A Tremendous Pacific Marine Expo 2010!

My family and I attended 2010 Pacific Marine Expo yesterday and had an incredible afternoon. Vincent slept through the first two hours of the event but rallied in time to enjoy a chocolate dipped sugar cookie in the shape of a salmon and to collect a few pens and candy.

Eva was a trooper the entire afternoon and even wore her own badge this year as we traveled up and down aisles, said hello to a ton of people and collected vendor goodies.

We really scored this year. Among our take were two nice-looking John Deere baseball caps, a frisbee, child sunglasses, foam killer whale toys, pencils, pens, pencil sharpeners, bike reflectors, yo yos, fish key chain clip-ons, cute little stuffed frogs, insulated beer bottle holders, and bumper stickers from Commercial Fishermen of America and National Fisherman magazine.

We had three generations with us (Dad, George and me, Eva and Vincent) and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. George and I saw all our old friends (the gang from National Fisherman and Fred Wahl Marine Construction), Dad saw a ton of fishermen he knows, and both George and Dad ran into their maritime accountant.

Oh, how could I forget the biggest score of all? Xtra Tuff was giving away FREE boots to all children! The only deal was the children had to wear them around Fish Expo while they were there. It was too cute seeing all of these little girls and boys with their Xtra Tuffs on! One lady was so very disappointed her young one wasn’t there to receive a pair that we handed over Vincent’s new boots, then trotted him through the booth again wearing a slightly different outfit and accompanied by a different parent.

Anyway, the Events Center was absolutely packed with vendors, extremely smiley attendees, and the energy was contagious. I’m so glad the 2010 Pacific Marine Expo was a success. I hope you enjoy a few of my pictures. I decided to ignore the large sign that clearly stated NO PHOTOGRAPHY so I could remember the day in detail.

I’m working on a separate post that will include my pictures of our National Fisherman and Fred Wahl Marine Construction friends. Stay tuned.

Eva proudly displaying her badge.

My girl loves to pose.

Vincent still sleeping...

Grandpa and Eva.

Thanks for the free boots, Xtra Tuff!

Vincent still sleeping...

Daddy, Sleeping Vincent, Posing Eva.

Three Generations.

Hooray for Grandpa, Pacific Marine Expo, and Free Boots!

Vincent's Awake!!

National Fisherman's Jerry Fraser with George and Dad.

What Would My Reality Show Be Called? (Plinky)

This Plinky prompt is almost too easy.

I’d call my reality show “Behind the Blog: The Real Seasons of Commercial Fishing Families and Friends.”

Oh, yes. It’s almost too much to contemplate! I’m seriously cracking up to myself as I develop my fake show right here at my desk.

The other week, I was out with George and others who shall remain anonymous. As can happen, the night grew rather hilarious…to put it mildly.

Hey, that’s just the way we roll—sometimes. But as I told one of the anonymous others, “This is the stuff that does not make the blog.”

Indeed, there are “things” and otherwise that I’m held to the fire and sworn to never write about!

But in this imaginary world of Plinky prompts, I would turn on the cameras and capture the sane, the silly, the crazy, the sad, the hilarious, and the fun alongside the strength, work, family, bravery, and genuine friendship.

Oh wait—it just occurred to me. If the cameras were rolling, that means they’d be on me, too.

Forget it!! :-)

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Captain on Sea…and Shore, Apparently.

The other morning, I awoke and found George in the kitchen making smoothies. This is normal. George and Eva often enjoy the early morning hours together making smoothies while Vincent and I sleep in as possibly long as we can. On “big breakfast” mornings, Eva helps Daddy crack eggs, discuss different kinds of waffles, and plan the day ahead as they sit together at the dining room table.

Vincent and I eventually emerge in search of coffee and his “regular milk/chocolate milk” sippy cup combo.

I cuddle with both children in our over-sized and overstuffed recliner and watch the news and weather until it’s time to get ready for our day. At that point, I disappear into my room to get ready, keeping an ear out for whatever is transpiring in other corners of the house.

The other day as I got ready, it seemed like I was hearing George’s voice a lot. It echoed from the kitchen, down the hall, and into our bedroom.

“Eva, time to get dressed.”

“Vincent, you need to go potty.”

“Mandy, go lay down.”

Next thing I knew, G was grabbing my housecleaning caddy.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“This toilet needs to be cleaned,” he answered.

“This toilet isn’t bad at all,” I replied. (But heck; if someone wants to clean a toilet, go for it!)

I went back to our bedroom.

“Vincent, stop. Eva, get dressed. Time to get going,” I heard.

I came out of our room and walked down the hall to G.

“It seems like every time I hear your voice this morning, you are sort of ordering people around,” I said gently. “Telling everyone what to do.”

I studied an array of emotion cross my husband’s face as he pondered my assessment.

Then, he lifted his arm and pointed down the hall toward our bedroom.

“Mommy, go get ready for Jazzercise,” he said.

What else could I do but laugh….and get ready for Jazzercise?

Daddy's Home From Westport!

Goodnight, Babies.

Building Pallets & Rigging Crab Pots in the Sunshine

A couple years ago, I wrote a series of posts on the rigging of Dungeness crab gear. I won’t go through all the details again, but if you missed it the first time around or are interested, you can read about it here.

This year, the gang added the building of pallets to the pre-season gear work. I wondered why they were building new pallets when the web lockers seemed to be full of them already.

“We built the pallets 3×3 to store and transport the crab pots. A stack of pots–five pots–fits on a  3×3 pallet perfectly. A standard pallet is much bigger and takes up too much room in the lockers,” G explained.

Since I had his attention, I called out one more question from my seat on the family room couch.

“Do you have any thoughts on the season ahead?”

“Not so far,” G called back from the dinner table, where he sat eating a delicious rotisserie chicken in a butter and garlic glaze and a side of three-cheese tortellini…that I bought at the local deli.

“It’s too early,” he continued. “But so far, no two years have ever been the same, so I’m curious as to what this year will be like.”

Thanks for snapping all of these great pics for me, G!

Happy Halloween!

Some time ago, Eva informed me she wanted to be a kitty for Halloween.

“That is so sweet,” I thought. I immediately went online and researched girl’s kitty costumes.


I did not expect to find what I found. Headband ears, long tails, short sequined skirts and racy tights, modeled by young girls, was not exactly the look I had in mind for my four-year-old.

I searched throughout the night and eventually found a costume in line with our needs: an innocent, sweet, furry, little girl’s kitty costume (pictured on Eva below).

I was a bit taken aback that it took no time at all to find a kitty costume a playmate might wear (even though my search specifically mentioned “child”), but quite a bit of searching to find a kitty costume a small child might wear.

No matter.

I was in tears this evening when I watched my Eva and Vincent trick-or-treat door-to-door for the very first time. Last year, we went to our small downtown to trick or treat at local businesses. This year, Eva opted out of that in favor of the neighborhood door-to-door. She couldn’t wait to have Vincent go up and ring our neighbors’ doorbells, then stand back with him and sing “Trick or Treat!”

Most of you know that I struggled with infertility before I was blessed with the miracle of Eva, and then Vincent. I never dreamed I would be so surprised, so lucky, to have children to take to parades or dress up for Halloween.

As I watched my two precious babies cross the streets with Daddy, ring bells, and look back at me for encouragement, I was overcome with love and gratitude.

Speaking of Daddy, he goes back to work tomorrow. He’s not going to sea yet, but he will be at the harbor every day with the crew getting ready for the Dungeness crab season. We do not want him to start work again, but I just keep reminding myself that at least we can visit the harbor and he is still in cell coverage.

Happy Halloween, all.


A Quick Update

henrys book with anne st marie on the cover

For the first time in ten years, George’s transition from sea to shore has been seamless. We have not encountered any of the usual sea-to-shore “issues” that usually come up once G comes home from sea and we all get readjusted to being at home together again.

I think he was just gone so long this year, and for the last two fishing seasons in particular, that we had no energy for strife and just wanted to chill and enjoy being together as an entire family again.

And G has been great and incredibly helpful. Reading with the kids every night, taking Eva to preschool, feeding the dogs their custom meals,  loading and emptying the dishwasher, taking out the garbage and recycling, and leaving plenty of time for good old-fashioned family fun.

Unfortunately, this will all come to an end very soon. On November 1st, the crab crew shows up, and that will mark yet another transition in the household.

We still have many things to look forward to until G actually goes back to sea. There’s Pacific Marine Expo (Fish Expo) to attend and a drink with old and new fishing friends while we’re there, a celebration in late November, a Christmas party in early December, and Thanksgiving at a location yet to be determined.

And, my sister is due with her first baby tomorrow.

So much to be thankful and grateful for in this season of gratitude.

What I’d Do With a Million Dollars

I would create a safe haven for babies, toddlers, and small children of abusive and/or drug addicted parents.

I’d set up a simple 40-acre property that included lodging, food, activities, and on-hand nurses, preschool teachers, and child psychologists to assist in the development and play of these young children.

I would make sure there was one loving volunteer “mom” or “dad” for each child who accompanied the child throughout the day and helped celebrate accomplishments, offer guidance, and nursed wounds, both emotional and physical.

I would offer drug/alcohol awareness and parenting classes and rehabilitation on site for parents suffering from addiction or any other disorder which prevented them from honestly being the parents they wanted to be. Supervised visits would be allowed to maintain bond between parent and child.

Every infant would be held and fed, each toddler held and comforted, and each young child comforted and reassured.

And that’s what I’d do with a million dollars, although I don’t think a million would cover it.

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After The Commercial Fishing Homecoming Honeymoon

Whew. What a whirlwind today! The past two weeks, actually.

Our friend, Terry, asked us during dinner last Friday just how long George had been home.

I looked at George and said “About four days, right, hon?”

“No,” he said.

“That’s not right,” said Kim, Terry’s wife.

“How long then?” I asked George and Kim.

“A couple of weeks I think,” said G.

“Ten days at least,” said Kim.

Well, I’ve lost all track of time.

This most recent transition from sea to shore and boat to home has gone well. It normally does not go quite this easily. The first two or three days are always bliss, but towards the end of the first week, things go back to normal.

“Well, that was fun,” George always says when the honeymoon is clearly over.

This time, however, we’ve only had one moment of strain since being back together after months apart.

“How’s it going?” asked my friend, Beth. “Still in the honeymoon?”

I can’t repeat exactly what I wrote in my e-mail reply, but I did describe one less-than-loving moment we may have experienced since G’s arrival home. Something to do with purposely letting the door close on someone, sending someone off with a less-than-friendly farewell, and perhaps a choice follow-up text or two.

You have to get it out of your system! Fortunately, it was quick and painless.

This time.

My parents were wonderful enough to volunteer–no, insist–on having our little ones spend the night at their house while G and I went on our first ever all-night date night last week. We had a magical and hilarious time with our close friends at dinner, the theater comedy show, and even with my own sister and her boyfriend after the show. (BTW, sorry about leaving you with the tab! How much do we owe?)

This morning, I received an e-mail from an editor at National Fisherman magazine asking if the article I’d pitched a month or so back was ready to submit in time for the awesome Pacific Marine Expo Issue.


No, it wasn’t.

Always up for a challenge and not wanting to miss out on one of the biggest issues of the year, I sat down today, gathered my notes, and actually had a wonderful time putting together an article I’ve been wanting to write for a long time.

Cross your fingers that it passes inspection. And if does, and you are at Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle at the end of November, look for it in the front of National Fisherman magazine!


Eva's First Fish



Vincent's Favorite Past Time


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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A Few Pics from Another Sunny & Blessed Day.

Short break from the halibut and blackcod off-load.

Crusing the harbor in Daddy's flatbed.

Pop and popcorn at the local Farmer's Co-op.