Archive for August 2008

For the Writing Mothers…and Others

Hello, writing mothers! In case you may have forgotten, the deadline for your Chicken Soup for the Soul Stay at Home Mom/Power Mom submission is September 1, 2008.

In other words, that’s next Monday!

Last May, I let the deadline for the A Cup of Comfort for New Mothers call for submissions slip by without submitting anything and regretted it. Although I was happy for my friend, Mommy Writes, who had her story accepted into the anthology, I was disappointed in myself who did not, for reasons I don’t even remember, submit a story.

I promised myself I’d sit down and make this next deadline. Although the Chicken Soup for the Soul series receives over 3000 submissions for each anthology they publish and one’s chances for acceptance are slim, I believe that the most important thing about writing is simply the act of writing. One has already succeeded if she has taken the time to sit down and write a story. Anything after that is a bonus. 

In other writing news, things are really heating up over at The Writer Mama blog! Christina Katz, author of The Writer Mama, is gearing up for the October release of her second book, Get Known Before the Book Deal.

From September 1st – September 30th, The Writer Mama will be giving away a book or writer gift every day. She already has over 30 books on tap to give away, including several from her publisher, Writer’s Digest.

Go over to The Writer Mama blog and scroll down the list to see what’s in store for lucky readers and writers. (And no, the books aren’t just for writer mamas. They are of interest to all writers!)

I know I’ll be heading over each day in September. See you there!

Is it August…or November?

Well, I’d never believe it was August 24 if I didn’t have my Mom’s Plan It engagement calendar right here next to me for proof. I spoke with my own mother via telephone today and we agreed that today’s weather–along with that of most the summer–has been rather pitiful.

To be perfectly clear: It feels like fall!

The rain never quit today. The sky’s gray without the barest hint of light, and there’s even a little wind. To top it off, I seem to have caught the rather fall-like virus that a good percentage of people I know have been getting. Hello cough, sore throat, and earache.

Seriously! It’s still August. Not November!

We had a dinner party here Saturday night.  Our honored guests were Brett, Danielle, and their sweet baby, Mila. Even the party was somewhat fall-like, as the arrival of our guests almost had me thinking we were already up against the start of the Dungeness crab season.

I half expect that upon waking tomorrow, George will head immediately down to the harbor and start painting crab buoys with Brett!

The calendar says we have at least two months before all of that starts…but at this point, I’m not entirely sure.

I’m posting a few pictures of our evening. Danielle is the most trim and beautiful new mother I’ve seen–almost serene. She does not appear to be the new mother of a four-month old. I felt like I was the postpartum mother, and Vincent just turned one!

In any event, we had a perfect evening and shared many laughs. Even my sister and brother-in-law came by for dinner and ended up tucking my daughter, Eva, into her toddler bed.

Dinner 1

Steph, Danielle, Brett, and George. (A copper Dungeness crab sculpture on the wall, of course!)

Dinner 2 

Mila 1

The second and sixth generations of commercial fishermen?

Astoria’s Commercial Fisherman Expo and Highliner Competition

Earlier this week, my friend Liz brought Astoria’s Commercial Fisherman Expo and Hotdog Highliners Competition to my attention. Then, while making my rounds of blog-snooping, I went over to NW Limited and found even more information on the event.

The festival will be hosted by the Astoria Sunday Market on September 7, and it’s obvious that plenty of fun is in store for both participants and observers.

Besides the Hotdog Highliners Competition, here are a few additional events that caught my eye: the Dover Sole Relay Race (in which I think my sister, Cassandra, should participate), and the Fork Lift Coin Flip (a good opportunity for my my dad, Jack, or my husband, George, to show off their stuff). 

There are also a series of challenges such as Stacking Crab Pots (again, a good event for George or Dad, not to mention Brett, Bryan, or Kelly), Getting Into a Survival Suit (my sister, Steph, or I could try this one) and Tying a Bowline (a chance for everyone to win!)

In addition to the awesome competitions, the Commercial Fisherman Expo will include demonstrations of crab pot and net mending, maritime entertainment (including a sampling of the Fisher Poets), and various guest vendors offering seafood-related products.

Sponsors of the Commercial Fisherman Expo include, among several others, Bornstein Seafood (go Kyle!), Englund Marine, and the Port of Astoria.

If your schedule permits, make the trip over to commercial-fishing friendly Astoria and support the industry!

Happy Birthday, Leos!

August is a busy month of celebrations and birthdays in my family.

After Vincent’s (1st) birthday on July 31, we transition into George’s birthday on August 3. Ten days later, on August 13th, we have my birthday (today). Both of our dogs were also born in August: this year, Mandy turns six, and Toby turns five.

With the exception of our December baby, Eva, we are a household full of Leos.

In addition, sandwiched in between the birthdays of George and Vincent, we have the (ninth) wedding anniversary of my sister, Steph, and her husband, Ryan.

I’ve been reflecting a bit lately on the subject of “age,” most likely due to the arrival of my birthday. I’m not the only one who seems to be pondering the subject, however. I spent a busy weekend enjoying dinners out and attending both a wedding and a birthday party. At each place I went, people were discussing the subject.

Of the people I know in the 30-45 age group, they seem to be falling into two categories:

  • The people who are adamant they’re in their prime and at their peak, and who passionately feel (as well as announce) that this is their moment! Furthermore, they’ve got at least a good fifteen years ahead of them to really make it happen, if they haven’t done so already.
  • The people who feel a bit on the old side. A little more tired than usual, a little less fit, a little less energetic about the future. Who wonder (rather than confidently announce) whether they will be able to fit in what they haven’t yet done or wish to do. Who may, perhaps, even feel that their best years are behind them.

I had occasion in the past month to ponder the following:

Write down three things you didn’t do because you were afraid. What could have changed in your life if you had done them?

I’ve thought at length about the subject and can honestly only come up with a couple of things I didn’t do (or should have done), in spite of the fact that I took an unnecessarily complicated path to where I now happily find myself.

Earlier this summer, I sat at my dining room table talking with my sister, Steph. During the course of our discussion, I stated that each choice one made in his or her past led one to where she finds herself now. Therefore, if one is happy where she is now, there isn’t much call for regret, regardless of the quality of those choices.

“Plus,” I said, “I read something recently which made the point that going back and changing things wouldn’t necessarily guarantee a different outcome, anyway.”

“I don’t believe anyone who feels that way,” she said in response to the theory.

Here’s to all the Leos I know, including the ones in my household, the gals in my writing group, and my friend, Apryl.

Happy Birthday!

Goodbye Boat Propeller, Hello Pool Toys!

A few days ago, I dropped George off at the harbor so he could get the boat ready for the trip north of town to the shipyard, where it would be hauled out for maintenance. As George climbed out of the car and headed for the dock ramp, I imagined how the trip would go. I thought about how the boat would glide, unhurried, upon the bay of blue, making its way underneath summer’s sparkling sun. I thought how nice it would be to hop on board and go along for the cruise.  

I was, however, in no way prepared to take any sort of trip like that, and put the thought out of my mind as quickly as it entered. I lacked food, toys, and life jackets for the little ones, as well as any other possible thing we might need to keep everyone happy and occupied on the trip. 

Yesterday morning, as I was getting ready to leave for Jazzercise, I received an e-mail from my sister, who wondered if we wanted to go out to our other sister’s condo to enjoy a day of sun, snacks, and swimming. I quickly decided it was an offer I couldn’t refuse and said the kids and I would be there after lunch.

I knew George wouldn’t be able to go because he’d already told me how he had to drive the flatbed into the big city to drop off a boat propeller and pick up the bottom paint, as well as pick up some zincs (for controlling electrolysis on the boat). Upon his return, he planned to varnish the wood for the new deck at our house.

So, as I washed the faces of Eva and Vincent, I glanced into the doorway where George stood preparing to say goodbye and told him about our plans for the day.

George shocked us by deciding a day at the condo was an offer he, too, couldn’t refuse. So, instead of tying down and securing a propeller on the Ford flatbed and spending the day driving in 90-degree heat, he tossed a couple of pool toys, a small ice chest, and a baby bag into the back of the Ford pickup. We buckled in the kids, I climbed in last, and off we went down the highway.

Days like these are precisely why I choose to remain a stay-at-home mom in my commercial fishing family. Whenever possible, I don’t want to have to tell George or my little ones that Mommy can’t go to the beach, or the park, or enjoy a treat in the sunshine. When you are married to a fisherman whose stress and boat work does not end with the fishing season, these kind of opportunities for spontaneous fun don’t come along very often.

It’s important to me to be available when they do.


This is a picture of the Vis hauled out in the shipyard.