Archive for Halibut and Blackcod Longlining Season – Page 2

The Day Before Departure

It’s the day before G and the crew leave for Alaska and the blackcod/halibut longlining season. The crew showed up on Monday and they’ve been working hard getting the boat ready to go. I’m not exactly sure what they’ve done besides put the shack on and load all the groceries because I haven’t made it down to the harbor yet this week.

I normally have plenty of time to get down there, but the week before a big season like this is always hectic on both ends and time just got away. Last year, George was gone from June until October catching our quota. The quota was reduced a bit this year, so I hope that he catches it quick and makes it home before the summer is totally over. That was a long stint last year, even for me, who was born into this life.

I think I’ve got the kids’ summer schedule pretty well planned. A couple of mornings and a couple of afternoons of activities for them each week, and the rest of time free to play with Mommy and go for walks, play on the slip ‘n slide, and go to the lake. They’ll have swimming lessons in August, and I’m going to sign Eva up for a mini art camp. They are also extremely excited to go visit our dear friends who live a few hours away to play and swim in their big outdoor pool. I’m looking forward to that trip myself!

As for me, I can’t wait to attend Bloggy Boot Camp in June and the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association conference in August. I think the children and I have a nice balance of things to keep us moving along without Dad; plenty of activity and plenty of downtime. Now if the sun would finally come out and stay for a while, that would be perfect!

Oh, I almost forgot. I signed up to foster dogs through our local no-kill shelter. George and I fostered many dogs before we had children, and in fact, that is how we were lucky enough to meet and adopt our beloved pitbull Toby, whom you all know recently passed away. I’m not going to foster young, energetic dogs or puppies, however. I’m not up for that at this time.

I told the shelter that I’d prefer senior dogs or dogs recovering from trauma or surgery. Basically, dogs that just want a warm bed on which to sleep, a pat on the head, and a good meal. I also have a very special place in my heart for pitbulls. So if the right fit comes along, I’m looking forward to honoring Toby’s life and memory by taking in a needy dog. It will also be good company for Mandy.

Okay. Off to pick Eva up from preschool and clean the house for our last night all together as a fishing family for the next few months. Will be back with departure day pictures tomorrow night! Have a wonderful and peaceful day.

Home, Sweet (Messy) Home…

We have returned from our family vacation and are slowly getting things back in order. I spent today unpacking, sorting through little souvenirs picked up along the way, and catching up on sleep. I slept for twelve hours last night–from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. I warned G ahead of time that I was not going to get up early this morning, and he was sweet enough to get the household going without me.

Upon arriving home, it was clear that we left in a rush. In light of everything that suddenly went down with our dear Toby, we ended up leaving a day early for our trip. Our family came over and we had an evening together, and then we bolted. It was the best move; nobody wanted to stick around here for one more second.

So, we left and stayed the night at a super nice, cozy, and warm lodge before boarding the plane. Upon our return from Hawaii–once seeing the pouring rain and feeling the cold–we decided we were in no hurry to return home and stayed at the lodge again for one more night to snuggle and relax.

Coming into the house and seeing the kids’ toys spread around, crumbs on the floor, Toby’s toys, bed, food dish, and blanket still out, and piles of laundry in the bedrooms, reminded me how hastily we’d left, for I usually have the house in great order before we go anywhere.

However, I do not regret leaving early and leaving the house as it was. It was good to just get out of town, plus, having all the unpacking, cleaning, vacuuming, and dishes to do has kept me busy today.

Watching the news and catching up on all of the devastation in the south has kept things in perspective. I’m grateful we HAVE a home to return to, unlike so many in the southern part of our nation. I am also grateful that G has delayed his departure for the halibut and blackcod season by a week or two. Eva was thrilled to go to preschool this morning, and I did some filing of household bills. (In so doing, I discovered that I haven’t filed a thing since 2009. I told G I would try to do better this year, lol).

I also had some fun changing up this blog design a bit. I changed the background image, the Twitter badge, played with color, and added a picture of G to the sidebar. I also took out my Facebook profile badge and replaced it with a Facebook logo.

Can you recognize which Kauai beach I’ve used for my background?

Winner gets the prize!

Eva with the adorable little hula dancing girls.

Can’t We Extend?

I am definitely not looking forward to returning home this week. I love this sun, the ease, the resort, the island. I’m in no hurry to return to our rainy and dreary corner of the world, but we must.

I’ve asked G a few times already if we can extend the trip, but I know we can’t. We’ve been here a good amount of time already.

G has to return home and get the boat ready to go north and catch the Alaska blackcod and halibut quota the next few months, while the kids and I have to…uh…well…keep the home fires burning.

G, the kids, and I spend our days focusing on sun, family, and fun, but at night when all is still, we think about our dear pitbull Toby and his unexpected death the day before we left on vacation.

I’ve dreamed about Toby often since we’ve been here. The dreams are heartbreaking. I dream he’s not passed away…then he’s passed away but come back home…he has two eyes…then glowing weird red eyes…I think I see him…then someone tells me it isn’t him.

When one of my children wakes and calls for me during the night, it’s a relief to get up.

Our trip has been amazing and restful, though (especially during the day), and we are already planning our return to this location. One can only hope for a great longline and crab season in the next year!

“Eva Las Vegas”

It was my lifelong goal to never go to Las Vegas. (Am I even spelling Las Vegas correctly?) I’ve  just never had any interest in going to Sin City. Hey, don’t get me wrong; I’m no angel. Everyone knows that! I like to have a drink and a good time as much as–and usually more than–anyone else.

But my “party” stops at 7 p.m. and I love being in bed reading by 9:30 p.m. at the latest. I don’t gamble. I don’t go to night clubs. I have panic attacks and quick sensory overload. I’ve never seen “The Hangover.” I don’t like crowds or piped-in air. “The Strip” sounds kind of eerie. And did I mention I hate airplanes?

So you can imagine how excited I am to be boarding a plane to Vegas this week. YIKES! We are going because George’s cousin, a national forensic expert, is speaking at a conference and asked all the cousins to fly in for a cousins’ reunion.

I’m totally down with the reunion and I’m excited to see everyone! G has the most awesome cousins around. They are fun, hip, real, friendly, accepting, smart, and not at all judgmental. I can’t wait to go bowling, sit by the pool, order frozen cocktails, and have a wonderful time with everyone.

And yes, we are bringing the kids; we are all staying at a hotel rated one of the most kid-friendly in Vegas. I could not survive four nights without my little ones. I would miss them terribly and not have a good time without them. Plus, I figure I will only be able to handle about as much “Vegas” as the children so we should do just fine together.

George, on the other hand, has free reign to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants!  He is coming off a great Dungeness crab season and will only have a few weeks until he goes to Alaska for the blackcod and halibut season, so I want him to have a great time while he can. Like me, he’s never been to Vegas. He is excited to try his luck at the casinos and stay up late without obligation or worry. I’m happy that he will have this chance to hang out with his family and experience Las Vegas the way he’d like to. (Well, not exactly the way he’d like to, lol!)

In fact, it was George who (loudly) started singing “Eva Las Vegas” to the tune of “Viva Las Vegas” throughout the house the last time he was home!

Maybe it will be okay. Two high school friends will coincidentally be in Vegas at the same time and we hope to meet up at some point. My little family will all be together, which isn’t that common. We’ll get to see most of G’s cousins, plus one of his sisters and her husband who live across the country from us. The kids can’t wait to ride the airplane. And with any luck, the weather will be good, the pool warm, and the frozen cocktails delicious. :)

Thanks for the Memories, Dungeness Crab Season 2010-11!

Portrait of a Dungeness crab (Cancer magister)...

Thanks for a great season, Dungies!

One of the most fun things I discovered recently was how to create a cool and custom banner for your Facebook page. At you can make a banner using your own photos, or their quotes, or your own quotes, their colors, your colors…whatever you want. You can also create a custom background. How awesome is that?? I’ve had a ton of fun playing around with various designs. I can’t believe I didn’t hear about or see this long ago!

I know it’s been over a week since I posted a new blog entry, and that is a direct violation of the WordPress “post a week” challenge I undertook at the beginning of the year. I figure I’m allowed one or two misses. Among researching kindergartens, arranging care for two big and special-needs dogs during our forthcoming vacations, shuttling little ones to and from activities, G wrapping up the Dungeness crab season, and me attending and teaching Jazzercise classes and taking boot camp several times per week, I’ve been exhausted!

G came home to visit during last week’s coastal storm. When G is home, our household moves at a much quicker (or as G might say, more “efficient”) pace. It’s the captain in him. Alone, the kids and I do try to take things as easy as possible because we are preserving stamina and endurance for the long days and nights…or weeks…or months.. when Dad isn’t around. But when G gets home, watch out! Hustle!

When G left to go back to Westport this past weekend, I declared it jammies-and-sweats-we-aren’t-going-anywhere-Saturday for the children and me.

We enjoyed a nice, quiet, obligation-free day. We didn’t leave the house one time but stayed home dressed in comfort, lounging on couches and overstuffed chairs and eating popcorn for lunch. It was just what we needed!

George and the guys have had a tremendous crab season. I’m so proud of and happy for them. And I believe they are starting to wrap it up now and will soon get ready for the Alaska halibut and black cod season. The first inkling I had that the crab season was ending was our household Costco list; bleach was listed in G’s handwriting. I knew what that meant! Time for all the buoys and 500 pots to come back up from the deep to be cleaned, stacked, and put away. Then, G will have about four weeks at home with us before heading north for the next several months.

Here are a couple of Plinky writing prompts I thought would be fun to answer.

1.  Sunrise or Sunset?

Sunset. I can’t stand getting up early. I don’t like it at all. I do love the relaxation that accompanies day’s end, though. I feel calm and at ease, tucked inside my house with my family. I’ve felt lucky to live by the water for most of the last ten years and I love watching the sunsets over the bay. A glass of wine, a sunset, a bath for the kids, knowing we did the day together and can now cuddle and relax is my favorite.

2.  Do You Feel Younger or Older Than You Really Are?

I feel younger than I am. G would also add that I act younger than I really am. I can’t lie. It’s true. :-)

3.  If You Were a Professor, What Subject Would You Teach?

I would teach English literature or creative writing. When both kids are in elementary school I fully intend on getting my Master’s in creative writing. Even if I am the oldest lady in the program!

Jen’s Friday Favorites

Favorites of the Week:

1. That it’s finally March. I am so relieved that we are only about three weeks until spring. We made it through the dreary fall and winter months, and now we can move on. The fall and winter months never used to bother me back in the day when all I’d do is curl up with a book and read the seasons away. However…the non-stop packing up of children and hauling groceries and dealing with muddy dogs in the rain, wind, and muck for months on end is not my favorite.

2. The approaching end of the crab season. It’s been an incredible season all the way around and we’re thrilled and grateful for that, but I’ll be glad when it’s over. Then the kids and I will get George mostly to ourselves for an entire month before he goes up to Alaska for the halibut and black cod season.

3.  Jazzercise and Boot Camp. LOVING the newly released Jazzercise routines! Also loving the boot camp one of our instructors put together. It’s an eight-week camp and we just wrapped up week five. I love the combination of the two workouts. In fact, this week I ended up working out eight times in five days; five days of Jazzercise, three of those days including boot camp immediately following Jazzercise.

4. The Magicsuit from Victoria’s Secret. Why all the Jazzercise and boot camp? We’ve got our first full-fledged all-out family vacation in almost four years coming up in April. We’re going to Hawaii for two full weeks and I’ve been concerned about suits. My sister, Cassandra, sent me the link to the Magicsuit. It does everything I wanted and needed; shows off the good, hides the bad. Worth every penny! See picture and link below.

5. The Shorebreak Dress from Athleta. Similar to the Magicsuit in that it is multi-purpose and shows off the good while camouflaging the not-so-good. Picture and link also included below!

6.  George coming home for a visit this past week. G is always my “favorite”. He and his crew are TOUGH. And I mean tough. They fish where nobody else goes. They are super strong mentally and physically, and I don’t think you could find many to match them for tenacity anywhere. Congrats to G on an unbelievable season at sea, and a thank you for being so helpful, funny, and loving when he visits home! Love you, man!


The Magicsuit from Victoria's Secret really is magic!

Swim and shop in one dress from Athleta!

Challenges Last Year, Outcomes This Year

Writing Prompt From the Lady Bloggers Society:


Write about a challenge you faced last year. What was the outcome?

When I think back on 2010, two challenges come to mind. The first one is that I could not, even as an active mother and Jazzercise instructor, keep my weight where I wanted. For years and years I felt great and confident, even after giving birth. After giving birth and nursing two children back-to-back, I reached and maintained my lowest weight ever and felt good.

Unfortunately, after I stopped nursing and grew a few years older, things crept up on me.

The second challenge was George being gone for way too long last year. Now, I am a tough girl and, having four generations before me, was more than ready to take on the commercial fishing life. For Pete’s sake, I am the daughter, grand-daughter, niece, great-niece of commercial fishermen and was writing for National Fisherman magazine when I met my husband.

Even so, G was gone too long last year, and that was a challenge for both of us.

As for the results to my challenges….

When I recently discovered that my calorie-counting and heart rate-tracking Polar Watch was dead, I ordered a similar watch to replace it. (Yes, I could have replaced the battery in the original watch, but I don’t know who replaces batteries in this town and it seemed simpler to order a new one!) I’m also signing up for Jazzercise Boot Camp in addition to my regular Jazzercise classes.

As for George being gone too long?

Only he can handle that end. I am so, so glad we had a lot of time together this fall and over Christmas. It means everything to me and we’ve had an unbelievable time. I hope that his Dungeness crab season is a success and that catching the halibut and blackcod quota goes much more quickly than last year. If it goes slow, I hope he will take a break and come home to visit at some point or let us meet him where he is.

Back by Request: Alaska Longling Photographs by David Hills

I received a nice comment and request this morning from a lovely woman named Patti who wanted to get another look at the professional commercial longlining fishing pictures I posted a few months ago. I’m posting a bit of her message here as it really made my day. Thanks, Patti!


Hi Jen. Enjoy your blog. My nephew fishes in Alaska and consequently I follow the industry with great interest. The passion these boys have for the fish/crab is truly amazing.  I can understand why they stay “hooked” to it.

A few months back you posted some amazing pictures. They had been done by a wonderful professional  photographer who really did a nice job of catching the “boys” in action on the Vis.   I wanted to see them again, however now I can’t seem to find them on your blog.  What is the possibility of reposting them?   Or is their another way I can see them?

The following is a copy of the original post from a few months back. Thanks again, Patti!


David Hills, who takes some of the world’s best commercial fishing photos, has published a gallery of the pictures he took while on board our fishing vessel last winter during round one of the Alaska blackcod and halibut longline season.

If you want to see what it’s really like out there and see some extraordinary tough guys at work (including my dear husband, G, of whom I could not be more proud) check it out!!!

David, you ROCK!

Halibut and Blackcod Commercial Fishing Photographs



From Sea to Store

Here are a few pictures of George, Gary, Peter, and my sis Cassandra unloading two big totes’ worth of home-pack into the the cooler truck and back room of the family store, Vis Seafoods.

Ah, Peter showing love to a ling. My beautiful and hardworking older sis, Cassandra.

Sweet Eva and Vincent. This will all be yours in 20 years, lol.

Welcome Home!!!

Welcome Home!!

George, Bryan, Steve, Gary, and Brett!!! 

They brought the sunshine with them. The day started out dreary, dark, and rainy. It slowly began to improve. By the time I saw the boat cruising across the bay, the sun was out in force. The children and I jumped into the car, parked on the dock, and actually watched them come into the harbor.

Bryan helped the kids down to the boat and showed them giant ling cod heads. We drove around the harbor with Steve in the flatbed, following George on the forklift. We ended at the family store, Vis Seafoods, where Gary and George unloaded two totes’ worth of home-pack.

As the little ones and I drove to the harbor today, I felt like I was floating above the earth. It was a surreal and beautiful day, and the most perfect way to spend my 8th wedding anniversary.

I’ve included some videos of today; they are second-rate videos, taken with my iPhone, that only a grandmother could love. Still, here they are.