Archive for November 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas For Your Commercial Fisherman

I wrapped up my Cyber Monday shopping this morning. George occasionally reads my blog, so I can’t mention what I purchased, but things went fairly smoothly and I am glad that part of shopping is over. I took a break from ordering gifts midway through to come over and check my blog statistics. When I looked through this morning’s search terms, I saw that somebody else was wondering what to buy a commercial fisherman for the holidays.

A long time ago I wrote and published a list of unique gifts with which to send your man to sea, but that  list was not quite right for this particular search. So, I decided to create a new list right now of things one might consider getting a commercial fisherman for Christmas.

If you have any other ideas, please leave them in the comments section! I would love to read and add them to the list!

Holiday Gift Ideas For Your Commercial Fisherman

  • Gift pack of his favorite treats to take on the boat. Candy, cookies, peanuts, crackers, chips, etc.
  • A special “boat cup” (Not glass, boat-safe, can be bought at fisheries supplies or sporting goods stores).
  • New set of boat dishes; the kind you buy at marine supply stores made of hard plastic with non-skid rubber on the bottoms.
  • New galley towels. They get dirty and ruined so fast, it’s nice to have something fresh and clean!
  • A photo of yourself, the children, or the pets in a frame.
  • Create a photo book of your favorite pictures at Snapfish, Shutterfly, or Costco. They are easy and fun to make, and you can add quotes and messages on every page if you want. He can take the book with him on the boat when he leaves next.
  • A photo calendar. I create them every year and send one with G to look through in the wheelhouse throughout his months away.
  • A book. A light read is usually better (skip the self-help or how to improve your relationship, ha ha!).
  • Have kids? Have them draw pictures that you can bind together (or let a copy shop bind) into a book.
  • Magazine subscriptions.
  • Warm winter hat.
  • Gift card to a fisheries supply store.
  • New rubber gloves.
  • A small portable DVD player and a couple of DVDs to go with it.
  • iTunes gift card.
  • iPod.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones.
  • Dinner gift certificate to use together when he is at home.
  • Massage gift card.
  • A warm, snuggly new boat blanket or sleeping bag.
  • Fresh new boat pillow and pillow case.
  • Nice, fluffy boat shower towel.
  • Long underwear made especially for sub-zero temperatures.
  • An e-reader; Kindle, Nook, iPad, whichever you like. I got George an inexpensive Kindle for his birthday, not sure if he would be into digital reading or not. As it turns out, he loves it! He reads his Kindle all the time whether at home or on the boat.
  • Visit Personal Creations or Lillian Vernon online and create personalized gifts.
  • At Personal Creations you can make a “World’s Greatest Longliner” or “World’s Greatest Crabber” (you get the idea) t-shirt. Another fishing wife and I surprised each other last year when we both made the same exact shirts for our husbands and then posted pictures of the shirts on Facebook!
  • Personal Creations also offers a humorous gray hooded sweatshirt with “Dad’s Beer” written on the front and an actual pouch for the beer. I got a pair of these for my brother-in-law, Ryan, and my husband, George, last year and I’m surprised to report they actually wore them (Well, Ryan did, at least) and the beer did stay in place! (item number 30027119)
  • Engraved and personalized beer mugs, pitchers, and shot glasses.
  • Along the same lines, an engraved leather hip beer holster from Personal Creations. Your husband can work on the grill or on the gear with a beverage attached to his belt with a nylon leg strap for extra security. (item number 30029868)
  • The “Man Cave” or “Eat, Sleep, Fish” or “Home Theater” –style wall signs and doormats from Personal Creations and Lillian Vernon.
  • Team Daddy” or “Daddy’s Little Fishing Buddies” shirts and sweatshirts.

(Note:  I’m definitely not trying to promote the drinking fisherman image (I spend too much time fighting it) and I don’t hold stock in Personal Creations or Lillian Vernon, but their gifts are fairly inexpensive, fun, and I enjoy flipping through the catalogs each year. Free shipping and discounts of 25% off orders is another draw.)

If you have additional ideas, please share so we can grow the list!


Additional Gift Ideas For Your Commercial Fisherman:

From Lori French of The Faces of California Fishing (excellent, Lori!):

  • Electric blanket for crab season.
  • Binoculars.

From Robin Blue of The Fishing Blues (also excellent, Robin!):

  • Head lamp for bunk reading.
  • Wool socks.

From Beci (via the Facebook group Commercial Fishing Families & Friends)

  • Talking picture frame. Dad will love a frame that features a recording of his child or children speaking. He can take it with him to sea and listen to it over and over again.

Another Great Time at Pacific Marine Expo 2011!

Attending Pacific Marine Expo (also known as Fish Expo) each year is as much a fall tradition in our family as Thanksgiving dinner or choosing a Christmas tree. It is the perfect way for us to kick off the holiday and Dungeness crab seasons, and we always leave the event looking forward to and pumped about all that lies ahead.

This year’s PME brimmed with heightened energy and cheer. There were more vendors than ever, the freebies at each booth were awesome, and almost the entire crew from National Fisherman magazine came out to publish the Show Daily after the show publication was put on hiatus for a couple of years.

I was excited to see the Show Daily back in effect because I have great memories of a decade ago when I ran around the Convention Center with my recorder and notebook, attending PME workshops and listening to speakers, taking notes, then running upstairs to sit down and type it all up into short news bits for the Daily.

I can’t believe what little-to-no-turnover occurs with the editing, publishing, and art gang at National Fisherman. Seriously. Even after ten years, I still see Jerry, Linc, Jen, Michael, and Michael at Fish Expo. These are the original characters that were in place when Jerry Fraser first gave me my fiFrst professional writing gig as a correspondent for the magazine long ago!

So, I feel pretty okay when I see Jerry in the NF booth at PME and make my annual pitch for work I’d like to do or see in the magazine.

“Hey, how’s it going?!” I say. “Great! It’s good! Yep, here’s Eva and Vincent. George is around here somewhere. Yes, Dad’s here, too! I know, crazy, another one on the way, huh? Say, about what we talked about last year, here’s what I was thinking…”

I try Linc next.

“Hey, Linc! Longtime no see! Remember when we ordered those Cosmopolitans years ago? Mmm, those were good. Hey, what do you think about this idea I’ve been working on….?”

I see Jes, who actually took over as senior editor of NF last year.

“Jes! Hi! Great to see you. Magazine looks good! Yep, pregnant! Due in only eight more weeks! Can’t wait! Hey, I wanted to get in touch with you about this thing I’ve been tossing around….”

Then I have a laugh.

“No? Still not interested? That’s okay. I’ll be back again next year!”

We spent all day at PME and saw fishermen we knew, a neighbor or two, a relative, some of George’s longtime/sometime business partners (along with the spec sheet for the new $10 million Bering Sea longliner they’re having built).

We also ran into one of our favorites, Fred Wahl, along with his lovely wife. Of course, Fred Wahl and National Fisherman magazine is how George and I first met. You can read more about that here.

“There they are!” Fred called in our direction when we spotted each other across the aisle. “No strollers this year, eh?” he asked.

That’s when I pointed to my seven-months pregnant tummy.

“Ah!” he said.

The children also had a great time and were incredibly well-behaved. Their first stop was the Xtra Tuff booth, where Eva and Vincent received their free pair of Xtra Tuff boots. They also got t-shirts and red cups at the booth this year, and I came away with two luggage tags made out of my business cards.

George scored a free hooded sweatshirt and ball cap from the Redden Marine Supply booth, I went around collecting tons of pens, and the children collected candy, flashlights, and keychains. George also scooped up lots of tablets with lined paper (including one with his favorite…graph paper!).

The guys at the Toyota Industries booth were especially kind; they let Eva and Vincent sit inside the enclosed forklifts pushing buttons, honking horns, and pulling levers for the better part of an hour. Vincent also had a good time helping the ice-maker demonstration folks pick up renegade ice from the floor.

We spotted a fancy Porsche in the parking garage on our way into the show and again on our way out. “Must be a Deadliest Catch guy,” we said to each other. When I spotted a fellow wearing a Time Bandit jacket during the show, I did wonder for a moment if that Porsche belonged to him!

A great day for all, to be sure. Can’t wait for next year. Even if we’ll be hauling the stroller back out. :)

Operation Christmas Child–A Gift For Everyone.

It comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me, or who has ever read this blog, that I am in love with and so proud of my children. That’s not to say we are always well-behaved or that we don’t test boundaries, ignore rules, or make unwise choices. Of course we do! But I am always proud of their sweetness, their caring hearts, and their desire to do nice things and to love people.

This year at a church event, we learned about Operation Christmas Child, a program in which you obtain an empty shoe box and fill it with gifts to send to a boy or girl somewhere around the world for Christmas. Boxes were provided at the event, so we grabbed two of them. Vincent was responsible for choosing gifts for a boy between the ages of two and four, and Eva became responsible for selecting gifts for a girl between the ages of five and nine.

We went shopping this weekend and each of my children chose gifts they thought a boy and girl would love. They selected hair barrettes, hot wheels, chapstick, toothpaste, toothbrushes, stuffed animals, blankets, colorful socks, and rubber lizards for their boxes. At home, we packed the boxes, printed out labels, and waited for this morning when we took them to church and the kids carried them in to place on a table growing with similar boxes.

I was nearly brought to tears several times this weekend as I watched how excited Eva and Vincent were to choose things for someone across the world, close to their ages, who did not have “as much” in the way of toys and the like as they did. Surprisingly, my children never asked for anything for themselves as we chose gifts for their boxes, and they couldn’t wait to proudly, and with huge smiles, carry their boxes into church.

I tallied up the cost and discovered that each box held $35 worth of product. Of course, that amount could have varied in either direction, depending on where one chose to shop. Now, I’m no math whiz (I was an English major!) but a total of $70 seemed pretty darn reasonable, and worth every penny. When I fill up my vehicle with gas, it costs $70. I took the kids to lunch after we did our box shopping, and that cost $20. We went to the mall, where I dropped way too much money on face and hair products.

Keeping the gift box tally in mind compared to what we spend in an average day was a real eye opener for me.

We aren’t strangers to local and global giving around here, but most of our giving is done anonymously or to places we don’t see the impact first hand or know exactly where the money is going. We sponsor a low-income family in town, contribute to young single mothers, volunteer with a no-kill animal shelter, and George gives to Boy Scouts and the Smile Train. But these are things—except for the animal shelter—for which we simply write checks and never actually see impact.

To see my kids smiling and thoughtfully choosing gifts for other children, to print out labels and watch Eva tape them to the boxes, to look forward to tracking the packages to see where they end up, imagining what joy $35 will bring to each child…incredible.

If you have $15 or $30 lying around, consider grabbing a shoe box and filling it up to send across the world through Operation Christmas Child. Drop off for the boxes runs until November 21!

Eva waiting to pack her box that will be sent to a little girl between the ages of five and nine years old somewhere across the world.

Vincent giving two thumbs up for the box he created that will be delivered to a boy aged 2-4 years in a foreign country.

On the way in to church, a drop-off location for the kids' Operation Christmas Child boxes.

Eva and Vincent were all smiles as they added their boxes to the growing pile on the table. We tracked the gift tags so we'll know to which country their boxes will arrive.

Love Kingergarten, Hate the Kindergarten Rat Race.

This has been the most peaceful day I’ve had since school started…and oddly, it’s been an awesome day in part because there was no school today. I went to bed last night looking so forward to this morning because I knew we wouldn’t have to rush, rush, rush everyone to “get dressed” and “eat breakfast” and “gather backpacks” and “remember lunches” and hustle everyone out the door, down the stairs, and into the car.

Just like the good ole days, the kids and I got up early but we took the morning slow and easy. No rushing, no panic, no last-minute remembering, no racing. We went to Jazzercise all together, saw our friends, went out for breakfast, and then came home. Later this afternoon we made popcorn, put in a movie, and listened to hail pound against the windows and watched the tree limbs going nuts outside during a perfect fall storm.

I tell you, I just can’t stand all-day, every day kindergarten. I really wish that it was a full day but just three days a week,  leaving a mother two week days to spend with her little ones exactly as she (and they) wish. I knew that adjusting to a daily 9-5 school grind was going to be a challenge for this commercial fishing mom and family, and it is.

Getting up early is not a problem, but I find hustling and strict schedules really annoying. Be at school by 8:20 each and every morning of the week…or else. Be at the bus stop by this time in the afternoon…or else. Yesterday, I saw that we were going to be late to school and instead of rushing and ordering my kids around, I chose instead to call Eva’s school.

“Eva will be at school at 9 this morning,” I announced. I know that being late is not a good precedent to set for your children, but I weighed the odds and decided to make the call. Hey, these are my kids, not the school’s. They are still little, I’m seven months pregnant, and darn it, I just did not feel like hurrying everyone.

I cannot wait for the holiday season to get into full swing. I am looking forward to a few days off at Thanksgiving and a couple weeks at Christmas with the children so we can have more time to play and relax and not make every day about being on time, dropping off, picking up, eating dinner, and going to bed. They are only four and five years old! And soon, we will have an infant in tow. How did we become part of the workday grind along with working adults?

The school district and most parents absolutely love all-day, every day kindergarten and I’m well aware that my view on the matter is in the minority. I understand the reasoning for the school district implementing all-day, every day kindergarten and I’ve listened to and read all of the arguments on both sides. But this is my blog and I can spout my opinion here…so here it is. I am one mom who does not like it. At all.

I’m glad that today, for one day during the week, we got a break from the elementary school rat race and I had both of my children home to spend time with and enjoy.

Speaking of the holiday season (and moving on from the topic of school—it is Friday, after all!)…it’s not only the holiday season, but it’s pre-Dungeness crab season, too! G and the crew are on the boat working hard each day getting it all ready to go. George has been working on the boat by himself for the last two months, so I love it when the crew rolls into town with their help.

Here are a few pictures of the last couple weeks…

First things first, get the boat back in the water.

Quick time out to celebrate Halloween and go trick or treating…

Back on the boat to keep getting ready for the crab season…



Foster a precious pitbull named Ryder….

Dream of next spring’s Florida or Hawaiian beach vacation, as Eva and her iPhone sketches seem to be doing as well.

Jen’s Friday Favorites

I haven’t done a Jen’s Friday Favorites list in a while. It’s been another long and exhausting week (TGIF!) so I thought I’d head into the weekend leaving the annoying parts of the week behind and focusing on the good. So, in random order…

Jen’s Friday Favorites

1.  Dropping Eva off at kindergarten earlier this week. We were a few minutes late (again)and missed the bell to line up, so I walked Eva upstairs to her classroom. My heart melted when, as I watched Eva get settled, her classmates began smiling and waving at me, calling “Hi, Eva’s mom! Hi, Eva’s mom!”

2. Laughing with my friend Stacie as we watch our children at gymnastics every Thursday night. Stacie and I are former competitive gymnasts ourselves (we were also wrestling cheerleaders together in high school…and come to think of it, we both currently teach aerobics…weird!). Anyway, we love to watch the advanced gymnasts and say things like, “Wow, if only we’d had fancy equipment and training like they do now, we could have gone so much further…”

We also crack up over any and everything from our week as we sit on the bleachers. No matter how tough my day or week might be, I continue to chuckle all the way home after gymnastics night and feel so much better. (Holla!)

Double ring leap on floor exercise at VHSL sta...

3. Seeing my friend Kim and Vincent’s teachers when I drop Vincent off at preschool. I love hearing reports from the teachers about Vincent’s progress and I always share a laugh or two with Kim about the kids, our husbands, my poor baby girl on the way who still has no name, and otherwise.

Kim is currently writing  some articles for her line of work (education) and I can’t resist calling out annoying things to her when I arrive at preschool and see her sitting in her SUV doing some quick editing on her work.

“Change word,” I say as she rolls down her window. “Add apostrophe. Spell out word contraction. New line. Add paragraph. Check thesaurus.” Of course, I only tease because I spend most of my time in between pick ups and drop offs doing the exact same thing!

3. My new pitbull foster dog, Ryder. When the call came out describing Ryder’s need for care and shelter, something about him caught my attention. It’s not the most ideal time to foster a new dog, with me being seven months pregnant and George totally consumed with pre-season crab gear work and the boat, but I volunteered anyway.

Ryder reminds me a bit of our beloved Toby, who passed away last spring, and the kids adore him. Although I don’t especially need one more thing to take care of, Ryder is a good boy and it’s sort of nice having a sweet pitbull in the house again.        

4. The new Toby Keith CD, Clancy’s Tavern. I absolutely love Toby Keith; his creative writing, lyrics, humor, melody, musical talent and ability to put out one amazing CD after the next without a dud in between keep me first in line whenever he releases something new. I’ve been to three of his concerts and although I’ve missed a few lately, I am going to the next one when he comes back by my neck of the woods.

Toby Keith performs for soldiers and families ... 5. Last but never least, my precious pumpkin of a niece, Autumn, who turns one on Saturday and who came by our house on Halloween for some trick or treating. She is the cutest thing ever and a true original.