us a video of he and his fishing buddies nailing steelies on the Skeena system. What beautiful fish! What an awesome area!
O.K., Fine!
Now I have another new dream... and I'm going to make it come true. Next year? The Skeena and surrounding tribs, fly fishing! You just wait!
It's barely raining, and the fire is ready to light. Time to get into winter mode. I've never been much for spring cleaning, but this time of year, it hits me. I'm backwards. It's Fall cleaning for this girl. I have to have everything clean and ready to lounge, after long days on the rivers. :)
Yesterday Bill and I went out on a quick trip to bobber fish in the Tillamook River.
We had an interesting time, as a Super Vee came too close to the scope in our anchor line and hooked us. We were in the small duck boat, as it is easier to manage in small rivers, and man did I go for a whirl! Nearly tossed me in the drink! It wrapped around his kicker prop. I was standing up, but not for long!
Message: Read thy fellow boaters anchor lines and proceed, thus. He claimed we were smack dab in the channel. I dunno, but dang we were in a good spot. We know this hole pretty well. It's shaped like a cone, and we just had to be there! Many other boaters went where he claimed there was only a foot of water and managed their way around us effortlessly. Either way, there was no harm done, and no angry words exchanged. Just a surprised "WHOA!" from me, as I nearly fell overboard. The captain of this craft got plenty wet trying to get the rope out of his prop. I felt badly.
That was quickly diminished as I landed a nice chinook jack.
Bill is out with Dudley, and Dudley's son in law, on T Bay.
I might take the duck boat out by myself and go do what we did yesterday. Or go explore somewhere.
I have an increasing craving to go hike somewhere difficult to get to, alone, and find a pool where deep salmon lay.
There is really nothing like doing everything all by yourself, and being rewarded with your very own catch.
Last evening, before we ate dinner, I walked out to the river and fly fished the Kilchis. I wanted to walk on the exposed summer rocks one last time, as I suspect the river will not be this low again until next Fall.
I crossed the shallowest riffle in the river, carefully examining and engraving into my memory, one more time, where the rocks jut out, and where the steelhead will lie, once the water is heavier, green, and full of life.
The river sang a quiet song to me, whispering a message, as if it knew that life, as we had become familiar, was about to change.
Soon, where I stood on the river side casting flies, will be 3 feet under water. Soon, the current would be too strong to stand comfortably. Soon, the winds will blow, and the rains will soak the leaves. The slippery moss on the rocks will be washed clean and taken to sea. Soon, I will have new visitors, new travelers coming through this waterway.
New life!
One fine morning I will wake to a different song sung by the spirits of the river, full of life, a song that will wake me from a long winter's nap.
The urgency of it's call will be stronger than any alarm clock I own! Bolting upright, as if awakened by that familiar 'bobber down' dream, I'll be off and running.
"Kilchis, Dee Dee! Let's go!" With wagging tailed dog partners at my side, I'll rush down the stairs as if it is Christmas, grab the rods down from their resting place and listen as the orchestra warms up for the performance.
It's Fall!
After fishing last evening, I slowly made my way up the trail, blackberry vines sticking to my sides. The day's light was dimming. I shivered in the new damp air that this season brings. It's already changing.
I said goodbye to long fly fishing trips after dinner, in short sleeves and shorts, where they sun lights and warms the river long into evening.
I hung my fly rod on the garage rack, and was welcomed by a warm house, friendly voices, dinner and a Skeena fishing video.
Think I'll go light the fire and get started on this new season.

September 30th

I have been following Kim Katsion of Clam Gulch Lodge's online writings of the events in her life in Alaska. It's interesting to me. I've always wondered what it would be like to stay there through a winter. If you'd like to follow too, you may access it by clicking here, or see the permanent link, "Wintering in Alaska", located in the right hand column.
I spent yesterday wintering around the house.
I was extremely saddened and floored to hear about one of ifish's own members, White Willie. It's written about here. I find it very eerie, that one week ago, for the first time, I spent some time really talking with Mike, face to face. I walked away from our encounter with a profound feeling for what a neat guy he seemed to be. I thank God for that time.
Life is so fragile. Hold on to your friends and family with all the strength, and love, and attention you can muster.

September 30th later...

Just got back from hunting chanterelles. Didn't find a darn one.
I did, however, come home to another excellent surprise! Stan Fagerstrom wrote a column on reading steelhead water! Click here to read! :)