Archive for Jazzercise – Page 2

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!

Thankful and Thirsty Thursday

I’ve been thinking about what to write for Thankful Thursday. I’ve also been thinking a bit about my older sister, Cassandra, who turns 40 on Sunday. So, I decided to dedicate Thankful Thursday to her three days before the big day.

The number “40” is rather frightening to think about, but Cass actually personifies the popular expression “Forty is the new thirty.”

Truly. She is a tiny little thing with a nice complexion and cute, bouncy, spiraling curly hair. She is fit, toned, and exercises regularly. If you saw her in person I don’t think you’d put her much past her early 30s.

It was not easy growing up in a family of three girls all three years apart. We all have such different personalities, talents, interests that it’s remarkable we come from the same parents. However, along with the insecurities, competition, and fighting growing up, there were also plenty of laughs, dancing, listening to music, playing sports and piano, and general play in the house and outside.

It must be difficult being the oldest of three girls. Cassandra set the bar and worked the hardest of us at school and activities. She was the first to march on up to college and receive her Bachelor’s degree. And way back in 1984, she received first place in the running long jump at the Arco Jesse Owens track meet and flew to Los Angeles to compete in the national meet. I think she even got to watch some of the Olympics. In ballet, Cass made it to pointe shoes and danced some of the advanced roles in the Nutcracker.

When all three of us fished on Dad’s boat during the Alaska salmon seasons, Cass was the deck boss and helped Steph and I not make mistakes on deck or get in too much trouble.

“Here!” she’d whisper, crouching next to us. “Coil this line! Dad’s watching!”

Cass is rather reserved and private (so she’ll probably love this birthday blog post) but she has a wicked wit, an observant eye, and a knack for calling things out in a humorous and unique way.

One of the things about Cass that always makes me laugh (even as I type this) is the look on her face whenever I show up somewhere she is. Parties, family gatherings, bars, wherever. Her expression becomes a priceless mix of weariness, annoyance, and hope rolled into one.  Ha ha!

My sister has not had the easiest life. I was with her at our family seafood store fourteen years ago this month when the call came in that something horrific had occurred on our family fishing boat in Alaska. I drove her to the family home and watched as she learned that her husband of four months, Danny, had been lost at sea.

Cassandra has gone to work most every single day the past fourteen years at the store she and Danny opened with our dad. She helps retail and wholesale customers, deals with inspectors, smokes and cans seafood, vacuum-packs product and fillets fish.

She bought her own house, her own car, and pays for most of her own vacations. She puts her own money into her own retirement fund. She is one of the strongest people I know and hasn’t depended upon anything–a trust fund, men, family–outside of herself to make her way in the world.

Cassandra and I are very…uh…different from each other in many ways and that is challenging at times. But in the end, she’s always been one of my most loyal supporters and wanted to see me succeed in my life, family, and goals.

When I began training to become a Jazzercise instructor, both Cass and Steph were my two faithful pretend students in the living room of my house. We had a lot of fun as I learned how to cue the moves and routines and they tried to follow.

When I called the family store ten years ago from where I was living 500 miles away and excitedly blurted out my plans to become a writer and abandon the destructive path I’d been traveling, it was Cassandra who answered the phone and first shared my happiness.

And two years later, when I read from an essay in my first anthology publication, she was in the bookstore audience.

So, Happy Early 40th Birthday, Cass! Thanks for being the focus of Thankful Thursday. And a Happy Thirsty Thursday, too!

Cheers from your “favorite” (lol) sister.

Another Cool Commercial Fishing Blog

I am really excited today. I have no idea why, as nothing amazing has occurred, but I’m pumped.

One thing I love is that the large non-fiction writing project I’ve been working on for years has finally come together and feels perfect. Don’t get me wrong; it’s far from finished. I finally sat down last week and reviewed a ton of feedback on the work I’ve gathered so far from editors and agents all around the country, along with feedback from a few fellow writers.

Most of the feedback was legitimate and caused me to sit back and reflect upon the suggestions and insight. Other feedback was so off-base it was clear the reader did not have a handle on the material at all. That feedback I simply rolled my eyes at before depositing in both my mental and real shredders.

I decided that I will, in fact, enter the 2011 Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association Literary Contest (deadline February 28) along with hundreds of other writers. I may not win a ribbon, but at the very least, I’ll come away with even more feedback to mull over.

The other thing I’m excited about today is that I’ve finally entered the “burn phase” of the 24-day AdvoCare Challenge I’m doing with a few other people. I did just fine on the first ten days and am looking forward to the final fourteen. This challenge, combined with all the Jazzercise, should help get me back on track and well on my way to feeling like myself again (as well as ready for our first real vacation in four years this spring!).

Last but not least, I discovered yet another awesome commercial fishing blog. I enjoyed the content, subject matter, and writing style so well that I’ve included a direct RSS feed to it in the sidebar to the right.

Fish Tales is written by Jen Pickett, who posts once a week on (the creatively and aptly-named) Pickfish Fridays. Here’s a bit about Jen, taken directly from her blog:

“Jen Pickett is a freelance writer, a poet, and commercial fisherman. She has spent nearly two decades in Alaska’s commercial fishing industry. Starting as crewman, she’s worked tenders, seiners, trollers, gill netters and long liners fishing Alaska’s waters for herring, salmon, and halibut from Southeast Alaska to the Copper River Flats, Prince William Sound, Kodiak and Bristol Bay.  At the ripe age of 28 she became one of the few women to own and skipper her boat on one of Alaska’s most dangerous waters, the Copper River Flats, where she fished alone for the famous Copper River Kings and Reds. Encountering storms, breakers, broken-down equipment, ripped up nets, exhaustion, whales, sharks, and close calls with giant cruise ships and many other near misses, all became the norm aboard her 28′ boat…”

Pretty cool, right?

And before I go….Happy Birthday to my one time fishing crew mate and forever little sis, Steph!!

Jen’s Friday Favorites


It’s a new feature here on Highliners and Homecomings. Actually, it’s an old feature with a new twist. A couple of years ago I borrowed something my friend Kim does on her blog, which is create a list of my “Favorites of the Week.” I try to come up with five or so things, people, or places that struck a chord with me that week and include them in the list.

I thought it would be fun to give the Favorites of the Week a new spin by giving it an official logo and creating the list each Friday. I searched around last night looking for images and I found this cute Snoopy one, which I personalized a bit. I love it!

Anyway, here’s my official Favorites of the Week:

  • My Jazzertogs order that showed up. I love everything in it and got it all on sale. Now, if only my kids and I would regain good health so I can sport my new gear at Jazzercise next week.
  • The AdvoCare order that arrived. I’m so excited. I just learned about AdvoCare from my friends Krissy and Sara last week and was so optimistic about it that I’m now a Distributor. More info and a link to my Distributor page later.
  • The professional commercial fishing photographer, David Hills, arriving in Westport to board our f/v Vis to take photographs of the Dungeness crab season. His work is awesome; just check out the link to his longlining photographs in the sidebar.
  • Sending G and the crew off. It’s certainly not my favorite thing to see G go, but the send-off was cheerful and upbeat. It is so important for fishing kids to see their mom and dad (and everyone else) staying positive and optimistic in light of departures. We waved and waved, G blasted the foghorn (a tradition started by my dad) and then we got into the car and went directly to Jazzercise to play.
  • The unexpected check I found while sorting out presents and cards from Christmas 2009. I was shocked! I also found a couple of gift cards from Eva’s birthday a couple of years ago. I’m crossing my fingers the check is still good, lol.

Have a great weekend!



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.

A Few Fun Plinky Prompts Going into our Fourth Year

We just entered our fourth year here on Highliners and Homecomings and I’m really excited about that. I celebrated by downloading several more books on CSS so I could keep updating the blog design, and I also ordered a few books on the art of blogging.

One of the books mentioned that while bloggers may have readers that enjoy their writing or subject, the readers don’t actually know much about the blogger. I’m not sure that applies to me, as I think I tend to put myself out there in a way that people do know me fairly well.

On the other hand, like I told G the other day on our way home from a Dungeness Crab Association meeting, “To not know me is to like me.”


Anyway, the book suggested doing a fun little Q & A on your blog so people can get to know you a bit better. It sounded like a fun idea indeed, so I found some Plinky prompts to answer here all at once. I’d love to know more about all of you, too, so if you want to play along, please do!


If you could eat only one meal the rest of your life, what would it be?

Pizza. Pepperoni, light sauce or white sauce. I hate tomato sauce. Alternately, I’d take a chicken garlic pizza. Not BBQ chicken; I hate BBQ flavor sauce. I love a good BBQ with the right seasoning.

If you could live forever, would you?

No. In an imaginary world however, I would arrange for me, my parents, my sisters, my husband, niece, and children to all go at once so I never had to live one second without any of them.

Vent! What’s going on in your life right now that’s driving you nuts?

My weight. I’m an active mom and Jazzercise instructor and student, but I am getting older and I just can’t keep weight off the way I did when I was 25 or when I was nursing and teaching Jazzercise all at once. My weight is back to being a daily battle and it’s really annoying.

What’s at the top of your gift wish list right now?

Hmm. Really, nothing. Sure, I’d love a new laptop in pink. I’d like an Acura MDX or more bling. But I’m actually very happy with what I’ve got and I don’t need a thing.

Yay or Nay–Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

Tough one. Lost, abandoned, and/or unrequited love brings pain like no other. It also brings material for endless poems and essays, as well as empathy for others. I believe that as broken hearts and shattered spirits heal, they do make you stronger and able to give to others in similar situations. Healing brings opportunity to relate and support others and even laugh a little. So I guess I’d say it’s better to have loved and lost.

What is your life motto?

I have several. The first few that come to mind are:

1. Don’t beat a dead horse.

2. Don’t create a disturbance or respond to disturbances created by others.

3. God doesn’t care what you did yesterday. He cares about where your heart is today.

(More to come on this one.)


That was fun. If any of you want to reply to the same prompt(s) in the comments section, I’d love to read them!


10 Things That Make Me Happy

My husband returning home from Alaska.
It’s just a nice relief to have the man of the house back in the house.

The new Jazzercise routine DVD that arrived this weekend.
I love music, I love dancing, I love working out, and it’s nice having fresh new material to learn and teach.

Tickling Vincent.
Every inch of him is so sensitive and it’s adorable the way he giggles and squeals and tries to curl up into a ball.

That it’s October.
Because my sister is due this month with the newest, precious, tiniest member of our family.

My husband’s fishing crew.
Because they are like family to both of us. They’re the brothers I never had, and we have so much fun when we’re all together away from the boat!

Transfering my iTunes library to my laptop.
Now that everything is transferred, G can demolish our old living room computer and buy a new one.

Backing up my laptop hard drive.
If it ever crashes again, I have the entire drive backed up (unlike when it happened last time).

How happy Eva always is.
I can always count on her to behave and be a trooper no matter where we go or what kind of mood I’m in. She is such a good, sweet, funny little girl.

My writing buddy who is critiquing the first 36 pages of a project I’m working on. We’re meeting this week at the bookstore to go over it.

Attending the mini-shooting camp and gun safety class this weekend.
It felt awesome overcoming my intense fear of guns and slowly, carefully learning about them. Shooting a .22, .38, .45, revolvers and semi-automatics for three hours was an insane experience. And now I can enjoy my husband’s hobby with him!

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Put a Fork In It…

Jen’s done.

I’ve gone through June, July, August, and September with the two little ones without Dad. Before that, I went through December, January, February, March, April, and most of May.

We’ve done well. Between the kids and I, we’ve:

  • Paid bills
  • Made home-cooked meals for two special-needs dogs
  • Dispensed vitamins, supplements, and medications for said dogs
  • Taken swimming lessons and graduated
  • Taken a 12-hour road trip to visit friends
  • Hosted a birthday party
  • Attended a birthday party
  • Prepared a pitch and synopsis for a writer’s conference
  • Attended writer’s conference
  • Learned Jazzercise routines
  • Taught Jazzercise routines
  • Joined Jenny Craig to lose a few pesky pounds
  • Enjoyed Eva’s first ballet stage performance
  • Regularly vacuumed, mopped, and sanitized a 3300-sq. foot house without a housekeeper
  • Maintained a blog
  • Attended church
  • Read books
  • Began pre-school
  • Attended Jazzercise
  • Attended gymnastics
  • Washed dishes, handled the garbage and recycling, grocery shopped and hauled bags up the stairs seven at a time, folded and put away laundry
  • Brushed the teeth, bathed, and washed the faces of two precious toddlers morning and night

Am I a super-hero? No. Am I a super mom? No. I am only doing what moms across the country do every day. I am not the only mom with a husband missing months at a time. I don’t have to work out of the house, and I can hire help when I need it. In addition, I have my awesome family nearby available to lend a hand 95% of the time.

Am I sick of my husband being gone? YES.

I value honesty in writing, so I’ll write here that while I obviously, and wholeheartedly, support what my husband does and what my family has done for five generations, I am ready for a break. I don’t want to do this long of a solo-mom stint again.

Will I do it if I have to? Of course.

But believe that I will try my best to make sure that doesn’t happen.

The Day So Far Told in Third Person (Plinky)

Per the Plinky prompt….

Jen’s morning was just fine. She woke earlier than her children and sat in her extra wide and extra soft and extra comfy rocking recliner to watch the news as she enjoyed her mug of coffee. She got dressed in her gear to teach Jazzercise, then took a moment to log onto iTunes and alter her set.

Jen’s children, Eva and Vincent, woke moments later, so she got their milk and morning treats ready, then set her little ducklings down in the same chair to watch an episode of Nursery Rhymes as she finished getting ready in peace.

They left home–on time–and Jen taught her Jazzercise class. She felt tired because she hadn’t slept well all weekend and was preoccupied with the events which lead her and the children to spend the entire holiday weekend out of their own house.

She lives in a nice neighborhood, but alas, nice neighborhoods are often targeted for scams by unseemly characters. And unfortunately, Jen can be naive.

After a trip to the Estee Lauder cosmetic counter and a visit to Bath & Body today, Jen went to the police department to deliver a handwritten thank you note to the officer who helped her and to fill out a permit for a concealed weapon (per her husband’s request).

She’s actually really excited about the pink 9 mm her husband said he’d buy for her when he gets home. She’s also excited about the women’s personal safety and gun training class for which her friend signed her all up.

Jen is grateful for her family, her friends, and the police. She and her children will sleep very well tonight!

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“Rigging Gear…or Drinking Beer?” (via Highliners and Homecomings)

a dungeness crab

Image via Wikipedia

This is a post I wrote almost three years ago when I first started this blog.

I was reminded of it recently after my friend, Beth, mentioned that she’d mistakenly lost some of her blog posts. I wrote and told her that I, too, had lost a post before and this was the one. I’d spent all of one night three years ago grieving its loss and trying to re-write it when I discovered the Internet and taken a snapshot of the post and saved it.

Hence, I was able to retrieve and re-post it.

Beth and I each got a chuckle out of this post the third time around, so I’m posting it again for those of you that weren’t with me from the very beginning. :-)

(From November 15, 2007) George is working down at the harbor with Brett and my dad each day, overhauling crab pots and getting the boat ready for the Dungeness crab season, which is set to start in December. He leaves the house each morning at 7 a.m. and returns each evening at 6:30 p.m. I spent yesterday working on this blog, emptying the dishwasher, getting a crockpot meal going for dinner, moving Vince from baby swing to bouncy seat and back … Read More

via Highliners and Homecomings