The Past Week in Pictures

The last week has been absolutely crazy. Christmas shopping, little girl birthday parties, a trip to the E.R., a gymnastics performance, preparing Christmas cards, and the installation of new hardwoods and remodeling the master bedroom closet. Here’s a  journey through the past week via photographs taken with my phone every step of the way.

A frightening gash produced by flying headfirst into the edge of a headboard.

The late trip to the Emergency Room did not make Vincent happy.

Five stitches and two popsicles later, we head home after midnight.

Back at 'em the next day for Eva's Fifth Birthday Party at the Roller Rink.

Popcorn, Pizza, Prizes, Cake, Ice Cream, Skating and Friends...

Eva as the Birthday Princess at ballet.

Our worn out little guy fell asleep on the bathroom floor...

Absolutely loving the new hardwoods and remodeled closet!

The newly five-year old Eva in her ballet costume and Xtra Tuffs.

Baby cousin Autumn and family watching Eva and Vincent's gymnastics show.

My precious babies, all smiles after completing the show.

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



Will You Be the Next Fisherman TV Star?

BBC has a new series in development and is looking for a former  or current fisherman to host!


Attached are some casting/show details, sent to me by Rachel Stevens, the Casting Producer:

The presenter will travel to remote parts of the world to take part in the most extreme occupations around, working alongside the people who do them day in day out. This could be traveling to Nepal to gather honey 300 feet off the ground in the precipitous cliffs of the Himalayan foothills, free-diving for pearls in Japan, or digging for salt in the hottest place on earth. They will mainly will focus on jobs that have been around for hundreds of years and have been largely done by tribal people.

They’d love to find a personable host, a person who has “been there and done that” when it comes to adventurous and daring situations. They’d like the person to be athletic and between the ages of 25-45 ish.

Here’s the Official Notice:


BBC Worldwide Productions and the producers of Dancing with the Stars, Skating with the Stars, Top Gear and What Not To Wear are currently seeking fearless hosts with a high tolerance for disgust, danger and extreme situations!

Are you an all-out risk taker with an above average tolerance for all things difficult, adventurous, or unexpected when it comes to occupational duties?

We are seeking an International host to work shoulder to shoulder with every day workers in occupations that most people avoid.  You will dive in and work hard to complete every task despite potential danger, discomfort, or hazardous situations.

If extreme crab fishing, dealing with explosives and demolitions, smoke jumping, working on an off shore oil rig, mining coal, or wrangling alligators are within your scope of ordinary, you could be who we are looking for!

You will profile the unsung laborers around the globe who make their living in the most unthinkable — yet vital — ways. Our host must be willing to overcome their fears and embrace the danger and deal with the stress of an honest day’s work!

For more information, contact:

Please send submissions with photos, bio, relative experience and any video links. Tell us why you would be great for our show!

Rachel Stevens

Casting Producer

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!


Final Round of Home Projects

A few years ago, George and I jumped head-first into some huge home improvement projects. We had much of the carpet replaced with hardwoods, tore out a bathroom to create a spa-like bath, and even dug under the house into the earth (holding the house up by three 150-foot long steel beams) to create a 1200-square foot Man Cave, office, guest room, and kitchenette.

Then, we took three years to fish hard, work hard, and watch our pennies to pay for it all.

There were two projects that got shoved aside….putting hardwoods in Vincent’s and the master bedroom. I’m thrilled that finally, beginning this week, those last two projects are going to be started and completed!!

I am so excited, in fact, that this afternoon I voluntarily hopped up from the couch, threw on a pair of work gloves, and helped G carry 24 seven-foot-long boxes of wood (about 90 pounds each) up one flight of stairs and down the hall.

We get to camp out next week in the previously mentioned Man Cave while the work is done. I can’t wait!

And I’m typing this post from my phone because G is at my work station researching closet organizers. Nice!

Send Spike Walker a Card & Encouragement

I recently wrote an article for National Fisherman magazine (December 2010) regarding the communication, support, and networking that takes place among the commercial fishing community on Facebook. I wrote about how we all, from West Coast to East Coast, have the ability to communicate through Facebook friendships, groups, causes, and pages.

This morning, I found out via Facebook that one of my writing mentors and the inspiration behind The Deadliest Catch (and my primary source for a National Fisherman feature on the Elbow Room bar), Spike Walker, just suffered a massive heart attack.

Many of you just saw Spike at Pacific Marine Expo signing copies of his brand new book.

Commercial Fisherman’s Festival, a group on Facebook, posted the original notice about Spike’s health and also provided the address to which you can send Spike a get well card. Here is part of the original message:

Commercial Fishermen’s Festival

My long time good buddy and famous author who wrote the book that inspired Deadliest Catch (Working on the Edge) Spike Walker recently suffered a heart attack that came close to taking his life. He is doing well but sounds weak but grateful to be alive. He’s recovering in a hospital….

Get well cards can be mailed directly to Spike at the hospital. Send me a comment if you want the address to send the kind and generous Spike Walker some encouragement.

At The Top of My List

Well, I wrote a nice post while I’ve been sitting here at the hotel with my little ones waiting for G to come out of his Dungeness Crab Association meeting.

Then, I accidentally deleted it.

Guess I’m not as iPhone-savvy as I like to think!

So here I am reporting from the Coast via iPhone, posting a picture of the angels that will forever remain at the top of my Thankful List.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Blog. Time for a Change?

It’s been three years since Highliners and Homecomings was born. Since then, I’ve made many changes and added several upgrades. (I won’t bore you with behind-the-scenes bloggy details.)

However, WordPress has come out recently with several new themes that allow easier creative control. By “creative control” I mean a more functional layout without knowing CSS code, which I’ve learned to enhance the blog this last year.

I’m the first to admit I don’t like change. I’ve worked hard to grow and improve this blog the past three years and have actually enjoyed learning CSS so I could keep the layout of Highliners and Homecomings fresh and interesting.

I also don’t like standing still.

So, it’s up to you guys. You answer the poll; each of you gets one vote. Whether you’re a regular reader it’s your first time visiting, VOTE!

Oh, and Happy Third Birthday, Blog! You are so much fun and every day is a new adventure. Here’s to many more years together!


Hey, this a great Third Birthday Present for Highliners and Homecomings. We just received a 96 out of 100 from a professional blog grader. Very happy!

Check out the Dungeness Crab Crew in Action!!

Cooked Dungeness crab

Presenting the bravest, strongest, hottest, sweetest, most awesome Dungeness crab crew ever….

Watch the brand new video!!!

Nice job George, Bryan, Brett, and Brandon!!!

And great work putting together your first ever YouTube video, G!


Ten Years Later and Going Strong.

Ten years ago, I sat on the floor of my bedroom on a dark and wintry December evening, poring over several back issues of National Fisherman magazine that focused on boat building. I was preparing for the latest assignment I’d taken as a freelance writer for National Fisherman. It was an assignment for which I did not feel qualified; the building of the 2.5 million dollar fishing vessel, Shemya, at Fred Wahl Marine Construction.

I’d written a few short articles and one large feature for National Fisherman in the seven months since I’d started writing for the magazine, but I knew next to nothing about building boats. For my first feature, I’d convinced a longtime fishing family friend, Ryan, to take me out to sea on his vessel for a story on the sardine fishery out of Astoria, Oregon.

While very familiar with fishing, having grown up in a fishing family and fishing myself in Southeast Alaska for several summers, I was not schooled in the art of boat building. And this time,  I’d be interviewing strangers, not friends. I decided I’d better refresh myself on basic terms before I could even hope to conduct a coherent interview.

I called Dad.

Dad had commissioned the building of his own boat a decade earlier, and I figured he could give me a crash course on the subject.

“Hull plating?” I asked.

“The steel on the outside of the boat,” Dad answered.


“The vertical piece of steel at the bottom of the boat, the center of the boat. The backbone of the boat.”


“The bow of the boat at center line.”

I had no idea what that last one meant, but I kept going.


“The partition between two different areas of the boat. A wall. It separates the boat into compartments.”

“Power train?”

“The engine, reduction gear, shaft. And the prop.”

“Prop…?” I asked.

Propeller,” Dad answered.

I’m not sure, but I think I began to detect the faintest note of weariness in Dad’s voice. I knew Dad was proud of my work for National Fisherman; after all, it was he who’d first suggested I try my hand at writing for the magazine and encouraged me to contact the editor, Jerry Fraser.

I worried, though, if I’d be able to pull this one off. Had Michael Crowley, the Boats and Gear editor, made a mistake? What would Fred Wahl think of a young lady coming down to Reedsport to interview him on the state-of-the art Shemya? Would I end up inadvertently insulting everyone and making a fool out of myself?

Of course, we all know how the story ended.

I wound up marrying the partner/captain that I interviewed that afternoon at the boatyard, and the rest is history. And ten years since we met (and added two kids, two dogs, one fishing vessel, one blog and a truck or two), I love that all the original players are still in the game.

The following are pictures of all the fellows (taken at this year’s Pacific Marine Expo) who had confidence that I could pull off a story out of my comfort zone, had patience with me as I did my work, and who mean so much to us a decade later.

At least, they mean a lot to me.

As George went around Fish Expo shaking hands with these guys–all of whom played a part in our meeting and eventual marriage–his greeting was accompanied by these words:

“I don’t know whether to shake your hand or give you a right hook.”

My dad, who said "You can do it."

The subject of my first feature for NF, Ryan. Also his sweet wife, Jenny, who was a player in my most recent feature for NF. And of course, G and me...holding a wine glass at a recent party.

Jerry, the Editor in Chief who gave me a chance at writing, Michael Crowley, who sent me on my first boat building story, and Jes, the new Editor in Chief of National Fisherman.

Mike Lee of Fred Wahl Marine Construction, who ten years ago answered my questions, gave me a spec sheet and a tour of the Shemya...all without letting on whether he wondered if this girl had any idea what she was doing.

The man himself, Fred Wahl, who made the official introduction between my future husband and me.

Ten years later...