Coast, Oregon and Washington
| Snow |
Stan's column for the month is
up! It's different this month, but I think you'll really enjoy it!
Have a look!
to be jolly, falalalalalallaaaaa la la la la! And it 'tis! It's
December! Happy December to all!
Can you believe it? What happened to summer? Where'd it go?
And so, yesterday Bill took me over to the storage place and we sorted through
our Christmas things, and now I have my hands full! It's time to decorate
and I'm going to go all out this year! I missed it two years ago due to illness,
last year was hectic and difficult because I was still recovering. This year,
LOOK OUT! I may be blind, but I've still got the "Ho! Ho! Ho!" in
O.K., ladies and gents, we REALLY need your help for the Christmas party!
Please click here!
We need YOU to sit in the greeters seats at Pietros, Wednesday night, (December
6th at 5, 6, or 7 P.M.) for our Christmas Party! You will forever be blessed!
Please, let me know! We really need your help!
You know... I keep thinking about this.
Are you feeling down this Holiday Season? Are you feeling like you didn't
get to fish as much as you like? Did the floods of 2006 get you down?
Or-- are you tempted by commercials in magazines or on television of some
wonder pill that promises to make you feel better, thinner, more energetic?
Do you feel that if only you had more money, life would be better?
Are you frustrated by your personal love relationships, or lack, thereof?
Are you lonely?
Are you frightened by some recent health event in your life?
Are you frustrated with your life, and have been recently tempted to fight
and argue on the ifish board?
Well... listen up! I think I've found something that will help you... and
it's nearly free!
We have all witnessed some of our nation's wealthiest people, searching high
and low, for joy. Some of these folks browse travel brochures, searching for
their dream vacation. Thinking they've found it, and in desperation they mutter,
"surely this will make me happy!"
They might book the trip, plan for days, and take the trip, only to arrive
home back at their executive workplace exhausted and spent. Where are the
smiles? Where is their inside lasting feeling of pure joy? Why did the excitement
leave them, so fast?
People with very little money might save for months to be able to enjoy two
hours of being pampered at an expensive restaurant for an extravagant meal,
out. Yet, the joy the meal brought loses it's 'feel good' in just a few days
It seems to me that as a society, we run around crazy searching high and low
for joy and happiness!? We think that we'll find joy if only we fall
in love with the right person, or if only we could win the lottery,
or if only we had a better job! Nights unrested, tossing and turning,
wishing for the perfect boat, the missed fish, the lost opportunities!
Where is the joy? Will it come on Christmas when someone brings you the perfect
You know, people thank me for putting this event on. Gushing, they say, "Oh,
Jennie! You do the most wonderful things! What a blessed event you put on!
You should be so proud! You are so selfless!"
Well, I have to tell you something. I must be fooling you, because It isn't
what you think. I have to be honest, here. I'm not all that great! In fact,
I'm down right selfish! Absolutely and positively self centered!! I found
joy, and I'm going to tell you how!
I give to the children at Emanuel Hospital!
The first time ifish did this event, I knew we were onto something big! The
joy it brought me lasted all year long and more! It's something you can't
put into a jar of pills! It's something that no travel brochure can offer
By giving, you will feel good, too! I promise! And it's not that fleeting
rush of "feel good" but an honest and everlasting feeling of peace
and pure joy! The kind that makes you wake up day after day with a smile on
your face! Ever seen that look of joy and peace on someone's face? Want that?
I sure do!
I have found that after the Christmas party, I leave feeling better than any
girl has a right to! Anything that makes someone feel that good, has got to
be the right thing! And, it's free!!!
All night and for many days and nights after, I'm smiling with pure joy! Fellow
ifishers are giddy, counting them, and laughing as they fill the freight truck
that is headed to Emanuel Hospital with toys! Toys! Toys!
These toys will be presented to children that are ill, and have to be in the
hospital at Christmas Time. A time when all families should be home, together,
celebrating. These kids have got to wonder if Santa will ever find them in
that big unfamiliar building. Imagine when they wake up and find that Santa
DID find them, after all! The very thought of it brings tears to my eyes.
You know, it's not everything to these kids. The presents won't cure their
ills, but it's got to help! Anything will help! They have so much to worry
about and that's just not fair! But, it is what it is, and whatever I can
do to help, I've got to do.
I almost feel like the scale tips further for my joy by giving, than their
'joy scale' does, by receiving. If I could tip it their way, I would, but
this is all we are capable of.
Many, many people don't realize the joy that they are missing out on, for
free! I mean, people with alot of money miss out! They really do! And this
is a joy that people without very much money can get in on! Everyone deserves
to feel this good, and God above gives this gift to every one of us, equally!
It's the ability to give to others. The rich and the poor, everyone can give,
no matter how much or how little. What you get back is huge. All we have to
do, is to take Him up on the offer! Grab it! The gift you receive from giving
is available to all of us!
In addition to giving to the kids, I am filled with laughter and pure joy
as I hand out the much deserved presents to the moderators. These small tokens
are for the selfless work they perform all year long on ifish, for free! They
help ifish FOR FREE! How lucky can a girl be?
Ladies and Gentlemen... give yourself a gift, this Christmas!
Come to Pietro's at 5:00 PM on Wednesday, December 6th. Bring a
toy for the children at Emanuel Hospital. Enjoy the company of others who
will also find the joy of giving, that night. We'll all have smiles and happiness
in addition to the most wonderful pizza you've ever tasted! This dinner out
will bring you joy that will last longer than any expensive, extravagantly
prepared meal that I know of!
And so, when you are standing in line, waiting to order at Pietro's this Wednesday
night, look around! See all the joy that is on everyone's face that has a
present, in hand?
Please join us! I want you to step right up to where you order and don't even
look at the menu! Just point to the people who have brought the presents for
the children and say,
"I want whatever they are having!"
Kilchis and Rev in the snow!
I'm feeling like I don't know anything about fishing, anymore.
I've never had such a fishless year! Not since I was a pre teen! And today,
I have an opportunity to fish, and Bill and I are just sort of sluggish about
it. Why aren't we fishing? We could be!
Things have just been so crazy, this year! I'm almost ready to call it for
the year, and start fresh next year! So many, many things transpired this
year, and most of them not something a person would want to repeat. So many
deaths! So much illness! Yikes! Please, start fresh in '07! I'm tired of lung
cancer and aortic dissections, blindness, and family deaths! Please don't
take any more of my pets! 2 chickens, 2 dogs, a cat! Give them back!
Regarding fishing, what a challenge! I am afraid to back the trailer without
my eyesight, so that limits things. I think I could, but you know, I was always
so proud of my backing skills, and now that I can't see and things are so
busy at the ramps, I'm so afraid of making a doof of myself!
I can't lift the anchor anymore, so there again, it leaves us a little helpless.
Bill just can't do it all. The river has been so high, that we'd need the
40 pound anchor. That's just too much on me, even with the help and buoyancy
of the water.
It's one of those things where I need a push. "Just go, Jennie! Just
I have been a little naughty, though, and have had to learn that no, I can't
lift the groceries. I can't vacuum, nor move the furniture. I just have to
I have fished out back, but it tends to frustrate me. I trip on the rocks.
Falling is not fun! I'm not even counting the fact that I can't see those
nasty little shrimp claws, and they pinch me more often, but casting is a
real challenge! I cast out, and can't find my bobber! I've developed a few
techniques that help, but somehow God doesn't see fit to give me a handicap
so that I can actually catch something. I was almost certain that my bobber
went under the other day, but I wasn't sure, so I didn't yank on it. I learned
the hard way that when you do that with nothing on the other end, it comes
flying back at me like a rocket! A glob of eggs with a hook in it, is not
good rocket material! (laugh)
And now, surgery is off till January. Plus, they can't even guarantee that
it will work. It's risky, and it's uncertain. Oh, how I miss my eyesight!
Especially when I sit down to type and I fall off the home row. I can type,
blind, but if I miss the right hand position, I can type for a long time,
only to have Bill say, "What are you doing?" Oh no! I say, with
a crinkled nose up against the screen! It looks like this! )oy ;ppld ;olr
[email protected] LOL.
I can do some things, however, and I feel blessed by them. I have decorated
the house to look very Christmas like! With my vision, the soft, blurred glow
of lights are beautiful! It's a very soft world that I live in... and the
lights lit up are very festive, and peaceful!
But, last Saturday night, I was lying in bed shivering with a fever of 102,
when my phone rang. I was speechless and in tears when I hung up.
I picked up the phone again, and called my Dad. He heard my tears, and said,
"What's wrong, now, henny?" He's so used to hearing bad news this
year, that he was probably gripping for more.
"Dad? I was supposed to go to the NSIA banquet tonight, but I caught
Andrew's cold, and I'm sick. Liz just called me and Jim Martin, this really
neat guy that I admire, was talking to the crowd, there. Dad? He was talking
about me! They gave me an award! They said all kinds of nice things about
me! It made me cry! They awarded me the Buzz Ramsey Foot Soldier award, while
I was on the phone!
My Dad laughed in relief and pride. "That doesn't surprise me, henny..."
I was so proud! In a way, I was glad not to have been there. I would have
just died if they'd have done that while I was there! I would have
hidden under the table, I think! NO WAY could I have sustained
any sort of composure being noticed like that!
So, the way it happened, if it was to be, was good! I was able to cry and
be proud all by myself, under the covers! My Dad was proud of me, too!
But, Jim? Thank you so much for your kind words! They were a bit exaggerated,
but I thank you for your kindness! For your support! It means so much to me!
And so, as usual in life, there is a balance. I have so much to be thankful
for, and I'll just keep plugging on. One thing, there is nothing dull in my
life! That's for certain!
I am thrilled with the Christmas
party Wednesday night and I can't wait! I am excited about the Kwikfish
contest. Besides fishing, there is so much going on! I am delighted with
the soft Holiday lights and festive greenery that I've surrounded myself and
my family, with.
Last night, as I slid open my window, I stared out at the glistening meadow.
Tiny blades of grass, each tipped with ice crystals. The full moon shown brilliantly
in the black/blue sky, big enough for even me to see! Long shadows of trees
stretched across the expanse.
What a beautiful background to thank my Heavenly Father for every experience
that I have been lucky enough to have in my life. Everything! Good and bad,
that has shaped who and what I am, today. My children are fully grown, and
have come to be my friends and my helpers. My pets, who lay snuggled in their
beds, waiting for me to come lay beside them and cuddle up. A river, that
sings it's song, waiting for me to rise in the morning. The river that gives
me endless hope that I might someday, actually catch something!
But most of all, I find myself eager to celebrate Christmas, the birthday
of my Savior, and all that it represents to me. Joy, Peace, and a fresh start
for everyone in life, over and over!
I think that with each passing year, I understand more and more deeply what
the true meaning of feeling the Holiday Spirit, is all about!
The Christmas party was wonderful! What more can I say? It always
is, and I just feel so good, when it's all over, and I have wonderful memories,
and have hugged so many kind people!
It wasn't as bad, eyesight wise, as I thought, either. I did alright! I just
hugged everyone as if they were my long lost friends, and it was almost even
nicer, than normal! I hugged alot of people!
I think I'll just keep on doing that, even if I get my eyesight, back!
Oh! Remind me! I don't know if it's me stalling, or what, but I keep "forgetting"
to make my surgery appointment. I will stop, now, and put that on my today's
Alright. That's done. I'll do it right after this!
I must admit... Something's funny with me. I think it's cuz of my lack of
eyesight, but I haven't been fishing. Not only that, but I passed up an offer
to go! Bill asked me to go, today. I just feel like I'm afraid to go. I can't
see. I can't see my bobber. It's frustrating. I am working on it, though.
I will go, one of these days!
I do fish out back, though. Just not as much. Partially, because I'm just
sick about how many, many fish were taken out of the little Kilchis river,
but partially because it's hard, as I mentioned earlier. I get so frustrated
not being able to see my bobber, or things that I trip on, and I don't get
the pleasure of spotting agates, unless they are a foot wide! I will get my
eyes fixed. I will make an appointment. I have to!
This is the first time I've ever considered surgery, when I had little confidence,
(as does the surgeon) that it will work. He says that if worse comes to worse,
he'll sew me up and send me to Hopkins in Maryland. That's quite a trip, but
if that's where the surgeon is, that I have to go to, that's where I'll be.
He said that he could do the followup, so that's good!
I can't keep up with ifish, lately. I must get my eyes fixed. (Did I say that,
Daily, it takes me three times as long to do things, so... you know the story,
let's say it all together, now. "I have to get my eyes fixed!"
So many smiles at the party! I can't forget them! I can't wait until someone
shows me some of the pictures! I haven't seen any, yet. I think it's going
to be put into a surprise video that we'll all get to see! I can't wait!
Alright... back to my work. No... not work. I'm going to pick up the phone
It's time to make an appointment for my surgery!
You might want to call me, to see if I actually did it! Nah... I'll
report back! I will! Really!
Or-- I could go fishing? Hey, yeah! I'm going fishing! Whooo hoooo! I love
fishing, right? It's OK that I can't see. I can do this!
Bill, get out the boat! Let's go!
I call the surgeon AND I went fishing!
Fishing was so awesome. Well, I didn't really fish, because the water is low,
but I had a blast watching the spawning salmon!
It's really neat how when earlier in the season, people are on the hunt, and
the salmon play along. They spook, at every little movement, and are very
Later, when they have spawning on their minds, they stay right out in the
shallow opens, and let you watch them. Sometimes, they won't move for anything.
They are so engrossed in their mission to spawn.
I sat and watched for almost an hour as a small white colored female was teased
and tortured by two bucks. The dance they performed was awesome. The flash
of her sides as she dug her redds were bright and silvery, no matter her poor
It was totally mesmerizing, and I thought to myself. "This is a gift.
A gift for calling my surgeon. A gift for being brave enough to take that
I have a feeling that God isn't nearly done with me, yet.
Man, I'm sick. I've really got the coastal crud, this time.
I haven't been out of bed, all day, and yep... I'm going back there!
Just had this flash that the Christmas Party was still advertised up top,
so I thought I'd make that change.
I hope I don't have the flu. I can't ever recall feeling this bad. Did a truck
run over me?
Oh, thank GOODNESS I feel alive, today! My gosh! I felt literally
like a truck ran me over, yesterday! I still have a cold, but I can live with
I wanted to introduce a very patient man. Dee's Diamond Flashers has been
on ifish's wait list for so long, and now he's finally on ifish! I'm so excited
to introduce him and his product to you! I really like the product, and I
really like the man, behind them!
If you'd like to take a look at the online inventory for Christmas, look no
Flasher Frequently Asked Questions, too! I learned a thing or two!
Anyhow, welcome him to ifish! He's going to do a really cool contest on ifish,
soon and when he does, I'll link it, here!
Have a great day!
Lost and Found
I love to stare at the trees tops in the winter during a storm.
The soft green and fuzzy giants hover over me and their wispy top feathers
stand out against a creamy gray sky. Trees, some of them hundreds of years
old, sway in the wild winter winds.
Sometimes, I sway with them.
To regain my balance, I look down at my feet. Surrounding them, a blur of
muddy water slaps at my boots. I'm surprised to see a salmon, freshly dead,
laying two feet from me, but a little deeper in the river. I swear it hadn't
been there when I stopped to rest here, just a moment ago. It tips back and
forth in the waves of the rising river. One shove would send it downstream.
I left it be. All in it's own time.
I stood still for a few minutes, taking it all in. I breath in, deeply. The
current seemed to actually rise, as I exhale.
Trying to shake loose every bit of the stress of the day, I search all around
me. I was tired of trying to "see" sharp words typed out on a computer
monitor. Tired of people problems. Tired of medical appointments. Just tired.
This is where I come to replace my stress with calm. If there is anywhere
in the world that I can erase the stress of any day, it is found, here. I
just send it downstream. I get lost in the blur around me.
I love the Kilchis river, viewed through my softer vision.
I scan upward from my boots. My eyes pause for a moment as racing white foamy
water grabs my attention. This is where the current of the river makes a sharp
right angle. I'm always amazed at it's fury. The brown and green brambles
dance in the water's edge as they are pulled by the fury of white water. The
bottom of the river, here, is scoured out, deeply. The strong current tumbles
rocks, and moves huge boulders dug into the earth as if they were as light
as air. The river tries madly to take all it can, down the river. "Follow
me to the sea!" It screams!
I giggled at those strong little branches, so used to this constant pull,
as they hang tough. Stronger than the rocks, below, which often give way.
Those skinny little wiry branches wave them adieu!
I know about the rivers strength. Even with my vision, I have seen hundred
year old trees, roots and all, float down this river, taken by this same force.
I, myself, have felt the pull of the water against my bones, as I try to steady
myself, when wading against the current. It's a force to be reckoned with!
And yet, with my vision right now, it seems a soft and gentle toothless monster.
I want to be those strong little branches... but not today. Today, I want
to be swept away, gently, to a nice place.
I tilt my head back more, and gaze upward. My eyes follow the network of the
forest, dark green and brown. With wispy branches, they softly wave in the
wind. Bucking against storm force winds, their grace amazes me. A watery color
of delicate green tree tops, painted with their brushes, a soft gray and white
wash. I could barely make out the giant cumulous clouds that raced across
the expanse of sky.
Sometimes I'm thankful for my softer vision. Sometimes I actually like it.
Shall I keep it this way? Shall I cancel my surgery, and live in this soft
While my lack of focus is frustrating at times, the world is really a rather
sharp place. Add a little blur, and I relax a bit. It rounds off those pointy
corners we all get bruised by bumping into.
With this current softness, I find myself wanting to wear my pajamas longer
in the morning. I am tempted to lay longer, wrapped in my soft robe on my
feather bed. I throw open the windows and just breathe and listen. The cool
air takes over. I hear the river's winter song. The fury of life's storms
whistles through the trees, and right by me.
Back on the river, I began to sway again, dizzy from staring into the sky.
To regain my balance, I take in a deep breath and bring my eyes back down
to my feet. I was just in time to see the salmon that had been waving in the
water, set loose by the rising current, and head downstream.
As it gained momentum I imagined it carrying all of my stress with it. Down
the river I followed, as I tripped over the rocky river beach. The dead salmon
entered the whipping current and fury of the river's bend. The thirty pound
fish was pushed nose upward into the riffles as if it were a pop can, and
then tossed and turned, up and down, through the churning water. When it was
finally spit loose, it gently fell, twirling, to the watery depths.. deep,
deep until it was at rest, on the bottom of the river.
I walked back to the house, feeling new. Kilchis and I stopped at the laundry
room as I rubbed him dry of the rain that had fallen on us.
I walked past the computer, as it hummed along, ignoring the "you have
mail" flashing icon... and instead opened up the wood stove and tossed
a log on the fire.
The aroma of garlic heavy spaghetti sauce that had been simmering all day,
filled the room.
I left my calendar on the kitchen table, as my appointment date for surgery
tried to grab my attention. December 28th, it screamed at me. I was able to
leave it be.
The telephone rang, but I didn't pick it up. The constant ring didn't even
Instead, I tackled the steps up to my bedroom, and walked directly to the
bath tub. This is yet another place of serenity and calm. I turned on the
faucet, poured an extra helping of bubbles into the warm stream of water,
and began to get undressed.
The river does this to me... it brings calm. -and with my softer vision, I
climbed into an extra warm tub. Just like that salmon, I was finally spit
loose from the stresses of the day. I gently fell, twirling, to the watery
depths... deep, deep until I was at peace.
I wanted to thank Bullet Freight, David Logsdon and Gary Cheney
for their help at the Christmas for Kids party, December 6th, at Pietros.
Due to these fine people, we had a successful event, again!
click here for a few of our expressions of how much we appreciate you!
The barometer is falling like a rock and everyone is just a
bit antsy around here. Something about the barometer dropping makes all my
joints ache like I was 90!
keep an eye on things, here. Scroll down on the right, and read the "forecast
discussion". It is so interesting to hear the forecast, coming from them.
Sometimes they are free to leave in little comments that really make me laugh.
Once, it was "Oops! We goofed on that one." I love it, when techno
people get real.
Well, it's off to batten down the hatches. Oh, and speaking of chickens...
I hope they make it through the storm! (laugh)
I wanted to take a minute to thank Freespool for all he does on ifish and
on other fishing web sites. Do you know that when Liz explained to me just
what the Foot Soldier Award was, that the first things out of my mouth was,
"Liz! You know who should get that!!! FREESPOOL!"
She agreed that he does a wonderful job and that he deserves the award, also.
I'd so like to see him called up to receive an award like that!
Jim Martin stopped by yesterday to give us a couple birds for dinner, and
we had a nice talk. He's such a genuine nice guy. His entire family is! I
just love Art, Liz, and Jim. Jim left me with a quote, to Google up and read:
"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points
out where the strong man stumbled, or where a doer of deeds could have done
The credit belongs to the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust and
sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, and who comes up short again
and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends
himself in a worthy cause. The man who at best knows the triumph of high achievement
and who at worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly, so that his place
will never be with those cold timid souls who never knew victory or defeat."
Oh... Jim! I like that one! Jim was also the man, who introduced me to
the quote on the right, below. You know, the "Do not burn yourself out"
one. These are both worthy of remembering.
Anyhow, have a great day, and please be careful out there! Mother Nature is
about to unleash her fury!
I'm back! I'm back! What a wonderful relief to wake up to the
power on! Yay!
You sure realize how much we depend on power, when you are without. We have
no water, if we have no power, due to the well. So, something as simple as
getting a glass of water, requires going down to the water cooler we prepared,
before the storm. All of the time that I'm walking down there, I think about
it, and how much we are spoiled. How quick things come to us, without even
being thankful for them. And also, how much time we have for being idle, with
our conveniences so quick at hand. It takes nothing, really, to survive these
days. We all have too much time on our hands!
I actually like the slower life. I enjoyed it.
Andrew read by candlelight by the fire. We laughed. We ate by candle light,
together, at the table. We laughed, talked, enjoyed one another's company.
Bill didn't seem too keen on it all, but I really enjoyed it! Bill missed
his television. His "Law and Order". I did not!
I cried when I saw the trees fallen, across the river. It looks like dominoes,
all mowed over, and dipping into the flooded Kilchis. So sad. Years of growth
are just trampled over, like some evil monster had been through there. People
sure won't be bank fishing across the river, at that location. It's a mess!
I wonder how that will change the flow of the river. Everything seems to.
Even the slightest change of the bank can alter the flow, dramatically.
Look at our gust
of 89! That was a real trip. It was sustained long enough for us to catch
it, on the battery powered Davis Station. Click
here to see.
I kept the local radio station on. I giggled, listening to the Dairy updates,
and all the fun games they play here, locally. Reminded me of the community
of ifish, a bit.
The first night, listening to the radio, Bill said, "Oh! Don't tell me
we have to listen to an hour of Christmas Carols until the next update! I
smiled. I listened to Christmas carols the entire next day, and thoroughly
enjoyed every one of them. I'm still humming along. I needed that fix of Christmas
and now they are in my head to stay. Look out, family! It's Jennie, humming
the 55th verse of "Deck the Halls!"!
It's nauseating for them, I'm sure, but I don't care. I like Christmas Carols,
and I think, just for fun, I'll turn on the radio, again, today!
I'm thankful for the glass of water I poured from the faucet, and the heat,
blowing from the floor boards. I'm thankful for the cup of coffee I have,
hot from the maker, and most of all.... for Christmas Carols, and the Holiday
Season! Merry Christmas, one and all! We have power!
And... what is it I hear Bill singing in the background? The 55th rerun of
"Deck the Halls with... Law and Order? Fa la la la laaaaaaaaa la la la
Oh, cute, Bill! Turn up the radio!
My Christmas lights are so gorgeous against the white, twinkling
ice! I love it! I just turned them on.
This has been a difficult shopping Christmas, due to my lack of eyesight.
I'm feeling dependent on others. I can't drive. Well, the doctor says I can,
but I don't feel as comfortable as I'd like.
The river is perfect, this morning, but oh! So cold! I think I will bundle
up and do my first steelhead fishing, today. I absolutely adore the first
day that I have my favorite rod and reel in hand. That cold, beautiful reel
and my long, beautiful steelhead rod! All polished and cleaned, and ready
Each year as I take it down from the rack, it's a special day. Plus, drift
fishing, I can fish by feel! I'm kind of nervous about the flood, and how
it's changed the oh so familiar structure of the river. I'll have to explore
it by feel, all new, today! Some parts, I'm sure will feel like an old friend.
Others? Oh, my, but everything is rearranged!
I think Rev has salmon poisoning. Regardless, she is ill. I may have my differences
with that beautiful black lab, but when a dog is ill, it takes my heart. I've
been fussing over her all night. She's in pain, and not at all feeling well.
Poor, pitiful whimpers and sighs escape from her. I've been close by her side,
since we noticed, last night.
Bill will take her to the vet, this morning.
Well, off I go... past the land of snowy white, glistening lights, and out
to the river. All around me, it just shouts Holiday! Christmas cold in the
sky, ice on the lawn and rocks, and after I'm done fishing, a colorful Christmas
lit up house will call me, complete with a fire in the wood stove, and hot
tea on the stove.
Life is good. Oh so good! Even with my recent challenges that sometimes make
me feel like giving up... I'm always reminded of how wonderful life really
is. There are always things that make me smile, take a deep icy breath, and
keep on keepin' on.
Sometimes, and mostly late at night, I lose all hope, and think that this
recent loss of eyesight is my last straw... that now, feeling totally dependent
on others, I must give up. Tears well up in my eyes, and I think the end has
come. I begin to feel overwhelmed by lists of things, undone.
I have to giggle at myself, though.
A good long winter's nap, and a morning that greets me with snowy windows,
a chill to the wood floor, and a warm piping fire renews my spirit and calls
me to thankfulness, time after time. You'd think I'd learn. Ya just gotta
So, I get out my list, cross off one more thing, and head out to the river.
Will I catch something? I don't know! But sure as heck, as I look around at
all that I have been blessed with, I take note. The vision I have left scans
the river that cuts green through the snowy rocks. The keen, cold feel of
my reel in my hand, the line, bumping along the familiar rocks, and finally,
the tracks of my shoes, leaves a visable trail of return to the house. As
I open the door, the warmth hits me like a blast in the face.
God has blessed me and mine, and I am truly thankful.
Merry Christmas to all! And to all, a good night!
(And none of that 'feel sorry' stuff! Ya hear?)
Today is reserved for baking goodies and fishing. Do you know
that it's been months since I've hooked a fish? But, that's alright with me.
Really, it is! I've been so busy, lately. Not only that, but the challenge
of living without eyesight has been enormous. It really takes more time to
live like this. I have a contact in one eye and 6 pairs of glasses that I
have to have in my pocket, in order to get around. What a hassle that is!
And if I leave any of them, anywhere, I have to go find them. Without the
glasses to find them, well? It's frustrating and I get alot of exercise!
I cried and cried, when I watched the 2006
video of the Christmas Party. Oh, watch it! What a wonderful group of
people! This is my family!
Linda did a wonderful job putting it together. The music matches perfectly,
and the photography is excellent! So many of my friends! Thumper looks wonderful!
My Dad... the pictures just touch my heart so deeply! Hugs to all the ifish
mods! The children are so beautiful! Friends that I have yet to get to know!
Truly... ifish is my family, indeed.
The other night I was so proud to go to David's Winter Concert at the high
school. As the music progressed, they kept introducing solos; "God Rest
Ye Merry Gentlemen" with a solo by David Martin and Kyle". And the
next one, "With a solo by David Martin". And another one, "With
a solo by David Martin." That's my son! I wanted to cry out, in the audience!
That's my son, again! He really is very good, and they were having so much
During the concert, I got to thinking that this night was to be my last School
Christmas program. David will graduate this year, and I can't get any of this
time back again!
Where oh where have my babies gone?
Henry David Thoreau once said:
"Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and
cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret
deeply is to live afresh."
I'm trying! I really wish I'd spent more time playing music with David. I
used to volunteer at the schools daily. I guess I stopped when my health became
more of a challenge, but still, I regret not being there so much. I think
kids actually need their parents involvement more in their older years, rather
than their younger years. They seem independent of you, but actually, this
is the time that although they may not welcome it, your involvement is very
vital. I only hope that there are more chances, in the future. It gives me
hope to think that perhaps I can be involved in his college music years. I
can live afresh!
Oh! By the way, yesterday was David's court date, and we were so joyful when
we walked up to the cashiere's window at the courthouse. The gal asked for
David's license. She handed it back, checked something off and said, "You
are excused!" That was it! No fine for the previous ticket for driving
without a license! Yay! What a relief for all!
You know, in the recent past, instead of being so involved in the high school,
I became deeply involved in the ifish family. I made so many close friends
that ifish truly is family to me. If I can watch a video of a room filled
with smiling faces bringing toys for children and it causes tears to flow,
certainly they must be my family! So, in fact, I've gained and grown my family
to be part community, part blood relative! My family is so large! What a wonderful
thing! When I'm ill, I have so many to care for me, and when I'm well, I have
so many to care for! That is truly a gift this Christmas season!
So, this day is dedicated to two things. Cooking, and fishing. I'm fishing,
to clear my mind. I'm cooking for my family.
Like I said, I haven't been catching. Somehow the walks on the river and exploring
the structure of the river with a rod, line and weight, I search for something,
and it's not always fish. It reminds me of another saying by Thoreau that
I've always repeated to myself, as I discover wonderful thoughts and realizations
in my mind, while out fishing.
"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is
not fish they are after."
This is why I don't care if I actually catch a fish, this morning.
I never leave the river bank and come back to the house without catching something.
Mostly, I "catch" personal peace.
I've settled many conflicts while repeatedly watching my bobber pass by me
on the water. I've healed many hurts while sitting on a log, plunking. I've
turned a tear into a smile while watching an eagle soar overhead. I've changed
anger into laughter, while Kilchis digs a hole, beside me. I've turned regret
into hope, as I repeat to myself, "Expect a fish, with every cast!"
And I do! Even after a full salmon season without one! Now, that's personal
endurance! Any frustration over that fact dissolves, with the hope of every
I will work out the regret that I feel for not being more involved with David,
on the Kilchis river. It can be as frustrating as trying to find my glasses
without glasses, but it will happen! I will never smother those feelings,
but instead, feel it deeply until it becomes a part of why I live, why I hope,
and certainly, why I fish.
By the way, my scheduled eye surgery is December 28th. I've yet to announce
it, because I've yet to accept it, thoroughly. I printed out a picture of
my surgeon, and I pray for him, daily.
If you want to join me in this endeavor, here is his picture! If you decide
to print it out and do the same, please let me know.
Thomas S. Hwang
I am conflicted, a bit, because of the uncertainty that both my surgeon and
I hold, about whether it will be a success. I've yet to have a surgery like
this one, where the results will be uncertain. I need to have more faith.
I'm 'fishing' for more faith. I'm praying for a miracle, actually, and I'd
appreciate it if you'd join me.
I need to remember that I do believe in miracles because I believe in our
Heavenly Father. We often hear that "seeing is believing". My Father
in Heaven performs miracles daily. In this case, "believing is seeing."
I don't need to see to believe.
I'm fishing this morning for the solid faith that I need to bring my eyesight
back. I'm headed out with the confidence that I can expect that faith to build,
with every cast. I'm fishing for the hope, to live afresh. I'm fishing for
But who knows? With all those things to fish for, if I just happened to hook
a fish, I'd be happy with that, too!
With the aches and pains that come with a busy day, I leaned
over slowly, my hair catching in the branches of the noble fir tree that we
so carefully chose to be ours. "Right there, Mom! Look!"
I couldn't see well, but David pointed at Molly. There was the vandal! There
lay the contented culprit, her eyes dancing in the flashing Christmas lights.
Molly the naughty elf!
Oh, but she had a delightful time! She yawned, the damage done
all around her. Christmas is for cats! Boxes that had been neatly wrapped
for the special morning, now sported long, ripped shreds from cat claws. She
lay under the tree, napping after her cat work, surrounded by Christmas cat-fetti.
Oh what fun, tossing silky ribbons in the air!
At the time, I was frustrate d. Sigh. I spent hours wrapping those presents!
Not only did fear wash over me, with the thought of having the kids discover
what was underneath those wrappings, but the thought of a redo was overwhelming
at this time of night. I had just reached down to turn the lights off for
the day, looking forward to a long, winter's nap. Certainly I was not
up for more hours at the wrapping center!
I must admit. Molly is entertaining. She does not lack character. I have never
owned a cat that will follow me down to the river. Not only that, but she
fishes, and with glee! She loves the boat, and often times when I'm face to
the river, much to my surprise, I'll feel a cat, jumping on my back, mid cast!
Molly casts very well!
Odd, you say. Yes, she is odd! But, you have to smile!
Once, thinking surely that she would stay put, Bill and I launched the boat,
beginning a day trip down the river. We anchored out back, preparing to fish,
when she began howling, miserably. She wanted in the boat? Really? Bill and
I shook our heads, and kept on with our work.
"Bill!" I couldn't believe my eyes! "Bill! Molly is swimming
out to us!" Sure enough, Molly was chest high in the swift water, headed
out to join us! We quickly pulled anchor to rescue the poor thing. And yes,
she joined us for the day.
Molly loves a good boat ride!
I don't know that I've ever heard of such a cat, but I'm glad
to have a fishing buddy. My boys were my hope in life, and they grew up, somehow,
without sharing my love for fishing.
I guess I'll have to settle for a cat.
Kilchis loves Molly with a passion, and I have to admit, Molly feels the same.
Rev, our new black lab doesn't fit into the family in the same way, and doesn't
understand Kilchis' ways, when it comes to cats. Rev wants to chase. It's
interesting, though, that Kilchis actually protects Molly from Rev. When Rev
goes after her, or even so much as stares at her in the wrong way, Kilchis
will growl a protective growl and head Rev off. There will be no cat chasing
in this household, as long as Kilchis has something to say about it!
And when night falls, it is Molly that Kilchis chooses to snuggle up with.
It's really a darling site, to find them snuggled up together, come nightfall.
Yesterday, I shopped for the animals, making certain that each one of them
has a stocking filled with their favorite surprises for Christmas Morning.
Santa Claus doesn't forget the animals in the family-- especially if they've
been good little fishing pets, this year.
Visions of sugarplums, dance in their heads.
And so, this morning as I surround myself with presents that
need a little first aid, I have to smile. It is the character that Molly possesses
that makes me smile as I repair each and every present that she couldn't wait
until Christmas, to unwrap. I still love her... ever so dearly.
At least the tree is still standing!
Christmas was really nice. Totally fulfilling, with lots of
glitter and lights, family, presents, joy, food, food, food and more food.
It was, and continues to be everything I'd expect Christmas to be. You know,
that doesn't happen every year! I feel fully satisfied and fully gratified
by the the entire festivity! No more food though, please. I'm fully full,
Oh, wait! I did miss one thing! I didn't get a fruit cake this year! I have
to have one. I must! It has to have nuts, too. Pecans, to be exact. Put that
on my list for New Years. --Must have fruit cake! They are so awful, and yet
so wonderful, all at the same time!
On Christmas Eve day, Pete came to visit and to exchange presents. We were
naughty children, and opened them that day! We usually wait till Christmas
morning, but what the heck! We couldn't help ourselves! It was almost more
fun doing it that way because I get such a charge out of people opening gifts
that I've selected for them. I care very much that people like what I get
them, and Pete liked it! I also loved what he got me, so it was perfect!
Pete is familiar with our tradition of searching for agates to leave on the
drive, on the way up from the river bank. Lacking vision as I am, now, I would
see a bright rock, and pick it up to hand it to him. "Does this one glitter?
Does it sparkle?" That's what I'm after, these days. I'm spoiled by our
river bank. Agates are everywhere and they are all pretty. I'm selective now,
though, and absolutely adore anything that sparkles. Oh, how I miss being
able to see sparkles! If there is one thing I can't wait to see if my surgery
works, it is sparkles! The sparkles of a diamond, fake or real, the sparkles
on a holiday ornament! There is nothing more fun than wearing sparkling diamond
jewelry to a Blazer Game. The overhead lights in the Rose Garden make anything
from cubic zirconia to real diamonds look absolutely fabulous! I don't watch
the game. I just sit and marvel at all the sparkles!
I was so glad that Pete was along on the river walk, and as I picked up one
very small rock, I asked Pete, "Does it sparkle? It looks like the type
that would sparkle."
"Yes." He answered, upon examination. "It sparkles."
I didn't believe him. I hadn't found a sparkling agate in ages. "No,
Pete, really! Does it?"
He looked again, and assured me that it did, but no matter how hard I studied
it, I couldn't see them. I was disappointed.
I carried it up to the house, and took it in our bathroom that has the best
lighting. This is where I keep all of my sparkling agates on a special shelf,
right under the light. Not one agate on this shelf is without sparkles. There
aren't many of them, and out of thousands of agates found, here lay around
20 rocks all in a dazzling array of sparkles. I love these rocks with a passion.
I guard them closer than I do any jewelry that I own. They mean the world
to me. Not only are they beautiful, but they represent my ability to see.
I held it up to the light with the rest of them. I could ever so barely see
the slightest hint of a sparkle. Even though I knew it was probably gorgeous
to a normal eye, it just didn't wow me. I knew it sparkled, and I was thrilled,
but... I couldn't see it the way it was supposed to be.
My heart sank.
It was after my first eye surgery some seven years ago that I realized just
how beautiful sparkles are. It was during the Christmas season that I stood,
totally mesmerized by sparkles, in a Costco store. I held up a Barbie doll,
all dressed in Holiday glitter. I could not put her down. I moved her gracefully
back and forth, swaying in those "Blazer lights" as if dancing in
a ballroom. My children were embarrassed by my oohs and ahhs, but that didn't
matter to me. I was simply amazed that anything in this world could be quite
so beautiful. It was the first time I'd seen it. Her hair was sequined, and
her dress sparkled so brightly. It almost hurt my brain to take it all in!
No wonder women sought tierra's for their hair, and sparkles on their dresses!
It's no doubt that diamonds should be a girl's best friend! I had no clue!
All these years! Oh! How I'd missed out on girly things!
My surgery is Thursday.
I was dismayed, last night as I was up all night coughing. I worried about
whether or not my doctor would allow me to have surgery. I have had a nasty
lingering cold for 3 weeks, now! Imagine working on my eyes and having me
break out into a coughing spell! Yikes! Not what I want, nor what I want the
doctor to have happen, while playing with sharp instruments by my eyes!
Then, as I always do at the beginning of the week, I took my INR blood level.
I am lucky enough to have a test kit, at home. This is what shows how thin
my blood is, to keep my aortic valve free of blood clots. I have to take coumadin
to keep my blood thin. It is a fairly risky drug, and your levels have to
be frequently monitored. The surgeon wants my blood as thick as it can be
for surgery, so that I don't hemorrhage in my eye, yet he wants it therapeutic
enough so that it doesn't clot my valve, which could be life threatening.
I was absolutely shocked and dismayed to find my INR as high as it's ever
been! When it's this high, surgery is not possible. In fact, it's downright
dangerous and I am ordered to stay in and rest, so that I don't hurt myself.
Of all the timing! Could things possibly get worse?!
I spoke to my doctor, so afraid that I wouldn't be able to go through with
my scheduled surgery.
Thank God, that I think we've worked it out, so that I will go. I will stop
taking my medicine to thin my blood, and take my INR test daily, until Thursday.
He thinks we can get it down. I sure hope so!
So tomorrow, I leave for Portland, and Thursday, hopefully, I will be having
my surgery to regain my sparkle sight! Yay! I'm not really "looking forward"
to the surgery, but I'm so excited that it will work, and that I will soon
be able to see, again. I miss my eyesight so much! As feeble and as weak as
it was, it was better than it is, now! It's so true that you don't know what
you have, till it's gone!
So, it's upstairs to pack, now. My pajamas, my warm socks, (you have to have
warm cuddly socks for surgery- it's my rule!) and all things comfortable and
And inside my pocket I will carry a single very small agate that I found on
Christmas Eve day on my walk with Pete.
When they take those bandages off of my eyes, I am going to reach for that
rock, and I am going to see it sparkle... just like Pete says it does.
My eye surgery is scheduled for Dec 28th. Please join me if you like.
Pray for my surgeon!
Yikes. I was without cable internet for two days. I wrote a
column, but was unable to upload it. It's written beneath this one, in this
The internet is still down, back home.
I am now at a hotel, getting ready for my surgery. I am so behind! I have
not even opened my e mail, and doubt I will until I am able to see. That is,
IF I am able to see!
It's scary to think that if this doesn't work, I'll never be able to see printed
words again, unless I have surgery on my left eye, and that works. I will
be without sight regardless, for a while. If you think I've died and gone
on, you are wrong. I'm just not able to answer your e mails, or read the comp.
Please be patient.
Yes, I am nervous, but I'm in good hands. My Heavenly Father holds me close
at all times. I'm sitting in His lap, totally dependent and totally praising
Him in all ways. No matter what, it's going to be alright, and whatever His
plans are for me, I'll praise Him! Just repeating that to myself makes my
whole body loosen up and relax, so I think I'll say that more often! Go, God!
Alrighty. I have my sparkling rock in my pocket that I want to see. I can't
wait. I'll just be patient, and wait for all of the wonderful gifts my Father
in heaven has in store for me.
Isn't it awesome that He wants to give us everything our hearts desire?
Before I left home, I walked on the river. Hail began to fall and the sky
became totally dark. I couldn't help but think about what an awesome world
we live in. I'm thankful for all that I've seen in my life. And yet, Heaven
is to beat this? Wow.
What an awesome world we live in, and how blessed we all are to have such
a loving Father to lean on, and to love us!
I am so appreciative for everyone who is praying for my eyesight and for me.
Off I go-- I will catch you up, as soon as I'm able!
In Him who no matter what-- makes my heart sing,
I miss you, Jim.
Click for keeper images
One more Jim Dandy
Well, I can see! A little better, anyhow. I am writing this
without aid of any kind. I'm a little concerned over the top portion of my
eyesight, as it curves. As if my lens might be curved? Either that, or it's
still swelling and trauma in the eye. That's very possible. I'll go for that.
The joy of my so far successful surgery has been somewhat reduced by the loss
of our good friend, Jim Erickson. It's still not possible to me. I'm walking
around in a dream world state, thinking surely this is just a long, drawn
out dream and that I'll soon wake. It makes everything seem unreal. I miss
him so much. Maybe the anesthesia just hasn't worn off, yet. When it does,
Jim will be there, congratulating me on my surgery, and again trying to plan
our next trip down the North Fork as we were doing before my surgery.
Oh, Jim. Oh... Jim! I just walk around, and every five minutes, those are
my words. Darnit, Jim! And here I'd offered him my Stearns life jacket just
a week ago, since I upgraded to a Mustang auto inflate.
Onto the news... My surgery was about 2 hours long. It was difficult for me,
and kind of lonely, walking in the surgery room alone. I'm used to having
someone to hold my hand. I'm big on that. Having someone hold my hand comforts
me as I go to sleep. I missed that, but the nurse was kind enough to be there
for me, and to hold my hand. That was awfully nice of her.
I woke to Bill, and it was so nice to see him. He took me to my hotel, and
took care of me. I was better than I was during my last eye surgery. Much
more coherent, and not so good, was the fact that I was more awake and felt
more pain. Man, it hurt that first day! It still hurts, but is more tolerable,
It's just too bad that there isn't anything to take for a broken heart.
I could have been so excited about being able to see! I wanted to be excited.
The rock in my pocket shows more crystals than I thought there were, and that
was really fun to see. My Christmas tree is brighter, and the lights are individual,
instead of a mass of color. The river has individual rocks, and I can see
the trees down across the river, from the storm, rather than having to take
a picture, and study it up close.
Jim? Are you there? Jim? Does he hear me when I talk? Why is this loss so
hard on me?
I feel deep regret for sometimes putting him off on Bill when he called, only
to answer a silly e mail on ifish. Ifish is important to me, but not nearly
so much as my friends are to me. I will never again put someone off that calls
me. Not my friends, that is for sure. Ifish can wait. My friends can not.
Dinner time Jim, as we called him, can interrupt my dinner, or my ifish anytime.
So can any of my friends, I promise! I have so much regret from that! Luckily,
last week I dialed his number and we talked for nearly an hour. I so treasure
that conversation, now, and I'm so glad I called him. I'm so glad I hugged
him not long ago. A long, friendly, special hug for friends. Jim... I'll miss
those hugs. I'll miss our fishing trips. I'll miss the "toot! toot!"
as we took off in your raft for the next fishing hole.
Thank you for teaching me to cast better. Thank you for sharing your love
of the North Fork with me. Thank you for all the compliments about ifish,
and thank you for making me feel good about myself. You did that, Jim. I appreciate
I am going to spend some time, today, telling everyone that you spoke well
about, what you said about them. People need to hear that! You spoke well
of so many people!
OK, I have to rest. I'm supposed to be in bed. I'll go, now. I've caught up
on my e mail, and I'm off, now.
I'm going to go out and expect a fish on the first cast... Just
for Jim. I'm not supposed to, really, but if by any chance I'd hook something,
I'd hand it over to Bill. I just need to be on the river. For Jim.
I can't imagine, right now, ever drifting the N. Fork again. Without Milton?
Without Jim? It would seem like a ghost river to me.
Bill said that we had to, though, and I can understand that. I will go with
Bill when the time is right. It sure will be difficult. Jim would want us
to, though. He'd want us to remember how beautiful that river is, and why
he dedicated his entire life to the good of the N.F. Nehalem and the fish
that live there.
God bless you, Jim... and God bless your family.
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