Archive for postaweek2011 – Page 2

Hurry Up and Wait

G is due to leave….45 minutes ago.

So here are some pre-departure pictures. Vincent woke up crying this morning because Daddy is leaving for Alaska without him. Grandpa is going to go to the harbor for the send-off, with the kids’ bikes, to help ease the pain.

Send-off is currently behind schedule…I’m selfishly hoping something happened so I can have one more night with G. Or rather, two more nights, since it is bad luck to leave for a new season on Fridays.




Packing. Bah!


Don't Leave...


Picnic While We Wait For Dad to Leave


You Don't Need That...

Ah, I posted too soon. G arrived home–ready to head out–the moment I clicked “publish.” Here we go. Everything will be fine like it always is!

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.

The Best Musical Performance I’ve Attended (Plinky)

I am literally laughing out loud at this Plinky writing prompt. I have done an inventory of the live musical performances I’ve attended since 1988–consulting both of my sisters to jog my memory–and it’s too funny. Here we go.

In the last 25 years, I’ve seen live…

George Michael
Beach Boys
The Nylons (2)
Barry Manilow
Jamie O’Neal
Kenny Rogers (2)
Dolly Parton
Cowboy Junkies
Alison Krauss and Union Station (3)
Crystal Gayle
Dan Seals
Air Supply (2)
Bette Midler
Indigo Girls (2)
Toby Keith (2)
James Taylor (2)
Oakridge Boys
Metallica (2)

The best live musical performance I’ve ever attended was….

James Taylor on round one. He performed about four days after 9/11, and he provided much comfort and familiarity.

Kenny Rogers on round two. In addition to playing all the old favorites, he was absolutely hilarious. I’m still laughing!

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Writer Mama’s May Give-A-Way

I’ve been a lot of things the past couple of months.

I’ve been the wife of a commercial fisherman during the Dungeness crab season.

I’ve been the mother of a little five-year old daughter whose questions and curiosity seemingly have no end.

The mother of an almost-four-year old son who’s decided that a kick is the best way to handle his frustrations.

I’ve been the mother of a quiet, big, loving pitbull who died suddenly, and too early, at the age of seven after flourishing in cancer remission for three years.

A Jazzercise instructor and student.


Taxi driver.

The 17-Day Diet book reader.

Appointment maker.


Dish washer.

The Lit reader.

Photo album keeper.


Bed maker.

The “My tropical vacation is over” sobber.

Aaah…I tease. I’m happy and grateful to exist in all of these roles and appreciate the ups and the downs.

The one thing I haven’t been recently is a writer. Yikes.

I can hardly wait until June, when I’ll find out if I am a finalist in the non-fiction category of the big Pacific NW Writer’s Association Literary Contest. I worked hard on my submission and sent it off knowing I’d done the best I could do. But then…I balked, not working on my project further and turning my attention to other things.

It’s time to get focused again.

I figured that the best way to jump in was through Christina Katz, my longtime writing mentor. She is holding a daily writer-inspired book give-a-way on her site,, throughout the month of May. When she held a similar event in September for a few years, I actually won one time. Anyway, I will be checking her blog each day for inspiration and encouragement. If you need to get refreshed and refocused in your writing, I suggest you do the same!

Here is the information:

The Writer Mama Back-To-School Giveaway is back, only in May from here on out, instead of in September.

In the past, not all of the giveaway authors were mom authors, but this year you will meet a new mom author every day in May.

We also have a new theme this year: creative confidence. I’ll be asking each author a few questions about how authorhood has impacted her career confidence.

Imagine a chance to meet and hear inspiring stories from a new mom author every day. It’s going to be really cool. I hope you can come by and participate.

Participation is easy. I’ll post a new prompt each day when I introduce each author and book, and if you answer the prompt, your name will be added to the daily book drawing.

It’s a lot of fun, you guys. This is my fourth time doing it and I cannot wait.

Please mark your calendars for May 1st and I’ll look forward to seeing you here then!

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.

Jen’s Friday Favorites

Too many favorites to count this week!! But here goes…

1. Family (and extended family) trip to Vegas!

2. George, the crew, and the boat wrapping up the Dungeness crab season and coming home this weekend.

3.  Eva and Vincent’s spring gymnastics show.

4. Only three more months until I find out if my submission for the 2011 Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s literary contest is a finalist.

5. Registering for the Bloggy Boot Camp! (And thanks to Mom and Dad for babysitting so Mommy can attend!)

6. My upcoming feature story for National Fisherman magazine! Stay tuned for details.

7.  The most hilarious lunch with my parents, sister, and precious baby niece today. Lots of laughs and the best way to spend an afternoon!

8. Everywhere I went in Vegas, I heard Jazzercise music. It made me feel so at home, at ease, pumped up, and ready to roll.

Have a wonderful weekend!!


Here We Go, Ready Or Not

Eva holding her cousin, Baby Autumn.


G made it home after hauling in 300 of 500 Dungeness crab pots. He’ll pick up the next two hundred pots after our trip to Las Vegas.

This will be the first time I’ve been on a plane in five years. The last time we flew, Eva was ten months old and it was mainly a trip to see G’s family in Florida and Arkansas.

On that particular trip, we did make a stop in Nashville and Memphis, which was awesome. We haven’t been anywhere on a plane since then, though. Vincent joined our family shortly afterwards and G’s fishing schedule became more hectic.

Today, Eva and I took a time out from a busy time of packing, cleaning, and other preparations to have a girls’ only lunch with my sis, niece, and mom. It was the perfect antidote to my pre-vacation nerves and we all had a wonderful afternoon!

So…here we go. Bags are mostly packed, house is mostly clean, and I am mostly ready to go. Oh, boy.

“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. :)

One Year Ago Today (Plinky Prompt)

Absolutely none of my blog readers will be interested in this post, but I decided to take part in this Plinky prompt because I couldn’t resist. I happen to have my desk calendars saved for the past few years in a filing cabinet, so I was curious to see what I did on March 16 both last year and in some of the years earlier. Here’s exactly what I wrote in my calendars on those days:

One year ago, March 16, 2010: Teach 9:30 a.m. Jazzercise

March 16, 2004: Kennel pick up. Toby 6:15. Home. Story.

March 16, 2005: FILE. Fred Meyers/QFC. Larson’s.

March 16, 2006: Sandy.

March 16, 2007: Linens ‘n things. Meeting 5:30 p.m. Jazzercise.

Truly hilarious. I can’t help but wonder what happened during March 16 during 2008 and 2009, as I couldn’t find those calendars.

Today’s calendar simply read “preschool.” I suppose I keep writing “preschool” so I don’t somehow forget that Eva has preschool on MWF the way she has every week for the past six months. I could have also added “Boot camp. Groceries.”

And finally today…George left with the flat bed and trailer to start hauling in the crab pots out on the coast while the weather is decent. I won’t see him for a little bit now until the gear is in and we take our mini vacation at the end of the month. Until then, I’ll continue writing “Jazzercise. Boot camp. Preschool. Groceries” in my calendar.

I might add as well that I feel extremely fortunate to have such everyday normal activities and obligations on which to follow through during the week. I can’t stop thinking about the “events” in Japan or how quickly and disastrously things can change or be destroyed.

Always mindful of the blessings of normalcy and business as usual. Always.

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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!